Islam isa monotheistic and Abrahamic religionarticulated by the Quran, a text considered byits adherents to be the verbatim wordof God and by the teachings and normativeexample (called the Sunnah and composedof Hadith) of Muhammad, considered by themto be the last prophet of God. An adherent ofIslam is called a Muslim.
The majority of Muslims are Sunni, being 75–90% of allMuslims. The second largest sect, Shia, makes up 10–20%. The most populous Muslim-majority countryis Indonesia home to 12.7% of the worlds Muslimsfollowedby Pakistan (11.0%), Bangladesh (9.2%), and Egypt (4.9%). Sizable minorities are also foundin India, China, Russia, and parts of Europe. Withabout 1.6 to 1.7 billion followers or 22 to 24%of earths population,Islam is the second-largest andone of the fastest-growing religions in the world.
Criticism of IslamCriticism of Islam has existed since Islams formativestages. Early written criticism came fromChristians, prior to the ninth century, many of whomviewed Islam as a radical Christian heresy. Later thereappeared criticism from the Muslim world itself, andalso from Jewish writers and from ecclesiasticalChristians.Objects of criticism include the morality of the lifeof Muhammad, the last prophet of Islam, both in hispublic and personal life. Issues relating to theauthenticity and morality of the Quran, the Islamicholy book, are also discussed by critics. Othercriticisms focus on the question of human rights inmodern Islamic nations, and the treatment of womenin Islamic law and practice.In wake of therecent multiculturalism trend, Islams influence on theability of Muslim immigrants in the West to assimilatehas been criticized.
Mainstream Islamic law does not distinguishbetween "matters of church" and "matters ofstate"; the scholars function as both jurists andtheologians. In practice, Islamic rulersfrequently bypassed the Sharia courts with aparallel system of so-called "Grievance courts"over which they had sole control. As the Muslimworld came into contact with European secularideals, Muslim societies responded in differentways. Turkey has been governed as a secularstate ever since the reforms of Mustafa KemalAtatürk in 1923. In contrast, the 1979 IranianRevolution replaced a mostly secular regimewith an Islamic republic led by the AyatollahKhomeini.
PRAYERRitual prayers, called Ṣalāh orṢalāt must be performed fivetimes a day. Salah is intendedto focus the mind on God, andis seen as a personalcommunication with him thatexpresses gratitudeand worship. Salah iscompulsory, but flexibility inthe specifics is alloweddepending on circumstances.The prayers are recited inthe Arabic language, andconsist of verses from theQuran.
Five pillarsThe Pillars of Islam (arkan al-Islam; also arkan ad-din, "pillars of religion") are five basic acts inIslam, considered obligatory for all believers.The Qur’an presents them as a framework for worshipand a sign of commitment to the faith. They are: (1) the shahadah (creed),(2) daily prayers (salat),(3) almsgiving (zakah),(4) fasting during Ramadan and(5) the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) at least once in alifetime. The Shia and Sunni sects both agree on theessential details for the performance of these acts.
In accordance with the Islamic beliefin predestination, or divine preordainment(al-qadā wal-qadar), God has full knowledgeand control over all that occurs. This isexplained in Quranic verses such as "Say:Nothing will happen to us except what Allahhas decreed for us: He is ourprotector..."For Muslims, everything in theworld that occurs, good or evil, has beenpreordained and nothing can happen unlesspermitted by God. According to Muslimtheologians, although events are pre-ordained, man possesses free will in that hehas the faculty to choose between right andwrong, and is thus responsible for hisactions. According to Islamic tradition, allthat has been decreed by God is writtenin al-Lawh al-Mahfūz, the "PreservedTablet".
RevelationsThe Islamic holy books are therecords which most Muslims believewere dictated by God to variousprophets. Muslims believe that partsof the previously revealedscriptures, the Tawrat (Torah) andthe Injil (Gospels), hadbecome distorted—either ininterpretation, in text, or both. TheQuran (literally, ―Reading‖ or―Recitation‖) is viewed by Muslimsas the final revelation and literalword of God and is widely regardedas the finest piece of literature workin the Arabic language.
QUIZThe majority of Muslims are Sunni, being 75–90% of allMuslims. T FCriticism of Islam has existed since Islams formativestages. T F The most populous Muslim-majority countryis Indonesia home to 12,2% of the worlds. T F As the Muslim world came into contact withEuropean secular ideals, Muslim societiesresponded in different ways. T F Salah is compulsory but flexibility in the specifics is allowed depending on circumstances. T F
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