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Transcript of Islam
a. What is the point of origin?
Islam originated in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
b. How did the religion/philosophy spread?
Muhammad sent letters of invitation to all the known rulers of the world, and determined to conquer those who responded negatively. In Muhammad's lifetime this was the Byzantines and the Persians. Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and a large part of Iraq were captured. Islam spread across northern Africa, east into parts of India, and north into Spain and Turkey, though they were forcibly expelled from Spain in the 15th century.
c. Where is this tradition most influential today?
Islam is most influential in the Middle East.
d. How many followers are there worldwide?
There are approximately 1.5 billion followers of Islam worldwide.
e. Is this a monotheistic or polytheistic tradition?
Islam is monotheistic.
f. Who is/are the main/major deity(ies)?
Allah (God) is the only deity.
g. Who founded this faith? When?
Muhammad founded Islam in 610, however Muslims claim that Islam has been in existence from the beginning to be discovered by men.
h. What do the followers call their scripture(s) or holy books?
While the Qur'an is the primary holy text, Suhuf (The Scrolls of Abraham), Taurah (The Law of Moses), Zabur (The Psalms of David), and Injeel (The Gospel of Jesus) are also recognized as Books of God.
i. How is the religious leadership organized?
The leadership of the two main sects of Islam, Sunni and Shi'a is different. Shi'a Imams are descended from Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law. Sunni elect the most qualified as their local religious leaders, so there is no single leader over all Sunni Muslims.
j. What are the basic beliefs of this religion/philosophy?
There are seven fundamental beliefs that every Muslim must accept. These core beliefs are belief in God, belief in the angels, belief in the revealed Books of God, belief in God's many prophets, accepting that there will be a Last Day, belief in the divine measurement of human affairs, belief in a life after death.
k. What sects of the religion/philosophy have developed over time?
There are over twenty different sects of Islam, but Sunni and Shi'a are the most prominent. Sunni is the original and most populous sect. Shi'a originated after Muhammad's death with the followers of Ali, his son-in-law, who felt Ali should have been made their leader.