World Religions & Cultures
The Crescent, seen on top of many mosques, originally signifies the waxing moon.  It is associated with special acts of devotion to God.  (Langley 54)
 Dr. Marguerite Connor
God and the Prophets
 Islamic Life
Islamic Worship 
Types of Islam 
Relevant Links
God and the Prophets

Islam is a religion founded in the sixth century CE by the prophet Mohammed. It is widely practiced in the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia, and southern central Europe. It practiced all over the world, though, and is the fastest-growing religion in the United States. Practioners are called Moslems/Muslims.

In Islam, there is only one God, the creator and sustainer of the universe. Among all his creations, man is supreme, with everything else subservient to God.

The prophets are God's messengers, to whom He revealed the truths of the unseen realities and the truth of the coming life. The series of prophets began with Adam and concluded with Mohammed.

Islam is a complete guide, defining God's relation to man and man's relations to each other. Islamic law, known as shari'ah, covers family, commercial and criminal law.
The Qur'an (Koran) is the sacred book revealed through Mohammed. United in its original Arabic form, it is believed by Muslims to be the word of God and is treated with the greatest veneration. Hadith is the body of words and practices traced to the Prophet which supplements the Koran as a source of Islamic guidance.

The Qur'an is often beautifully printed and decorated
and may be kept in special coverings or boxes to show how much it is valued.   (Langley 57)

Islamic Life

Islamic Worship

    The Ka'ba, a structure in Mecca (a holy city in Saudi Arabia) is the focal point of worship for all Moslems. They face it while praying and make pilgrimages to it. 

    The focus of the Muslim world: the Great Mosque of Mecca, the holy city of Islam, and at its centre the Kaaba, the ancient site of a shrine which is said to have been founded by Abraham.(Parrinder 501)

  Types of Islam

This is a very unified religion with only 2 major branches: the majority, sunni , and shi'ite. Shi'ite is the state religion of Iran (formerly Persia) since the 1500s.  It adds a strong nationalistic element to Islam.   But there is no fighting between the two as in other major religious denominations.

In America, there is a group called The Nation of Islam, which is a militant black group which bases itself on Islam, but it is not "pure" Islam. In fact, it was originally very Christian with a shallow overlay of some Moslem beliefs. It was founded in 1934 by a man named Elijah Poole, who changed his name to Elijah Mohammed. When he died in 1975 the movement was taken over by his son and has since moved closer to traditional Islam. Malcolm X was a member of this religion but later left it.

Relevant Links:

Picture source:
Parrinder, Geoffrey, ed.  World Religions: From Ancient History to the Present.  New York: Facts on File, 1971.
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World Religions