• The word “Islam” comes from the verb salaama, or “to
• It means submission to the rule and law of Allah, the God
in Islamic faith.
• The word “Muslim” means a follower of Islam, and is
derived from the present participle of the same verb that
the word “Islam” is derived from.
• The Arabic word for god, or the Supreme Being, is Allah.
• Allah is one god, as opposed to the Trinitarian God of the
• Arabic Christians also use this word to refer to the
• Muslim’s view Allah as the same God worshiped by
Christians and Jews.
• Mohammed was a well-respected but illiterate man born
• The religion of Islam is said to have been conveyed to
the prophet Mohammed by Allah through the angel
• Mohammed wrote these revelations into the Qur’an
(Koran). The Koran is the holy text of Islam.
• Mohammed is one of many prophets recognized by the
Koran, including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses,
and Jesus, there are 28 pre-Islamic prophets mentioned
in the Koran.
• The Koran was related, in the Arabic language, to
Mohammed over 23 years.
• The Koran is divided into 114 chapters called Surhas
and over 6000 verses.
• According to Islamic faith, God’s message was conveyed
to earlier prophets, but his word was
The Koran is the true word of Allah.
• Muslim accept the Christian bible and
the Hebrew Bible as holy, but the
ultimate message of God is though
to be undistorted in the Koran.
• There are over 1 billion Muslims in the world, making
Islam the second largest religion after Christianity.
• Muslims are found in high concentrations in the Middle
East, the former Soviet Union, North Africa, China, India,
and the Phillipines.
• This profession should be a public and truthful
acceptance to Allah as the one and only God, as well as
accepting Mohammed as his messenger.
• In English
I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear
witness that Muhammad is his Messenger.
• In Arabic
Ashhadu Alla Illa Allah Wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammad
• Muslims are expected to perform five daily prayers in
addition to other prayers on Friday at noon, during
funerals and optional prayers at other times.
• All adults of sound mind are expected to pray the five
daily prayers with the exception of women during
menstruation or childbirth.
• The five daily prayers are at : early morning, noon, midafternoon, sunset, and in the evening.
• Prayer can be performed at a Mosque, but it is not
obligatory except on Friday for the noon prayer.
• Muslim’s show their devotion to God by giving to the
• The Koran teaches that charity is important. There are
two kinds: Voluntary charity (sadaqa) and the zakat
which is a religious obligation.
• In some cases this translates to a tax of approximately
2.5 percent of a person’s wealth. This tax is required in
some countries and is above and beyond any normal
income tax. The beneficiaries of the tax are the poor,
new Muslim converts, those in debt, and scholars
• The purpose of this obligatory charity is to purify: it
purifies the giver from greed and selfishness and
recipient from envy.
• Fasting is a sign of devotion and discipline.
• It is required of all adult men and women with exceptions
for the sick, traveling, and women during menstruation
• Fasting takes place during various days throughout the
year, but is also observed during the holy month of
• Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and
is believed to be sacred because the first revelation of
the Koran occurred during Ramadan.
• Muslim’s with the physical and financial means are
supposed to make a pilgrimage to Islam’s most holy city,
Mecca, the birthplace of the prophet Mohammed.
• There are detailed rituals that are usually followed in the
12th month of the Islamic calendar when the Hajj takes
• In Mecca, there is a huge ritual that takes place and
gathers millions of people annually.
– The birthplace of the prophet Mohammed and the
destination of the obligatory pilgrimage.
– The city Mohammed moved to after being expelled
– The tomb of Mohammed is located here.
– A sacred city long before Islam, it was a place that
continued to be sacred in Mohammed’s time
– The Dome of the Rock, a sacred shrine, is located in
• God created humankind as his regents for the earth, to
fulfill his plan for creation.
• Muslims believe that Adam and Eve descended from
Paradise to the earth for this reason, and that it was an
• The angel Gabriel is said to have transmitted to
Mohammed the Koran.
• Angels were created from light.
• Angels perform no bodily functions (eating, for instance).
• Angels are incapable of committing sin or disobeying
• They serve as guardians and the link between God and
• Humans are seen as superior in some ways to angels.
• The devil, Al Shaytan, is either a fallen angel or jinn –
creatures between angels and men that can be good or
• Each person has two “recording angels”; one records the
good deeds and one records the bad.
• There are four holy or inspired books recognized by
– The Torah of Moses.
– The psalms of David
– The Gospel of Jesus
– The Koran
• The first three books are believed to have been
corrupted from their original form by Jews and
• Since the Koran is the most recent and uncorrupted
text, it is the final authority of Allah’s word.
• The six greatest prophets are: Adam, Noah, Abraham,
Moses, Jesus and Mohammed.
• Mohammed is considered the last messenger and the
• Muslims believe that there will be a final day where God
will pass judgment on each person, based on the books
kept by their recording angels.
• Some will be sent to Paradise, others condemned to
• Muslims do not believe in original sin – the belief that
humans are born with sin passed down from their
• Muslims do believe in predestination – the ideas that all
good or evil stems from God’s will.
• Judgment Day described in the Koran:
– The Clatterer! What is the Clatterer?
And what shall teach thee what is the Clatterer?
The day that men shall be like scattered moths.
And the mountains shall be like plucked wool-tufts.
Then he whose deeds weigh heavy in the Balance
Shall inherit a pleasing life.
But he whose deeds weigh light in the Balance
Shall plunge in the womb of the Pit.
And what shall teach thee what is the Pit?
A blazing Fire!
• Satan and Man:
– And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves
before Adam.” And they prostrated except Iblis (Satan), he refused
and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah).
And we said. “ O Adam! Dwell you and you wife in the Paradise and
eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight, of things therein as
wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of
the Zalimun (wrong-doers).”
Then the Shaitan (Satan) made them slip therefrom (the Paradise),
and got them out from that in which they were. We said: “Get you down,
all, will enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place
for you and an enjoyment for a time.”
• Born in Mecca to the prominent Quraysh tribe in 570.
• Around 610 he had a vision of the angel Gabriel who told
him that he was a prophet of God.
• When Mohammed started teaching Islam and started
converting people to Islam, Mecca’s elite started
• In 622 Mohammed and his followers left Mecca for
Yathrib (Medina) in the migration known as Hayra (the
beginning date of the Muslim calendar) – Mohammed
had been invited to arbitrate disputes among Medinian
clan leaders in return for his acceptance as the prophet
• Once established in Medina, Mohammed set about
taking back Mecca by disrupting trade caravans.
• The Medians, under the leadership of Mohammed,
fought the Meccan forces off and on until 630, when
Mohammed captured Mecca after amassing a large
• By his death in 632, he had united the Arabian Peninsula
• He was succeeded by Abu Bakr who was the 1st caliph.
• The first four caliphs were called al-Rashidun – the
rightly guided caliphs.
• Most of Bakr’s reign was spent putting down local
rebeliions against Islam ( Wars of Apostasy or Riddah
Wars) because many tribes didn’t want to pay the zakat.
• These wars established Medina’s authority
over Arabia (ummah: the community of
• Father of Mohammed’s 3rd wife.
• Title of amir-al-amin (Commander of the bleievers).
• 638 Jeruslalem fell to the Muslims (3rd most important
• Internally, Umar began the custom of asmars to protect
soldiers and the conquered (sometimes this involved the
creation of a whole town – Al Kufah, Al Basrah.
• Also started the Diwan, the register of Muslim
soldiers to determine the distribution of
plundered fortune – done by order of
acceptance to Islam, relationship to
Mohammed, and service.
• Son-in-law of Mohammed.
• He had a standardized test for
Islam created and all other
copies of the Koran were
• Eroded his popular support
through nepotism: favoring
member of his own clan for
• Son in law of Mohammed given the caliphate but ran into
troubles from Aisha (Mohammed’s wife) who felt he had
been given it unjustly.
• In 656 he clashed with Aisha’a army near Al Basrah –
considered the first battle of the Islamic Civil War (656661) – fitnah (trial)
• Ali was also challenged by Muawiyah, the governor of
Syria – Ali engaged Mua, at Stiffen in Northern Syria in
657 – both sides agreed to arbitration on the issue of
whether Uthman’s mistakes caused his death or he had
been unjustly killed.
• In 658 when the verdict went against Ali, he refused to
abide by it.
• His followers soon deserted (Kharijites) him in large
numbers because he had gone against the Koran – Ali
responded by massacring many of the dissenters.
• Ali was murdered by a Kharijite in January 661.
• Muawiyah declared himself caliph and ended the era of
the Rightly Guided Caliphs and ushered in the Umayyad
• After the civil war, Islam developed into 3 factions:
– Kharijites: the smallest.
– Shiites: “partisans of Ali” – believe that Ali was the caliph.
– Sunnites: believe that Muawiyah is caliph.
• Muawiyah mainatined control with the help of the Arab
army in Syria.
• His new government was centered in Damascus – Syria
dominant over Mecca and Medina.
• Expanded Muslim influence into North Africa and parts of
• Tried and failed three times to capture Constantinople.
• Spread Islam in the areas that are now India and
• Mawali (clients; non-Arab Muslims), who were treated as
second class citizens, were getting restless.
• Shiites were angry that Muawiyah had designated his
son to be the next ruler because they didn’t want the
Umayyads controlling everything.
• After Muawiyah’s death in 680, Shiites rebelled behind
Ali’s son Husayn in Al Kufah.
• Husayn was ambushed by an Umayyad army and given
the option to die or humiliate himself by submitting to
their ruler – he chose death and he and his family were
slaughtered along with Mohammed’s daughter Fatima
– He is considered a martyr by all Muslims for living up to his
principles until death.
• Many were angered by the death of Mohammed;s
grandson and sympathy for the Shiites frew.
• The Shiites found another ally, the Abbasids, who said all
Muslims should receive equal treatment.
• They won a major victory in Iraq over the Umayyads and
routed them from control of everywhere except Spain in
• They established a capital in Baghdad (The City of
Peace) and instituted reforms to give justice to all
Muslims – Baghdad remained the political and culture
center of Islam until 1258 and the Mongol invasion.
• Started the Abbasid Dynasty which took in the best of
conquered political and intellectual culture and mixed it
with Islamic ideals.
• Christians perceived Islam as the largest threat on
European culture and religion.
• The armies of Islam were taking parts of Italy and had
greatly reduced the power and size of the Byzantine
Empire and besieged its capitol, Constantinople.
• European resources could now support large expeditions
like the Crusades and while religiously motivated, the
Crusades also were meant to enlarge European trade
routes and profits.
• Pope Urban II made a speech in 1095 calling for a great
expedition to free Jerusalem from Seljuk Turks who were
attacking Christian pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem.
• The crusaders knew little to nothing of Islamic life.
• In July 1099 the Christians took Jerusalem and
massacred many of its inhabitants.
• Established the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem which was
centered on Jerusalem.
• Pope Eugenius III called the crusade
• Only part of the army made it to Jerusalem in 1148
• The Christians attacked but failed to take Damascus in
1148 and much of the army of the Franks left for home.
• The only significant gain was in Portugal where Lisbon
was freed from the Moors by English troops.
• In 1186, a new powerful Muslim prince named Saladin
came to power and took back Jerusalem from the
• The most famous: Richard the Lion-Hearted, Philip II of
France, and Frederick of Barbarossa.
• Frederick’s and Philip II armies returned home after a
• Richard stayed and fought but could not recapture
• He did, however, reinstitute the Latin Kingdom which
was now much smaller and weaker.
• Despite many calls to action by Popes, no real threat
was ever presented to the bases of Islamic power.
• Diplomacy was the only way to get to Jerusalem.
• No other crusade was a mass movement of significance.
• Frederick II (Holy Roman Empire) used diplomacy on
Saladin to gain access to Jerusalem and a 10 year
peace treaty – he was criticized for doing so in Europe.
• Several other military attempts were promptly and
catastrophically defeated by the Islamic forces.
By 1231, the Mongols had
captured much of Iran,
Mesopotamia, Armenia, and
Upon the urgings of European
powers, the Mongols invaded Iraq
under the grandson of Genghis
The horde destroyed Baghdad in
1258 – a blow from which Iraq
would not recover until the 20th
In 1259 and 1260 Hulagu’s forces
took Syria, but they were stopped
by the Mamluks of Egypt.
Rule under the Mongols was
oppressive at best, but eventually
many of the rulers became Islamic
and sympathized with the people.
• Osman, a Turkish Muslim warrior, began uniting the
remnants of the Byzantine Empire in 1299 and began
leading raids on Christians in Western Anatolia.
• Their guiding principle was conducting raids on
Christians in the interests of Islam and their proximity to
the Byzantine border made it relatively easy to attack
• The Ottoman Empire became a major power in Europe
for several hundred years.
• At the height of its power, the empire had gained control
over the Balkans and was close to capturing Vienna, the
capital of the Austrian Empire.
• By the 19th century, The Ottoman Empire was called “the
sick man of Europe” as its borders slowly receded.
• The word jihad means “the struggle” in Arabic.
• Jihad has been interpreted as “holy war’ in many
Western translations of the Koran.
• In fact, the word jihad does not mean war, it means any
struggle. For example, It is a jihad or struggle to get
• There are several ways to fulfill the jihad according to the
Sunni sect: The ways of the heart, tongue, hand, and
• The Shiites sect does not support jihad of the sword
(fighting in the name of Islam) at all.
• The Islamic faith does not support the idea of jihad as
holy war started by Muslims in any sort of aggressive
– “Let there be no compulsion (or coercion) in the religion (Islam).
The right direction is distinctly clear from error.” (The Holy
– Any notion of starting war or engaging in aggressive actions is
the work of an extremist element of the Islamic religion.
– The mainstream Muslim community does not believe that jihad
means terrorism – some would say that the term “Muslim
terrorist” is itself and oxymoron because of the peace and justice
exemplified by the Islamic faith.
• To conclude this point, it is important to remember
that the concept of a hostile, terrorist jihad is not
characteristic of the mainstream Muslim religion, but
rather it is the belief of one extreme wing of the
• Unfortunately, in the Western world, this is the face of
Islam that gets the most attention.
Most Muslims today are part of two major sects or
– Ninety-percent of Muslims today are of this school.
– The name is probably derived from an expression
meaning “the middle of the road”.
– The Sunni are accept differences of opinion on certain
parts of their religious doctrine.
– Four different schools of Islamic law are included in
– Followers of Shia Islam.
– Derived from the Arabic word “partisans”.
– This school of Islam is a minority (less than ten
– The Shiites split from the Sunni in a dispute over the
successor to Mohammed (the caliphs).
– The Shiites are found in large numbers in Iran
(majority), Iraq, India, Pakistan and a few other
– There are approximately 165 million Shiites.
• Organization of Islamic States: 56 member states.
• The Islamic Republic of Iran:
– In 1979 a revolution in Iran overthrew the U.S. backed
Shah, or king.
– The new government is run by clerics – this sort of
government is called a theocracy.
– The majority of Iranians are Shiites.
– The government is separated into executive,
legislative and judicial parts with checks and
– The religious leader, or velayat-e faqih, is probably
the most powerful man in the government. His power
ranks above the president, who is head of the state.
• Republic of Iraq:
– The majority (about 65 percent) of the people are
– Most of the rest are Sunni, Muslims make up 97% of
the total population.
– The government of Iraq gives dictatorial power to one
man who serves as the President, prime minister, and
head of the Revolutionary Command Council.
• Islamic State of Afghanistan:
– Until November of 2001, Afghanistan was ruled as an
– About 84% of the population is Sunnites with the rest
– As of January 2010, There is a new provisional
government in place and it appears that Afghanistan
is no longer a theocracy.
• Women are mentioned extensively in the Koran. Men are
supposed to treat women fairly and women are given
many of the same rights as men in the Holy Book.
• However, backwards fundamentalism in many countries
has led to the repression of women’s rights that are
granted in the Koran. Such as
– The right to be an individual
– Right to earn and dispose of earnings and property
– Keeping her family’s name instead of taking her
– “The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he
who is best in manner and kindest to his wife.” Mohammed
• Marriage in Islam is viewed as a simple legal agreement
with additional stipulations like only inter-marital sex.
• Divorce is not common but is not banned because
women usually are treated fairly in their marriage
• The position of the mother is very much exalted in
Islamic tradition. The prophet Muhammad has gone so
far as to-say: ”Paradise lies underneath the feet of your
• Women do not take as active a role in politics as in other
nations. Women are usually involved in teaching.
• The wearing of veils is not necessarily dictated by
religion, but is part of Middle Eastern culture.
– There is come evidence to suggest that this policy
was adopted many centuries ago from Byzantine
• “We must have solidarity among ourselves, and a fresh
outlook on the rest of the world, in order to play an
important role in international affairs.” – Iranian Foreign
Minister Kamal Kharrazi
• Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Kamenei
• Kuwait's Sheik Jaber al-Ahmed Al-Sabah
• Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah: looking for reform and
better relations with the West
• Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan
• Lebanese President Elias Hrawi.