Essay on What Is Islam

Submitted By mwgrab
Words: 779
Pages: 4

What is Islam? The ability to understand Islam cannot be grounded in the belief of a God only. It also cannot be just be a sense of community or a choice in what people eat and drink. The first few words of the text book, The Oxford History of Islam, capture the attention of those that read it by showing the wide extent of Islam. “Islam is a religion and civilization made its entry onto the world stage with the life and career of Prophet Muhammad ibn Abd Allah in western Arabia” (Donner, n.d.). The religion part can easily be rationalized because it is a fairly basic view for a group of people to follow. Civilization, however, is a broad swath of culture, people and a way of living. It encompasses what people do throughout their lives as well as the lives that came before and after them. The view of Islam is not just of God, but of a way of life.

“According to Muslim belief, the angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad, a camel driver, in a mountain cave and delivered a message from the one true God.” (Http://www.religionfacts.com/islam/overview.htm)
Muhammad began to give his life to spread the word of this one true God. He was considered a Prophet and his life work was recorded as the Qur’an, the sacred text of Islam.

This beginning of Islam was rooted in religious beliefs due to the Monotheistic view of “one God” During this time of the world there were other groups such as the Persians who were not monotheistic and worshipped multiple deities. (http://www.studylight.org/enc/isb/view.cgi?number=T6822) While the Islamic faith might be based in religion, it by no means makes it a one faceted belief or structure. There are different aspects to Islam that make it a much broader community based system.
According to Islam study, the 5 pillars of Islam were revealed by God to Muhammad. These pillars are the declaration of faith, praying five times a day, giving money to charity, fasting and a pilgrimage to Mecca (atleast once). (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/ataglance/glance.shtml) They provided groundwork to the religion that is Islam. In providing this base it also provided a way of life.
In what began as a religious entity with the word of God to Muhammad turned to an ever increasing political environment as the number of believers grew. This political path started with a move by Muhammad of his followers called “The Hijah”. Muhammad's popularity was seen as threatening by the people in power in Mecca, and Muhammad took his followers on a journey from Mecca to Medina in 622. (http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/ihame/sec2.htm) Within 10 years he was able to gain enough followers to return and conquer Mecca. Until his death in 632 things were pretty straightforward with his leadership. With his passing there was some discussion on who would be his successor, with multiple groups looking toward