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ISLAM MORE THAN A RELIGION 3 Despite its huge following around the world and the growing Muslim communities in the United States Islam is foreign to most Americans who are familiar with Christianity or Judaism Because most Americans know little or nothing about Islam they have many misconceptions about Muslim beliefs and rituals The negative image many people in the United States and Europe have of Islam and the Muslim world has a long history Many have judged Islam without making an effort to consider this religious tradition on its own terms without bothering to become acquainted with its teaching and the ways in which Muslims practice their faith Like Judaism and Christianity Islam is a monotheistic religion based on the belief in one God This religion was proclaimed by the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the 7th century AD The term Islam virtually means surrender Within Islam the believer called a Muslim use the Arabic word for God Allah to refer to the creator of the world and of all life within it Allah is viewed as the sole God----creator sustained and restorer of the world The will of Allah to which man must submit is made known through the sacred scriptures the Quran Koran Allah revealed the Quran to his messenger Muhammad According to Islamic beliefs Muhammad is the last of a series of prophets including Adam Noah Jesus and others Muhammads message concurrently perfect and do away with the revelations attributed to earlier prophets From the very beginning of Islam Muhammad had indoctrinated a sense of brotherhood and a bond of faith among his followers The Prophet Muhammad fled to Medina in AD 622 it was during this time that his preaching was accepted and the community-state of Islam emerged During this early period Islam acquired its characteristics as a religion uniting in itself both the spiritual and temporal aspects of
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