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Islam

Islam (Arabic: الإسلام; al-'islām (help·info)) is a monotheistic religion based upon the Qur'an, a scripture which Muslims believe was sent by God (Arabic: الله Allāh) through the prophet Muhammad. Followers of Islam, known as Muslims (مسلم), believe Muhammad to have been God's final prophet. As a result, most of them see the actions and teachings of Muhammad as related in the Sunnah and Hadith as indispensable tools for interpreting the Qur'an.

Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam is an Abrahamic religion. There are estimated to be 1.4 billion adherents, making Islam the second-largest religion in the world Islamicization, the process of the conversion of societies to Islam, originally closely followed the rapid growth of the Arab Empire in the first centuries after Muhammad's death. Muslim dynasties were soon established in North Africa, the Middle East and Iran and the conversion of the population was a protracted process. Although the expansion of Muslim empires eventually slowed, conversion to Islam continued in other ways. Muslim countries dominated trade in the Indian Ocean and the Sahara and it was through trade, Sufi preachers, and interaction with locals that Islam grew in areas such as the Sahel and the East Indies.

Today, Muslims may be found throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. The majority of Muslims are not Arabs; only 20 percent of Muslims originate from Arab countries. Islam is the second largest religion in the United Kingdom, and many other European countries, including France, which has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.


Beliefs

Muslims believe that God revealed a message to humanity through Muhammad (c. 570–July 6, 632) via the angel Gabriel.[6] Muhammad is considered to have been God's final prophet, based on the Qur'anic phrase "Seal of the Prophets" and sayings of Muhammad himself. Muslims assert that their holy book, the Qur'an, is flawless, immutable, and the final revelation of God to humanity, and that its teachings will be valid until the day of the Resurrection.

Muslims hold that Islam is part of the same belief system advocated by all the messengers sent by God to humanity since Adam. The Qur'an, used by all sects of the Muslim faith, codifies the direct words of God. Islamic texts depict Judaism and Christianity as prophetic successor traditions to the teachings of Abraham. The Qur'an calls Jews and Christians "people of the Book," and distinguishes them from "polytheists." In order to reconcile the often radical disagreements regarding events and interpretation that exist between the earlier writers and the Qu'ran, Muslims believe that Jews and Christians distorted the word of God after it was revealed to them, altering words in meaning, form and placement in their respective holy texts, with Jews changing the Tawrat (Torah) and Christians the Injīl (Gospels).

God (Allah)

The fundamental concept in Islam is the Oneness of God or tawhīd, monotheism which is absolute, not relative or pluralistic. The Oneness of God is the first pillar of Islam's five pillars which is also called the "Shahādatān" (The two testimonies) and by declaring them one attests to that 1-there is no God but God (Allah) and 2-Muhammad is his messenger. God is described in Sura al-Ikhlas as:

    "...God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him." 112:1-4

In Arabic, God is called Allāh. The word is etymologically connected to ʾilāh "deity", Allāh is also the word used by Christian and Jewish Arabs, translating ho theos of the New Testament and Septuagint; it predates Muhammad and, at least in origin, does not specify a "God" different from the one worshipped by Judaism and Christianity, the other Abrahamic religions. One of the most common beliefs about "Allah," however, is that Christians and Jews both worship a different God than Muslims. This is not technically true as "Allah" literally means "God" and all three religions are monotheistic. All three religions, however, hold different conceptions about God. The name "Allah" is a singular neuter noun. God is described numerous times in the Qur'an, for example:

    "(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things)." 42:11.

The implicit usage of the definite article in Allah linguistically indicates the divine unity. Muslims believe that the God they worship is the same God of Abraham. Muslims reject the Christian doctrine concerning the trinity of God, seeing it as akin to polytheism. Quoting from the Qur'an, sura an-Nisā:

    "O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of God aught but the truth. Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was (no more than) a messenger of God, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in God and His messengers. Say not "Trinity": desist: it will be better for you: for God is one God: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is God as a Disposer of affairs." 4:171

No Muslim visual images or depictions of God are meant to exist because such artistic depictions may lead to idolatry. Moreover, most Muslims believe that God is incorporeal, making any two- or three- dimensional depictions impossible. Such aniconism can also be found in Jewish and some Christian theology. Instead, Muslims describe God by the names and attributes that he revealed to his creation. All but one Sura (chapter) of the Qur'an begins with the phrase "In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful".


The Qur'an

The Qur'an is considered by Muslims to be the literal, undistorted word of God, and is the central religious text of Islam. It has also been called, in English, "the Koran" and (archaically) "the Alcoran." Qur'an is the currently preferred English transliteration of the Arabic original (قرآن), which means “recitation”. Although the Qur'an is referred to as a "book", when Muslims refer in the abstract to "the Qur'an," they are usually referring to the scripture as recited in Arabic -- the words themselves -- rather than to the printed work or any translation of it. The printed work of Qur'an is referred to as "Mus-haf", which is a word etymologically derived from the word "Saheefah" (paper). "Mus-haf" is a word that is solely used to describe the Qur'an when it is in book form.

Muslims believe that the verses of the Qur'an were revealed to Muhammad by God through the Angel Gabriel on numerous occasions between the years 610 and up till his death on July 6, 632. In addition to memorizing his revelations, his followers wrote them down on parchments, stones, and leaves, to preserve the revelation.

Most Muslims regard paper copies of the Qur'an with veneration, washing as for prayers before reading the Qur'an. Old Qur'ans are not destroyed as wastepaper, but burned.

Many Muslims memorize at least some portion of the Qur'an in the original language (i.e. Arabic), at least the verses needed to recite prayers. Those who have memorized the entire Qur'an are known as hāfiz (plural huffāz). Muslims believe that the Qur'an is perfect only as revealed in the original Arabic. Translations, they maintain, are the result of human effort, and are deficient because of differences in human languages, because of the human fallibility of translators, and (not least) because any translation lacks the inspired content found in the original. Translations are therefore regarded only as commentaries on the Qur'an, or "interpretations of its meaning", not as the Qur'an itself. Many modern, printed versions of the Qur'an feature the Arabic text on one page, and a vernacular translation on the facing page.

Muhammad

Muhammad, also Mohammed, Mohamet, and other variants was an Arab religious and political leader who established Islam and the Muslim community (Ummah) to whom he preached. He is considered the greatest prophet in Islam, and is venerated and honoured as such. Muslims do not regard him as the founder of a new religion, but rather believe him to be the last in a line of prophets of God and regard his mission as one of restoring the original monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham and other prophets of Islam that had become corrupted by man over time.

For the last 23 years of his life, beginning at age forty, Muhammad reported receiving revelations from God delivered through the angel Gabriel. The content of these revelations, known as the Qur'an, was memorized and recorded by his followers and compiled into a single volume shortly after his death.

All Muslims believe that Muhammad was sinless in the sense of transmitting the revelation:

    “And if the apostle were to invent any sayings in Our name, We should certainly seize him by his right hand, And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath).” 69:44-47.

The understanding that Muhammad did commit sin does exist among Sunnis. However, the doctrine of sinlessness of Muhammad is also more or less incorporated into Sunnis' beliefs. Some Sunni scholars believe that the doctrine of the sinlessness of the Prophets originated with the Shi'a, specifically in connection with the Imamat, and was transmitted to the Sunnis via the Sufis and Mu'tazila. Shia scholars disagree.

Hadith

Hadith are traditions relating to the words and deeds of Muhammad. Hadith collections are regarded as important tools for determining the Sunnah, or Muslim way of life, by all traditional schools of jurisprudence. A hadith was originally an oral tradition relevant to the actions and customs of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Starting the first Islamic civil war of the 7th century, those receiving the hadith started to question the sources of the saying. This resulted in a chain of transmission, for example "A told me that B told him that Muhammad said". The hadith were eventually recorded in written form, had their chain of transmission recorded and were collected into large collections mostly during the reign of Umar II during 8th century, something that solidified in the 9th century. These works are still today referred to in matters of Islamic law and history.

The overwhelming majority of Muslims consider hadith to be essential supplements to and clarifications of the Qur'an, Islam's holy book. In Islamic jurisprudence, the Qur'an contains many rules for the behavior expected of Muslims. However, there are many matters of concern, both religious and practical, on which there are no specific Quranic rules. Muslims believe that they can look at the way of life, or sunnah, of Muhammad and his companions to discover what to imitate and what to avoid. Muslim scholars also find it useful to know how Muhammad or his companions explained the revelations, or upon what occasion Muhammad received them. Sometimes this will clarify a passage that otherwise seems obscure. Hadith are a source for Islamic history and biography. For the vast majority of devout Muslims, authentic hadith are also a source of religious inspiration. However, some contemporary Muslims argue that the Qur'an alone is sufficient.

Five Pillars of Islam

The Five Pillars of Islam is the term given to what are understood among many Muslims to be the five core aspects of Sunni Islam. Shi'a Muslims accept the Five Pillars, but also add several other practices to form the Branches of Religion.

Shahadah

The basic creed or tenet of Islam is found in the shahādatān ("two testimonies"): 'ašhadu 'al-lā ilāha illā-llāhu wa 'ašhadu 'anna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh; "I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God." As the most important pillar, this testament can be considered a foundation for all other beliefs and practices in Islam. Ideally, it is the first words a new-born will hear, and children are taught to recite and understand the shahadah as soon as they are able to. Muslims must repeat the shahadah in prayer, and non-Muslims must use the creed to formally convert to Islam.

Salat

Muslims must perform five daily prayers, salat, throughout the day as a form of submission to God. The ritual combines specific movements and spiritual aspects, preceded by wudu', or ablution. It is also supposed to serve as a reminder to do good and strive for greater causes, as well as a form of restraint from committing harmful or shameful deeds.

It is believed that the prayer ritual was demonstrated to Muhammed by the angel Jabrīl, or Gabriel in English.

Zakat

Zakat, or alms-giving, is a mandated giving of charity to the poor and needy by able Muslims based on the wealth that he or she has accumulated. It is a personal responsibility intended to ease economic hardship for others and eliminate inequality.

Sawm

Sawm, or fasting, is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan. Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk during this month, and are to be especially mindful of other sins that are prohibited. This activity is intended to allow Muslims to seek nearness to God as well as remind them of the needy.

Hajj

The Hajj is a pilgrimage that occurs during the month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the city of Mecca. The pilgrimage is required for all Muslims who are both physically and financially able to go and is to be done at least once in one's lifetime.

Other practices

Dietary laws

The Islamic dietary laws provide a set of rules as to what Muslims eat in their diet. These rules specify the food that is halāl, meaning lawful. They are found in Qur'an, usually detailing what is unlawful, or harām. There are some more rules added to these in fatwas by Mujtahids with varying degrees of strictness, but these are not held to be authoritative by all Muslims.

Islamic law prohibits a Muslim from consuming alcohol, eating or drinking blood and its by-products, and eating the meat of a carnivore or omnivore, such as pork, monkey, dog, or cat (piscivorous fishes are not considered carnivorous). For the meat of a land animal to be halāl it must be properly slaughtered by a Muslim or a Person of the Book (Christian or Jew), while mentioning the name of God (Allah in Arabic); for instance, the animal may not be killed by being boiled or electrocuted, and the carcass should be hung upside down long enough to be blood-free. Different rules apply to fish; in general fish with scales are always halāl, though some fatwas declare shellfish and scaleless fishes such as catfish to be harām.

The proper Islamic method of slaughtering an animal is called Dhabiĥa. According to some fatwas, the animal must be slaughtered only by a Muslim. However, some different fatwas dispute this, and rule from the orthodox Qur'anic position, that according to verse 5:5 of the Qur'an (which declares that the food of the People of the Book to be halāl), the slaughter may be done by a Jew or a Christian. Thus, many observant Muslims will accept kosher meat if halāl options are not available. Other main references in Qur'an include 2:173, 5:3, 5:5, 6:118, 6:145, 16:115.

Symbols of Islam

Muslims do not accept any icon or color as sacred to Islam as they believe that worshipping symbolic or material things is against the spirit of monotheism. Many people assume that the star and crescent symbolize Islam, but these were actually the insignia of the Ottoman Empire,[22] not of Islam as a whole. The color green is often associated with Islam as well; this is custom and not prescribed by religious scholars. However, Muslims will often use elaborately calligraphed verses from the Qur'an and pictures of the Ka'bah as decorations in mosques, homes, and public places. The Qur’anic verses are believed to be sacred.

Organization

The caliphate

Muhammed died without appointing a successor or leaving in place a system for choosing one, according to the majority of Muslims. As a result, the caliphate was established. Caliph is the title for the Islamic leader of the Ummah, or community of Islam. It is a transliterated version of the Arabic word "Khalīfah" which means "successor" or "representative". Some of the early leaders of the Muslim community following the prophet Muhammad's (570–632) death called themselves "Khalifat Allah", meaning representative of God, but the alternative title of "Khalifat rasul Allah", meaning the successor to the prophet of God, eventually became the standard title. Some academics prefer to transliterate the term as Khalīf.

Caliphs were often also referred to as Amīr al-Mu'minīn (أمير المؤمنين) "Commander of the Faithful", or, more colloquially, leader of the Muslims. This title has been shortened and romanized to "emir".

None of the early caliphs claimed to receive divine revelations, as did Muhammad; since Muhammad is the last divine messenger, none of them claimed to be a nabī, "a prophet" or a "rasul" or divine messenger. Muhammad's revelations were soon codified and written down as the Qur'an, which was accepted as a supreme authority, limiting what a caliph could legitimately command. However, the early caliphs believed themselves to be the spiritual and temporal leaders of Islam, and insisted that implicit obedience to the caliph in all things was the hallmark of the good Muslim. The role became strictly temporal however, on the rise of the ulama.

After the first four caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan, and Ali ibn Abi Talib), the title was claimed by the Umayyads, the Abbasids, and the Ottomans, as well as by other, competing lineages in Spain, Northern Africa, and Egypt. Most historical Muslim rulers simply titled themselves sultans or amirs, and gave token obedience to a caliph who often had very little real authority. The title has been defunct since the Republic of Turkey abolished the Ottoman caliphate in 1924.

Once the subject of intense conflict and rivalry amongst Muslim rulers, the caliphate has lain dormant and largely unclaimed for much of the past 82 years. Though many Muslims might favor a caliphate in the abstract, tight restrictions on political activity in many Muslim countries coupled with the tremendous practical obstacles to uniting over fifty disparate nation-states under a single institution have prevented efforts to revive the caliphate from garnering much active support, even amongst devout Muslims. No attempts at rebuilding a power structure based on Islam were successful anywhere in the Muslim World until the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which was based on Shia principles and whose leaders did not outwardly call for the restoration of a global Caliphate (although Iran has subsequently made efforts to 'export' its revolution to other Muslim countries).

Islamic law

The Sharia (Arabic for "well-trodden path") is Islamic law, as shown by traditional Islamic scholarship. The Qur'an is the foremost source of Islamic jurisprudence. The second source is the sunnah of Muhammad and the early Muslim community. The sunnah is not itself a text like the Qur'an, but it is the practical adherence of Muslims to matters of worship. The place of hadith is a disputed one in Islamic law. Hadith (Arabic for report) contains narrations of Muhammad's sayings, deeds, and actions. According to a few scholars, such as Imam Shafi'i, it is secondary to Qur'an, whereas others, such as Imam Malik and the Hanafi scholars, hold it in subjugation to sunnah and oftentimes reject a hadith if it goes against established practices, i.e. sunnah. Ijma (consensus of the community of Muslims) and qiyas (analogical reasoning) are generally regarded as the third and fourth sources of Sharia, but have been contested by some scholars, based on the source (a hadith) from which these are derived. They believe that according to Qur'an, there are other sources that be given higher importance instead.

Islamic law covers all aspects of life, from the broad topics of governance and foreign relations all the way down to issues of daily living. Islamic laws that were covered expressly in the Qur’an were referred to as hudud laws and include specifically the five crimes of theft, highway robbery, intoxication, adultery and falsely accusing another of adultery, each of which has a prescribed "hadd" punishment that cannot be forgone or mitigated. The Qur'an also details laws of inheritance, marriage, restitution for injuries and murder, as well as rules for fasting, charity, and prayer. However, the prescriptions and prohibitions may be broad, so how they are applied in practice varies. Islamic scholars, the ulema, have elaborated systems of law on the basis of these broad rules, supplemented by the hadith reports of how Muhammad and his companions interpreted them.

In current times, as Islam has spread to countries such as Iran, Indonesia, Great Britain, and the United States, not all Muslims understand the Qur'an in its original Arabic. Thus, when Muslims are divided in how to handle situations, they seek the assistance of a mufti (Islamic judge) who can advise them based on Islamic Sharia and hadith.

Islamic calendar

Islam dates from the Hijra, or migration from Mecca to Medina. Year 1, AH (Anno Hegira) corresponds to AD 622 or 622 CE, depending on the notation preferred (see Common Era). It is a lunar calendar, but differs from other such calendars (e.g. the Celtic calendar) in that it omits intercalary months, being synchronized only with lunations, but not with the solar year, resulting in years of either 354 or 355 days. Therefore, Islamic dates cannot be converted to the usual CE/AD dates simply by adding 622 years. Islamic holy days fall on fixed dates of the lunar calendar, which means that they occur in different seasons in different years in the Gregorian calendar.

Denominations

Part of a series on the Islamic creed:
Aqidah

Sunni Five Pillars of Islam

Shahādah - Profession of faith
Salat - Prayer
Zakât - Paying of alms (tax)
Sawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Sunni Six articles of belief

Tawhīd - Oneness
Nabi and Rusul - Prophets and Messengers
Kutub - Divinely Revealed Books.
Malā'ikah - Angels
Qiyâmah - Judgment Day
Qadar - Fate
Shia Twelvers
Principles of the Religion

Tawhīd - Oneness
Adalah - Justice
Nubuwwah - Prophethood
Imamah - Leadership
Qiyâmah - Judgment day
Shia Twelvers
Practices of the Religion

Salat - Prayer
Sawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Zakât - Poor-rate
Khums - One-fifth tax
Jihad - Struggle
Amr-Bil-Ma'rūf - Commanding good
Nahi-Anil-Munkar - Forbidding evil
Tawalla - Loving the Ahl al-Bayt
Tabarra - Disassociating Ahl al-Bayt's enemies
Shia Ismaili 7 pillars

Walayah - Guardianship
Taharah - Purity & cleanliness
Salat - Prayers
Zakât - Purifying religious dues
Sawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Jihad - Struggle
Others

Salafi/Kharijite Sixth pillar of Islam.

There are a number of Islamic religious denominations, each of which have significant theological and legal differences from each other but possess similar essential beliefs. The major schools of thought are Sunni and Shi'a; Sufism is generally considered to be a mystical inflection of Islam rather than a distinct school. According to most sources, present estimates indicate that approximately 85% of the world's Muslims are Sunni and approximately 15% are Shi'a.

Sunni

The Sunni are the largest group in Islam. In Arabic, as-Sunnah literally means "principle" or "path." Sunnis and Shi'a believe that Muhammad is a perfect example to follow, and that they must imitate the words and acts of Muhammad as accurately as possible. Because of this reason, the sunnah (practices which Muhammad established in the community) is described as a main pillar of Sunni doctrine, with the place of hadith having been argued by scholars as part of the sunnah.

Sunnis recognize four major legal traditions (madhhabs): Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanafi, and Hanbali. All four accept the validity of the others and a Muslim might choose any one that he/she finds agreeable to his/her ideas. There are also several orthodox theological or philosophical traditions (kalam).

Shi'a

Shi'a Muslims, the second-largest branch, differ from the Sunni in rejecting the authority of the first three caliphs. They honor different accounts of Muhammad (hadith) and have their own legal traditions. The concept of Imamah (leadership) plays a central role in Shi'a doctrine. Shi'a Muslims hold that leadership should not be passed down through a system such as the caliphate, but rather, descendants of Muhammad should be given this right as Imams. Furthermore, they believe that the first Imam, Ali ibn Abu Talib, was explicitly appointed by Muhammad to be his successor.

Sufism

Sufism is a mystical form of Islam followed by some Muslims within both the Sunni and Shi'a sects. Sufis generally believe that following Islamic law or jurisprudence (or fiqh) is only the first step on the path to perfect submission; they focus on the internal or more spiritual aspects of Islam, such as perfecting one's faith and subduing one's own ego (nafs). Most Sufi orders, or tariqas, can be classified as either Sunni or Shi'a. However, there are some that are not easily categorized as either Sunni or Shi'a, such as the Bektashi. Sufis are found throughout the Islamic world, from Senegal to Indonesia. Their innovative beliefs and actions often come under criticism from Wahhabis, who consider certain practices to be against the letter of Islamic law.

Others

Salafis are a more recent Sunni offshoot; however, the Salafi movement sees itself as restorationist and derives its teachings from all of the original sources of the religion. To other Muslims and non-Muslims Wahabi is the term most popularly associated with them. Followers of Salafism often also use the term "Ahl-us Sunnah Wa Jama'ah" as a label for their following, which would translate to English as "Congregation of the Followers of Sunnah". Salafiyyah is a movement commonly thought as founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab in the 18th century in what is present-day Saudi Arabia. They are classified as Sunni. One of the foremost principles, however, is the abolition of "schools of thoughts" (legal traditions), and the following of Muhammad directly through the study of the sciences of the Hadith (prophetic traditions). The Hanbali legal tradition is the strongest school of thought where the Islamic law in Saudi Arabia is derived from, and they have had a great deal of influence on the Islamic world because of Saudi control of Mecca and Medina, the Islamic holy places, and because of Saudi funding for mosques and schools in other countries. The majority of Saudi Islamic scholars are considered as Wahhabis by other parts of the Islamic world.

Another sect which dates back to the early days of Islam is that of the Kharijites. The only surviving branch of the Kharijites are the Ibadi Muslims. Ibadhism is distinguished from Shiism by its belief that the Imam (Leader) should be chosen solely on the basis of his faith, not on the basis of descent, and from Sunnism in its rejection of Uthman and Ali and strong emphasis on the need to depose unjust rulers. Ibadi Islam is noted for its strictness, but, unlike the Kharijites proper, Ibadis do not regard major sins as automatically making a Muslim an unbeliever. Most Ibadi Muslims live in Oman.

Another trend in modern Islam is that which is sometimes called progressive. Followers may be called Ijtihadists. They may be either Sunni or Shi'ite, and generally favor the development of personal interpretations of Qur'an and Hadith. Commonly associated with liberal movements in Islam are the Qur'an only Muslims, who reject Fiqh and Hadith.

There is also a very small sect isolated within India and Pakistan which identifies themselves as Ahmadi Muslims, who believe in the continuation of prophethood after Muhammad, in contradiction to mainstream Muslims who believe that Muhammad was the final prophet. Although this sect is not accepted as Muslim by mainstream Islamic scholars, they continue to identify themselves as the term Muslim against the desire of mainstream Islam. Likewise, Ahmadis believe that rest of the Muslims who do not share faith with them are non-Muslims.


Islam and other religions

The Qur'an contains both injunctions to respect other religions, and to fight and subdue unbelievers during war. Some Muslims have respected Jews and Christians as fellow people of the book (monotheists following Abrahamic religions), while others have reviled them as having abandoned monotheism and corrupted their scriptures. At different times and places, Islamic communities have been both intolerant and tolerant. Support can be found in the Qur'an for both attitudes.

The classical Islamic solution was a limited tolerance — Jews and Christians were to be allowed to privately practice their faith and follow their own family law. They were called dhimmis and paid a special tax called the jizya, since the zakat paid by Muslims was not compulsory on them. The status of dhimmis is a matter of dispute, with some claiming that dhimmis were persecuted second-class citizens, and others that their lot was not difficult.

The medieval Islamic state was often more tolerant than many other states of the time which insisted on complete conformity to a state religion. The record of contemporary Muslim-majority states is mixed. Some are generally regarded as tolerant, while others have been accused of intolerance and human rights violations.

One of the open issues is the claim from hardline Muslims that once a certain territory has been under 'Muslim' rule, it can never be relinquished anymore, and that such a period of Islamic rule would give the Muslims an eternal right on the claimed territory. This claim is particularly controversial with regard to Israel and to a lesser degree Spain and parts of the Balkans.

Related faiths

The Yazidi, Sikhism, Bábísm, Bahá'í Faith, Berghouata and Ha-Mim religions either emerged out of an Islamic milieu or have beliefs in common with Islam in varying degrees; in almost all cases those religions were also influenced by traditional beliefs in the regions where they emerged, but consider themselves independent religions with distinct laws and institutions. The last two religions no longer have any followers.

History

Islam began in Arabia in the 7th century under the leadership of Muhammad, who spread Islam across all of Arabia. Within a century of his death, an Islamic state stretched from the Atlantic ocean in the west to central Asia in the east, which, however, was soon torn by civil wars (fitnas). After this, there would always be rival dynasties claiming the caliphate, or leadership of the Muslim world, and many Islamic states or empires offering only token obedience to an increasingly powerless caliph.

Despite this fragmentation of Islam as a political community, the empires of the Abbasid caliphs, the Mughals, and the Seljuk Turk, Safavid Persia and Ottomans were among the largest and most powerful in the world. Arabs made many Islamic centers of culture and science and produced notable scientists, astronomers, mathematicians, doctors and philosophers during the Golden Age of Islam. Technology flourished; there was much investment in economic infrastructure, such as irrigation systems and canals; stress on the importance of reading the Qur'an produced a comparatively high level of literacy in the general populace.

Islam at its geographical height stretched for thousands of miles. Islamic conquest into Christian Europe spread as far as southern France. After the disastrous defeat of the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, Christian Europe, at the behest of the Pope, launched a series of Crusades and for a time captured Jerusalem. Saladin, however, recaptured Palestine and defeated the Shiite Fatimids.

In the 15th century and 16th centuries three major Muslim empires were created: the Ottoman Empire in much of the Middle East, Balkans and Northern Africa; the Safavid Empire in Iran; and the Mughul Empire in India. These new imperial powers were made possible by the discovery and exploitation of gunpowder, and more efficient administration.

By the end of the 19th century, however all three had declined due to internal conflict and were later destroyed by Western cultural influence and military ambitions. Following WWI, the remnants of the Ottoman empire were parceled out as European protectorates or spheres of influence. Many Islamic countries have now been formed from these protectorates, such as Iraq, Iran, of Lebanon. Islam and Islamic political power have become much more influential in the 21st century, particularly due to Islamic control of most of the world's oil.

Contemporary Islam

Although the most prominent movement in Islam in recent times has been fundamentalist Islamism, there are a number of liberal movements within Islam, which seek alternative ways to align the Islamic faith with contemporary questions.

Early Sharia had a much more flexible character than is currently associated with Islamic jurisprudence, and many modern Muslim scholars believe that it should be renewed, and the classical jurists should lose their special status. This would require formulating a new fiqh suitable for the modern world, e.g. as proposed by advocates of the Islamization of knowledge, and would deal with the modern context. One vehicle proposed for such a change has been the revival of the principle of ijtihad, or independent reasoning by a qualified Islamic scholar, which has lain dormant for centuries.

This movement does not aim to challenge the fundamentals of Islam; rather, it seeks to clear away misinterpretations and to free the way for the renewal of the previous status of the Islamic world as a centre of modern thought and freedom.

Many Muslims counter the claim that only "liberalization" of the Islamic Sharia law can lead to distinguishing between tradition and true Islam by saying that meaningful "fundamentalism", by definition, will eject non-Islamic cultural inventions — for instance, acknowledging and implementing Muhammad's insistence that women have God-given rights that no human being may legally infringe upon. Proponents of modern Islamic philosophy sometimes respond to this by arguing that, as a practical matter, "fundamentalism" in popular discourse about Islam may actually refer, not to core precepts of the faith, but to various systems of cultural traditionalism.

The demographics of Islam today

Based on the figures published in the 2005 CIA World Factbook, Islam is the second largest religion in the world. According to the Al Islam, and Samuel Huntington, Islam is the Fastest Growing Major Religion by percent (though not by raw numbers). Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance estimate that it is growing at about 2.9% annually, as opposed to 2.3% per year global population growth. Most of this growth is due to the high population growth in many Islamic countries (six out of the top-ten countries in the world with the highest birth rates are majority Muslim). The birth rates in some Muslim countries are now declining.

Commonly cited estimates of the Muslim population today range between 900 million and 1.5 billion people (cf. Adherents.com); estimates of Islam by country based on U.S. State Department figures yield a total of 1.48 billion, while the Muslim delegation at the United Nations quoted 1.2 billion as the global Muslim population in September 2005.

Only 18% of Muslims live in the Arab world; 20% are found in Sub-Saharan Africa, about 30% in the South Asian region of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, and the world's largest single Muslim community (within the bounds of one nation) is in Indonesia. There are also significant Muslim populations in China, Europe, Central Asia, and Russia.

France has the highest Muslim population of any nation in Western Europe, with up to 6 million Muslims (10% of the population). Albania has the highest proportion of Muslims as part of its population in Europe (70%), although this figure is only an estimate (see Islam in Albania). Countries in Europe with many Muslims include Bosnia and Herzegovina (estimated around 50 % are Bosniaks, Muslims) and Macedonia where over 30 % of the population is Muslim, mostly ethnic Albanians in Macedonia. The country in Europe with the most Muslims is Russia. The number of Muslims in North America is variously estimated as anywhere from 1.8 to 7 million.

Islamophobia

Islamophobia is defined as prejudice against Muslims. The concept is often criticized as a threat to freedom of speech. Some of the criticism of Islam has been interpreted as a product of Islamophobia.

Some high profile examples of attitudes or actions described as Islamophobic are the following:

    * The British National Party which has a party platform of opposing Islam, and has described Islam as a "menace", has been described as Islamophobic by numerous organisations and individuals, including a United Kingdom Parliamentry Select Committee.
    * Various attacks on mosques.
    * Smearing of a Qur'an with what appeared to be feces and dumping it in Nashville, Tennessee, United States.
    * In a February 10, 2004 report by Al Jazeera the head of the Party of France's Muslims, Muhammad Latreche in discussing the French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools was quoted as saying that the legislation would, "institutionalise Islamophobia".

Organisations, such as the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) have claimed that Islamophobia is based on an ignorance of the religion of Islam. Other organizations, such as the United States based Council on American-Islamic Relations, have set up campaigns such as "Explore the Qur'an", where non-Muslims are given a free copy of the Qur'an, "Explore the life of Muhammad", where non-Muslims are given a free DVD or book explaining the Life of Muhammad, "Not in the Name of Islam", where American Muslims are asked to sign a petition signalling their opposition to terrorism, and "Hate Hurts America", which is designed to counter and remove anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic speech on radio talk shows.

Political and religous extremism

The term Islamism describes a set of political ideologies derived from Islamic fundamentalism.[39] Most Islamist ideologies hold that Islam is not only a religion, but also a political system that governs the legal, economic and social imperatives of the state according to interpretations of Islamic Law.

Islamic extremist terrorism refers to acts of terrorism claimed by its supporters and practitioners to be in furtherance of the goals of Islam. Its prevalence has heavily increased in recent years, and it has become a contentious political issue in many nations.

The validity of an Islamic justification for these acts is contested by many Muslims. Islamic extremist violence is not synonymous with all terrorist activities committed by Muslims: nationalists, separatists, and others in the Muslim world often derive inspiration from secular ideologies.

Criticism of Islam
   
The neutrality of this section is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.

In recent years, Islam has been the subject of criticism and controversy, and is often viewed with considerable negativity in the West. Islam, the Qur'an, and Muhammad, have all been subject to both criticism and vilification.

The main points of secular criticism are:

    * The use of fatwas to punish violations committed by Muslims (e.g. the death edict against British writer Salman Rushdie).
    * Apostasy in Islam, which is punishable by death under Islamic Law.
    * Human rights abuses by the Taliban and other fundamentalist governments.
    * The use of violence by Islamist militant organizations as a means of spreading Islam.
    * The state of women's rights in muslim societies.
    * The suppression of free speech (e.g. Muhammad Cartoons).
- Sahsima ozel mesaj atmadan once Yonetim Hiyerarsisini izleyerek ilgili yoneticiler ile gorusunuz.
- Masonluk hakkinda ozel mesaj ile bilgi, yardim ve destek sunulmamaktadir.
- Sorunuz ve mesajiniz hangi konuda ise o konudan sorumlu gorevli yada yonetici ile gorusunuz. Sahsim, butun cabalarinizdan sonra gorusmeniz gereken en son kisi olmalidir.
- Sadece hicbir yoneticinin cozemedigi yada forumda asla yazamayacaginiz cok ozel ve onemli konularda sahsima basvurmalisiniz.
- Masonluk ve Masonlar hakkinda bilgi almak ve en onemlisi kisisel yardim konularinda tarafima dogrudan ozel mesaj gonderenler cezalandirilacaktir. Bu konular hakkinda gerekli aciklama forum kurallari ve uyelik sozlesmesinde yeterince acik belirtilmsitir.


Kasım 10, 2006, 09:20:50 ös
Yanıtla #1
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This is one of the best posts I have seen in many forums I frequent. Thanks!
If you don't mind I might share the information contained here wit other people.

Thank you


Kasım 11, 2006, 04:05:09 öö
Yanıtla #2
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    • Masonluk, Masonlardan Öğrenilmelidir

you are welcome to share anything you like brother. here are the entire codes for the whole post. but if you like to add this web sites adress in to the post i would be grateful.

Kod: [Seç]
[u][b]Islam[/b][/u]

Islam (Arabic: الإسلام; al-'islām (help·info)) is a monotheistic religion based upon the Qur'an, a scripture which Muslims believe was sent by God (Arabic: الله Allāh) through the prophet Muhammad. Followers of Islam, known as Muslims (مسلم), believe Muhammad to have been God's final prophet. As a result, most of them see the actions and teachings of Muhammad as related in the Sunnah and Hadith as indispensable tools for interpreting the Qur'an.

Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam is an Abrahamic religion. There are estimated to be 1.4 billion adherents, making Islam the second-largest religion in the world Islamicization, the process of the conversion of societies to Islam, originally closely followed the rapid growth of the Arab Empire in the first centuries after Muhammad's death. Muslim dynasties were soon established in North Africa, the Middle East and Iran and the conversion of the population was a protracted process. Although the expansion of Muslim empires eventually slowed, conversion to Islam continued in other ways. Muslim countries dominated trade in the Indian Ocean and the Sahara and it was through trade, Sufi preachers, and interaction with locals that Islam grew in areas such as the Sahel and the East Indies.

Today, Muslims may be found throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. The majority of Muslims are not Arabs; only 20 percent of Muslims originate from Arab countries. Islam is the second largest religion in the United Kingdom, and many other European countries, including France, which has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.

[html]<embed style="width:400px; height:326px;" id="VideoPlayback" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=2365081171838960665&hl=en" flashvars=""> </embed>[/html]

[u]Beliefs[/u]

Muslims believe that God revealed a message to humanity through Muhammad (c. 570–July 6, 632) via the angel Gabriel.[6] Muhammad is considered to have been God's final prophet, based on the Qur'anic phrase "Seal of the Prophets" and sayings of Muhammad himself. Muslims assert that their holy book, the Qur'an, is flawless, immutable, and the final revelation of God to humanity, and that its teachings will be valid until the day of the Resurrection.

Muslims hold that Islam is part of the same belief system advocated by all the messengers sent by God to humanity since Adam. The Qur'an, used by all sects of the Muslim faith, codifies the direct words of God. Islamic texts depict Judaism and Christianity as prophetic successor traditions to the teachings of Abraham. The Qur'an calls Jews and Christians "people of the Book," and distinguishes them from "polytheists." In order to reconcile the often radical disagreements regarding events and interpretation that exist between the earlier writers and the Qu'ran, Muslims believe that Jews and Christians distorted the word of God after it was revealed to them, altering words in meaning, form and placement in their respective holy texts, with Jews changing the Tawrat (Torah) and Christians the Injīl (Gospels).

[b]God (Allah)[/b]

The fundamental concept in Islam is the Oneness of God or tawhīd, monotheism which is absolute, not relative or pluralistic. The Oneness of God is the first pillar of Islam's five pillars which is also called the "Shahādatān" (The two testimonies) and by declaring them one attests to that 1-there is no God but God (Allah) and 2-Muhammad is his messenger. God is described in Sura al-Ikhlas as:

    "...God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him." 112:1-4

In Arabic, God is called Allāh. The word is etymologically connected to ʾilāh "deity", Allāh is also the word used by Christian and Jewish Arabs, translating ho theos of the New Testament and Septuagint; it predates Muhammad and, at least in origin, does not specify a "God" different from the one worshipped by Judaism and Christianity, the other Abrahamic religions. One of the most common beliefs about "Allah," however, is that Christians and Jews both worship a different God than Muslims. This is not technically true as "Allah" literally means "God" and all three religions are monotheistic. All three religions, however, hold different conceptions about God. The name "Allah" is a singular neuter noun. God is described numerous times in the Qur'an, for example:

    "(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things)." 42:11.

The implicit usage of the definite article in Allah linguistically indicates the divine unity. Muslims believe that the God they worship is the same God of Abraham. Muslims reject the Christian doctrine concerning the trinity of God, seeing it as akin to polytheism. Quoting from the Qur'an, sura an-Nisā:

    "O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of God aught but the truth. Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was (no more than) a messenger of God, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in God and His messengers. Say not "Trinity": desist: it will be better for you: for God is one God: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is God as a Disposer of affairs." 4:171

No Muslim visual images or depictions of God are meant to exist because such artistic depictions may lead to idolatry. Moreover, most Muslims believe that God is incorporeal, making any two- or three- dimensional depictions impossible. Such aniconism can also be found in Jewish and some Christian theology. Instead, Muslims describe God by the names and attributes that he revealed to his creation. All but one Sura (chapter) of the Qur'an begins with the phrase "In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful".

[html]<embed style="width:400px; height:326px;" id="VideoPlayback" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=29738296087850507&hl=en" flashvars=""> </embed>[/html]

[u]The Qur'an[/u]

The Qur'an is considered by Muslims to be the literal, undistorted word of God, and is the central religious text of Islam. It has also been called, in English, "the Koran" and (archaically) "the Alcoran." Qur'an is the currently preferred English transliteration of the Arabic original (قرآن), which means “recitation”. Although the Qur'an is referred to as a "book", when Muslims refer in the abstract to "the Qur'an," they are usually referring to the scripture as recited in Arabic -- the words themselves -- rather than to the printed work or any translation of it. The printed work of Qur'an is referred to as "Mus-haf", which is a word etymologically derived from the word "Saheefah" (paper). "Mus-haf" is a word that is solely used to describe the Qur'an when it is in book form.

Muslims believe that the verses of the Qur'an were revealed to Muhammad by God through the Angel Gabriel on numerous occasions between the years 610 and up till his death on July 6, 632. In addition to memorizing his revelations, his followers wrote them down on parchments, stones, and leaves, to preserve the revelation.

Most Muslims regard paper copies of the Qur'an with veneration, washing as for prayers before reading the Qur'an. Old Qur'ans are not destroyed as wastepaper, but burned.

Many Muslims memorize at least some portion of the Qur'an in the original language (i.e. Arabic), at least the verses needed to recite prayers. Those who have memorized the entire Qur'an are known as hāfiz (plural huffāz). Muslims believe that the Qur'an is perfect only as revealed in the original Arabic. Translations, they maintain, are the result of human effort, and are deficient because of differences in human languages, because of the human fallibility of translators, and (not least) because any translation lacks the inspired content found in the original. Translations are therefore regarded only as commentaries on the Qur'an, or "interpretations of its meaning", not as the Qur'an itself. Many modern, printed versions of the Qur'an feature the Arabic text on one page, and a vernacular translation on the facing page.

[u]Muhammad[/u]

Muhammad, also Mohammed, Mohamet, and other variants was an Arab religious and political leader who established Islam and the Muslim community (Ummah) to whom he preached. He is considered the greatest prophet in Islam, and is venerated and honoured as such. Muslims do not regard him as the founder of a new religion, but rather believe him to be the last in a line of prophets of God and regard his mission as one of restoring the original monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham and other prophets of Islam that had become corrupted by man over time.

For the last 23 years of his life, beginning at age forty, Muhammad reported receiving revelations from God delivered through the angel Gabriel. The content of these revelations, known as the Qur'an, was memorized and recorded by his followers and compiled into a single volume shortly after his death.

All Muslims believe that Muhammad was sinless in the sense of transmitting the revelation:

    “And if the apostle were to invent any sayings in Our name, We should certainly seize him by his right hand, And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath).” 69:44-47.

The understanding that Muhammad did commit sin does exist among Sunnis. However, the doctrine of sinlessness of Muhammad is also more or less incorporated into Sunnis' beliefs. Some Sunni scholars believe that the doctrine of the sinlessness of the Prophets originated with the Shi'a, specifically in connection with the Imamat, and was transmitted to the Sunnis via the Sufis and Mu'tazila. Shia scholars disagree.

[u]Hadith[/u]

Hadith are traditions relating to the words and deeds of Muhammad. Hadith collections are regarded as important tools for determining the Sunnah, or Muslim way of life, by all traditional schools of jurisprudence. A hadith was originally an oral tradition relevant to the actions and customs of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Starting the first Islamic civil war of the 7th century, those receiving the hadith started to question the sources of the saying. This resulted in a chain of transmission, for example "A told me that B told him that Muhammad said". The hadith were eventually recorded in written form, had their chain of transmission recorded and were collected into large collections mostly during the reign of Umar II during 8th century, something that solidified in the 9th century. These works are still today referred to in matters of Islamic law and history.

The overwhelming majority of Muslims consider hadith to be essential supplements to and clarifications of the Qur'an, Islam's holy book. In Islamic jurisprudence, the Qur'an contains many rules for the behavior expected of Muslims. However, there are many matters of concern, both religious and practical, on which there are no specific Quranic rules. Muslims believe that they can look at the way of life, or sunnah, of Muhammad and his companions to discover what to imitate and what to avoid. Muslim scholars also find it useful to know how Muhammad or his companions explained the revelations, or upon what occasion Muhammad received them. Sometimes this will clarify a passage that otherwise seems obscure. Hadith are a source for Islamic history and biography. For the vast majority of devout Muslims, authentic hadith are also a source of religious inspiration. However, some contemporary Muslims argue that the Qur'an alone is sufficient.

[u]Five Pillars of Islam[/u]

The Five Pillars of Islam is the term given to what are understood among many Muslims to be the five core aspects of Sunni Islam. Shi'a Muslims accept the Five Pillars, but also add several other practices to form the Branches of Religion.

[u]Shahadah[/u]

The basic creed or tenet of Islam is found in the shahādatān ("two testimonies"): 'ašhadu 'al-lā ilāha illā-llāhu wa 'ašhadu 'anna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh; "I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God." As the most important pillar, this testament can be considered a foundation for all other beliefs and practices in Islam. Ideally, it is the first words a new-born will hear, and children are taught to recite and understand the shahadah as soon as they are able to. Muslims must repeat the shahadah in prayer, and non-Muslims must use the creed to formally convert to Islam.

[u]Salat[/u]

Muslims must perform five daily prayers, salat, throughout the day as a form of submission to God. The ritual combines specific movements and spiritual aspects, preceded by wudu', or ablution. It is also supposed to serve as a reminder to do good and strive for greater causes, as well as a form of restraint from committing harmful or shameful deeds.

It is believed that the prayer ritual was demonstrated to Muhammed by the angel Jabrīl, or Gabriel in English.

[u]Zakat[/u]

Zakat, or alms-giving, is a mandated giving of charity to the poor and needy by able Muslims based on the wealth that he or she has accumulated. It is a personal responsibility intended to ease economic hardship for others and eliminate inequality.

[u]Sawm[/u]

Sawm, or fasting, is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan. Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk during this month, and are to be especially mindful of other sins that are prohibited. This activity is intended to allow Muslims to seek nearness to God as well as remind them of the needy.

[u]Hajj[/u]

The Hajj is a pilgrimage that occurs during the month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the city of Mecca. The pilgrimage is required for all Muslims who are both physically and financially able to go and is to be done at least once in one's lifetime.

[u]Other practices[/u]

[u]Dietary laws[/u]

The Islamic dietary laws provide a set of rules as to what Muslims eat in their diet. These rules specify the food that is halāl, meaning lawful. They are found in Qur'an, usually detailing what is unlawful, or harām. There are some more rules added to these in fatwas by Mujtahids with varying degrees of strictness, but these are not held to be authoritative by all Muslims.

Islamic law prohibits a Muslim from consuming alcohol, eating or drinking blood and its by-products, and eating the meat of a carnivore or omnivore, such as pork, monkey, dog, or cat (piscivorous fishes are not considered carnivorous). For the meat of a land animal to be halāl it must be properly slaughtered by a Muslim or a Person of the Book (Christian or Jew), while mentioning the name of God (Allah in Arabic); for instance, the animal may not be killed by being boiled or electrocuted, and the carcass should be hung upside down long enough to be blood-free. Different rules apply to fish; in general fish with scales are always halāl, though some fatwas declare shellfish and scaleless fishes such as catfish to be harām.

The proper Islamic method of slaughtering an animal is called Dhabiĥa. According to some fatwas, the animal must be slaughtered only by a Muslim. However, some different fatwas dispute this, and rule from the orthodox Qur'anic position, that according to verse 5:5 of the Qur'an (which declares that the food of the People of the Book to be halāl), the slaughter may be done by a Jew or a Christian. Thus, many observant Muslims will accept kosher meat if halāl options are not available. Other main references in Qur'an include 2:173, 5:3, 5:5, 6:118, 6:145, 16:115.

[u]Symbols of Islam[/u]

Muslims do not accept any icon or color as sacred to Islam as they believe that worshipping symbolic or material things is against the spirit of monotheism. Many people assume that the star and crescent symbolize Islam, but these were actually the insignia of the Ottoman Empire,[22] not of Islam as a whole. The color green is often associated with Islam as well; this is custom and not prescribed by religious scholars. However, Muslims will often use elaborately calligraphed verses from the Qur'an and pictures of the Ka'bah as decorations in mosques, homes, and public places. The Qur’anic verses are believed to be sacred.

[b]Organization[/b]

[u]The caliphate[/u]

Muhammed died without appointing a successor or leaving in place a system for choosing one, according to the majority of Muslims. As a result, the caliphate was established. Caliph is the title for the Islamic leader of the Ummah, or community of Islam. It is a transliterated version of the Arabic word "Khalīfah" which means "successor" or "representative". Some of the early leaders of the Muslim community following the prophet Muhammad's (570–632) death called themselves "Khalifat Allah", meaning representative of God, but the alternative title of "Khalifat rasul Allah", meaning the successor to the prophet of God, eventually became the standard title. Some academics prefer to transliterate the term as Khalīf.

Caliphs were often also referred to as Amīr al-Mu'minīn (أمير المؤمنين) "Commander of the Faithful", or, more colloquially, leader of the Muslims. This title has been shortened and romanized to "emir".

None of the early caliphs claimed to receive divine revelations, as did Muhammad; since Muhammad is the last divine messenger, none of them claimed to be a nabī, "a prophet" or a "rasul" or divine messenger. Muhammad's revelations were soon codified and written down as the Qur'an, which was accepted as a supreme authority, limiting what a caliph could legitimately command. However, the early caliphs believed themselves to be the spiritual and temporal leaders of Islam, and insisted that implicit obedience to the caliph in all things was the hallmark of the good Muslim. The role became strictly temporal however, on the rise of the ulama.

After the first four caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan, and Ali ibn Abi Talib), the title was claimed by the Umayyads, the Abbasids, and the Ottomans, as well as by other, competing lineages in Spain, Northern Africa, and Egypt. Most historical Muslim rulers simply titled themselves sultans or amirs, and gave token obedience to a caliph who often had very little real authority. The title has been defunct since the Republic of Turkey abolished the Ottoman caliphate in 1924.

Once the subject of intense conflict and rivalry amongst Muslim rulers, the caliphate has lain dormant and largely unclaimed for much of the past 82 years. Though many Muslims might favor a caliphate in the abstract, tight restrictions on political activity in many Muslim countries coupled with the tremendous practical obstacles to uniting over fifty disparate nation-states under a single institution have prevented efforts to revive the caliphate from garnering much active support, even amongst devout Muslims. No attempts at rebuilding a power structure based on Islam were successful anywhere in the Muslim World until the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which was based on Shia principles and whose leaders did not outwardly call for the restoration of a global Caliphate (although Iran has subsequently made efforts to 'export' its revolution to other Muslim countries).

[u]Islamic law[/u]

The Sharia (Arabic for "well-trodden path") is Islamic law, as shown by traditional Islamic scholarship. The Qur'an is the foremost source of Islamic jurisprudence. The second source is the sunnah of Muhammad and the early Muslim community. The sunnah is not itself a text like the Qur'an, but it is the practical adherence of Muslims to matters of worship. The place of hadith is a disputed one in Islamic law. Hadith (Arabic for report) contains narrations of Muhammad's sayings, deeds, and actions. According to a few scholars, such as Imam Shafi'i, it is secondary to Qur'an, whereas others, such as Imam Malik and the Hanafi scholars, hold it in subjugation to sunnah and oftentimes reject a hadith if it goes against established practices, i.e. sunnah. Ijma (consensus of the community of Muslims) and qiyas (analogical reasoning) are generally regarded as the third and fourth sources of Sharia, but have been contested by some scholars, based on the source (a hadith) from which these are derived. They believe that according to Qur'an, there are other sources that be given higher importance instead.

Islamic law covers all aspects of life, from the broad topics of governance and foreign relations all the way down to issues of daily living. Islamic laws that were covered expressly in the Qur’an were referred to as hudud laws and include specifically the five crimes of theft, highway robbery, intoxication, adultery and falsely accusing another of adultery, each of which has a prescribed "hadd" punishment that cannot be forgone or mitigated. The Qur'an also details laws of inheritance, marriage, restitution for injuries and murder, as well as rules for fasting, charity, and prayer. However, the prescriptions and prohibitions may be broad, so how they are applied in practice varies. Islamic scholars, the ulema, have elaborated systems of law on the basis of these broad rules, supplemented by the hadith reports of how Muhammad and his companions interpreted them.

In current times, as Islam has spread to countries such as Iran, Indonesia, Great Britain, and the United States, not all Muslims understand the Qur'an in its original Arabic. Thus, when Muslims are divided in how to handle situations, they seek the assistance of a mufti (Islamic judge) who can advise them based on Islamic Sharia and hadith.

[u]Islamic calendar[/u]

Islam dates from the Hijra, or migration from Mecca to Medina. Year 1, AH (Anno Hegira) corresponds to AD 622 or 622 CE, depending on the notation preferred (see Common Era). It is a lunar calendar, but differs from other such calendars (e.g. the Celtic calendar) in that it omits intercalary months, being synchronized only with lunations, but not with the solar year, resulting in years of either 354 or 355 days. Therefore, Islamic dates cannot be converted to the usual CE/AD dates simply by adding 622 years. Islamic holy days fall on fixed dates of the lunar calendar, which means that they occur in different seasons in different years in the Gregorian calendar.

[u]Denominations[/u]

Part of a series on the Islamic creed:
Aqidah

Sunni Five Pillars of Islam

Shahādah - Profession of faith
Salat - Prayer
Zakât - Paying of alms (tax)
Sawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Sunni Six articles of belief

Tawhīd - Oneness
Nabi and Rusul - Prophets and Messengers
Kutub - Divinely Revealed Books.
Malā'ikah - Angels
Qiyâmah - Judgment Day
Qadar - Fate
Shia Twelvers
Principles of the Religion

Tawhīd - Oneness
Adalah - Justice
Nubuwwah - Prophethood
Imamah - Leadership
Qiyâmah - Judgment day
Shia Twelvers
Practices of the Religion

Salat - Prayer
Sawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Zakât - Poor-rate
Khums - One-fifth tax
Jihad - Struggle
Amr-Bil-Ma'rūf - Commanding good
Nahi-Anil-Munkar - Forbidding evil
Tawalla - Loving the Ahl al-Bayt
Tabarra - Disassociating Ahl al-Bayt's enemies
Shia Ismaili 7 pillars

Walayah - Guardianship
Taharah - Purity & cleanliness
Salat - Prayers
Zakât - Purifying religious dues
Sawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Jihad - Struggle
Others

[u]Salafi/Kharijite Sixth pillar of Islam.[/u]

There are a number of Islamic religious denominations, each of which have significant theological and legal differences from each other but possess similar essential beliefs. The major schools of thought are Sunni and Shi'a; Sufism is generally considered to be a mystical inflection of Islam rather than a distinct school. According to most sources, present estimates indicate that approximately 85% of the world's Muslims are Sunni and approximately 15% are Shi'a.

[u]Sunni[/u]

The Sunni are the largest group in Islam. In Arabic, as-Sunnah literally means "principle" or "path." Sunnis and Shi'a believe that Muhammad is a perfect example to follow, and that they must imitate the words and acts of Muhammad as accurately as possible. Because of this reason, the sunnah (practices which Muhammad established in the community) is described as a main pillar of Sunni doctrine, with the place of hadith having been argued by scholars as part of the sunnah.

Sunnis recognize four major legal traditions (madhhabs): Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanafi, and Hanbali. All four accept the validity of the others and a Muslim might choose any one that he/she finds agreeable to his/her ideas. There are also several orthodox theological or philosophical traditions (kalam).

[u]Shi'a[/u]

Shi'a Muslims, the second-largest branch, differ from the Sunni in rejecting the authority of the first three caliphs. They honor different accounts of Muhammad (hadith) and have their own legal traditions. The concept of Imamah (leadership) plays a central role in Shi'a doctrine. Shi'a Muslims hold that leadership should not be passed down through a system such as the caliphate, but rather, descendants of Muhammad should be given this right as Imams. Furthermore, they believe that the first Imam, Ali ibn Abu Talib, was explicitly appointed by Muhammad to be his successor.

[u]Sufism[/u]

Sufism is a mystical form of Islam followed by some Muslims within both the Sunni and Shi'a sects. Sufis generally believe that following Islamic law or jurisprudence (or fiqh) is only the first step on the path to perfect submission; they focus on the internal or more spiritual aspects of Islam, such as perfecting one's faith and subduing one's own ego (nafs). Most Sufi orders, or tariqas, can be classified as either Sunni or Shi'a. However, there are some that are not easily categorized as either Sunni or Shi'a, such as the Bektashi. Sufis are found throughout the Islamic world, from Senegal to Indonesia. Their innovative beliefs and actions often come under criticism from Wahhabis, who consider certain practices to be against the letter of Islamic law.

[u]Others[/u]

Salafis are a more recent Sunni offshoot; however, the Salafi movement sees itself as restorationist and derives its teachings from all of the original sources of the religion. To other Muslims and non-Muslims Wahabi is the term most popularly associated with them. Followers of Salafism often also use the term "Ahl-us Sunnah Wa Jama'ah" as a label for their following, which would translate to English as "Congregation of the Followers of Sunnah". Salafiyyah is a movement commonly thought as founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab in the 18th century in what is present-day Saudi Arabia. They are classified as Sunni. One of the foremost principles, however, is the abolition of "schools of thoughts" (legal traditions), and the following of Muhammad directly through the study of the sciences of the Hadith (prophetic traditions). The Hanbali legal tradition is the strongest school of thought where the Islamic law in Saudi Arabia is derived from, and they have had a great deal of influence on the Islamic world because of Saudi control of Mecca and Medina, the Islamic holy places, and because of Saudi funding for mosques and schools in other countries. The majority of Saudi Islamic scholars are considered as Wahhabis by other parts of the Islamic world.

Another sect which dates back to the early days of Islam is that of the Kharijites. The only surviving branch of the Kharijites are the Ibadi Muslims. Ibadhism is distinguished from Shiism by its belief that the Imam (Leader) should be chosen solely on the basis of his faith, not on the basis of descent, and from Sunnism in its rejection of Uthman and Ali and strong emphasis on the need to depose unjust rulers. Ibadi Islam is noted for its strictness, but, unlike the Kharijites proper, Ibadis do not regard major sins as automatically making a Muslim an unbeliever. Most Ibadi Muslims live in Oman.

Another trend in modern Islam is that which is sometimes called progressive. Followers may be called Ijtihadists. They may be either Sunni or Shi'ite, and generally favor the development of personal interpretations of Qur'an and Hadith. Commonly associated with liberal movements in Islam are the Qur'an only Muslims, who reject Fiqh and Hadith.

There is also a very small sect isolated within India and Pakistan which identifies themselves as Ahmadi Muslims, who believe in the continuation of prophethood after Muhammad, in contradiction to mainstream Muslims who believe that Muhammad was the final prophet. Although this sect is not accepted as Muslim by mainstream Islamic scholars, they continue to identify themselves as the term Muslim against the desire of mainstream Islam. Likewise, Ahmadis believe that rest of the Muslims who do not share faith with them are non-Muslims.

[html]<embed style="width:400px; height:326px;" id="VideoPlayback" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=3973264001528417676&hl=en" flashvars=""> </embed>[/html]

[u]Islam and other religions[/u]

The Qur'an contains both injunctions to respect other religions, and to fight and subdue unbelievers during war. Some Muslims have respected Jews and Christians as fellow people of the book (monotheists following Abrahamic religions), while others have reviled them as having abandoned monotheism and corrupted their scriptures. At different times and places, Islamic communities have been both intolerant and tolerant. Support can be found in the Qur'an for both attitudes.

The classical Islamic solution was a limited tolerance — Jews and Christians were to be allowed to privately practice their faith and follow their own family law. They were called dhimmis and paid a special tax called the jizya, since the zakat paid by Muslims was not compulsory on them. The status of dhimmis is a matter of dispute, with some claiming that dhimmis were persecuted second-class citizens, and others that their lot was not difficult.

The medieval Islamic state was often more tolerant than many other states of the time which insisted on complete conformity to a state religion. The record of contemporary Muslim-majority states is mixed. Some are generally regarded as tolerant, while others have been accused of intolerance and human rights violations.

One of the open issues is the claim from hardline Muslims that once a certain territory has been under 'Muslim' rule, it can never be relinquished anymore, and that such a period of Islamic rule would give the Muslims an eternal right on the claimed territory. This claim is particularly controversial with regard to Israel and to a lesser degree Spain and parts of the Balkans.

[u]Related faiths[/u]

The Yazidi, Sikhism, Bábísm, Bahá'í Faith, Berghouata and Ha-Mim religions either emerged out of an Islamic milieu or have beliefs in common with Islam in varying degrees; in almost all cases those religions were also influenced by traditional beliefs in the regions where they emerged, but consider themselves independent religions with distinct laws and institutions. The last two religions no longer have any followers.

[u]History[/u]

Islam began in Arabia in the 7th century under the leadership of Muhammad, who spread Islam across all of Arabia. Within a century of his death, an Islamic state stretched from the Atlantic ocean in the west to central Asia in the east, which, however, was soon torn by civil wars (fitnas). After this, there would always be rival dynasties claiming the caliphate, or leadership of the Muslim world, and many Islamic states or empires offering only token obedience to an increasingly powerless caliph.

Despite this fragmentation of Islam as a political community, the empires of the Abbasid caliphs, the Mughals, and the Seljuk Turk, Safavid Persia and Ottomans were among the largest and most powerful in the world. Arabs made many Islamic centers of culture and science and produced notable scientists, astronomers, mathematicians, doctors and philosophers during the Golden Age of Islam. Technology flourished; there was much investment in economic infrastructure, such as irrigation systems and canals; stress on the importance of reading the Qur'an produced a comparatively high level of literacy in the general populace.

Islam at its geographical height stretched for thousands of miles. Islamic conquest into Christian Europe spread as far as southern France. After the disastrous defeat of the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, Christian Europe, at the behest of the Pope, launched a series of Crusades and for a time captured Jerusalem. Saladin, however, recaptured Palestine and defeated the Shiite Fatimids.

In the 15th century and 16th centuries three major Muslim empires were created: the Ottoman Empire in much of the Middle East, Balkans and Northern Africa; the Safavid Empire in Iran; and the Mughul Empire in India. These new imperial powers were made possible by the discovery and exploitation of gunpowder, and more efficient administration.

By the end of the 19th century, however all three had declined due to internal conflict and were later destroyed by Western cultural influence and military ambitions. Following WWI, the remnants of the Ottoman empire were parceled out as European protectorates or spheres of influence. Many Islamic countries have now been formed from these protectorates, such as Iraq, Iran, of Lebanon. Islam and Islamic political power have become much more influential in the 21st century, particularly due to Islamic control of most of the world's oil.

[u]Contemporary Islam[/u]

Although the most prominent movement in Islam in recent times has been fundamentalist Islamism, there are a number of liberal movements within Islam, which seek alternative ways to align the Islamic faith with contemporary questions.

Early Sharia had a much more flexible character than is currently associated with Islamic jurisprudence, and many modern Muslim scholars believe that it should be renewed, and the classical jurists should lose their special status. This would require formulating a new fiqh suitable for the modern world, e.g. as proposed by advocates of the Islamization of knowledge, and would deal with the modern context. One vehicle proposed for such a change has been the revival of the principle of ijtihad, or independent reasoning by a qualified Islamic scholar, which has lain dormant for centuries.

This movement does not aim to challenge the fundamentals of Islam; rather, it seeks to clear away misinterpretations and to free the way for the renewal of the previous status of the Islamic world as a centre of modern thought and freedom.

Many Muslims counter the claim that only "liberalization" of the Islamic Sharia law can lead to distinguishing between tradition and true Islam by saying that meaningful "fundamentalism", by definition, will eject non-Islamic cultural inventions — for instance, acknowledging and implementing Muhammad's insistence that women have God-given rights that no human being may legally infringe upon. Proponents of modern Islamic philosophy sometimes respond to this by arguing that, as a practical matter, "fundamentalism" in popular discourse about Islam may actually refer, not to core precepts of the faith, but to various systems of cultural traditionalism.

[u]The demographics of Islam today[/u]

Based on the figures published in the 2005 CIA World Factbook, Islam is the second largest religion in the world. According to the Al Islam, and Samuel Huntington, Islam is the Fastest Growing Major Religion by percent (though not by raw numbers). Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance estimate that it is growing at about 2.9% annually, as opposed to 2.3% per year global population growth. Most of this growth is due to the high population growth in many Islamic countries (six out of the top-ten countries in the world with the highest birth rates are majority Muslim). The birth rates in some Muslim countries are now declining.

Commonly cited estimates of the Muslim population today range between 900 million and 1.5 billion people (cf. Adherents.com); estimates of Islam by country based on U.S. State Department figures yield a total of 1.48 billion, while the Muslim delegation at the United Nations quoted 1.2 billion as the global Muslim population in September 2005.

Only 18% of Muslims live in the Arab world; 20% are found in Sub-Saharan Africa, about 30% in the South Asian region of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, and the world's largest single Muslim community (within the bounds of one nation) is in Indonesia. There are also significant Muslim populations in China, Europe, Central Asia, and Russia.

France has the highest Muslim population of any nation in Western Europe, with up to 6 million Muslims (10% of the population). Albania has the highest proportion of Muslims as part of its population in Europe (70%), although this figure is only an estimate (see Islam in Albania). Countries in Europe with many Muslims include Bosnia and Herzegovina (estimated around 50 % are Bosniaks, Muslims) and Macedonia where over 30 % of the population is Muslim, mostly ethnic Albanians in Macedonia. The country in Europe with the most Muslims is Russia. The number of Muslims in North America is variously estimated as anywhere from 1.8 to 7 million.

[u]Islamophobia[/u]

Islamophobia is defined as prejudice against Muslims. The concept is often criticized as a threat to freedom of speech. Some of the criticism of Islam has been interpreted as a product of Islamophobia.

Some high profile examples of attitudes or actions described as Islamophobic are the following:

    * The British National Party which has a party platform of opposing Islam, and has described Islam as a "menace", has been described as Islamophobic by numerous organisations and individuals, including a United Kingdom Parliamentry Select Committee.
    * Various attacks on mosques.
    * Smearing of a Qur'an with what appeared to be feces and dumping it in Nashville, Tennessee, United States.
    * In a February 10, 2004 report by Al Jazeera the head of the Party of France's Muslims, Muhammad Latreche in discussing the French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools was quoted as saying that the legislation would, "institutionalise Islamophobia".

Organisations, such as the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) have claimed that Islamophobia is based on an ignorance of the religion of Islam. Other organizations, such as the United States based Council on American-Islamic Relations, have set up campaigns such as "Explore the Qur'an", where non-Muslims are given a free copy of the Qur'an, "Explore the life of Muhammad", where non-Muslims are given a free DVD or book explaining the Life of Muhammad, "Not in the Name of Islam", where American Muslims are asked to sign a petition signalling their opposition to terrorism, and "Hate Hurts America", which is designed to counter and remove anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic speech on radio talk shows.

[u]Political and religous extremism[/u]

The term Islamism describes a set of political ideologies derived from Islamic fundamentalism.[39] Most Islamist ideologies hold that Islam is not only a religion, but also a political system that governs the legal, economic and social imperatives of the state according to interpretations of Islamic Law.

Islamic extremist terrorism refers to acts of terrorism claimed by its supporters and practitioners to be in furtherance of the goals of Islam. Its prevalence has heavily increased in recent years, and it has become a contentious political issue in many nations.

The validity of an Islamic justification for these acts is contested by many Muslims. Islamic extremist violence is not synonymous with all terrorist activities committed by Muslims: nationalists, separatists, and others in the Muslim world often derive inspiration from secular ideologies.

[u]Criticism of Islam[/u]

The neutrality of this section is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.

In recent years, Islam has been the subject of criticism and controversy, and is often viewed with considerable negativity in the West. Islam, the Qur'an, and Muhammad, have all been subject to both criticism and vilification.

[u]The main points of secular criticism are:[/u]

    * The use of fatwas to punish violations committed by Muslims (e.g. the death edict against British writer Salman Rushdie).
    * Apostasy in Islam, which is punishable by death under Islamic Law.
    * Human rights abuses by the Taliban and other fundamentalist governments.
    * The use of violence by Islamist militant organizations as a means of spreading Islam.
    * The state of women's rights in muslim societies.
    * The suppression of free speech (e.g. Muhammad Cartoons).
« Son Düzenleme: Kasım 11, 2006, 04:34:39 öö Gönderen: MASON »
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History of Islam


Background

Like most major world religions, Islam's historical development has affected political, economic, and military trends both inside and outside its primary geographic zones of reach (see Islamic world). As with Christendom, the concept of an Islamic world may be useful in looking at different periods of human history; similarly useful is an understanding of the identification with a quasi-political community of believers, or ummah, on the part of Islam's practitioners down the centuries.

Islam appeared in Arabia in the 7th century . Within a century of Muhammad's first recitations of theQur'an, an Islamic state stretched from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Central Asia in the east. This empire did not remain unified for long; the new polity soon broke into a civil war known to Islamic historians as the Fitna, and later affected by a Second Fitna. After this, there would be rival dynasties claiming the caliphate, or leadership of the Muslim world, and many Islamic states and empires offered only token obedience to a caliph unable to unify the Islamic world.

Despite this fragmentation of Islam as a political community, the empires of the Abbasid caliphs, the Mughals, and the Seljuk Turk, Safavid Persia and Ottomans were among the largest and most powerful in the world. Arabs made many Islamic centers of culture and science and produced notable scientists, astronomers, mathematicians, doctors and philosophers during the Golden Age of Islam. Technology flourished; there was much investment in economic infrastructure, such as irrigation systems and canals; stress on the importance of reading the Qur'an produced a comparatively high level of literacy in the general populace.

In the 18th and 19th centuries C.E., Islamic regions fell under the sway of European imperial powers. Following World War I, the remnants of the Ottoman empire were parcelled out as European protectorates. Since then, no major widely-accepted claim to the caliphate (which had been last claimed by the Ottomans) remained.

Although affected by various ideologies, such as communism, during much of the twentieth century, Islamic identity and Islam's salience on political questions have arguably increased during the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. Rapid growth, western interests in Islamic regions, international conflicts and globalization influenced Islam's importance in shaping the world of the twenty-first century.

Note on early Islamic historiography

There are several Muslim versions of early Islamic history as written by the Sunni, Shi'a, and Ibadi sects. 19th century Western scholars tended to privilege the Sunni versions; the Sunni are the largest sect, and their books and scholars were easily available. Over the last hundred years, Western scholars have become much more willing to question the orthodox view and to advance new theories and new narratives.

Empire of Faith (part-1)

Muhammad

Arabia before Muhammad was scantily populated by various Arabic-speaking people. Some were Bedouin, pastoral nomads organized in tribes. Some were agriculturalists, living either in oases in the north, or in the more fertile and thickly settled areas to the south (now Yemen and Oman). At that time the majority of Arabs followed polytheistic religions, although a few tribes followed Judaism, Christianity (including Nestorians) or Zoroastrianism. The city Mecca was a religious center for some of the northern Arabian polytheists, as it contained the sacred well of Zamzam and a small temple, the Ka'aba.

Muhammad was born on the outskirts of Mecca in the Year of the Elephant. Most Muslims equate this with the Gregorian year 570 but a few prefer 571. He was orphaned at an early age and was raised by his uncle Abu Talib. He became a merchant, married a wealthy widow, and could have looked forward to a life of ease and prosperity.

However, when he was some forty years old, he experienced what he apparently believed to be a divine revelation while he was meditating in a cave outside Mecca. This would have been in 610 C.E. After an initial period of doubt and fear, he started to preach to his kinfolk and then in public, to all Meccans.

Muhammad had been chosen by God, like the Hebrew prophets before him, to preach repentance, submission to God, and a coming day of judgment. He said he was not preaching a new religion, just reviving the old and pure tradition which he thought the Christians and Jews had debased. He attracted followers.

In 622 A.D, Muhammad and many of his followers fled to the neighboring city of Medina. This migration is called the Hijra; it was the first year of Muhammad's "reign" as a secular ruler as well as a religious leader. Following the custom of the time, later historians took that year as the start of the Muslim calendar.

The two cities of Mecca and Medina went to war. Muhammad and his followers won one battle (Battle of Badr) and managed to stalemate a Meccan attack in the Battle of the Trench. Through conquest and conversion, Muhammad was able to unite the surrounding tribes behind him and eventually assembled such a large force that Mecca capitulated without a fight. By the time Muhammad died, on June 8, 632, he and his followers had united the entire Arabian peninsula under Islam, and had started to expand into the areas now known as Syria and Iraq.

Rashidun

After Muhammad passed away, a series of Caliphs governed the Islamic State: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali. These first Caliphs are popularly known as the "Rashidun" or rightly guided Caliphs.

Abu Bakr's short reign (632-34) was occupied by the Ridda wars - rebellions of Bedouin Arabs. During Umar's rule, Muslim armies invaded Palestine and Mesopotamia. At the Battle of Yarmuk (636), Muslim armies won a crushing victory over the Byzantines, thus paving the way for the conquest of Egypt and Syria. After a decisive victory over the Sassanid empire at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah in 637, Muslims overwhelmed the Persians in Mesopotamia. Five years later, after the Battle of Nihawānd, Persia was effectively included in the expanding Islamic empire.

The First Fitna

Umar was succeeded by Uthman ibn Affan, another of Muhammad's earliest followers. Under Uthman, the new empire fell into a civil war called the Fitna, or disorder. Some of Muhammad's family and earliest followers were unhappy with Uthman, feeling that he was unduly favoring his kinsfolk and acting less like a religious leader and more like a king. Rebellious soldiers killed Uthman and offered the leadership to Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad's cousin, foster-son, and son-in-law. Many Muslims (in particular, those who had their own designs on the Caliphate) refused to accept Ali as a leader; he spent his brief caliphate fighting against dissenting factions and Uthman's relatives, the Umayyads. Ali was killed by a Khariji assassin and the Umayyads claimed the caliphate. They managed to retain leadership of the majority of Muslims for several generations, but save for a brief period, never again ruled over an undivided Islamic empire. The Islamic faith diverged as well, splitting into the two main sects of today (Sunni and Shi'a). (This is perhaps a gross over-simplification of a complex religious history).

Early Caliphate

After the Rashidun, a series of Caliphates were established. Each caliphate was a monarchy, developed its own unique laws and adopted a particular sect of Islam as a State religion. Until the ninth century the Muslim World would remain a single political entity under the leadership of one Caliph. The early Caliphate is also known as the Arab Empire or Islamic Empire.

Umayyads

Ali was succeeded by Muawiya I, who became the first Ummayad caliph. The capital, moved to Damascus, and an elected caliph was replaced by a hereditary Sultan.

Under the Ummayads, the Muslim world expanded into North Africa and Hispania in the West, and Central Asia in the East. According to Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair,

    By the early eighth century, the Islamic empire stretched from North Africa on the west to Transoxiana and Sind (modern-day Pakistan) in the east, nearly one quarter the way around the globe, an area that made the empires of the Persians, Alexander the Great, and the Romans seem puny...The Muslims, no longer Arab merchants from the heartland of Arabia, became masters of the economic and cultural heartland of the Near East, and their faith, Islam, was no longer as obscure Arabian cult but the religion of an imperial elite.

Much of the population of this new empire was non-Muslim, and aside from a protection tax (jizya) and other restrictions, the conquered people found their religions tolerated. Indeed, Muslim authorities often discouraged conversions. Under the Umayyads, would-be converts had to find an Arab patron who would adopt them into his tribe. Once they were honorary Arabs they could convert.

Nevertheless, most of the population eventually converted to Islam. Whether this was a fast or a slow movement is a topic hotly debated in academia, and only to be settled by meticulous country-by-country studies. Ummayad conversion policies, however, did create tensions in the empire as greater numbers of non-Arabs (mostly Persians) converted. The tensions increased when Shiites joined the protest against Ummayad rule.

Umayyad rule was interrupted by a second civil war (the Second Fitna) in the early 680s, re-established, then ended in 750.

Abbasids

The Abbasids overthrew the increasingly unpopular Ummayads and took over the caliphate. They moved the capital to Baghdad (closer to Persia), and made Persian the second lingua franca (after Arabic) of the empire. During this time Baghdad became, perhaps, the greatest cultural center of the world. The Abbasids were said to be descendents of Abbas the uncle of the Prophet claiming that they were the 'messiha' or saviours of the people under the Ummayad rule. Abbasid caliphs Harun al-Rashid and Al-Mamun were great patrons of arts and sciences, and enabled these domains to flourish. Islamic philosophy also developed as the Shariah was codified, and the four Madhabs were established. This era also saw the rise of classical Sufism. The greatest achievement, however, was completion of the canonical collections of Hadith of Sahih Bukhari and others.[5] After this, there would be rival dynasties claiming the caliphate, or leadership of the Muslim world, and many Islamic states and empires offered only token obedience to a caliph unable to unify the Islamic world.

Empire of Faith (part-2)

Regional powers

The Abbasids soon became caught within a three-way rivalry of Arabs, Persians and the immigrant Turks. In addition, the cost of running a large empire became too great. The political unity of Islam began to disintegrate. The emirates, still recognizing the theoretical leadership of the caliphs, drifted into independence, and a brief revival of control was ended with the establishment of rival caliphates. Eventually the Abbasids ruled as puppets for the Buwayhid emirs.

Fatimids

The Fatimids,(Fatimid Caliphate),who are believed to be the descendants of Fatima, is the Shi'a Ismaili dynasty that ruled from 5 January 910 to 1171. The ruling elite of the state belonged to the Ismaili branch of Shi'ism. The leaders of the dynasty were also Shia Ismaili Imams, hence, they had a religious significance to Ismaili Muslims.

The Fatimids established sovereignty over Egypt, North Africa, Sicily and Syria. Under the Fatimids, the city of Cairo was established and built into an imperial military and cultural center.

The Fatimid territories of Syria and Palestine fell to the invading Seljuks in the late eleventh century. They would, however, continue to rule in Egypt until its conquest by Saladin in the late twelfth century.

Seljuks

A series of new invasions swept over the Islamic world. The newly converted Seljuk Turks swept across and conquered most of Islamic Asia, Syria and Palestine. The Seljuks made religion an instrument of the state, while giving the clergy significant say over the affairs of the government. They also put an end to Caliphal institutions. These policies would be carried out by successive governments of Nur al-Din, Saladin and Mamluks.

Shortly after, they won a decisive victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert, paving the way for further conquest of Anatolia.

Crusades

In 1095 Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade and captured Edessa, Antioch, Tripoli and Jerusalem. The Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem emerged and for a time controlled many holy sites of Islam. Saladin, however, restored unity, defeated the Fatimids and put an end to the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187. Later the Second Crusade was launched but was unsuccessful. Other crusades were launched with at least the nominal intent to recapture the holy city, but hardly more was ever accomplished than the looting and occupation of Constantinople, leaving the Byzantine Empire severely weakened and ripe for later conquest. Christian-majority countries would regain a firm hold on Jerusalem in 1917, during the First World War.

Mamluks

In 1250, the short-lived Ayyubid dynasty (established by Saladin) was overthrown by slave regiments, and new dynasty - the Mamluks - were born. The Mamluks soon expanded into Palestine, expelled the remaining Crusader states and repelled the Mongols from invading Syria. Thus they united Syria and Egypt for the longest period of time between the Abbasid and Ottoman empires.

Legacy During this time, great advancements were made in the areas of astronomy, poetry, philosophy science and mathematics.

Islam in Asia

Indian Subcontinent

Islamic rule came to the region in the 8th century, when Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh, (Pakistan). Muslim conquests were expanded under Mahmud and the Ghaznavids until the late twelfth century, when the Ghurids overran the Ghaznavids and extended the conquests in northern India. Qutb-ud-din Aybak, conquered Delhi in 1206 and began the reign of the Delhi Sultanates.

In the fourteenth century, Alauddin Khilji extended Muslim rule south to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Deccan. Various other Muslim dynasties also formed and ruled across India from the 13th to the 18th century such as the Qutb Shahi and the Bahmani, but none rivalled the power and extensive reach of the Mughal Empire at its peak.

China

During the lifetime of Muhammad, Arab merchants reached China via the Silk Road and introduced Islam. Then, in 650, the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, sent an official delegation to the Tang dynasty. The Chinese emperor ordered the establishment of the first Chinese mosque in the city of Chang'an, and this event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China. By the early ninth century Islam had reached as far south as Hangzhou.

The Mongol invasions of China and Persia, brought the two regions under a single political entity. This led to increased contacts and cultural exchange between China and the Muslim world. Following the Mongols, the succeeding Ming dynasty was also tolerant of Muslims. During its reign many Muslim attained high posts. These policies were, however, reversed by the Qing dynasty, when it came to power.

Southeast Asia

In the late 13th century, Muslim merchants and missionaries began to bring Islam to Southeast Asia. Soon, many Sufi missionaries translated classical Sufi literature from Arabic and Persian into Malay. Coupled with the composing of original Islamic literature in Malay, this led the way to the transformation of Malay into an Islamic language. By 1292, when Marco Polo visited Sumatra, most of the inhabitants had converted to Islam. The Sultanate of Malacca was founded by Parameswara,a Srivijayan Prince in the Malay peninsula. Through trade and commerce, Islam spread to Borneo and Java, Indonesia. By late 15th century, Islam had been introduced to the Philippines.

As Islam spread, three main Muslim political powers emerged. Acheh, the most important Muslim power, was based firmly in Northern Sumatra. It controlled much of the area between Southeast Asia and India. The Sultunate also attracted Sufi poets. The second Muslim power was the Sultanate of Malacca on the Malay peninsula. The Sultanate of Demak, the third power emerged in Java, where the Muslim emerging forces defeated the local Majapahit kingdom in the early 16th century.

Mongol Invasions

By the early 13th century a very serious threat had arrived. The Mongols, who invaded Baghdad in 1258, had conquered most Islamic territories east of Egypt. The Horde permanently ended the Abbasid caliphate and the Golden Age of medieval Islam, leaving the Islamic world damaged and confused. Some Mongols later converted to Islam and developed their own sophisticated and diverse trade based culture, integrating elements from every corner of Eurasia.

Three Muslim empires

In the 15th century and 16th centuries three major Muslim empires were created: the aforementioned Ottoman Empire in much of the Middle East, Balkans and Northern Africa; the Safavid Empire in Iran; and the Mughul Empire in India. These new imperial powers were made possible by the discovery and exploitation of gunpowder, and more efficient administration. By the end of the 19th century, all three had declined significantly, and by the early 20th century, with the Ottomans' defeat in World War I, the last Muslim empire dissolved.

Mughal Empire

The Mughal Empire was a product of various Central Asian invasions into India. Founded by Babur in 1526, the empire went on to rule most of present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan under his successors for several centuries, before it declined in the early 18th century, which led to India being divided into smaller kingdoms and princely states. The Mughal dynasty was eventually dissolved by the British Empire after the Indian rebellion of 1857.

The empire left a lasting legacy on Indian culture and architecture. Amongst the famous buildings built by the Mughals, include: Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens and Agra Fort. During the empire's reign of power, Muslim communities flourished all over India, particularly in Gujarat, Bengal and Hyderabad. Various Sufi orders from Afghanistan and Iran were very active throughout the region. Consequently, more than a quarter of the population converted to Islam.

Safavid Empire

The Safavids (Persian: صفویان) were an Iranian dynasty from Iranian Azarbaijan that ruled from 1501 to 1736, and which established Shi'a Islam as Iran's official religion and united its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty, thereby reigniting the Persian identity.

Although claiming to be the descendants of Ali ibn Abu Talib, the Safavids were originally Sunni (the name "Safavid" comes from a Sufi order called Safavi). Their origins go back to Firuz Shah Zarrinkolah, an Iranian local dignitary from Iran's north. During their rule, the Safavids recognized Shiism as the State religion, thus giving Iran a separate identity from its Sunni neighbours.

In 1524, Tahmasp acceded to the throne, initiating reviving arts in the region. Carpet making became a major industry, gaining new importance in Iran's cities. But the finest of all artistic revivals was the commissioning of the Shahnama. The Shahnama was meant to glorify the reign of the Shah through artistic means. The two-volume copy contained 258 large paintings to illustrate the works of Firdawsi, a Persian poet. The Shah also prohibited the drinking of wine, forbade the use of hashish and ordered the removal of gambling casinos, taverns and brothels.

Tahmasp's grandson, Shah Abbas I, also managed to increase the glory of the empire. Abbas restored the shrine of Imam Reza at Mashhad, and restored the dynastic shrine at Ardabil. Both shrines received jewelry, fine manuscripts and Chinese porcelains. Abbas also moved the empire's capital to Isfahan, revived old ports, and established thriving trade with the Europeans. Amongst Abbas's most visible cultural achievements was the construction of Naqsh-i Jahan ("Design of the World"). The plaza, located near a Friday mosque, covered twenty acres, thus dwarfing Piazza San Marco and St. Peter's Square.

Ottoman Empire

The Islamic world reached a new peak (albeit not comparable to the Golden Age of the Abbasiah) under the Ottoman (Uthmaniah) Empire. The Turks migrated from the Central Asian steppe and at first established a tiny state in Anatolia (modern day Turkey). In 1453, after a two-month siege, Ottoman Janissaries and cannons overwhelmed Constantinople. The millennium-old Byzantine Empire was suddenly absorbed by the new Ottoman Empire, which would extend its influence over most of the Islamic world and reach deep into Christian Europe.

The Ottoman empire, which was making great strides in conquering the East, threatened to conquer Central and Western Europe. In 1529, the Siege of Vienna failed, stopping any further Ottoman advances into Eastern Europe. The Battle of Vienna in 1683 precipitated the withdrawal of the Ottoman Empire from many parts of Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Wahhabism

During the 18th century, Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703–1792) led a religious movement (Wahhabism) in eastern Arabia that sought to purify Islam. Wahhab wanted to return Islam to what he thought were its original principles as taught by the as-salaf as-saliheen (the earliest converts to Islam) and rejected what he regarded as corruptions introduced by Bida (religious innovation) and Shirk (polytheism). He allied himself with the House of Saud, which eventually triumphed over the Rashidis to control Central Arabia, and led several revolts against the Ottoman empire. Initial success (the conquest of Mecca and Medina) was followed by ignominious defeat, then a resurgence which culminated in the creation of Saudi Arabia.

The 20th century

The modern age brought radical technological and organizational changes to Europe and Islamic countries found themselves less modern when compared to the many western nations. Europe's state-based government and rampant colonization allowed the West to dominate the globe economically and forced Islamic countries to question change. Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire

Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire

Some Muslim territories, for example Syria, were granted at least nominal independence after the end of the First World War and some gained full independence after the second[citation needed]. Many Muslim countries sought to imitate European political organization and nationalism began to emerge in the Muslim world. Countries like Egypt, Syria, and Turkey organized their governments with definable policies and sought to develop national pride amongst their citizens. Other places, like Iraq, were not as successful due to a lack of unity.

Some Muslim countries, such as Turkey and Egypt, sought to separate Islam from the secular government. In other cases, such as Saudi Arabia, the new government brought out new religious expression in the re-emergence of the puritanical form of Sunni Islam known to its detractors as Wahhabism which found its way into the Saudi royal family.

Partition of India and establishment of Pakistan

The partition of India refers to the creation in August 1947 of two sovereign states of India and Pakistan. The two nations were formed out of the former British Raj, including treaty states, when Britain granted independence to the area. In particular, the term refers to the partition of Bengal and Punjab, the two main provinces of the would be Pakistan.

In 1947, after the partition of India, Pakistan became the largest Islamic Country in the world (by population). Today, Pakistan is still the second largest Islamic country in the world. Pakistan is presently the only nuclear power of the Muslim world and is one of the more developed nations among the Muslim countries.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, by population. India has the third largest Muslim population, followed by Bangladesh.

Arab-Israeli conflict

The Arab-Israeli conflict spans about a century of political tensions and open hostilities. It involves the establishment of the modern State of Israel as a Jewish nation state, as well as the relationship between the Arab nations and the state of Israel (see related Israeli-Palestinian conflict). Despite involving a relatively small land area and number of casualties, the conflict has been the focus of worldwide media and diplomatic attention for decades. Many countries, individuals and non-governmental organizations elsewhere in the world feel involved in this conflict for reasons such as cultural and religious ties with Islam, Arab culture, Christianity, Judaism, Jewish culture or for ideological, human rights, or strategic reasons. While some consider the Arab-Israeli conflict a part of (or a precursor to) a wider clash of civilizations between the Western World and the Arab or Muslim world, others oppose this view. Animosity emanating from this conflict has caused numerous attacks on supporters (or perceived supporters) of one side by supporters of the other side in many countries around the world.

Oil wealth and petropolitics dominate the Middle East

Between 1953 and 1964, King Saud re-organized the government of the monarchy his father, Ibn Saud, had created. Saudi Arabia's new ministries included Communication (1953) Agriculture and Water (1953), Petroleum (1960), Pilgrimage and Islamic Endowments (1960), Labour and Social Affairs (1962) and Information (1963). He also put his Talal, one of his many younger brothers (by 29 years his younger) in charge of the Ministry of Transport.

In 1958-59, Talal proposed the formation of a National Council. As he proposed it, it would have been a consultative body, not a legislature. Still, he thought of it as a first step toward broader popular participation in the government. Talal presented this proposal to the king when the Crown Prince was out of the country. Saud simply forwarded the proposal to the ulama asking them whether a National Council was a legitimate institution in Islam. The idea seems to have died in committee, so to speak. It would be revived more than three decades later. A Consultative Council came into existence in 1992.

Meantime, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries came into existence in 1960. For the first decade or more of its existence, it was ineffectual in terms of increasing revenue for member nations. But it would have its day. Tension between Faisal and Saud continued to mount until a final showdown in 1964. Saud threatened to mobilize the Royal Guard against Faisal and Faisal threatened to mobilize the National Guard against Saud. It was Saud who blinked, abdicating and leaving for Cairo, then Greece, where he would die in 1969. Faisal then became King.

In 1967, Israel won a whirlwind conflict in six days. In response, Arab leaders (including King Faisal) held a conference in Khartoum in August. They all agreed on three negative slogans with respect to Israel: “no recognition, no negotiations, no peace.” Faisal agreed that Saudi Arabia would use some of its oil wealth to finance the “front-line states,” those that bordered Israel, in their struggle.

The 1967 war had other effects. It effectively closed the Suez canal, it may have contributed to the revolution in Libya that put Muammar al-Qaddafi in power, and it led in May 1970 to the closure of the "tapline" from Saudi Arabia through Syria to Lebanon. These developments had the effect of increasing the importance of the petroleum in Libya, which is a conveniently short (and canal-free) shipping distance from Europe.

In 1970, it was Occidental Petroleum which constituted the first crack in the wall of oil company solidarity in dealing with the oil producing nations; specifically, in this case, with the demands for price increases of the new Qaddafi government.

In October 1973, another war between Israel and its Muslim neighbors, known as the Yom Kippur War, got underway just as oil company executives were heading to Vienna, Austria, site of a planned meeting with OPEC leaders. OPEC had been emboldened by the success of Libya's demands anyway, and the war strengthened the unity of their new demands.

The centrality of petroleum, the Arab-Israeli Conflict and political and economic instability and uncertainty remain constant features of the politics of the region.

Two Iranian revolutions

The Iranian Constitutional Revolution took place between 1905 and 1911. The revolution marked the beginning of the end of Iran's feudalistic society and led to the establishment of a parliament in Persia and restriction of the power of Shah(king). The first constitution of Iran was approved. But after the final victory of revolutionist over Shah, the modernist and conservative blocks began to fight with each other. Then World war I took place and all of the combatants invaded Iran and weakened the government and threated the independency of Iran. Finally the system of constitutional monarchy created by the decree of Mozzafar-al-Din Shah that was established in Persia as a result of the Revolution ultimately came to an end in 1925 with the dissolution of the Qajar dynasty and the ascension of Reza Shah Pahlavi to the throne.

The Iranian Revolution (also called "The Islamic Revolution" ) was the 1979 revolution that transformed Iran from a constitutional monarchy, under Shah (King) Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to a populist theocratic Islamic republic under the rule of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a Shi`i Muslim cleric and marja. Following the Revolution, Iranians participated in a referendum and almost all of them chose Islamic republic as a new government. Then a new constitution was approved in that year and Ruhollah Khomeini became Supreme Leader of Iran. During two next years liberals, leftists, and islamists groups fought with each other and ultimately islamists captured the power. On the other hand U.S., USSR and most of the Arab goverments of the middle east were frightened that their dominants in the region was challenged by new Islamic idealogy. So they encouraged and supported Saddam to invade Iran, which resulted in Iran-Iraq war.

Empire of Faith (part-3)
- Sahsima ozel mesaj atmadan once Yonetim Hiyerarsisini izleyerek ilgili yoneticiler ile gorusunuz.
- Masonluk hakkinda ozel mesaj ile bilgi, yardim ve destek sunulmamaktadir.
- Sorunuz ve mesajiniz hangi konuda ise o konudan sorumlu gorevli yada yonetici ile gorusunuz. Sahsim, butun cabalarinizdan sonra gorusmeniz gereken en son kisi olmalidir.
- Sadece hicbir yoneticinin cozemedigi yada forumda asla yazamayacaginiz cok ozel ve onemli konularda sahsima basvurmalisiniz.
- Masonluk ve Masonlar hakkinda bilgi almak ve en onemlisi kisisel yardim konularinda tarafima dogrudan ozel mesaj gonderenler cezalandirilacaktir. Bu konular hakkinda gerekli aciklama forum kurallari ve uyelik sozlesmesinde yeterince acik belirtilmsitir.


Kasım 13, 2006, 04:47:48 ös
Yanıtla #4
  • Ziyaretçi

you are welcome to share anything you like brother. here are the entire codes for the whole post. but if you like to add this web sites adress in to the post i would be grateful.

Kod: [Seç]
[u][b]Islam[/b][/u]

Islam (Arabic: الإسلام; al-'islām (help·info)) is a monotheistic religion based upon the Qur'an, a scripture which Muslims believe was sent by God (Arabic: الله Allāh) through the prophet Muhammad. Followers of Islam, known as Muslims (مسلم), believe Muhammad to have been God's final prophet. As a result, most of them see the actions and teachings of Muhammad as related in the Sunnah and Hadith as indispensable tools for interpreting the Qur'an.

Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam is an Abrahamic religion. There are estimated to be 1.4 billion adherents, making Islam the second-largest religion in the world Islamicization, the process of the conversion of societies to Islam, originally closely followed the rapid growth of the Arab Empire in the first centuries after Muhammad's death. Muslim dynasties were soon established in North Africa, the Middle East and Iran and the conversion of the population was a protracted process. Although the expansion of Muslim empires eventually slowed, conversion to Islam continued in other ways. Muslim countries dominated trade in the Indian Ocean and the Sahara and it was through trade, Sufi preachers, and interaction with locals that Islam grew in areas such as the Sahel and the East Indies.

Today, Muslims may be found throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. The majority of Muslims are not Arabs; only 20 percent of Muslims originate from Arab countries. Islam is the second largest religion in the United Kingdom, and many other European countries, including France, which has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.

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[u]Beliefs[/u]

Muslims believe that God revealed a message to humanity through Muhammad (c. 570–July 6, 632) via the angel Gabriel.[6] Muhammad is considered to have been God's final prophet, based on the Qur'anic phrase "Seal of the Prophets" and sayings of Muhammad himself. Muslims assert that their holy book, the Qur'an, is flawless, immutable, and the final revelation of God to humanity, and that its teachings will be valid until the day of the Resurrection.

Muslims hold that Islam is part of the same belief system advocated by all the messengers sent by God to humanity since Adam. The Qur'an, used by all sects of the Muslim faith, codifies the direct words of God. Islamic texts depict Judaism and Christianity as prophetic successor traditions to the teachings of Abraham. The Qur'an calls Jews and Christians "people of the Book," and distinguishes them from "polytheists." In order to reconcile the often radical disagreements regarding events and interpretation that exist between the earlier writers and the Qu'ran, Muslims believe that Jews and Christians distorted the word of God after it was revealed to them, altering words in meaning, form and placement in their respective holy texts, with Jews changing the Tawrat (Torah) and Christians the Injīl (Gospels).

[b]God (Allah)[/b]

The fundamental concept in Islam is the Oneness of God or tawhīd, monotheism which is absolute, not relative or pluralistic. The Oneness of God is the first pillar of Islam's five pillars which is also called the "Shahādatān" (The two testimonies) and by declaring them one attests to that 1-there is no God but God (Allah) and 2-Muhammad is his messenger. God is described in Sura al-Ikhlas as:

    "...God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him." 112:1-4

In Arabic, God is called Allāh. The word is etymologically connected to ʾilāh "deity", Allāh is also the word used by Christian and Jewish Arabs, translating ho theos of the New Testament and Septuagint; it predates Muhammad and, at least in origin, does not specify a "God" different from the one worshipped by Judaism and Christianity, the other Abrahamic religions. One of the most common beliefs about "Allah," however, is that Christians and Jews both worship a different God than Muslims. This is not technically true as "Allah" literally means "God" and all three religions are monotheistic. All three religions, however, hold different conceptions about God. The name "Allah" is a singular neuter noun. God is described numerous times in the Qur'an, for example:

    "(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things)." 42:11.

The implicit usage of the definite article in Allah linguistically indicates the divine unity. Muslims believe that the God they worship is the same God of Abraham. Muslims reject the Christian doctrine concerning the trinity of God, seeing it as akin to polytheism. Quoting from the Qur'an, sura an-Nisā:

    "O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of God aught but the truth. Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was (no more than) a messenger of God, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in God and His messengers. Say not "Trinity": desist: it will be better for you: for God is one God: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is God as a Disposer of affairs." 4:171

No Muslim visual images or depictions of God are meant to exist because such artistic depictions may lead to idolatry. Moreover, most Muslims believe that God is incorporeal, making any two- or three- dimensional depictions impossible. Such aniconism can also be found in Jewish and some Christian theology. Instead, Muslims describe God by the names and attributes that he revealed to his creation. All but one Sura (chapter) of the Qur'an begins with the phrase "In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful".

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[u]The Qur'an[/u]

The Qur'an is considered by Muslims to be the literal, undistorted word of God, and is the central religious text of Islam. It has also been called, in English, "the Koran" and (archaically) "the Alcoran." Qur'an is the currently preferred English transliteration of the Arabic original (قرآن), which means “recitation”. Although the Qur'an is referred to as a "book", when Muslims refer in the abstract to "the Qur'an," they are usually referring to the scripture as recited in Arabic -- the words themselves -- rather than to the printed work or any translation of it. The printed work of Qur'an is referred to as "Mus-haf", which is a word etymologically derived from the word "Saheefah" (paper). "Mus-haf" is a word that is solely used to describe the Qur'an when it is in book form.

Muslims believe that the verses of the Qur'an were revealed to Muhammad by God through the Angel Gabriel on numerous occasions between the years 610 and up till his death on July 6, 632. In addition to memorizing his revelations, his followers wrote them down on parchments, stones, and leaves, to preserve the revelation.

Most Muslims regard paper copies of the Qur'an with veneration, washing as for prayers before reading the Qur'an. Old Qur'ans are not destroyed as wastepaper, but burned.

Many Muslims memorize at least some portion of the Qur'an in the original language (i.e. Arabic), at least the verses needed to recite prayers. Those who have memorized the entire Qur'an are known as hāfiz (plural huffāz). Muslims believe that the Qur'an is perfect only as revealed in the original Arabic. Translations, they maintain, are the result of human effort, and are deficient because of differences in human languages, because of the human fallibility of translators, and (not least) because any translation lacks the inspired content found in the original. Translations are therefore regarded only as commentaries on the Qur'an, or "interpretations of its meaning", not as the Qur'an itself. Many modern, printed versions of the Qur'an feature the Arabic text on one page, and a vernacular translation on the facing page.

[u]Muhammad[/u]

Muhammad, also Mohammed, Mohamet, and other variants was an Arab religious and political leader who established Islam and the Muslim community (Ummah) to whom he preached. He is considered the greatest prophet in Islam, and is venerated and honoured as such. Muslims do not regard him as the founder of a new religion, but rather believe him to be the last in a line of prophets of God and regard his mission as one of restoring the original monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham and other prophets of Islam that had become corrupted by man over time.

For the last 23 years of his life, beginning at age forty, Muhammad reported receiving revelations from God delivered through the angel Gabriel. The content of these revelations, known as the Qur'an, was memorized and recorded by his followers and compiled into a single volume shortly after his death.

All Muslims believe that Muhammad was sinless in the sense of transmitting the revelation:

    “And if the apostle were to invent any sayings in Our name, We should certainly seize him by his right hand, And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath).” 69:44-47.

The understanding that Muhammad did commit sin does exist among Sunnis. However, the doctrine of sinlessness of Muhammad is also more or less incorporated into Sunnis' beliefs. Some Sunni scholars believe that the doctrine of the sinlessness of the Prophets originated with the Shi'a, specifically in connection with the Imamat, and was transmitted to the Sunnis via the Sufis and Mu'tazila. Shia scholars disagree.

[u]Hadith[/u]

Hadith are traditions relating to the words and deeds of Muhammad. Hadith collections are regarded as important tools for determining the Sunnah, or Muslim way of life, by all traditional schools of jurisprudence. A hadith was originally an oral tradition relevant to the actions and customs of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Starting the first Islamic civil war of the 7th century, those receiving the hadith started to question the sources of the saying. This resulted in a chain of transmission, for example "A told me that B told him that Muhammad said". The hadith were eventually recorded in written form, had their chain of transmission recorded and were collected into large collections mostly during the reign of Umar II during 8th century, something that solidified in the 9th century. These works are still today referred to in matters of Islamic law and history.

The overwhelming majority of Muslims consider hadith to be essential supplements to and clarifications of the Qur'an, Islam's holy book. In Islamic jurisprudence, the Qur'an contains many rules for the behavior expected of Muslims. However, there are many matters of concern, both religious and practical, on which there are no specific Quranic rules. Muslims believe that they can look at the way of life, or sunnah, of Muhammad and his companions to discover what to imitate and what to avoid. Muslim scholars also find it useful to know how Muhammad or his companions explained the revelations, or upon what occasion Muhammad received them. Sometimes this will clarify a passage that otherwise seems obscure. Hadith are a source for Islamic history and biography. For the vast majority of devout Muslims, authentic hadith are also a source of religious inspiration. However, some contemporary Muslims argue that the Qur'an alone is sufficient.

[u]Five Pillars of Islam[/u]

The Five Pillars of Islam is the term given to what are understood among many Muslims to be the five core aspects of Sunni Islam. Shi'a Muslims accept the Five Pillars, but also add several other practices to form the Branches of Religion.

[u]Shahadah[/u]

The basic creed or tenet of Islam is found in the shahādatān ("two testimonies"): 'ašhadu 'al-lā ilāha illā-llāhu wa 'ašhadu 'anna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh; "I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God." As the most important pillar, this testament can be considered a foundation for all other beliefs and practices in Islam. Ideally, it is the first words a new-born will hear, and children are taught to recite and understand the shahadah as soon as they are able to. Muslims must repeat the shahadah in prayer, and non-Muslims must use the creed to formally convert to Islam.

[u]Salat[/u]

Muslims must perform five daily prayers, salat, throughout the day as a form of submission to God. The ritual combines specific movements and spiritual aspects, preceded by wudu', or ablution. It is also supposed to serve as a reminder to do good and strive for greater causes, as well as a form of restraint from committing harmful or shameful deeds.

It is believed that the prayer ritual was demonstrated to Muhammed by the angel Jabrīl, or Gabriel in English.

[u]Zakat[/u]

Zakat, or alms-giving, is a mandated giving of charity to the poor and needy by able Muslims based on the wealth that he or she has accumulated. It is a personal responsibility intended to ease economic hardship for others and eliminate inequality.

[u]Sawm[/u]

Sawm, or fasting, is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan. Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk during this month, and are to be especially mindful of other sins that are prohibited. This activity is intended to allow Muslims to seek nearness to God as well as remind them of the needy.

[u]Hajj[/u]

The Hajj is a pilgrimage that occurs during the month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the city of Mecca. The pilgrimage is required for all Muslims who are both physically and financially able to go and is to be done at least once in one's lifetime.

[u]Other practices[/u]

[u]Dietary laws[/u]

The Islamic dietary laws provide a set of rules as to what Muslims eat in their diet. These rules specify the food that is halāl, meaning lawful. They are found in Qur'an, usually detailing what is unlawful, or harām. There are some more rules added to these in fatwas by Mujtahids with varying degrees of strictness, but these are not held to be authoritative by all Muslims.

Islamic law prohibits a Muslim from consuming alcohol, eating or drinking blood and its by-products, and eating the meat of a carnivore or omnivore, such as pork, monkey, dog, or cat (piscivorous fishes are not considered carnivorous). For the meat of a land animal to be halāl it must be properly slaughtered by a Muslim or a Person of the Book (Christian or Jew), while mentioning the name of God (Allah in Arabic); for instance, the animal may not be killed by being boiled or electrocuted, and the carcass should be hung upside down long enough to be blood-free. Different rules apply to fish; in general fish with scales are always halāl, though some fatwas declare shellfish and scaleless fishes such as catfish to be harām.

The proper Islamic method of slaughtering an animal is called Dhabiĥa. According to some fatwas, the animal must be slaughtered only by a Muslim. However, some different fatwas dispute this, and rule from the orthodox Qur'anic position, that according to verse 5:5 of the Qur'an (which declares that the food of the People of the Book to be halāl), the slaughter may be done by a Jew or a Christian. Thus, many observant Muslims will accept kosher meat if halāl options are not available. Other main references in Qur'an include 2:173, 5:3, 5:5, 6:118, 6:145, 16:115.

[u]Symbols of Islam[/u]

Muslims do not accept any icon or color as sacred to Islam as they believe that worshipping symbolic or material things is against the spirit of monotheism. Many people assume that the star and crescent symbolize Islam, but these were actually the insignia of the Ottoman Empire,[22] not of Islam as a whole. The color green is often associated with Islam as well; this is custom and not prescribed by religious scholars. However, Muslims will often use elaborately calligraphed verses from the Qur'an and pictures of the Ka'bah as decorations in mosques, homes, and public places. The Qur’anic verses are believed to be sacred.

[b]Organization[/b]

[u]The caliphate[/u]

Muhammed died without appointing a successor or leaving in place a system for choosing one, according to the majority of Muslims. As a result, the caliphate was established. Caliph is the title for the Islamic leader of the Ummah, or community of Islam. It is a transliterated version of the Arabic word "Khalīfah" which means "successor" or "representative". Some of the early leaders of the Muslim community following the prophet Muhammad's (570–632) death called themselves "Khalifat Allah", meaning representative of God, but the alternative title of "Khalifat rasul Allah", meaning the successor to the prophet of God, eventually became the standard title. Some academics prefer to transliterate the term as Khalīf.

Caliphs were often also referred to as Amīr al-Mu'minīn (أمير المؤمنين) "Commander of the Faithful", or, more colloquially, leader of the Muslims. This title has been shortened and romanized to "emir".

None of the early caliphs claimed to receive divine revelations, as did Muhammad; since Muhammad is the last divine messenger, none of them claimed to be a nabī, "a prophet" or a "rasul" or divine messenger. Muhammad's revelations were soon codified and written down as the Qur'an, which was accepted as a supreme authority, limiting what a caliph could legitimately command. However, the early caliphs believed themselves to be the spiritual and temporal leaders of Islam, and insisted that implicit obedience to the caliph in all things was the hallmark of the good Muslim. The role became strictly temporal however, on the rise of the ulama.

After the first four caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan, and Ali ibn Abi Talib), the title was claimed by the Umayyads, the Abbasids, and the Ottomans, as well as by other, competing lineages in Spain, Northern Africa, and Egypt. Most historical Muslim rulers simply titled themselves sultans or amirs, and gave token obedience to a caliph who often had very little real authority. The title has been defunct since the Republic of Turkey abolished the Ottoman caliphate in 1924.

Once the subject of intense conflict and rivalry amongst Muslim rulers, the caliphate has lain dormant and largely unclaimed for much of the past 82 years. Though many Muslims might favor a caliphate in the abstract, tight restrictions on political activity in many Muslim countries coupled with the tremendous practical obstacles to uniting over fifty disparate nation-states under a single institution have prevented efforts to revive the caliphate from garnering much active support, even amongst devout Muslims. No attempts at rebuilding a power structure based on Islam were successful anywhere in the Muslim World until the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which was based on Shia principles and whose leaders did not outwardly call for the restoration of a global Caliphate (although Iran has subsequently made efforts to 'export' its revolution to other Muslim countries).

[u]Islamic law[/u]

The Sharia (Arabic for "well-trodden path") is Islamic law, as shown by traditional Islamic scholarship. The Qur'an is the foremost source of Islamic jurisprudence. The second source is the sunnah of Muhammad and the early Muslim community. The sunnah is not itself a text like the Qur'an, but it is the practical adherence of Muslims to matters of worship. The place of hadith is a disputed one in Islamic law. Hadith (Arabic for report) contains narrations of Muhammad's sayings, deeds, and actions. According to a few scholars, such as Imam Shafi'i, it is secondary to Qur'an, whereas others, such as Imam Malik and the Hanafi scholars, hold it in subjugation to sunnah and oftentimes reject a hadith if it goes against established practices, i.e. sunnah. Ijma (consensus of the community of Muslims) and qiyas (analogical reasoning) are generally regarded as the third and fourth sources of Sharia, but have been contested by some scholars, based on the source (a hadith) from which these are derived. They believe that according to Qur'an, there are other sources that be given higher importance instead.

Islamic law covers all aspects of life, from the broad topics of governance and foreign relations all the way down to issues of daily living. Islamic laws that were covered expressly in the Qur’an were referred to as hudud laws and include specifically the five crimes of theft, highway robbery, intoxication, adultery and falsely accusing another of adultery, each of which has a prescribed "hadd" punishment that cannot be forgone or mitigated. The Qur'an also details laws of inheritance, marriage, restitution for injuries and murder, as well as rules for fasting, charity, and prayer. However, the prescriptions and prohibitions may be broad, so how they are applied in practice varies. Islamic scholars, the ulema, have elaborated systems of law on the basis of these broad rules, supplemented by the hadith reports of how Muhammad and his companions interpreted them.

In current times, as Islam has spread to countries such as Iran, Indonesia, Great Britain, and the United States, not all Muslims understand the Qur'an in its original Arabic. Thus, when Muslims are divided in how to handle situations, they seek the assistance of a mufti (Islamic judge) who can advise them based on Islamic Sharia and hadith.

[u]Islamic calendar[/u]

Islam dates from the Hijra, or migration from Mecca to Medina. Year 1, AH (Anno Hegira) corresponds to AD 622 or 622 CE, depending on the notation preferred (see Common Era). It is a lunar calendar, but differs from other such calendars (e.g. the Celtic calendar) in that it omits intercalary months, being synchronized only with lunations, but not with the solar year, resulting in years of either 354 or 355 days. Therefore, Islamic dates cannot be converted to the usual CE/AD dates simply by adding 622 years. Islamic holy days fall on fixed dates of the lunar calendar, which means that they occur in different seasons in different years in the Gregorian calendar.

[u]Denominations[/u]

Part of a series on the Islamic creed:
Aqidah

Sunni Five Pillars of Islam

Shahādah - Profession of faith
Salat - Prayer
Zakât - Paying of alms (tax)
Sawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Sunni Six articles of belief

Tawhīd - Oneness
Nabi and Rusul - Prophets and Messengers
Kutub - Divinely Revealed Books.
Malā'ikah - Angels
Qiyâmah - Judgment Day
Qadar - Fate
Shia Twelvers
Principles of the Religion

Tawhīd - Oneness
Adalah - Justice
Nubuwwah - Prophethood
Imamah - Leadership
Qiyâmah - Judgment day
Shia Twelvers
Practices of the Religion

Salat - Prayer
Sawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Zakât - Poor-rate
Khums - One-fifth tax
Jihad - Struggle
Amr-Bil-Ma'rūf - Commanding good
Nahi-Anil-Munkar - Forbidding evil
Tawalla - Loving the Ahl al-Bayt
Tabarra - Disassociating Ahl al-Bayt's enemies
Shia Ismaili 7 pillars

Walayah - Guardianship
Taharah - Purity & cleanliness
Salat - Prayers
Zakât - Purifying religious dues
Sawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Jihad - Struggle
Others

[u]Salafi/Kharijite Sixth pillar of Islam.[/u]

There are a number of Islamic religious denominations, each of which have significant theological and legal differences from each other but possess similar essential beliefs. The major schools of thought are Sunni and Shi'a; Sufism is generally considered to be a mystical inflection of Islam rather than a distinct school. According to most sources, present estimates indicate that approximately 85% of the world's Muslims are Sunni and approximately 15% are Shi'a.

[u]Sunni[/u]

The Sunni are the largest group in Islam. In Arabic, as-Sunnah literally means "principle" or "path." Sunnis and Shi'a believe that Muhammad is a perfect example to follow, and that they must imitate the words and acts of Muhammad as accurately as possible. Because of this reason, the sunnah (practices which Muhammad established in the community) is described as a main pillar of Sunni doctrine, with the place of hadith having been argued by scholars as part of the sunnah.

Sunnis recognize four major legal traditions (madhhabs): Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanafi, and Hanbali. All four accept the validity of the others and a Muslim might choose any one that he/she finds agreeable to his/her ideas. There are also several orthodox theological or philosophical traditions (kalam).

[u]Shi'a[/u]

Shi'a Muslims, the second-largest branch, differ from the Sunni in rejecting the authority of the first three caliphs. They honor different accounts of Muhammad (hadith) and have their own legal traditions. The concept of Imamah (leadership) plays a central role in Shi'a doctrine. Shi'a Muslims hold that leadership should not be passed down through a system such as the caliphate, but rather, descendants of Muhammad should be given this right as Imams. Furthermore, they believe that the first Imam, Ali ibn Abu Talib, was explicitly appointed by Muhammad to be his successor.

[u]Sufism[/u]

Sufism is a mystical form of Islam followed by some Muslims within both the Sunni and Shi'a sects. Sufis generally believe that following Islamic law or jurisprudence (or fiqh) is only the first step on the path to perfect submission; they focus on the internal or more spiritual aspects of Islam, such as perfecting one's faith and subduing one's own ego (nafs). Most Sufi orders, or tariqas, can be classified as either Sunni or Shi'a. However, there are some that are not easily categorized as either Sunni or Shi'a, such as the Bektashi. Sufis are found throughout the Islamic world, from Senegal to Indonesia. Their innovative beliefs and actions often come under criticism from Wahhabis, who consider certain practices to be against the letter of Islamic law.

[u]Others[/u]

Salafis are a more recent Sunni offshoot; however, the Salafi movement sees itself as restorationist and derives its teachings from all of the original sources of the religion. To other Muslims and non-Muslims Wahabi is the term most popularly associated with them. Followers of Salafism often also use the term "Ahl-us Sunnah Wa Jama'ah" as a label for their following, which would translate to English as "Congregation of the Followers of Sunnah". Salafiyyah is a movement commonly thought as founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab in the 18th century in what is present-day Saudi Arabia. They are classified as Sunni. One of the foremost principles, however, is the abolition of "schools of thoughts" (legal traditions), and the following of Muhammad directly through the study of the sciences of the Hadith (prophetic traditions). The Hanbali legal tradition is the strongest school of thought where the Islamic law in Saudi Arabia is derived from, and they have had a great deal of influence on the Islamic world because of Saudi control of Mecca and Medina, the Islamic holy places, and because of Saudi funding for mosques and schools in other countries. The majority of Saudi Islamic scholars are considered as Wahhabis by other parts of the Islamic world.

Another sect which dates back to the early days of Islam is that of the Kharijites. The only surviving branch of the Kharijites are the Ibadi Muslims. Ibadhism is distinguished from Shiism by its belief that the Imam (Leader) should be chosen solely on the basis of his faith, not on the basis of descent, and from Sunnism in its rejection of Uthman and Ali and strong emphasis on the need to depose unjust rulers. Ibadi Islam is noted for its strictness, but, unlike the Kharijites proper, Ibadis do not regard major sins as automatically making a Muslim an unbeliever. Most Ibadi Muslims live in Oman.

Another trend in modern Islam is that which is sometimes called progressive. Followers may be called Ijtihadists. They may be either Sunni or Shi'ite, and generally favor the development of personal interpretations of Qur'an and Hadith. Commonly associated with liberal movements in Islam are the Qur'an only Muslims, who reject Fiqh and Hadith.

There is also a very small sect isolated within India and Pakistan which identifies themselves as Ahmadi Muslims, who believe in the continuation of prophethood after Muhammad, in contradiction to mainstream Muslims who believe that Muhammad was the final prophet. Although this sect is not accepted as Muslim by mainstream Islamic scholars, they continue to identify themselves as the term Muslim against the desire of mainstream Islam. Likewise, Ahmadis believe that rest of the Muslims who do not share faith with them are non-Muslims.

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[u]Islam and other religions[/u]

The Qur'an contains both injunctions to respect other religions, and to fight and subdue unbelievers during war. Some Muslims have respected Jews and Christians as fellow people of the book (monotheists following Abrahamic religions), while others have reviled them as having abandoned monotheism and corrupted their scriptures. At different times and places, Islamic communities have been both intolerant and tolerant. Support can be found in the Qur'an for both attitudes.

The classical Islamic solution was a limited tolerance — Jews and Christians were to be allowed to privately practice their faith and follow their own family law. They were called dhimmis and paid a special tax called the jizya, since the zakat paid by Muslims was not compulsory on them. The status of dhimmis is a matter of dispute, with some claiming that dhimmis were persecuted second-class citizens, and others that their lot was not difficult.

The medieval Islamic state was often more tolerant than many other states of the time which insisted on complete conformity to a state religion. The record of contemporary Muslim-majority states is mixed. Some are generally regarded as tolerant, while others have been accused of intolerance and human rights violations.

One of the open issues is the claim from hardline Muslims that once a certain territory has been under 'Muslim' rule, it can never be relinquished anymore, and that such a period of Islamic rule would give the Muslims an eternal right on the claimed territory. This claim is particularly controversial with regard to Israel and to a lesser degree Spain and parts of the Balkans.

[u]Related faiths[/u]

The Yazidi, Sikhism, Bábísm, Bahá'í Faith, Berghouata and Ha-Mim religions either emerged out of an Islamic milieu or have beliefs in common with Islam in varying degrees; in almost all cases those religions were also influenced by traditional beliefs in the regions where they emerged, but consider themselves independent religions with distinct laws and institutions. The last two religions no longer have any followers.

[u]History[/u]

Islam began in Arabia in the 7th century under the leadership of Muhammad, who spread Islam across all of Arabia. Within a century of his death, an Islamic state stretched from the Atlantic ocean in the west to central Asia in the east, which, however, was soon torn by civil wars (fitnas). After this, there would always be rival dynasties claiming the caliphate, or leadership of the Muslim world, and many Islamic states or empires offering only token obedience to an increasingly powerless caliph.

Despite this fragmentation of Islam as a political community, the empires of the Abbasid caliphs, the Mughals, and the Seljuk Turk, Safavid Persia and Ottomans were among the largest and most powerful in the world. Arabs made many Islamic centers of culture and science and produced notable scientists, astronomers, mathematicians, doctors and philosophers during the Golden Age of Islam. Technology flourished; there was much investment in economic infrastructure, such as irrigation systems and canals; stress on the importance of reading the Qur'an produced a comparatively high level of literacy in the general populace.

Islam at its geographical height stretched for thousands of miles. Islamic conquest into Christian Europe spread as far as southern France. After the disastrous defeat of the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, Christian Europe, at the behest of the Pope, launched a series of Crusades and for a time captured Jerusalem. Saladin, however, recaptured Palestine and defeated the Shiite Fatimids.

In the 15th century and 16th centuries three major Muslim empires were created: the Ottoman Empire in much of the Middle East, Balkans and Northern Africa; the Safavid Empire in Iran; and the Mughul Empire in India. These new imperial powers were made possible by the discovery and exploitation of gunpowder, and more efficient administration.

By the end of the 19th century, however all three had declined due to internal conflict and were later destroyed by Western cultural influence and military ambitions. Following WWI, the remnants of the Ottoman empire were parceled out as European protectorates or spheres of influence. Many Islamic countries have now been formed from these protectorates, such as Iraq, Iran, of Lebanon. Islam and Islamic political power have become much more influential in the 21st century, particularly due to Islamic control of most of the world's oil.

[u]Contemporary Islam[/u]

Although the most prominent movement in Islam in recent times has been fundamentalist Islamism, there are a number of liberal movements within Islam, which seek alternative ways to align the Islamic faith with contemporary questions.

Early Sharia had a much more flexible character than is currently associated with Islamic jurisprudence, and many modern Muslim scholars believe that it should be renewed, and the classical jurists should lose their special status. This would require formulating a new fiqh suitable for the modern world, e.g. as proposed by advocates of the Islamization of knowledge, and would deal with the modern context. One vehicle proposed for such a change has been the revival of the principle of ijtihad, or independent reasoning by a qualified Islamic scholar, which has lain dormant for centuries.

This movement does not aim to challenge the fundamentals of Islam; rather, it seeks to clear away misinterpretations and to free the way for the renewal of the previous status of the Islamic world as a centre of modern thought and freedom.

Many Muslims counter the claim that only "liberalization" of the Islamic Sharia law can lead to distinguishing between tradition and true Islam by saying that meaningful "fundamentalism", by definition, will eject non-Islamic cultural inventions — for instance, acknowledging and implementing Muhammad's insistence that women have God-given rights that no human being may legally infringe upon. Proponents of modern Islamic philosophy sometimes respond to this by arguing that, as a practical matter, "fundamentalism" in popular discourse about Islam may actually refer, not to core precepts of the faith, but to various systems of cultural traditionalism.

[u]The demographics of Islam today[/u]

Based on the figures published in the 2005 CIA World Factbook, Islam is the second largest religion in the world. According to the Al Islam, and Samuel Huntington, Islam is the Fastest Growing Major Religion by percent (though not by raw numbers). Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance estimate that it is growing at about 2.9% annually, as opposed to 2.3% per year global population growth. Most of this growth is due to the high population growth in many Islamic countries (six out of the top-ten countries in the world with the highest birth rates are majority Muslim). The birth rates in some Muslim countries are now declining.

Commonly cited estimates of the Muslim population today range between 900 million and 1.5 billion people (cf. Adherents.com); estimates of Islam by country based on U.S. State Department figures yield a total of 1.48 billion, while the Muslim delegation at the United Nations quoted 1.2 billion as the global Muslim population in September 2005.

Only 18% of Muslims live in the Arab world; 20% are found in Sub-Saharan Africa, about 30% in the South Asian region of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, and the world's largest single Muslim community (within the bounds of one nation) is in Indonesia. There are also significant Muslim populations in China, Europe, Central Asia, and Russia.

France has the highest Muslim population of any nation in Western Europe, with up to 6 million Muslims (10% of the population). Albania has the highest proportion of Muslims as part of its population in Europe (70%), although this figure is only an estimate (see Islam in Albania). Countries in Europe with many Muslims include Bosnia and Herzegovina (estimated around 50 % are Bosniaks, Muslims) and Macedonia where over 30 % of the population is Muslim, mostly ethnic Albanians in Macedonia. The country in Europe with the most Muslims is Russia. The number of Muslims in North America is variously estimated as anywhere from 1.8 to 7 million.

[u]Islamophobia[/u]

Islamophobia is defined as prejudice against Muslims. The concept is often criticized as a threat to freedom of speech. Some of the criticism of Islam has been interpreted as a product of Islamophobia.

Some high profile examples of attitudes or actions described as Islamophobic are the following:

    * The British National Party which has a party platform of opposing Islam, and has described Islam as a "menace", has been described as Islamophobic by numerous organisations and individuals, including a United Kingdom Parliamentry Select Committee.
    * Various attacks on mosques.
    * Smearing of a Qur'an with what appeared to be feces and dumping it in Nashville, Tennessee, United States.
    * In a February 10, 2004 report by Al Jazeera the head of the Party of France's Muslims, Muhammad Latreche in discussing the French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools was quoted as saying that the legislation would, "institutionalise Islamophobia".

Organisations, such as the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) have claimed that Islamophobia is based on an ignorance of the religion of Islam. Other organizations, such as the United States based Council on American-Islamic Relations, have set up campaigns such as "Explore the Qur'an", where non-Muslims are given a free copy of the Qur'an, "Explore the life of Muhammad", where non-Muslims are given a free DVD or book explaining the Life of Muhammad, "Not in the Name of Islam", where American Muslims are asked to sign a petition signalling their opposition to terrorism, and "Hate Hurts America", which is designed to counter and remove anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic speech on radio talk shows.

[u]Political and religous extremism[/u]

The term Islamism describes a set of political ideologies derived from Islamic fundamentalism.[39] Most Islamist ideologies hold that Islam is not only a religion, but also a political system that governs the legal, economic and social imperatives of the state according to interpretations of Islamic Law.

Islamic extremist terrorism refers to acts of terrorism claimed by its supporters and practitioners to be in furtherance of the goals of Islam. Its prevalence has heavily increased in recent years, and it has become a contentious political issue in many nations.

The validity of an Islamic justification for these acts is contested by many Muslims. Islamic extremist violence is not synonymous with all terrorist activities committed by Muslims: nationalists, separatists, and others in the Muslim world often derive inspiration from secular ideologies.

[u]Criticism of Islam[/u]

The neutrality of this section is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.

In recent years, Islam has been the subject of criticism and controversy, and is often viewed with considerable negativity in the West. Islam, the Qur'an, and Muhammad, have all been subject to both criticism and vilification.

[u]The main points of secular criticism are:[/u]

    * The use of fatwas to punish violations committed by Muslims (e.g. the death edict against British writer Salman Rushdie).
    * Apostasy in Islam, which is punishable by death under Islamic Law.
    * Human rights abuses by the Taliban and other fundamentalist governments.
    * The use of violence by Islamist militant organizations as a means of spreading Islam.
    * The state of women's rights in muslim societies.
    * The suppression of free speech (e.g. Muhammad Cartoons).
Thank you, Will do :)


Kasım 13, 2006, 04:55:19 ös
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I posted a link to this forum.

Can I get the code to the second post as well?
Thanks


Kasım 13, 2006, 09:57:00 ös
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[color=green][u][b][size=14pt]History of Islam[/size][/b][/u][/color]


[u]Background[/u]

Like most major world religions, Islam's historical development has affected political, economic, and military trends both inside and outside its primary geographic zones of reach (see Islamic world). As with Christendom, the concept of an Islamic world may be useful in looking at different periods of human history; similarly useful is an understanding of the identification with a quasi-political community of believers, or ummah, on the part of Islam's practitioners down the centuries.

Islam appeared in Arabia in the 7th century . Within a century of Muhammad's first recitations of theQur'an, an Islamic state stretched from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Central Asia in the east. This empire did not remain unified for long; the new polity soon broke into a civil war known to Islamic historians as the Fitna, and later affected by a Second Fitna. After this, there would be rival dynasties claiming the caliphate, or leadership of the Muslim world, and many Islamic states and empires offered only token obedience to a caliph unable to unify the Islamic world.

Despite this fragmentation of Islam as a political community, the empires of the Abbasid caliphs, the Mughals, and the Seljuk Turk, Safavid Persia and Ottomans were among the largest and most powerful in the world. Arabs made many Islamic centers of culture and science and produced notable scientists, astronomers, mathematicians, doctors and philosophers during the Golden Age of Islam. Technology flourished; there was much investment in economic infrastructure, such as irrigation systems and canals; stress on the importance of reading the Qur'an produced a comparatively high level of literacy in the general populace.

In the 18th and 19th centuries C.E., Islamic regions fell under the sway of European imperial powers. Following World War I, the remnants of the Ottoman empire were parcelled out as European protectorates. Since then, no major widely-accepted claim to the caliphate (which had been last claimed by the Ottomans) remained.

Although affected by various ideologies, such as communism, during much of the twentieth century, Islamic identity and Islam's salience on political questions have arguably increased during the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. Rapid growth, western interests in Islamic regions, international conflicts and globalization influenced Islam's importance in shaping the world of the twenty-first century.

[u]Note on early Islamic historiography[/u]

There are several Muslim versions of early Islamic history as written by the Sunni, Shi'a, and Ibadi sects. 19th century Western scholars tended to privilege the Sunni versions; the Sunni are the largest sect, and their books and scholars were easily available. Over the last hundred years, Western scholars have become much more willing to question the orthodox view and to advance new theories and new narratives.

[b][color=green]Empire of Faith[/color][/b] (part-1)
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[u][b]Muhammad[/b][/u]

Arabia before Muhammad was scantily populated by various Arabic-speaking people. Some were Bedouin, pastoral nomads organized in tribes. Some were agriculturalists, living either in oases in the north, or in the more fertile and thickly settled areas to the south (now Yemen and Oman). At that time the majority of Arabs followed polytheistic religions, although a few tribes followed Judaism, Christianity (including Nestorians) or Zoroastrianism. The city Mecca was a religious center for some of the northern Arabian polytheists, as it contained the sacred well of Zamzam and a small temple, the Ka'aba.

Muhammad was born on the outskirts of Mecca in the Year of the Elephant. Most Muslims equate this with the Gregorian year 570 but a few prefer 571. He was orphaned at an early age and was raised by his uncle Abu Talib. He became a merchant, married a wealthy widow, and could have looked forward to a life of ease and prosperity.

However, when he was some forty years old, he experienced what he apparently believed to be a divine revelation while he was meditating in a cave outside Mecca. This would have been in 610 C.E. After an initial period of doubt and fear, he started to preach to his kinfolk and then in public, to all Meccans.

Muhammad had been chosen by God, like the Hebrew prophets before him, to preach repentance, submission to God, and a coming day of judgment. He said he was not preaching a new religion, just reviving the old and pure tradition which he thought the Christians and Jews had debased. He attracted followers.

In 622 A.D, Muhammad and many of his followers fled to the neighboring city of Medina. This migration is called the Hijra; it was the first year of Muhammad's "reign" as a secular ruler as well as a religious leader. Following the custom of the time, later historians took that year as the start of the Muslim calendar.

The two cities of Mecca and Medina went to war. Muhammad and his followers won one battle (Battle of Badr) and managed to stalemate a Meccan attack in the Battle of the Trench. Through conquest and conversion, Muhammad was able to unite the surrounding tribes behind him and eventually assembled such a large force that Mecca capitulated without a fight. By the time Muhammad died, on June 8, 632, he and his followers had united the entire Arabian peninsula under Islam, and had started to expand into the areas now known as Syria and Iraq.

[u]Rashidun[/u]

After Muhammad passed away, a series of Caliphs governed the Islamic State: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali. These first Caliphs are popularly known as the "Rashidun" or rightly guided Caliphs.

Abu Bakr's short reign (632-34) was occupied by the Ridda wars - rebellions of Bedouin Arabs. During Umar's rule, Muslim armies invaded Palestine and Mesopotamia. At the Battle of Yarmuk (636), Muslim armies won a crushing victory over the Byzantines, thus paving the way for the conquest of Egypt and Syria. After a decisive victory over the Sassanid empire at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah in 637, Muslims overwhelmed the Persians in Mesopotamia. Five years later, after the Battle of Nihawānd, Persia was effectively included in the expanding Islamic empire.

[u]The First Fitna[/u]

Umar was succeeded by Uthman ibn Affan, another of Muhammad's earliest followers. Under Uthman, the new empire fell into a civil war called the Fitna, or disorder. Some of Muhammad's family and earliest followers were unhappy with Uthman, feeling that he was unduly favoring his kinsfolk and acting less like a religious leader and more like a king. Rebellious soldiers killed Uthman and offered the leadership to Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad's cousin, foster-son, and son-in-law. Many Muslims (in particular, those who had their own designs on the Caliphate) refused to accept Ali as a leader; he spent his brief caliphate fighting against dissenting factions and Uthman's relatives, the Umayyads. Ali was killed by a Khariji assassin and the Umayyads claimed the caliphate. They managed to retain leadership of the majority of Muslims for several generations, but save for a brief period, never again ruled over an undivided Islamic empire. The Islamic faith diverged as well, splitting into the two main sects of today (Sunni and Shi'a). (This is perhaps a gross over-simplification of a complex religious history).

[u]Early Caliphate[/u]

After the Rashidun, a series of Caliphates were established. Each caliphate was a monarchy, developed its own unique laws and adopted a particular sect of Islam as a State religion. Until the ninth century the Muslim World would remain a single political entity under the leadership of one Caliph. The early Caliphate is also known as the Arab Empire or Islamic Empire.

[u]Umayyads[/u]

Ali was succeeded by Muawiya I, who became the first Ummayad caliph. The capital, moved to Damascus, and an elected caliph was replaced by a hereditary Sultan.

Under the Ummayads, the Muslim world expanded into North Africa and Hispania in the West, and Central Asia in the East. According to Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair,

    By the early eighth century, the Islamic empire stretched from North Africa on the west to Transoxiana and Sind (modern-day Pakistan) in the east, nearly one quarter the way around the globe, an area that made the empires of the Persians, Alexander the Great, and the Romans seem puny...The Muslims, no longer Arab merchants from the heartland of Arabia, became masters of the economic and cultural heartland of the Near East, and their faith, Islam, was no longer as obscure Arabian cult but the religion of an imperial elite.

Much of the population of this new empire was non-Muslim, and aside from a protection tax (jizya) and other restrictions, the conquered people found their religions tolerated. Indeed, Muslim authorities often discouraged conversions. Under the Umayyads, would-be converts had to find an Arab patron who would adopt them into his tribe. Once they were honorary Arabs they could convert.

Nevertheless, most of the population eventually converted to Islam. Whether this was a fast or a slow movement is a topic hotly debated in academia, and only to be settled by meticulous country-by-country studies. Ummayad conversion policies, however, did create tensions in the empire as greater numbers of non-Arabs (mostly Persians) converted. The tensions increased when Shiites joined the protest against Ummayad rule.

Umayyad rule was interrupted by a second civil war (the Second Fitna) in the early 680s, re-established, then ended in 750.

[u]Abbasids[/u]

The Abbasids overthrew the increasingly unpopular Ummayads and took over the caliphate. They moved the capital to Baghdad (closer to Persia), and made Persian the second lingua franca (after Arabic) of the empire. During this time Baghdad became, perhaps, the greatest cultural center of the world. The Abbasids were said to be descendents of Abbas the uncle of the Prophet claiming that they were the 'messiha' or saviours of the people under the Ummayad rule. Abbasid caliphs Harun al-Rashid and Al-Mamun were great patrons of arts and sciences, and enabled these domains to flourish. Islamic philosophy also developed as the Shariah was codified, and the four Madhabs were established. This era also saw the rise of classical Sufism. The greatest achievement, however, was completion of the canonical collections of Hadith of Sahih Bukhari and others.[5] After this, there would be rival dynasties claiming the caliphate, or leadership of the Muslim world, and many Islamic states and empires offered only token obedience to a caliph unable to unify the Islamic world.

[b][color=green]Empire of Faith[/color][/b] (part-2)
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[b][u]Regional powers[/u][/b]

The Abbasids soon became caught within a three-way rivalry of Arabs, Persians and the immigrant Turks. In addition, the cost of running a large empire became too great. The political unity of Islam began to disintegrate. The emirates, still recognizing the theoretical leadership of the caliphs, drifted into independence, and a brief revival of control was ended with the establishment of rival caliphates. Eventually the Abbasids ruled as puppets for the Buwayhid emirs.

[u]Fatimids[/u]

The Fatimids,(Fatimid Caliphate),who are believed to be the descendants of Fatima, is the Shi'a Ismaili dynasty that ruled from 5 January 910 to 1171. The ruling elite of the state belonged to the Ismaili branch of Shi'ism. The leaders of the dynasty were also Shia Ismaili Imams, hence, they had a religious significance to Ismaili Muslims.

The Fatimids established sovereignty over Egypt, North Africa, Sicily and Syria. Under the Fatimids, the city of Cairo was established and built into an imperial military and cultural center.

The Fatimid territories of Syria and Palestine fell to the invading Seljuks in the late eleventh century. They would, however, continue to rule in Egypt until its conquest by Saladin in the late twelfth century.

[u]Seljuks[/u]

A series of new invasions swept over the Islamic world. The newly converted Seljuk Turks swept across and conquered most of Islamic Asia, Syria and Palestine. The Seljuks made religion an instrument of the state, while giving the clergy significant say over the affairs of the government. They also put an end to Caliphal institutions. These policies would be carried out by successive governments of Nur al-Din, Saladin and Mamluks.

Shortly after, they won a decisive victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert, paving the way for further conquest of Anatolia.

[b][u]Crusades[/u][/b]

In 1095 Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade and captured Edessa, Antioch, Tripoli and Jerusalem. The Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem emerged and for a time controlled many holy sites of Islam. Saladin, however, restored unity, defeated the Fatimids and put an end to the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187. Later the Second Crusade was launched but was unsuccessful. Other crusades were launched with at least the nominal intent to recapture the holy city, but hardly more was ever accomplished than the looting and occupation of Constantinople, leaving the Byzantine Empire severely weakened and ripe for later conquest. Christian-majority countries would regain a firm hold on Jerusalem in 1917, during the First World War.

[u]Mamluks[/u]

In 1250, the short-lived Ayyubid dynasty (established by Saladin) was overthrown by slave regiments, and new dynasty - the Mamluks - were born. The Mamluks soon expanded into Palestine, expelled the remaining Crusader states and repelled the Mongols from invading Syria. Thus they united Syria and Egypt for the longest period of time between the Abbasid and Ottoman empires.

Legacy During this time, great advancements were made in the areas of astronomy, poetry, philosophy science and mathematics.

[b]Islam in Asia[/b]

[u]Indian Subcontinent[/u]

Islamic rule came to the region in the 8th century, when Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh, (Pakistan). Muslim conquests were expanded under Mahmud and the Ghaznavids until the late twelfth century, when the Ghurids overran the Ghaznavids and extended the conquests in northern India. Qutb-ud-din Aybak, conquered Delhi in 1206 and began the reign of the Delhi Sultanates.

In the fourteenth century, Alauddin Khilji extended Muslim rule south to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Deccan. Various other Muslim dynasties also formed and ruled across India from the 13th to the 18th century such as the Qutb Shahi and the Bahmani, but none rivalled the power and extensive reach of the Mughal Empire at its peak.

[u]China[/u]

During the lifetime of Muhammad, Arab merchants reached China via the Silk Road and introduced Islam. Then, in 650, the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, sent an official delegation to the Tang dynasty. The Chinese emperor ordered the establishment of the first Chinese mosque in the city of Chang'an, and this event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China. By the early ninth century Islam had reached as far south as Hangzhou.

The Mongol invasions of China and Persia, brought the two regions under a single political entity. This led to increased contacts and cultural exchange between China and the Muslim world. Following the Mongols, the succeeding Ming dynasty was also tolerant of Muslims. During its reign many Muslim attained high posts. These policies were, however, reversed by the Qing dynasty, when it came to power.

[u]Southeast Asia[/u]

In the late 13th century, Muslim merchants and missionaries began to bring Islam to Southeast Asia. Soon, many Sufi missionaries translated classical Sufi literature from Arabic and Persian into Malay. Coupled with the composing of original Islamic literature in Malay, this led the way to the transformation of Malay into an Islamic language. By 1292, when Marco Polo visited Sumatra, most of the inhabitants had converted to Islam. The Sultanate of Malacca was founded by Parameswara,a Srivijayan Prince in the Malay peninsula. Through trade and commerce, Islam spread to Borneo and Java, Indonesia. By late 15th century, Islam had been introduced to the Philippines.

As Islam spread, three main Muslim political powers emerged. Acheh, the most important Muslim power, was based firmly in Northern Sumatra. It controlled much of the area between Southeast Asia and India. The Sultunate also attracted Sufi poets. The second Muslim power was the Sultanate of Malacca on the Malay peninsula. The Sultanate of Demak, the third power emerged in Java, where the Muslim emerging forces defeated the local Majapahit kingdom in the early 16th century.

[u]Mongol Invasions[/u]

By the early 13th century a very serious threat had arrived. The Mongols, who invaded Baghdad in 1258, had conquered most Islamic territories east of Egypt. The Horde permanently ended the Abbasid caliphate and the Golden Age of medieval Islam, leaving the Islamic world damaged and confused. Some Mongols later converted to Islam and developed their own sophisticated and diverse trade based culture, integrating elements from every corner of Eurasia.

[u][b]Three Muslim empires[/b][/u]

In the 15th century and 16th centuries three major Muslim empires were created: the aforementioned Ottoman Empire in much of the Middle East, Balkans and Northern Africa; the Safavid Empire in Iran; and the Mughul Empire in India. These new imperial powers were made possible by the discovery and exploitation of gunpowder, and more efficient administration. By the end of the 19th century, all three had declined significantly, and by the early 20th century, with the Ottomans' defeat in World War I, the last Muslim empire dissolved.

[u]Mughal Empire[/u]

The Mughal Empire was a product of various Central Asian invasions into India. Founded by Babur in 1526, the empire went on to rule most of present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan under his successors for several centuries, before it declined in the early 18th century, which led to India being divided into smaller kingdoms and princely states. The Mughal dynasty was eventually dissolved by the British Empire after the Indian rebellion of 1857.

The empire left a lasting legacy on Indian culture and architecture. Amongst the famous buildings built by the Mughals, include: Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens and Agra Fort. During the empire's reign of power, Muslim communities flourished all over India, particularly in Gujarat, Bengal and Hyderabad. Various Sufi orders from Afghanistan and Iran were very active throughout the region. Consequently, more than a quarter of the population converted to Islam.

Safavid Empire

The Safavids (Persian: صفویان) were an Iranian dynasty from Iranian Azarbaijan that ruled from 1501 to 1736, and which established Shi'a Islam as Iran's official religion and united its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty, thereby reigniting the Persian identity.

Although claiming to be the descendants of Ali ibn Abu Talib, the Safavids were originally Sunni (the name "Safavid" comes from a Sufi order called Safavi). Their origins go back to Firuz Shah Zarrinkolah, an Iranian local dignitary from Iran's north. During their rule, the Safavids recognized Shiism as the State religion, thus giving Iran a separate identity from its Sunni neighbours.

In 1524, Tahmasp acceded to the throne, initiating reviving arts in the region. Carpet making became a major industry, gaining new importance in Iran's cities. But the finest of all artistic revivals was the commissioning of the Shahnama. The Shahnama was meant to glorify the reign of the Shah through artistic means. The two-volume copy contained 258 large paintings to illustrate the works of Firdawsi, a Persian poet. The Shah also prohibited the drinking of wine, forbade the use of hashish and ordered the removal of gambling casinos, taverns and brothels.

Tahmasp's grandson, Shah Abbas I, also managed to increase the glory of the empire. Abbas restored the shrine of Imam Reza at Mashhad, and restored the dynastic shrine at Ardabil. Both shrines received jewelry, fine manuscripts and Chinese porcelains. Abbas also moved the empire's capital to Isfahan, revived old ports, and established thriving trade with the Europeans. Amongst Abbas's most visible cultural achievements was the construction of Naqsh-i Jahan ("Design of the World"). The plaza, located near a Friday mosque, covered twenty acres, thus dwarfing Piazza San Marco and St. Peter's Square.

[u]Ottoman Empire[/u]

The Islamic world reached a new peak (albeit not comparable to the Golden Age of the Abbasiah) under the Ottoman (Uthmaniah) Empire. The Turks migrated from the Central Asian steppe and at first established a tiny state in Anatolia (modern day Turkey). In 1453, after a two-month siege, Ottoman Janissaries and cannons overwhelmed Constantinople. The millennium-old Byzantine Empire was suddenly absorbed by the new Ottoman Empire, which would extend its influence over most of the Islamic world and reach deep into Christian Europe.

The Ottoman empire, which was making great strides in conquering the East, threatened to conquer Central and Western Europe. In 1529, the Siege of Vienna failed, stopping any further Ottoman advances into Eastern Europe. The Battle of Vienna in 1683 precipitated the withdrawal of the Ottoman Empire from many parts of Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

[u]Wahhabism[/u]

During the 18th century, Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703–1792) led a religious movement (Wahhabism) in eastern Arabia that sought to purify Islam. Wahhab wanted to return Islam to what he thought were its original principles as taught by the as-salaf as-saliheen (the earliest converts to Islam) and rejected what he regarded as corruptions introduced by Bida (religious innovation) and Shirk (polytheism). He allied himself with the House of Saud, which eventually triumphed over the Rashidis to control Central Arabia, and led several revolts against the Ottoman empire. Initial success (the conquest of Mecca and Medina) was followed by ignominious defeat, then a resurgence which culminated in the creation of Saudi Arabia.

[u]The 20th century[/u]

The modern age brought radical technological and organizational changes to Europe and Islamic countries found themselves less modern when compared to the many western nations. Europe's state-based government and rampant colonization allowed the West to dominate the globe economically and forced Islamic countries to question change. Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire

[u]Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire[/u]

Some Muslim territories, for example Syria, were granted at least nominal independence after the end of the First World War and some gained full independence after the second[citation needed]. Many Muslim countries sought to imitate European political organization and nationalism began to emerge in the Muslim world. Countries like Egypt, Syria, and Turkey organized their governments with definable policies and sought to develop national pride amongst their citizens. Other places, like Iraq, were not as successful due to a lack of unity.

Some Muslim countries, such as Turkey and Egypt, sought to separate Islam from the secular government. In other cases, such as Saudi Arabia, the new government brought out new religious expression in the re-emergence of the puritanical form of Sunni Islam known to its detractors as Wahhabism which found its way into the Saudi royal family.

[u]Partition of India and establishment of Pakistan[/u]

The partition of India refers to the creation in August 1947 of two sovereign states of India and Pakistan. The two nations were formed out of the former British Raj, including treaty states, when Britain granted independence to the area. In particular, the term refers to the partition of Bengal and Punjab, the two main provinces of the would be Pakistan.

In 1947, after the partition of India, Pakistan became the largest Islamic Country in the world (by population). Today, Pakistan is still the second largest Islamic country in the world. Pakistan is presently the only nuclear power of the Muslim world and is one of the more developed nations among the Muslim countries.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, by population. India has the third largest Muslim population, followed by Bangladesh.

[u]Arab-Israeli conflict[/u]

The Arab-Israeli conflict spans about a century of political tensions and open hostilities. It involves the establishment of the modern State of Israel as a Jewish nation state, as well as the relationship between the Arab nations and the state of Israel (see related Israeli-Palestinian conflict). Despite involving a relatively small land area and number of casualties, the conflict has been the focus of worldwide media and diplomatic attention for decades. Many countries, individuals and non-governmental organizations elsewhere in the world feel involved in this conflict for reasons such as cultural and religious ties with Islam, Arab culture, Christianity, Judaism, Jewish culture or for ideological, human rights, or strategic reasons. While some consider the Arab-Israeli conflict a part of (or a precursor to) a wider clash of civilizations between the Western World and the Arab or Muslim world, others oppose this view. Animosity emanating from this conflict has caused numerous attacks on supporters (or perceived supporters) of one side by supporters of the other side in many countries around the world.

[u]Oil wealth and petropolitics dominate the Middle East[/u]

Between 1953 and 1964, King Saud re-organized the government of the monarchy his father, Ibn Saud, had created. Saudi Arabia's new ministries included Communication (1953) Agriculture and Water (1953), Petroleum (1960), Pilgrimage and Islamic Endowments (1960), Labour and Social Affairs (1962) and Information (1963). He also put his Talal, one of his many younger brothers (by 29 years his younger) in charge of the Ministry of Transport.

In 1958-59, Talal proposed the formation of a National Council. As he proposed it, it would have been a consultative body, not a legislature. Still, he thought of it as a first step toward broader popular participation in the government. Talal presented this proposal to the king when the Crown Prince was out of the country. Saud simply forwarded the proposal to the ulama asking them whether a National Council was a legitimate institution in Islam. The idea seems to have died in committee, so to speak. It would be revived more than three decades later. A Consultative Council came into existence in 1992.

Meantime, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries came into existence in 1960. For the first decade or more of its existence, it was ineffectual in terms of increasing revenue for member nations. But it would have its day. Tension between Faisal and Saud continued to mount until a final showdown in 1964. Saud threatened to mobilize the Royal Guard against Faisal and Faisal threatened to mobilize the National Guard against Saud. It was Saud who blinked, abdicating and leaving for Cairo, then Greece, where he would die in 1969. Faisal then became King.

In 1967, Israel won a whirlwind conflict in six days. In response, Arab leaders (including King Faisal) held a conference in Khartoum in August. They all agreed on three negative slogans with respect to Israel: “no recognition, no negotiations, no peace.” Faisal agreed that Saudi Arabia would use some of its oil wealth to finance the “front-line states,” those that bordered Israel, in their struggle.

The 1967 war had other effects. It effectively closed the Suez canal, it may have contributed to the revolution in Libya that put Muammar al-Qaddafi in power, and it led in May 1970 to the closure of the "tapline" from Saudi Arabia through Syria to Lebanon. These developments had the effect of increasing the importance of the petroleum in Libya, which is a conveniently short (and canal-free) shipping distance from Europe.

In 1970, it was Occidental Petroleum which constituted the first crack in the wall of oil company solidarity in dealing with the oil producing nations; specifically, in this case, with the demands for price increases of the new Qaddafi government.

In October 1973, another war between Israel and its Muslim neighbors, known as the Yom Kippur War, got underway just as oil company executives were heading to Vienna, Austria, site of a planned meeting with OPEC leaders. OPEC had been emboldened by the success of Libya's demands anyway, and the war strengthened the unity of their new demands.

The centrality of petroleum, the Arab-Israeli Conflict and political and economic instability and uncertainty remain constant features of the politics of the region.

[u]Two Iranian revolutions[/u]

The Iranian Constitutional Revolution took place between 1905 and 1911. The revolution marked the beginning of the end of Iran's feudalistic society and led to the establishment of a parliament in Persia and restriction of the power of Shah(king). The first constitution of Iran was approved. But after the final victory of revolutionist over Shah, the modernist and conservative blocks began to fight with each other. Then World war I took place and all of the combatants invaded Iran and weakened the government and threated the independency of Iran. Finally the system of constitutional monarchy created by the decree of Mozzafar-al-Din Shah that was established in Persia as a result of the Revolution ultimately came to an end in 1925 with the dissolution of the Qajar dynasty and the ascension of Reza Shah Pahlavi to the throne.

The Iranian Revolution (also called "The Islamic Revolution" ) was the 1979 revolution that transformed Iran from a constitutional monarchy, under Shah (King) Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to a populist theocratic Islamic republic under the rule of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a Shi`i Muslim cleric and marja. Following the Revolution, Iranians participated in a referendum and almost all of them chose Islamic republic as a new government. Then a new constitution was approved in that year and Ruhollah Khomeini became Supreme Leader of Iran. During two next years liberals, leftists, and islamists groups fought with each other and ultimately islamists captured the power. On the other hand U.S., USSR and most of the Arab goverments of the middle east were frightened that their dominants in the region was challenged by new Islamic idealogy. So they encouraged and supported Saddam to invade Iran, which resulted in Iran-Iraq war.

[b][color=green]Empire of Faith[/color][/b] (part-3)
[html]<embed style="width:400px; height:326px;" id="VideoPlayback"

Anything for a Brother...
- Sahsima ozel mesaj atmadan once Yonetim Hiyerarsisini izleyerek ilgili yoneticiler ile gorusunuz.
- Masonluk hakkinda ozel mesaj ile bilgi, yardim ve destek sunulmamaktadir.
- Sorunuz ve mesajiniz hangi konuda ise o konudan sorumlu gorevli yada yonetici ile gorusunuz. Sahsim, butun cabalarinizdan sonra gorusmeniz gereken en son kisi olmalidir.
- Sadece hicbir yoneticinin cozemedigi yada forumda asla yazamayacaginiz cok ozel ve onemli konularda sahsima basvurmalisiniz.
- Masonluk ve Masonlar hakkinda bilgi almak ve en onemlisi kisisel yardim konularinda tarafima dogrudan ozel mesaj gonderenler cezalandirilacaktir. Bu konular hakkinda gerekli aciklama forum kurallari ve uyelik sozlesmesinde yeterince acik belirtilmsitir.


Kasım 13, 2006, 11:01:18 ös
Yanıtla #7
  • Ziyaretçi

Much appreciated. Got many good replies :)
Hope people visit here as well.


Nisan 01, 2007, 12:38:13 ös
Yanıtla #8
  • Ziyaretçi

This is a brilliant and excellent piece. I am delighted to have read it.  I lived in Saudi Arabia for a year, and studied Islam extensively when I was there.  I am saddened that so many Americans have such a limited understanding of this great faith.  I am going to spread the word about this web page to many people. Thanks for sharing it.


Nisan 02, 2007, 05:11:39 ös
Yanıtla #9
  • Ziyaretçi

This is a brilliant and excellent piece. I am delighted to have read it.  I lived in Saudi Arabia for a year, and studied Islam extensively when I was there.  I am saddened that so many Americans have such a limited understanding of this great faith.  I am going to spread the word about this web page to many people. Thanks for sharing it.
My brother, the limited understanding is due to recent events and based on media coverage of certain events. If I may suggest, you might want to watch the new show on one of the Canadian channels called "Little Mosque on the Praire"

It's rather funny and depicts how some Muslims face criticism and prejudgment in a funny way. It also shows the ways different Muslims see things. I would provide a you tube link, but since it might be causing copyright infringement I won't post here. You might want to run a search on youtube. Also check out some of the comments of the videos and you'll see how stupid people can get.


 

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