which when translated from Arabic, means "to submit to
the will of Allah," is the
youngest of the world's major religions. Worshippers of this
monotheistic religion are known as Muslims, which means
"one who submits to the will of Allah." Islam
is currently the second most practiced religion in the world,
and experts predict that it will overtake
Christianity as the
most popular religion in the world sometime during the 21st
Founder-Islam was founded by the prophet Mohammed.
Geographic Origin-Developed on the Arabian
in the year 622 CE, and quickly spread to other regions.
Currently Practiced- Islam is most dominant throughout
the Middle East, including Southwest Asia and North Africa.
Significant Writings-The teachings of Islam are collected
in the Qur'an.
Places of Worship-Muslims may gather to worship in
temples called Mosques (see picture above).
Significant Religious People-The Caliph, or successor
to the Prophet Mohammed; Imam, leader of prayers; and the
Muezzin, or one who issues a call to prayer, causing the faithful
to gather at the local Mosque.
Mohammed received the word of God, or Allah, through the
angel Gabriel while living in the city of Mecca. Townspeople
soon became fearful of the Mohammed's preaching and
he began to receive threats. As a result, he fled to the nearby
city of Medina, where people began to believe in his message.
The flight of Mohammed from Mecca to Median was instrumental
to the founding of the religion of Islam, and is known as
Hegira. Thus, in 622 CE Islam was founded and this
date became the starting point for the Islamic calendar.
Mohammed and his followers later returned to Mecca and declared
a jihad, or holy war, after which he captured the city.
Under Mohammed's leadership, the basic teachings of Islam
were established, which are known as the Five Pillars of
Islam. Every Muslim is expected to follow these rules
in order to lead an ethical life:
- Confession of Faith: The belief that "there
is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His prophet."
- Prayer: Muslims must pray five times per day, facing
- Charity: Muslims must give alms to the poor, and
support the local Mosque by donating a portion of their
- Fasting: During the Ramadan, the ninth month
of the Muslim calendar, all Muslims must fast during daylight
hours, except the very young or sick.
- Pilgrimage: If possible financially, each Muslim
must make a hajj, or holy pilgrimage, to the city
Cultural Academy of Islam (ThinkQuest Library)
Geography of Islam (Morehead University)
to Islam (The Middle East Institute)
Islam (Ontario Consultants)