Islam

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Islam (/ˈɪslɑːm/;[note 1] Arabic: الإسلام‎‎, IPA: [alʔisˈlaːm]) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion which professes that there is only one and incomparable God (Allah)[1] and that Muhammad is the last messenger of God.[2][3][4][5][6] It is the world's second-largest religion[7] and the fastest-growing major religion in the world,[8][9][10] with just under 1.6 billion followers there is a total of 1,599,700,000 Muslims in the world[11][12] or 23% of the global population,[7] known as Muslims.[13] Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique;[14] and He has guided mankind through revealed scriptures, natural signs, and a line of prophets sealed by Muhammad. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative example (called the sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570–8 June 632 CE). The cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem are home to the three holiest sites in Islam.[15]


Society[edit]

Family life[edit]

For Muslim communities, family is the basic component of society, and is responsible for the wellbeing of its members. In a Muslim family, the birth of a child is attended with some religious ceremonies. Immediately after the birth, the words of Adhan is pronounced in the right ear of the child. In the seventh day, the aquiqa ceremony is performed in which an animal is sacrificed and its meat is distributed among the poor.[16] The head of the child is also shaved, and an amount of money equaling the weight of the child's hair is donated to the poor.[16] Apart from fulfilling the basic needs of food, shelter, and education, the parents or the elderly members of family also undertake the task of teaching moral qualities, religious knowledge, and religious practices to the children.[17] Marriage, which serves as the foundation of a Muslim family, is a civil contract which consists of an offer and acceptance between two qualified parties in the presence of two witnesses. The groom is required to pay a bridal gift (mahr) to the bride, as stipulated in the contract.[18] Most families in the Islamic world are monogamous.[19][20] Polyandry, a form of polygamy, where a woman takes on two or more husbands is prohibited in Islam.[21] With Muslims coming from diverse backgrounds including 49 Muslim-majority countries, plus a strong presence as large minorities throughout the world there are many variations on Muslim Weddings. Generally in a Muslim family, a woman's sphere of operation is the home and a man's corresponding sphere is the outside world. However, in practice, this separation is not as rigid as it appears.[22]

Certain religious rites are performed during and after the death of a Muslim. Those near a dying man encourage him to pronounce the Shahada as Muslims want their last word to be their profession of faith. After the death, the body is bathed properly by the members of the same gender and then enshrouded in a threefold white garment called kafan.[23] Placing the body on a bier, it is first taken to a mosque where funeral prayer is offered for the dead person, and then to the graveyard for burial.

Etiquette and diet[edit]

Many practices fall in the category of adab, or Islamic etiquette. This includes greeting others with "as-salamu `alaykum" ("peace be unto you"), saying bismillah ("in the name of God") before meals, and using only the right hand for eating and drinking. Islamic hygienic practices mainly fall into the category of personal cleanliness and health. Circumcision of male offspring is also practiced in Islam. Islamic burial rituals include saying the Salat al-Janazah ("funeral prayer") over the bathed and enshrouded dead body, and burying it in a grave. Muslims are restricted in their diet. Prohibited foods include pork products, blood, carrion, and alcohol. All meat must come from a herbivorous animal slaughtered in the name of God by a Muslim, Jew, or Christian, with the exception of game that one has hunted or fished for oneself. Food permissible for Muslims is known as halal food.[24]

Social responsibilities[edit]

In a Muslim society, various social service activities are performed by the members of the community. As these activities are instructed by Islamic canonical texts, a Muslim's religious life is seen incomplete if not attended by service to humanity.[25] In fact, In Islamic tradition, the idea of social welfare has been presented as one of its principal values.[25] The 2:177 verse of the Quran is often cited to encapsulate the Islamic idea of social welfare.[26][note 2] Similarly, duties to parents, neighbors, relatives, sick people, the old, and the minority have been defined in Islam. Respecting and obeying one's parents, and taking care of them especially in their old age have been made a religious obligation.[17][27] A two-fold approach is generally prescribed with regard to the duties to the relatives: keeping rood relation with them, and offering financial help if necessary.[28] Severing ties with them has been admonished. Regardless of a neighbor's religious identity, Islam tells the Muslims to treat their neighboring people in the best possible manners and not to cause any difficulty to them.[29][30] About the orphaned children, the Quran forbids harsh and oppressive treatment to them while urging kindness and justice towards them. It also rebukes those who do not honor and feed the orphaned children (Quran 89:17-18).

Moral behavior[edit]

The Quran and the sunnah of Muhammad prescribe a comprehensive body of moral guidelines for Muslims to be followed in their personal, social, political, and religious life. Proper moral conduct, good deeds, righteousness, and good character come within the sphere of the moral guidelines.[31] In Islam, the observance of moral virtues is always associated with religious significance because it elevates the religious status of a believer[32] and is often seen as a supererogatory act of worshipping.[33] One typical Islamic teaching on morality is that imposing a penalty on an offender in proportion to their offense is permissible and just; but forgiving the offender is better. To go one step further by offering a favor to the offender is regarded the highest excellence.[32] The Quran says: 'Repel (evil) with what is best' (41:34). Thus, a Muslim is expected to act only in good manners as bad manners and deeds earn vices.[34] The fundamental moral qualities in Islam are justice, forgiveness, righteousness, kindness, honesty, and piety.[31] Other mostly insisted moral virtues include but not limited to charitable activities, tolerance, fulfillment of promise, modesty and humility, decency in speech, trustworthiness, patience, truthfulness, anger management, and sincerity of intention.

As a religion, Islam emphasizes the idea of having a good character as Muhammad said: 'The best among you are those who have the best manners and character' (Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:73:56). In Islam, justice is not only a moral virtue but also an obligation to be fulfilled under all circumstances.[35] The Quran and the hadith describe God as being kind and merciful to His creatures, and tell people to be kind likewise. As a virtue, forgiveness is much celebrated in Islam, and is regarded as an important Muslim practice.[36] About modesty, Muhammad is reported as saying: ' Every religion has its characteristic, and the characteristic of Islam is modesty'.[37]

Government[edit]

Mainstream Islamic law does not distinguish between "matters of church" and "matters of state"; the scholars function as both jurists and theologians. Currently no government conforms to Islamic economic jurisprudence, but steps have been taken to implement some of its tenets.[38][39][40]

Law and jurisprudence[edit]

The Shariʻah (literally "the path leading to the watering place") is Islamic law and constitutes a system of duties that are incumbent upon a Muslim by virtue of his or her religious belief.[41] The study of Islamic law is called Fiqh, or "Islamic jurisprudence". The methods of jurisprudence used are known as usul al-fiqh ("legal theory", or "principles of jurisprudence"). Much of it has evolved with the objective to prevent innovation or alteration in the original religion, known as bid‘ah. Four fundamental evidence, codified by ash-Shafi'i, used are, in order of precedence: the Quran, the Hadith (the practice of Muhammad), the consensus of the Muslim jurists (ijma), and analogical reasoning (qiyas). Rulings over actions can be categorized as those that are obligatory (fardh) recommendanded (mustahabb), permissible (mubah), not recommended (makrooh) and prohibited (haraam).

The Quran set the rights, the responsibilities and the rules for people and for societies to adhere to. Muhammad provided an example, which is recorded in the hadith books, showing how he practically implemented those rules in a society.

Many of the Sharia laws that differ are devised through Ijtihad where there is no such ruling in the Quran or the Hadiths of Islamic prophet Muhammad regarding a similar case.[42][43] As Muhammad's companions went to new areas,[44] they were pragmatic and in some cases continued to use the same ruling as was given in that area during pre-Islamic times. If the population felt comfortable with it, it was just and they used Ijtihad to deduce that it did not conflict with the Quran or the Hadith. This made it easier for the different communities to integrate into the Islamic State and that assisted in the quick expansion of the Islamic State.

Islamic law covers all aspects of life, from matters of state, like governance and foreign relations, to issues of daily living. The Quran defines hudud as the punishments for five specific crimes: unlawful intercourse, false accusation of unlawful intercourse, consumption of alcohol, theft, and highway robbery. The Quran and Sunnah also contain laws of inheritance, marriage, and restitution for injuries and murder, as well as rules for fasting, charity, and prayer. For example, the division of inheritance is specified in the Quran, which states that most of it is to pass to the immediate family, while a portion is set aside for the payment of debts and the making of bequests. The woman's share of inheritance is generally half of that of a man with the same rights of succession.[45]

Scholars[edit]

Islam, like Judaism, has no clergy in the sacerdotal sense, such as priests who mediate between God and people. However, there are many terms in Islam to refer to religiously sanctioned positions of Islam. In the broadest sense, the term ulema (Arabic: علماء‎‎) is used to describe the body of Muslim scholars who have completed several years of training and study of Islamic sciences. A jurist who interprets Islamic law is called a mufti (Arabic: مفتي‎‎) and often issues judicial opinions, called fatwas. A scholar of jurisprudence is called a faqih (Arabic: فقيه‎‎). Someone who studies the science of hadith is called a muhaddith. A qadi is a judge in an Islamic court. Honorific titles given to scholars include shiekh, mullah and maulvi. Imam (Arabic: إمام‎‎) is a leadership position, often used in the context of conducting Islamic worship services.

Schools of jurisprudence[edit]

A school of jurisprudence is referred to as a madhab (Arabic: مذهب‎‎). The four major Sunni schools are the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanbali and sometimes Ẓāhirī while the two major Shia schools are Ja'fari and Zaidi. Each differ in their methodology, called Usul al-fiqh. The following of decisions by a religious expert without necessarily examining the decision's reasoning is called taqlid. The term ghair muqallid literally refers to those who do not use taqlid and by extension do not have a madhab.[46] The practice of an individual interpretating law with independent reasoning is called ijtihad.[47]

Economics[edit]

To reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, Islamic economic jurisprudence encourages trade,[48] discourages the hoarding of wealth and outlaws interest-bearing loans (usury; the term is riba in Arabic).[49][50] Therefore, wealth is taxed through Zakat, but trade is not taxed. Usury, which allows the rich to get richer without sharing in the risk, is forbidden in Islam. Profit sharing and venture capital where the lender is also exposed to risk is acceptable.[51] Hoarding of food for speculation is also discouraged.[52]

Grabbing other people's land is also prohibited. The prohibition of usury has resulted in the development of Islamic banking. During the time of Muhammad, any money that went to the state, was immediately used to help the poor. Then in 634, Umar formally established the welfare state Bayt al-mal. The Bayt al-mal or the welfare state was for the Muslim and Non-Muslim poor, needy, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. The Bayt al-mal ran for hundreds of years under the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century and continued through the Umayyad period and well into the Abbasid era. Umar also introduced Child Benefit and Pensions for the children and the elderly.[53][54][55][56]

Jihad[edit]

Jihad means "to strive or struggle" (in the way of God). Jihad, in its broadest sense, is "exerting one's utmost power, efforts, endeavors, or ability in contending with an object of disapprobation". Depending on the object being a visible enemy, the Devil, and aspects of one's own self (such as sinful desires), different categories of jihad are defined.[57] Jihad, when used without any qualifier, is understood in its military aspect.[58][59] Jihad also refers to one's striving to attain religious and moral perfection.[60] Some Muslim authorities, especially among the Shi'a and Sufis, distinguish between the "greater jihad", which pertains to spiritual self-perfection, and the "lesser jihad", defined as warfare.[61]

Within Islamic jurisprudence, jihad is usually taken to mean military exertion against non-believer/non-Muslim/Muslim combatants. The ultimate purpose of military jihad is debated, both within the Islamic community and without. Jihad is the only form of warfare permissible in Islamic law and may be declared against illegal works, terrorists, criminal groups, rebels, apostates, and leaders or states who oppress Muslims.[62][63] Most Muslims today interpret Jihad as only a defensive form of warfare.[64] Jihad only becomes an individual duty for those vested with authority. For the rest of the populace, this happens only in the case of a general mobilization.[63] For most Twelver Shias, offensive jihad can only be declared by a divinely appointed leader of the Muslim community, and as such is suspended since Muhammad al-Mahdi's[65] occultation in 868 AD.[66]

History[edit]

A panoramic view of Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (the Mosque of the Prophet) in Medina, Hejaz region, today's Saudi Arabia, the second most sacred Mosque in Islam

Muhammad (610–632)[edit]

Muslim tradition views Muhammad (c. 570 – June 8, 632) as the seal of the prophets.[67] During the last 22 years of his life, beginning at age 40 in 610 CE, according to the earliest surviving biographies, Muhammad reported revelations that he believed to be from God, conveyed to him through the archangel Gabriel (Jibril). Muhammad's companions memorized and recorded the content of these revelations, known as the Quran.[68]

During this time, Muhammad in Mecca preached to the people, imploring them to abandon polytheism and to worship one God. Although some converted to Islam, the leading Meccan authorities persecuted Muhammad and his followers. This resulted in the Migration to Abyssinia of some Muslims (to the Aksumite Empire). Many early converts to Islam were the poor and former slaves like Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi. The Meccan élite felt that Muhammad was destabilising their social order by preaching about one God and about racial equality, and that in the process he gave ideas to the poor and to their slaves.[69][70][71][72]

After 12 years of the persecution of Muslims by the Meccans and the Meccan boycott of the Hashemites, Muhammad's relatives, Muhammad and the Muslims performed the Hijra ("emigration") to the city of Medina (formerly known as Yathrib) in 622. There, with the Medinan converts (Ansar) and the Meccan migrants (Muhajirun), Muhammad in Medina established his political and religious authority. A state was established[by whom?] in accordance with Islamic economic jurisprudence. The Constitution of Medina was formulated, instituting a number of rights and responsibilities for the Muslim, Jewish, Christian and pagan communities of Medina, bringing them within the fold of one community—the Ummah.[73][74]

The Constitution established:

  • the security of the community
  • religious freedoms
  • the role of Medina as a sacred place (barring all violence and weapons)
  • the security of women
  • stable tribal relations within Medina
  • a tax system for supporting the community in time of conflict
  • parameters for exogenous political alliances
  • a system for granting protection of individuals
  • a judicial system for resolving disputes where non-Muslims could also use their own laws and have their own judges.[75][76][77]

All the tribes signed the agreement to defend Medina from all external threats and to live in harmony amongst themselves. Within a few years, two battles took place against the Meccan forces: first, the Battle of Badr in 624 - a Muslim victory, and then a year later, when the Meccans returned to Medina, the Battle of Uhud, which ended inconclusively.

The Arab tribes in the rest of Arabia then formed a confederation and during the Battle of the Trench (March–April 627) besieged Medina, intent on finishing off Islam. In 628, the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was signed between Mecca and the Muslims and was broken by Mecca two years later. After the signing of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah many more people converted to Islam. At the same time, Meccan trade routes were cut off as Muhammad brought surrounding desert tribes under his control.[78] By 629 Muhammad was victorious in the nearly bloodless conquest of Mecca, and by the time of his death in 632 (at the age of 62) he had united the tribes of Arabia into a single religious polity.[79]

The earliest three generations of Muslims are known as the Salaf, with the companions of Muhammad being known as the Sahaba. Many of them, such as the largest narrator of hadith Abu Hureyrah, recorded and compiled what would constitute the sunnah.

Caliphate and civil strife (632–750)[edit]

With Muhammad's death in 632, disagreement broke out over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. Abu Bakr, a companion and close friend of Muhammad, was made the first caliph. Under Abu Bakr, Muslims put down a rebellion by Arab tribes in an episode known as the Ridda wars, or "Wars of Apostasy".[80] The Quran was compiled into a single volume at this time.

Abu Bakr's death in 634 resulted in the succession of Umar ibn al-Khattab as the caliph, followed by Uthman ibn al-Affan, Ali ibn Abi Talib and Hasan ibn Ali. The first four caliphs are known in Sunni Islam as al-khulafā' ar-rāshidūn ("Rightly Guided Caliphs").[81] Under them, the territory under Muslim rule expanded deeply into the parts of the Persian and Byzantine territories.[82]

When Umar was assassinated by Persians in 644, the election of Uthman as successor was met with increasing opposition. The standard copies of the Quran were also distributed throughout the Islamic State. In 656, Uthman was also killed, and Ali assumed the position of caliph. This led to the first civil war (the "First Fitna") over who should be caliph. Ali was assassinated by Kharijites in 661. To avoid further fighting, the new caliph Hasan ibn Ali signed a peace treaty, abdicating to Mu'awiyah, beginning the Umayyad dynasty, in return that he not name his own successor.[83] These disputes over religious and political leadership would give rise to schism in the Muslim community. The majority accepted the legitimacy of the first four leaders, and became known as Sunnis. A minority disagreed, and believed that only Ali and some of his descendants should rule; they became known as the Shia.[84] Mu'awiyah appointed his son, Yazid I, as successor and after Mu'awiyah's death in 680, the "Second Fitna" broke out, where Husayn ibn Ali was killed at the Battle of Karbala, a significant event in Shia Islam.

The Umayyad dynasty conquered the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Narbonnese Gaul and Sindh.[85] Local populations of Jews and indigenous Christians, persecuted as religious minorities and taxed heavily to finance the Byzantine–Sassanid Wars, often aided Muslims to take over their lands from the Byzantines and Persians, resulting in exceptionally speedy conquests.[86][87]

The generation after the death of Muhammad but contemporaries of his companions are known as the Tabi‘un, followed by the Tabi‘ al-Tabi‘in. The Caliph Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz set up the influential committee, "The Seven Fuqaha of Medina",[88][89] headed by Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr.[90] Malik ibn Anas wrote one of the earliest books on Islamic jurisprudence, the Muwatta,[91] as a consensus of the opinion of those jurists.[92][93][94]

The descendants of Muhammad's uncle Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib rallied discontented non-Arab converts (mawali), poor Arabs, and some Shi'a against the Umayyads and overthrew them, inaugurating the Abbasid dynasty in 750.[95]

Classical era (750–1258)[edit]

During this time, the Delhi Sultanate took over northern parts of Indian subcontinent. Religious missions converted Volga Bulgaria to Islam. Many Muslims also went to China to trade, virtually dominating the import and export industry of the Song Dynasty.[96]

File:Cheshm manuscript.jpg
The eye, according to Hunain ibn Ishaq from a manuscript dated circa 1200.

This era is sometimes called the "Islamic Golden Age".[97] Public hospitals established during this time (called Bimaristan hospitals), are considered "the first hospitals" in the modern sense of the word,[98][99] and issued the first medical diplomas to license doctors.[100][101] The Guinness World Records recognizes the University of Al Karaouine, founded in 859, as the world's oldest degree-granting university.[102] The doctorate is argued to date back to the licenses to teach in Muslim law schools.[103] Standards of experimental and quantification techniques, as well as the tradition of citation,[104] were introduced. An important pioneer in this, Ibn al-Haytham is regarded as the father of the modern scientific method and often referred to as the "world's first true scientist".[105][106][107][108] The government paid scientists the equivalent salary of professional athletes today.[104] It is argued that the data used by Copernicus for his heliocentric conclusions was gathered and that Al-Jahiz proposed a theory of natural selection.[109][110] Rumi wrote some of the finest Persian poetry and is still one of the best selling poets in America.[111][112] Legal institutions introduced include the trust and charitable trust (Waqf).[113][114]

Al-Shafi'i codified a method to determine the reliability of hadith.[115] During the early Abbasid era, the major Sunni hadith collections were compiled by scholars such as Bukhari and Muslim while major Shia hadith collections by scholars such as Al-Kulayni and Ibn Babawayh were also compiled. The Ja'fari jurisprudence was formed from the teachings of Ja'far al-Sadiq while the four Sunni Madh'habs, the Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki and Shafi'i, were established around the teachings of Abū Ḥanīfa, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Malik ibn Anas and al-Shafi'i respectively. In the 9th century, al-Shafi'i provided a theoretical basis for Islamic law by codifying the principles of jurisprudence in his book ar-Risālah.[116] Al-Tabari and Ibn Kathir completed the most commonly cited commentaries on the Quran, the Tafsir al-Tabari in the 9th century and the Tafsir ibn Kathir in the 14th century, respectively. Philosophers Al-Farabi and Avicenna sought to incorporate Greek principles into Islamic theology, while others like Al-Ghazali argued against them and ultimately prevailed.[117]

Caliphs such as Mamun al Rashid and Al-Mu'tasim made the mutazilite philosophy an official creed and imposed it upon Muslims to follow. Mu'tazila was a Greek influenced school of speculative theology called kalam, which refers to dialectic.[118] Many orthodox Muslims rejected mutazilite doctrines and condemned their idea of the creation of the Quran. In inquisitions, Imam Hanbal refused to conform and was tortured and sent to an unlit Baghdad prison cell for nearly thirty months.[119] The other branch of kalam was the Ash'ari school founded by Al-Ash'ari.

Some Muslims began to question the piety of indulgence in a worldly life and emphasized poverty, humility and avoidance of sin based on renunciation of bodily desires. Ascetics such as Hasan al-Basri would inspire a movement that would evolve into Tasawwuf (Sufism).[120] Beginning in the 13th century, Sufism underwent a transformation, largely because of efforts to legitimize and reorganize the movement by Al-Ghazali, who developed the model of the Sufi order—a community of spiritual teachers and students.[121]

The first Muslims states independent of a unified Muslim state emerged from the Berber Revolt (739/740-743). In 930, the Ismaili group known as the Qarmatians unsuccessfully rebelled against the Abbassids, sacked Mecca and stole the Black Stone, which was eventually retrieved.[122] The Mongol Empire put an end to the Abbassid dynasty in 1258.[123]

Pre-Modern era (1258–20th century)[edit]

Islam spread with Muslim trade networks and Sufi orders activity that extended into Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Malay archipelago.[124][125] Under the Ottoman Empire, Islam spread to Southeast Europe.[126] The Muslims in China who were descended from earlier immigration began to assimilate by adopting Chinese names and culture while Nanjing became an important center of Islamic study.[127][128]

The Muslim world was generally in political decline starting the 1800s, especially relative to the non-Muslim European powers. This decline was evident culturally; while Taqi al-Din founded an observatory in Istanbul and the Jai Singh Observatory was built in the 18th century, there was not a single Muslim country with a major observatory by the twentieth century.[129] The Reconquista, launched against Muslim principalities in Iberia, succeeded in 1492. By the 19th century the British Empire had formally ended the Mughal dynasty in India.[130] The Ottoman Empire disintegrated after World War I and the Caliphate was abolished in 1924.[131][132]

The majority and oldest group among Shia at that time, the Zaydis, named after the great grandson of Ali, the scholar Zayd ibn Ali, used the Hanafi jurisprudence, as did most Sunnis.[133][134][135] The Shia Safavid dynasty rose to power in 1501 and later conquered all of Iran.[136] The ensuing mandatory conversion of Iran to Twelver Shia Islam for the largely Sunni population also ensured the final dominance of the Twelver sect within Shiism over the Zaidi and Ismaili sects.[137] Nader Shah, who overthrew the Safavids, attempted to improve relations with Sunnis by propagating the integration of Shiism by calling it the Jaafari Madh'hab.[138]

A revival movement during this period was an 18th-century Salafi movement led by Ibn Abd al-Wahhab in today's Saudi Arabia. Referred to as Wahhabi, their self designation is Muwahiddun (unitarians). Building upon earlier efforts such as those by Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim, the movement allegedly seeks to uphold monotheism and purify Islam of what they see as later innovations. Their zeal against idolatrous shrines led to the desecration of shrines around the world, including that of Muhammad and his companions in Mecca and Medina.[139][140] In the 19th century, the Deobandi and Barelwi movements were initiated.

Modern times (20th century–present)[edit]

Contact with industrialized nations brought Muslim populations to new areas through economic migration. Many Muslims migrated as indentured servants, from mostly India and Indonesia, to the Caribbean, forming the largest Muslim populations by percentage in the Americas.[141] The resulting urbanization and increase in trade in sub-Saharan Africa brought Muslims to settle in new areas and spread their faith, likely doubling its Muslim population between 1869 and 1914.[142] Muslim immigrants began arriving, many as guest workers and largely from former colonies, in several Western European nations since the 1960s.

There are more and more new Muslim intellectuals who increasingly separate perennial Islamic beliefs from archaic cultural traditions.[143] Liberal Islam is a movement that attempts to reconcile religious tradition with modern norms of secular governance and human rights. Its supporters say that there are multiple ways to read Islam's sacred texts, and they stress the need to leave room for "independent thought on religious matters".[144] Women's issues receive significant weight in the modern discourse on Islam.[145]

Secular powers such as the Chinese Red Guards closed many mosques and destroyed Qurans,[146] and Communist Albania became the first country to ban the practice of every religion.[147] About half a million Muslims were killed in Cambodia by communists who, it is argued, viewed them as their primary enemy and wished to exterminate them since they stood out and worshipped their own god.[148] In Turkey, the military carried out coups to oust Islamist governments, and headscarves were banned in official buildings, as also happened in Tunisia.[149][150]

Jamal-al-Din al-Afghani, along with his acolyte Muhammad Abduh, have been credited as forerunners of the Islamic revival.[151] Abul A'la Maududi helped influence modern political Islam.[152] Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood advocate Islam as a comprehensive political solution, often in spite of being banned.[153] In Iran, revolution replaced a secular regime with an Islamic state. In Turkey, the Islamist AK Party has democratically been in power for about a decade, while Islamist parties did well in elections following the Arab Spring.[154] The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), consisting of Muslim countries, was established in 1969 after the burning of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.[155]

Piety appears to be deepening worldwide.[156][157][158] In many places, the prevalence of the hijab is growing increasingly common[159] and the percentage of Muslims favoring Sharia laws has increased.[160] With religious guidance increasingly available electronically, Muslims are able to access views that are strict enough for them rather than rely on state clerics who are often seen as stooges.[157]

It is estimated that, by 2050, the number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians around the world, "driven primarily by differences in fertility rates and the size of youth populations among the world's major religions, as well as by people switching faiths."[161] Perhaps as a sign of these changes, most experts agree that Islam is growing faster than any other faith in East and West Africa.[162][163]

Demographics[edit]

A comprehensive 2009 demographic study of 232 countries and territories reported that 23% of the global population, or 1.57 billion people, are Muslims. Of those, it is estimated that over 75–90% are Sunni and 10–20% are Shia[164][165][166] with a small minority belonging to other sects. Approximately 57 countries are Muslim-majority,[167] and Arabs account for around 20% of all Muslims worldwide.[168] The number of Muslims worldwide increased from 200 million in 1900 to 551 million in 1970,[169] and tripled to 1.6 billion by 2010.[161]

The majority of Muslims live in Asia and Africa.[170] Approximately 62% of the world's Muslims live in Asia, with over 683 million adherents in Indonesia, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.[171][172] In the Middle East, non-Arab countries such as Turkey and Iran are the largest Muslim-majority countries; in Africa, Egypt and Nigeria have the most populous Muslim communities.[173]

Most estimates indicate that the People's Republic of China has approximately 20 to 30 million Muslims (1.5% to 2% of the population).[174][175][176][177] However, data provided by the San Diego State University's International Population Center to U.S. News & World Report suggests that China has 65.3 million Muslims.[178] Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity in many European countries,[179] and is slowly catching up to that status in the Americas, with between 2,454,000, according to Pew Forum, and approximately 7 million Muslims, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in the United States.[164][180]

According to the Pew Research Center, Islam is set to equal Christianity in number of adherents by the year 2050. Islam is set to grow faster than any other major world religion, reaching a total number of 2.76 billion (an increase of 73%). High fertility rates play a factor, with Islam having a rate of 3.1 compared to the world average of 2.5, and the minimum replacement level for a population at 2.1. Age also plays a role in these numbers due to the fact that Islam has the highest number of adherents under the age of 15 (34% of the total religion) of any major religion (Christianity's is 27%). Sixty percent of Muslims are between the ages of 16 and 59, while only 7% are aged 60+ (the smallest percentage of any major religion). Countries such as Nigeria and the Republic of Macedonia are expected to have Muslim majorities by 2050. In India, the Muslim population will be larger than any other country. Europe's domestic population is set to shrink as opposed to their Islamic population which is set to grow to 10% of Europe's total.[161] According to BBC News, the rates of growth of Islam in Europe reveal that the growing number of Muslims is due primarily to immigration and higher birth rates.[181]

Culture[edit]

The term "Islamic culture" could be used to mean aspects of culture that pertain to the religion, such as festivals and dress code. It is also controversially used to denote the cultural aspects of traditionally Muslim people.[182] Finally, "Islamic civilization" may also refer to the aspects of the synthesized culture of the early Caliphates, including that of non-Muslims,[183] sometimes referred to as "Islamicate".

Architecture[edit]

Perhaps the most important expression of Islamic architecture is that of the mosque.[184] Varying cultures have an effect on mosque architecture. For example, North African and Spanish Islamic architecture such as the Great Mosque of Kairouan contain marble and porphyry columns from Roman and Byzantine buildings,[185] while mosques in Indonesia often have multi-tiered roofs from local Javan styles.

Art[edit]

Islamic art encompasses the visual arts produced from the 7th century onwards by people (not necessarily Muslim) who lived within the territory that was inhabited by Muslim populations.[186] It includes fields as varied as architecture, calligraphy, painting, and ceramics, among others.

While not condemned in the Quran, making images of human beings and animals is frowned on in many Islamic cultures and connected with laws against idolatry common to all Abrahamic religions, as 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood reported that Muhammad said, "Those who will be most severely punished by Allah on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers" (reported by al-Bukhaari, see al-Fath, 10/382). However this rule has been interpreted in different ways by different scholars and in different historical periods, and there are examples of paintings of both animals and humans in Mughal, Persian and Turkish art. The existence of this aversion to creating images of animate beings has been used to explain the prevalence of calligraphy, tessellation and pattern as key aspects of Islamic artistic culture.[187]

Calendar[edit]

File:Lunar libration with phase Oct 2007.gif
The phases of the Moon form the basis for the Islamic calendar.

The formal beginning of the Muslim era was chosen, reportedly by Caliph Umar, to be the Hijra in 622 CE, which was an important turning point in Muhammad's fortunes. It is a lunar calendar with days lasting from sunset to sunset.[188] 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. The most important Islamic festivals are Eid al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر‎‎) on the 1st of Shawwal, marking the end of the fasting month Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha (عيد الأضحى) on the 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah, coinciding with the end of the Hajj pilgrimage.[189]

Criticism[edit]

Criticism of Islam has existed since Islam's formative stages. Early criticism came from Christian authors, many of whom viewed Islam as a Christian heresy or a form of idolatry and often explained it in apocalyptic terms.[190] Later there appeared criticism from the Muslim world itself, and also from Jewish writers and from ecclesiastical Christians.[191][192][193]

Objects of criticism include the morality of the life of Muhammad, the last law bearing prophet of Islam, both in his public and personal life,[193][194] as seen in medieval Christian views on Muhammad. Issues relating to the authenticity and morality of the Quran, the Islamic holy book, are also discussed by critics.[195][196] Other criticisms focus on the question of human rights in modern Islamic nations, and the treatment of women in Islamic law and practice.[197][198] In wake of the recent multiculturalism trend, Islam's influence on the ability of Muslim immigrants in the West to assimilate has been criticized.[199]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. There are ten pronunciations of Islam in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the s is /z/ or /s/, and whether the a is pronounced /ɑː/, /æ/ or (when the stress is on the first syllable) /ə/ (Merriam Webster). The most common are /ˈɪzləmˌ ˈɪsləmˌ ɪzˈlɑːmˌ ɪsˈlɑːm/ (Oxford English Dictionary, Random House) and /ˈɪzlɑːmˌ ˈɪslɑːm/ (American Heritage Dictionary).
  2. The verse reads: 'It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity, to fulfill the contracts which we have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God fearing'

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  171. Salim Ayduz; Ibrahim Kalin; Caner Dagli (May 1, 2014). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Science, and Technology in Islam. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199812578. Figural representation is virtually unused in Islamic art because of Islam's strong antagonism of idolatry. It was important for Muslim scholars and artists to find a style of art that represented the Islamic ideals of unity (tawhid) and order without figural represenation. Geometric patterns perfectly suited this goal. 
  172. Patheos Library – Islam Sacred Time – Patheos.com
  173. Ghamidi (2001): Customs and Behavioral Laws Archived 2013-09-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  174. Erwin Fahlbusch (1999). The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 2. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 759. ISBN 9789004116955. 
  175. Warraq, Ibn (2003). Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out. Prometheus Books. p. 67. ISBN 1-59102-068-9. 
  176. Kammuna, Ibn (1971). Examination of the Three Faiths. Berkeley and Los Angeles: Moshe Perlmann. pp. 148–49. 
  177. 193.0 193.1 Oussani, Gabriel. "Mohammed and Mohammedanism". Newadvent.org. Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 16, 2006. 
  178. Warraq, Ibn (March 1, 2000). The Quest for Historical Muhammad (1st ed.). Amherst, Mass.: Prometheus Books. p. 103. ISBN 1-57392-787-2. 
  179. Bible in Mohammedian Literature., by Kaufmann Kohler Duncan B. McDonald, Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 22, 2006.
  180. Spencer, Robert (October 25, 2002). Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World's Fastest Growing Faith. Encounter Books. pp. 22–63. ISBN 1-893554-58-9. 
  181. "Saudi Arabia - Country report - Freedom in the World - 2005". 
  182. Timothy Garton Ash (2006-10-05). "Islam in Europe". The New York Review of Books. 
  183. Modood, Tariq (April 6, 2006). Multiculturalism, Muslims and Citizenship: A European Approach (1st ed.). Routledge. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-415-35515-5. 

Books and journals[edit]

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Encyclopedias[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Abdul-Haqq, Abdiyah Akbar (1980). Sharing Your Faith with a Muslim. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers. N.B. Presents the genuine doctrines and concepts of Islam and of the Holy Qur'an, and this religion's affinities with Christianity and its Sacred Scriptures, in order to "dialogue" on the basis of what both faiths really teach. ISBN 0-87123-553-6
  • Akyol, Mustafa (2011). Islam Without Extremes (1st ed.). W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-07086-6. 
  • Arberry, A. J. (1996). The Koran Interpreted: A Translation (1st ed.). Touchstone. ISBN 978-0-684-82507-6. 
  • Cragg, Kenneth (1975). The House of Islam, in The Religious Life of Man Series. Second ed. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1975. xiii, 145 p. ISBN 0-8221-0139-4
  • Hourani, Albert (1991). Islam in European Thought. First pbk. ed. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1992, cop. 1991. xi, 199 p. ISBN 0-521-42120-9; alternative ISBN on back cover, 0-521-42120-0
  • Khan, Muhammad Muhsin; Al-Hilali Khan; Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din (1999). Noble Quran (1st ed.). Dar-us-Salam Publications. ISBN 978-9960-740-79-9. 
  • A. Khanbaghi (2006). The Fire, the Star and the Cross: Minority Religions in Medieval and Early Modern Iran. I. B. Tauris.
  • Khavari, Farid A. (1990). Oil and Islam: the Ticking Bomb. First ed. Malibu, Calif.: Roundtable Publications. viii, 277 p., ill. with maps and charts. ISBN 0-915677-55-5
  • Kramer (ed.), Martin (1999). The Jewish Discovery of Islam: Studies in Honor of Bernard Lewis. Syracuse University. ISBN 978-965-224-040-8. 
  • Kuban, Dogan (1974). Muslim Religious Architecture. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 90-04-03813-2. 
  • Lewis, Bernard (1994). Islam and the West. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-509061-1. 
  • Lewis, Bernard (1996). Cultures in Conflict: Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Age of Discovery. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-510283-3. 
  • Mubarkpuri, Saifur-Rahman (2002). The Sealed Nectar: Biography of the Prophet. Dar-us-Salam Publications. ISBN 978-1-59144-071-0. 
  • Najeebabadi, Akbar Shah (2001). History of Islam. Dar-us-Salam Publications. ISBN 978-1-59144-034-5. 
  • Nigosian, S. A. (2004). Islam: Its History, Teaching, and Practices (New ed.). Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-21627-4. 
  • Rahman, Fazlur (1979). Islam (2nd ed.). University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-70281-2. 
  • Tausch, Arno (2009). What 1.3 Billion Muslims Really Think: An Answer to a Recent Gallup Study, Based on the "World Values Survey". Foreword Mansoor Moaddel, Eastern Michigan University (1st ed.). Nova Science Publishers, New York. ISBN 978-1-60692-731-1. 
  • Tausch, Arno (2015). The political algebra of global value change. General models and implications for the Muslim world. With Almas Heshmati and Hichem Karoui. (1st ed.). Nova Science Publishers, New York. ISBN 978-1-62948-899-8. 
  • Walker, Benjamin (1998). Foundations of Islam: The Making of a World Faith. Peter Owen Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7206-1038-3. 
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External links[edit]

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  • rediff.com: Arvind Lavakare on secular lessons from Sabarmati Ashram
    • rediff.com: 'If the 'secularists' want the Hindus of 2002 to accept those Sabarmati shibboleths of non-violence with the Muslims at any cost, they ought to also demand that the red carpet be laid for Pakistan to just stride into Srinagar all the way down into Sabarimalai -- via Sabarmati, if you please,' says Arvind Lavakare.
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