The Religion of Islam

Powerful Essays
"Islam" is derived from the Arabic root salaama meaning peace, purity, submission and obedience. Islam stands for making peace by submitting to the will of God and obeying His law. Jews and Christians view Islam as the latest of the world's great religions. However, worldwide Muslims (sometimes written "Moslems") understand their universal religion as the "final religion" and the "primal religion."

As "final," Islam is God's final revelation of prophetic religion, in fulfillment of all that had preceded. Moses was given the Law; David was given the Psalms; Jesus was given the Gospel. Judaism offers God's message of justice, and Christianity proclaims the love of God. To Mohammed (570-632 A.D.; spelled in a variety of ways) the God of Abraham and Jesus revealed the Qur'an (Arabic for "recital," sometimes written Koran). The Qur'an, written in Arabic, is the Sacred Scripture of Islam, the perfection of all previous divine revelations, and is to be understood literally as the direct words of God. In this sense of scriptural literalism, all Muslims may be called "fundamentalists." However, when referring to the aggressive behaviors of a few, "militants" and "extremists" are better categories.

Muslims believe in all prophets of the Bible. The Qur'an itself mentions the Torah and the Gospel as scriptures revealed by God to Moses and Jesus. However, the Qur'an indicates that over time, changes were made to the actual biblical texts, because of commentary blended with the original text, as well as losses to the texts through transmission and other causes. For these reasons, Muslims cannot rely absolutely on the Torah and Gospels as sources of revelation, unless they confirm what is in the Qur'an or at least are in harmony wi...

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... leaders are divided over national loyalties. As a result of colonialism, the Muslim world has broken into many nation states. Some leaders approve of this development, but others fear that the unifying spirit of Islam is betrayed by political nationalism. Although it has had no centralized authority for centuries, Islam has retained a remarkable spirit of unity. With the emerging variety of political structures in the Muslim world, however, some believers -- probably a minority -- would prefer a more centralized leadership for religious unity. Others believe that God alone should rule without any earthly mediating authority.



Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations:
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