Understanding Islam and Muslims Essay examples

Understanding Islam and Muslims Essay examples

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Most people know little or nothing about Islam, they have many misconceptions about Muslim beliefs and rituals. Regardless, Islam has gained a large following and is the second largest religion in the world. Hopefully some of the questions about Islam, Sunni Islam in particular, will be answered through research and a visit to the Islamic Center of the Inland Empire. This paper will cover the history of the religion, the history of Al-Masjid al-Ha ram or “The Holy Mosque", the art, the religious meeting, and personal views of a religious leader.
Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, is a monotheistic religion based on the belief in one God. There are two main divisions in the Islam religion, they are Sunni and Shi’a. The separation of the two major divisions of Islam were caused by the early question of leadership after Muhammad’s death .The vast majority of Muslims, perhaps 90 percent are Sunni and the other 10 percent are Shi’a (Mark Dickens). "Sunni" comes from the Arabic word Sunnah, meaning "customary practice." In Sunni Islam, the imam is the man who leads the Friday prayers in a mosque with scriptures from the Qur’an, the text of which is considered to be the direct word from God (Allah).
The Caliphate was the first government system established in Islam; it represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah (nation). As a religious historian, S. A. Nigosian believes that “the critical issue [between the Sunni and the Shi’a] was the designation of a political successor only, since a religious successor to Muhammad, the “seal” of the prophets, was unthinkable” (Nigosian 40). Sunni Muslims believe in the First Four Caliphs that followed the death of Muhammad in 632. According to Sunni Muslims, after Muhammad's death, the c...


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The Haram is the holiest mosque known to the Muslims. Over two million Muslims of all different backgrounds in culture and language take the Hajj to Mecca each year. The Pilgrimage (Hajj) is the fifth pillar in the “Pillars of Islam.” Each adult Muslim who is physically and financially capable must complete the Hajj at least once in their lifetime. To make this journey they must “sacrifice their time, possessions, status, and normal comforts that are necessary to make this pilgrimage, becoming a pilgrim totally at God’s service.” (Esposito, pg. 21) This journey always takes place right after Ramadan. There is another “lesser pilgrimage” that is called umrah, which means visitation. The differences being the time of the year and it cannot replace the Hajj. Many people do both, but they cannot do the umrah as their Hajj requirement. (Esposito, pg. 21)

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