History Of Islam

Written by Serena Berger
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A brief history of Islam is no easier to construct than a brief history of America, or of Christianity, or Judaism. The central ideas of Islam may seem simple; but like many great philosophical and spiritual truths, it may be written down succinctly, but takes a lifetime to attempt fully to understand of to live. The message of Islam concerns God, called Allah in Arabic, and addresses itself to the nature of humanity and the relation of man to God.

The History of Islam

Islam requires complete surrender to God. The name of the religion, al-islam, means both submission and peace, and connects the two through God's will. It is God's will that human beings gain peace in their lives in this world and in the hereafter, and only through submitting to God can total peace be found.

Islam, to its believers (called Muslims), is the final expression of the Abrahamic tradition--i.e. the Judeo-Christian tradition. To Muslims, Abraham (the same Abraham from Christian and Judaic monotheism) was a prophet, as were Moses and Christ, who first codified the religion of the One God. Muhammad was a prophet who received the Quran, the Word of God, from the archangel Gabriel in the seventh century A.D., and set it down as the foundation of Islam, which Muslims believe will be the last religion before the Final Judgement.

The Quran is the source of all Islamic doctrines and ethics. The Quran encourages all believers to acquire knowledge of God's laws and religious injunctions, and also of the entire natural world, referring in beautiful, celebratory language to the importance of seeing, contemplating, and reasoning about everything in God's creation. Islam venerates the gaining of knowledge as the highest religious activity, so true believers have always created societies rich with potential and citizens with tolerant, open minds.

The History of Islam Is Connected to Many Nations

From the Arabian oasis cities of Mecca and Medina, Islam had spread to three continents within fifty years of Muhammad's death. African nations, Middle Eastern nations, and Asian and South-Asian nations were all home to people who accepted the Islamic faith--not through forced conversions, but through genuine belief in a faith they discovered. Admittedly, they were occasionally introduced to this faith by the troops which conquered them; but conversions were never forced, except within Arabia where a fanatical sect thrived and forced conversions.

Today, there are Muslims all over the world. Islam has been grievously misunderstood, as certain countries with fanatical and fundamentalist leaders (most notably Khomeini in Iran from 1979-1989) calling themselves Muslims have been responsible for horrific acts of terror and brutality. True Muslims, however, see the history of Islam as one of spiritual enlightenment, beauty, and peace.


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