Islam More Than a Religion Essay

1420 Words Oct 22nd, 1999 6 Pages
Islam More Than A Religion

Despite its huge following around the world and the growing Muslim communities in the United States, Islam is foreign to most Americans who are familiar with Christianity or Judaism. Because most Americans know little or nothing about Islam, they have many misconceptions about Muslim beliefs and rituals. The negative image many people in the United States and Europe have of Islam and the Muslim world has a long history. Many have judged Islam without making an effort to consider this religious tradition on its own terms, without bothering to become acquainted with its teaching and the ways in which
Muslims practice their faith. Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam is a monotheistic religion, based on the
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Qu'ran (2:185) states that it was during the month of Ramadan that the Qu'ran was revealed. The fifth pillar is the annual pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca prescribed for every Muslim once in a lifetime -- "provided one can afford it" and provided a person has enough provisions to leave for his family in his absence. By the eighteenth century Black Muslims begin to arrive in North
America; coming by the thousands, working as slaves on plantations. As slaves these early communities were cut off from their heritage, families, and inevitable their Islamic identity. During the nineteenth century America experienced an influx of Arab Muslims arriving from Europe, settling in major industrial cities. The Arab Muslims were generally able to form their communities and to practice their religion freely. The early Twentieth Century witnessed the arrival of several hundred thousand Muslims from Eastern Europe; whom opened a mosque in Maine in 1915 and other mosque soon followed. After World War II an Islamic movement emerged among blacks in the US; members called themselves the Nation of Islam, but they were popularly known as
Black Muslims. Although they adopted some Islamic social practices, the group was in large a black separatist and social-protest movement. Their leader,
Elijah Muhammad, who claimed to be an inspired prophet, interpreted the doctrine of Resurrection in an unorthodox sense as the revival of oppressed ("dead") people. The popular leader and advocate

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