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World Religion

Essay by review  •  December 24, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  2,178 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,407 Views

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Religion is a hard word to define. Some might define religion as believing in a high power, deities, or a single God. Others define it as a belief system that has more to do with culture and traditions being past down from generation to generation than anything. According to Ask.com (n.d.), religion is define as the belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. No one knows what the first religion was or when it was founded, but today there are countless religions that people are associate with. The top five religions of the world today are Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hindu. Over 33% of the world population consider themselves Christians, 21% Islam, Hindu is 14%, Buddhism 6% and Judaism 0.22% (Adherents.com, 2007).

The word Islam means “peace and to be in submission to God”. Islam is a religion that I have always had interested in, but have never done thorough research on until now. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, and the second largest religion behind Christianity. Of the five major religions that are practiced today, Islam is the youngest one and did not come into existence until 622 CE. The founder of was a man name Muhammad who was born in Mecca which is located in Saudi Arabia. His name means the “The Praised One” (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2007).

Mohammad’s father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was six years old. At the age of 25 he married a name Khadijah who was 15 years older then him. At the age of 40 years old, he claimed and tells a story of how he received a revelation from Allah (God). He says that Gabriel an Angel of Allah appeared to him one day while he was in a cave meditating and praying. The reason that Allah revealed this message to him was because Allah wanted him to re-establish the current religion that man had distorted by making changes to it (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2007).

I had a privilege to meet with someone from the Islam faith whose name is Shirin pronounced Shir as in Sheryl rin as in reindeer. I also had an opportunity to visit a mosque here in Arlington, TX, name Islamic Society of Arlington Texas (ISAT). This mosque was built in 1989 so the growing Muslims population in the area could have a place where they could come together under on roof to meet others Muslims in the area. It is a place for them to worship and pray to Allah. The learning experience was very educational to me. This young female was very pleasant and was willing to assist me in any way that she could. She was born in Iran in 1984 and came to the United States at the age of five. She was born a Muslim meaning that she did not later convert to this religion. I asked her what did it mean to be a Muslim, and she explained to me that being a Muslim meant that you believe in Islam, the Qur’an, and the Prophet Muhammad. She compared the Qur’an to the Christian’s Holy Bible. She says that all Muslims whether they are born one or converted later into the religion must believe in Allah who is God and that there are no other God but him. As a Muslims you must also believe that the Prophet Muhammad was a messenger from Allah, and you must submit and believe in his teaching. Another question I asked Shirin was could anyone become a Muslim, and her response was “Yes, all you have to do is believe in Allah, the Qur’an, the teaching of the Prophet Mohammad and that he was a messenger from Allah.” She said that anyone who believe in these things and wish to submit to Allah and the teaching of the Qur’an can become a Muslim. She explained that believing these things is a start to accepting the one and true religion, which is Islam.

One thing I learned from my interview, even though I have heard these two names over and over again on television was that Shiites and Sunnis were two groups within the Muslim and Islam faith. Shirin explained it like being Baptist or Roman Catholic, both groups consider themselves Christians, but they vary in some of their beliefs and teaching. She said that the same is true for the Muslims’ Sunni and the Shiites. They are all Muslims and they practice Islam, but they differ in some of their belief and teaching. She said the reason there are two groups of Muslims is because when the Prophet Mohammad died there was a disagreement on who the new leader should have been. When asked what group she belongs to, she explained that she was considered a Shiite in her native land, but refers to herself as a Muslim of the Islamic faith.

Shirin goes on to explains to me the story of the Prophet Mohammed and how he grew up poor. It is also said that he was illiterate until Allah revealed himself to him one day while he was in a cave mediating. The angel Gabriel asked Mohammad to read and he responded back to Gabriel that he could not. It is said that from that day forth, Mohammad was able to not only read but he was also able to write. This is the beginning of how Mohammad was chosen as a prophet from Allah and asked to write the Qur’an which was to restore the true meaning and teaching of Allah. Mohammad supposedly received revelation from Allah for the next twenty three years which was transcribed into the Holy Qur’an.

Contrary to what we see on television Shirin said that Muslims are not taught to be violent. They are taught to respect all people regardless of race, color, or nationality; because they believe that everyone is children of Allah. I also learned from my conversation that all Muslims are taught to respect the prophets from the Holy Bible from Adam to Jesus. I asked Shirin why Muslim does not eat pork and she said it due to the dirtiness and uncleanness of the animal. She said that it would be a sin to consume such a fifty animal. She also explain that as Muslims you are to refrain themselves from drinking alcohol beverages, smoking, gambling, and any other thing that will make you to sin against Allah.

We went on to discuss why Muslim women dress the way they do. She said that Muslims view the body as sexual and therefore the only person, whom the body should be revealed to, is to one husband. She also told that under Islam it is a sin for people of the opposite sex to touch one another or to shake hands with someone of the opposite sex unless it a husband and wife, parents and children. A man can not shake hands with any female twelve years or older, because that female has reached puberty and could one day become his wife. When looking at Shirin, she looked like any typical American young lady. She had on pants and a shirt when I meet her in the parking lot of the mosque. She said that for the most part she is American and wear the typical clothing that females of her age

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