Prophet_to_Present - 1 From the Prophet to the Present: an...

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1 From the Prophet to the Present: an Historical Approach to Understanding Islam John M. Koller (Published in The Journal of Comparative Asian Development, Vol. 3, No.1 [Spring, 2004] . Pp. 29-50.) Introduction Islam is the youngest of the world’s great religions, dating from Muhammad’s journey (hijrah ) to Yathrib, later known as Madinah [Medina] in 622 CE. According to the faithful of the Islamic community, Islam is the way that brings peace to those who commit themselves to God’s way and submit to His will. The Arabic word Islam means “peace through submission” and comes from the root word sim, meaning “peace.” One who submits to God’s will and seeks peace by following His way is called a Muslim. For Muslims there is no god but God (Allah) and Islam is the perfect and complete religion. God sent His Messengers to all the corners of the earth to make known His message of life and salvation. When the world was ready, God revealed His full and final message in the form of the Holy Quran through his Messenger, Muhammad, (570-- 632). That is why Muhammad is known as the seal of the prophets and Islam as the complete and perfect religion. This conviction that their God is the only true God and that their religion is the only full and true religion underlies the Muslim zeal for propagation of the Faith. 1 1. Good introductions to Islam include: Kenneth Cragg and R. Marston Speight, The
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2 Today Islam is in the midst of a great resurgence. Freed from centuries of Western colonial oppression, there are now more than 50 Muslim nations. Muslims make up twenty percent of the world’s population, about 1.2 billion people, many of them living in South and Southeast Asia, China, Europe and the United States. In their efforts to take political control of their lives as well in their efforts to restore and renew their religious lives some have turned to violence against their enemies, while many others have insisted on peaceful means. Some Muslims have adopted Western ideas and values, while others have rejected Western ideas and values and called for a return to purely Islamic ideals. Some clashes have pitted Muslims against Muslims, as, for example, in Algeria, where nearly a hundred thousand people were killed in a civil war between radical Islamists and the military government, a war precipitated by the government’s refusal to recognize the election victory of the FIS ( Front Islamique du Salut ) in early 1992. Others, especially those influenced by Al Queda, have pitted Islamists against the West. 2 Especially since the tragedy of September 11, 2001 many in the West see Islam as a House of Islam, 3rd Ed. , The Religious Life of Man Series (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub. Co., 1988); Karen Armstrong,
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course AAS 212 taught by Professor Koller during the Spring '08 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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Prophet_to_Present - 1 From the Prophet to the Present: an...

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