F. The Development of Islam

File:Star and Crescent.svg 
The Islamic crescent moon and star (public domain)


    Islam is one of the three main religions in Southwest Asia. Their holy book is called the Qur'an/Koran. This holy book is believed to have been delivered straight from their God, Allah, to Muhammad. Islam is the youngest religion of three main religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Judaism is the oldest of the three, then comes Christianity, and next Islam. All Muslims are monotheistic, as are Christians and Jews. Some important prophets also include: Abraham, Jesus, Moses, and of course Muhammad.
Five Pillars

    Very important practices of Muslims include the Five Pillars of Islam. These Five Pillars include: Faith/Shahadah which introduces the worship of only one god, Allah. The second Pillar of Islam is Prayer/Salah which requires you to pray five times a day. Thirdly, is the pillar of Charity/Zakat encourages all Muslims to give a portion of their income to the poor. The fourth pillar is Fasting/Sawm. This pillar is specifically mentioned to fast for the month of Ramadan to feel sympathy towards those less fortunate. Lastly, the fifth pillar is Pilgrimage/Hajj to Mecca at least once in your life (If possible).


    There are two different sects of Islam: Shia and Sunni. When Muhammad, Islam's founder and first prophet, died he left no say in who should replace him. This led to conflict between the Islamic people. Around the globe, out of the Muslims, about 85% of Muslims are Sunni and 15% are Shia Muslims. Each sect has their own leader that they believe should replace Muhammad; the Shia Muslims believe that Ali, a relative to Muhammad, is the right choice while the Sunni Muslims believe that any wise, experienced Muslim, like Abu Bakr, can take over the role. This is still present today.


Google map of Al-Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

hajjEid.jpg image by adilnajam
The Hajj at Al-Masjid Al-Haram  in Mecca (public domain)

Georgia Performance Standard

SS7G8 The student will describe the diverse cultures of the people who live in Southwest Asia (Middle East).

c. Compare and contrast the prominent religions in Southwest Asia (Middle East): Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

d. Explain the reason for the division between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

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 Quick Summary:
  • Islam originated in Southwest Asia (Middle East) in 622. Their founder and prophet was a man named Muhammad
  • This religion is monotheistic (Worships only one god) 
  • Their name for God is Allah
  • Their holy book is called the Qur'an/Koran (it can be spelled either way) 
  • Two main sects/divisions: Shia and Sunni, separation caused by the debate on who should replace Muhammad
  • Their basis of living is called The Five Pillars of Islam: Faith, Prayer, Charity, Fasting, and the Hajj(Pilgrimage to Mecca)  

Islamic symbol:
File:Star and Crescent.svg
    Islam's symbol is a crescent moon, inside is a star. Many countries used this symbol before the Muslims adopted it. Later, when the Ottoman Empire captured Byzantium, it adopted the flag and used it as an Islamic symbol.