Islam is one of the world’s largest religions with estimates of around 1.6 billion practitioners worldwide. (The Future of the Global Muslim Population, 2011, para. 1) The Islam religion is a monotheistic religion that actually shares some of the same beliefs and even texts as Christianity and Judaism. Even though Islam is considered by many to be the religion of terrorists the actual religious texts preach kindness and compassion to all creatures of the earth. The main tenants of the religion are the five pillars of Islam which include, (1) Testimony of faith; saying with conviction “there is no true god but Allah and Mohammed is his ...view middle of the document...
The Quran, by Islamic law can only be written in the Arabic language, the English versions I have seen are all titled “The Meaning of the Quran”. I believe this to be one of the major downfalls of the religion today as in many parts of the world Muslims are not even literate enough to read and write their own language much less the Arabic language, and as a result they rely on the religious leaders of the area to tell them what the Quran teaches which can lead to a bastardization of the religion by fundamental extremists.
Religious worship takes place in local mosques, Depending on the locality women may or may not be allowed to enter the mosque, in locations where women are prohibited from the mosque they are encouraged to worship in the home. Though not actually religious doctrine in many parts of the world non Muslims are not permitted to enter the mosque at any time. Juma (Friday in the US) it the usual day of worship and everyone goes to the local mosque when the preacher makes the call to prayer over the loudspeakers. The preacher is also responsible for initiating the five daily prayer times which can vary several minutes depending on the day. Daily prayer in the home is conducted individually on a prayer rug facing toward Mecca. Unlike Judaism or Christianity Islam does not allow any depictions of either Allah or the prophet Muhammad and consider any attempt at their depiction to be blasphemous. An interesting side note, according to local customs in Afghanistan the prayer rug must be folded when not in use to prevent the Devil from possessing it. The Quran and Islam like other religions also has depictions of heaven and hell and describes what behaviors will get you to which place in the afterlife.
Islam forbids several different foods according to the teachings of the Quran. Pork of any kind is considered unclean or Haraam as well as any animal that is not properly slaughtered, some areas also consider any type of shellfish to be unclean though I could find no reason for this in relation to the Quran. Islam also expressly forbids alcohol and intoxicants of any kind though many Afghans seem to ignore this Hadith and use opium on a regular basis.
Islamic law is kind of contradictory as to the treatment of women; the religious teachings and texts in several places prescribe the rights of women when it comes to things such as marriage and inheritance. As in other areas of the religion the local culture has blended with religion and it becomes impossible to separate the two. According to the Quran women have a right to inheritance but only half of what a man would receive. Women are not allowed to divorce but the husband is allowed to divorce his wife or have up to four wives. An interesting note on this; my interpreter in Afghanistan has an uncle who recently divorced his oldest wife to marry a much younger woman, even though they are divorced she...