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The Qur'an is the sacred book of Islam.Qur'an is the currently preferred English transliteration of the Arabic original (قرآن); it means “recitation”.
Muslims believe that the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gibreel on numerous occasions between the years 610 and Muhammad's(S.A.W) wafath in 632. In addition to memorizing his revelations, his followers are said to have written them down on parchments, stones, bones, sticks, and leaves.
Muslims believe that the Qur'an available today is the same as that revealed to Prophet Muhammad and by him to his followers, who memorized his words. Scholars accept that the version of the Qur'an used today was first compiled in writing by the third Caliph, Usman ibn Affan, sometime between 650 and 656. He sent copies of his version to the various provinces of the new Muslim empire, and directed that all variant copies be destroyed. However, some skeptics doubt the recorded oral traditions (hadees) on which the account is based and will say only that the Qur'an must have been compiled before 750.
There are also numerous traditions, and many conflicting academic theories, as to the provenance of the verses later assembled into the Qur'an. (This is covered in greater detail in the article on the Qur'an.) Most Muslims accept the account recorded in several hadees, which state that Abu Bakr, the first caliph, ordered Zayd ibn Sabit to collect and record all the authentic verses of the Qur'an, as preserved in written form or oral tradition. Zayd's written collection, privately treasured by Muhammad's widow Hafsa bint Umar, was used by Usman and is the basis of today's Qur'an.
Usman's version organized the revelations, or suras, roughly in order of length, with the longest surath at the start of the Qur'an and the shortest ones at the end. Later scholars have struggled to put the surat in chronological order, and among Muslim commentators at least there is a rough consensus as to which surat were revealed in Macca and which at Madina. Some surat's (eg surat Iqra) were revealed in parts at separate times.
Because the Qur'an was first written [date uncertain] in the Hijazi, Mashq, Ma'il, and Kufic scripts, which write consonants only and do not supply the vowels, and because there were differing oral traditions of recitation, there was some disagreement as to the correct reading of many verses. Eventually scripts were developed that used "points" to indicate vowels. For hundreds of years after Usman's recension, Muslim scholars argued as to the correct pointing and reading of Usman's unpointed official text, (the rasm). Eventually, most commentators accepted ten variant readings (qira'at) of the Qur'an as canonical, while agreeing that the differences are minor and do not greatly affect the meaning of the text.
The form of the Qur'an most used today is the Al-Azhar text of 1923, prepared by a committee at the prestigious Cairo university of Al-Azhar.
The Qur'an early became a focus of Muslim devotion and eventually a subject of theological controversy. In the 8th century, the Mu'tazilis claimed that the Qur'an was created in time and was not eternal. Their opponents, of various schools, claimed that the Qur'an was eternal and perfect, existing in heaven before it was revealed to Muhammad. The Mu'tazili position was supported by caliph Al-Ma'mun. The caliph persecuted, tortured, and killed the anti-Mu'tazilis, but their belief eventually triumphed and is held by most Muslims of today. Only reformist or liberal Muslims are apt to take something approaching the Mu'tazili position.
Most Muslims regard the Qur'an with extreme veneration, wrapping it in a clean cloth, keeping it on a high shelf, and washing as for prayers before reading the Qur'an. Old Qur'ans are not destroyed as wastepaper, but deposited in Qur'an graveyards. The Qur'an is regarded as an infallible guide to personal piety and community life, and completely true in its history and science.
From the beginning of the faith, most Muslims believed that the Qur'an was perfect only as revealed in Arabic. Translations were the result of human effort and human fallibility, as well as lacking the inspired poetry believers find in the Qur'an. Translations are therefore only commentaries on the Qur'an, or "translations of its meaning", not the Qur'an itself.

Islam and other religions

Non-monotheistic religions

The Islamic view of non-monotheist religions differs among scholars and varies according to time and place. For example, the relationship of Islam with Hinduism and non-monotheist religions varied greatly according to the religious outlook of individual rulers. In India, the Mughal emperor Akbar, for example, was very tolerant towards Hindus, while his successor Aurangzeb was less so. This variability persists today; while fundamentalists are often less tolerant, liberal movements within Islam often try to be more open-minded.

Exclusivistic thought in Islam

One part—often seen as the largest or at least currently the most vocal—focuses on the differences takes an exclusivistic and aggressive approach to the differences between Islam and the Judeo-Christian community. Like in other faiths, this can lead to parts of the Muslim community holding beliefs like the necessity of bringing them back to the "Straight Path" by persuasion, or even force, and then acting them out.

Inclusivistic thought in Islam

Another part—often with a lower-profile, if not currently an outright minority—of Muslims focus on the similiarities and believe that people of faith in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism all serve the same God, and cite verses such as the following:
"We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Ibrahim, Isma'il, Ishak, Ya'koob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moosa, Eesa, and the prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam)." (Surat Al Imran; 3:84).
" Those with Faith, those who are Jews, and the Christians and Sabaeans, all who have Faith in Allah and the Last Day and act rightly, will have their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow." (Surat al-Baqara; 2:62).
" The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believes in Allah, His angels, His Books, and His Messengers. "We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His Messengers." And they say: "We hear, and we obey, (we seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys." (Surat al-Baqara; 2:285).
" Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way. Your Lord knows best who is misguided from His way. And He knows best who are guided." (Surat an-Nahl; 16:125).
" ...You will find the people most affectionate to those who have faith are those who say, 'We are Christians.' That is because some of them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant." (Surat al-Ma'ida; 5:82).
" Only argue with the People of the Book in the kindest way - except in the case of those of them who do wrong - saying, 'We have iman in what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to you. Our God and your God are one and we submit to Him." (Surat al-`Ankabut; 29:46).
One verse of the Qur'an says "God forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for [your] faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God loveth those who are just." (Qur'an, 60:8), which is interpreted as a clear admonition not to be disrespectful or unkind to non-Muslims. According to a hadith, Muhammad said to his people "The one who murders a dhimmi [non-Muslim under protection of the state] will not smell the fragrance of Paradise, even if its smell was forty years travelling distance" [Sahih Ahmed].

The growth of Islam Religion today

Based on the percentages published in the 2003 CIA factbook, Islam is the second largest religion in the world. According to the World Network of Religious Futurists (http://www.wnrf.org/news/trends.html), the U.S. Center for World Mission (http://www.religioustolerance.org/growth_isl_chr.htm), and the controversial Samuel Huntington, Islam is growing faster numerically than any other religion. It is a matter of great controversy whether this is due in large part to the higher birth rates in many Islamic countries, or whether a high conversion rate may also be a factor.
The Muslim population today comprises over 1.3 billion people; estimates of Islam by country based on US State Departement figures yield a total of 1.48 billion, 22.82% of the world's population. However, only 18% of Muslims live in the Arab world; a fifth is found in Sub-Saharan Africa, about 30% in the Indian subcontinental region of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, and the world's largest single Muslim community (within the bounds of one nation) is in Indonesia. There are also significant Muslim populations in China, Europe (especially in the Mediterranean countries), Central Asia, and Russia. There are approximately 5 million Muslims in North America. The world population is growing at about 1.10% per year, but the percentage of Muslim population is increasing by 1.4% per year, mostly due to higher birth rate of African and Asian countries. Birth rates in many Muslim countries have begun to decline, although more slowly than in other nations, which also may be a factor.

Denominations of Islam

There are a number of Islamic religious denominations, each of which has significant theological and legal differences from each other. The major branches are Sunni and Shi'a, with Sufism often considered as an extension of either Sunni or Shi'a thought. All denominations, however, follow the five pillars of Islam and believe in the six pillars of faith (mentioned earlier).
The Sunni sect of Islam comprises the majority of all Muslims (about 90%). It is broken into four similar schools of thought (madhhabs) which interpret specific pieces of Islamic practice. They are named after their founders Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanafi, and Hanbali. Each school of thought differs slightly on fiqh (thoughts on how to practise Islam) although all accept the fundamentals contained within the Holy Quran.
Shi'a Islam comprises most of the Muslims that are not counted among the Sunni. The Shi'a consist of one major school of thought known as the Jafaryia or the "Twelvers", and a few minor schools of thought, as the "Seveners" or the "Fivers" referring to the number of infallible leaders they recognise after the wafath of Muhammad(S.A.W). The term Shi'a is usually taken to be synonymous with the Jafaryia/Twelvers.
While some consider the Islamic mysticism called Sufism to constitute a separate branch, most Sufis can easily be considered Sunni or Shi'a. Sufism is the hardest to understand by non-practitioners because on first sight it seems that sufis are either of Shi'a or Sunni denomination, but it is true that some sects of Sufism can be categorised as both Sunni and Shi'a whilst others are not from either denomination. The distinction here is because the schools of thought (madhhabs) are regarding "legal" aspects of Islam, the "dos" and "don'ts", whereas Sufism deals more with perfecting the aspect of sincerity of faith, and fighting one's own ego. Other people may call themselves Sufis who may be perceived as having left Islam (or never followed Islam). There are also some very large groups or sects of Sufism that are not easily categorised as either Sunni or Shi'a, such as the Bektashi or those that can be categorised as both at the same time, like the Barelwi. Sufism is found more or less across the Islamic world, though bearing distinctive regional variations, from Senegal to Indonesia.
According to Shaikh Mahmood Shaltoot, Head of the al-Azhar University in the middle part of the 20th Century, the Ja'fari school of thought, which is also known as "al-Shi'a al- Imamiyyah al-Ithna Ashariyyah" (i.e., The Twelver Imami Shi'ites) is a school of thought that is religiously correct to follow in worship as are other Sunni schools of thought. This position was not generally accepted by mainstream Sunni scholarship, and al-Azhar itself distanced itself from this position.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam

Muhammad (S.A.W)

" Muhammad" is a common male name for Muslims.
Muhammad (also transliterated Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammed,) is revered by Muslims as the final prophet of God. According to his traditional Muslim biographies (called sirah in Arabic), he was born c. 570 in Macca  and (Wafath)died June 8, 632 in Madina , both cities in northern Arabia. His name is Arabic for "he who is highly praised".
Pious Muslims consider that his work merely clarified and finalized the true religion, building on the work of other prophets of monotheism, and believe Islam to have existed before Muhammad.

Summary of Muhammad

Muhammad is said to have been a merchant who travelled widely. Early Muslim sources report that in 611, at about the age of 40, he experienced a vision. He described it to those close to him as a visit from the Angel Gibreell, who commanded him to memorize and recite the verses later collected as the Qur'an. He eventually expanded his mission, publicly preaching a strict monotheism and predicting a Day of Judgement for sinners and idol-worshippers — such as his tribesmen and neighbors in Macca. He did not completely reject Judaism and Christianity, two other monotheistic faiths known to the Arabs; he only claimed to complete and perfect their teachings. He soon acquired both a following and the hatred of his neighbors. In 622 he was forced to flee Macca and settle in Madina with his followers, where he established legal authority as leader of the first avowedly Muslim community. War between Macca and Madina followed, in which Muhammad and his followers were eventually victorious. The military organization honed in this struggle was then set to conquering the other pagan tribes of Arabia. By the time of Mohammed's (S.A.W)wafath, he had unified Arabia and launched a few expeditions to the north, towards Syria and Palestine.
Under Muhammad's immediate successors the Islamic empire expanded into Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, North Africa, and Spain. Later conquests, commercial contact between Muslims and non-Muslims, and missionary activity spread his faith over much of the globe.


Muhammad (S.A.W)Quotes

Quran

Muslim tradition holds that the Quran is a message of Allah, delivered through Muhammad ibn Abdullah as dictated to him by the angel Gibreel. It was delivered in Arabic, and all attempts at translation into other languages are deemed inadequate to proper transmission.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;
Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
Master of the Day of Judgment.
Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.
Show us the straight way,
The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.
(The Opening of The Quran as translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

Hadith

Hadith (Sayings) is a term used primarily for collections of sayings of Muhammad ibn Abdullah that have been collected as guidance for followers of the Muslim traditions. There are tens of thousands of hadith that are attributed to him, and a compilation of hadith without commentary alone could fill an encyclopedia of books.
A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.
(Bukhari 4:538 This is an extraordinary hadith, because following the Sunnah of Muhammad, prostitutes can be extremely despised figures among most Muslims, yet it expresses the idea that even someone working in one of the most despised of professions, in showing mercy to an animal, can merit the forgiveness of Allah, and the wise.
All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly.
Final Sermon of Muhammad
[Allah] has revealed to me that you should adopt humility so that no one oppresses another.
Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Hadith 1589.
Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to people.
Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 9, #473
Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour. Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously. And anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should say what is good or keep quiet.
Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 47.
Avoid cruelty and injustice for, on the Day of Judgment, the same will turn into several darknesses; and guard yourselves against miserliness; for this has ruined nations who lived before you.
Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Hadith 203.
By his good character, a believer will attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day.
Abu Dawood, Hadith 2233.
Do not turn away a poor man...even if all you can give is half a date. If you love the poor and bring them near you...God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1376.
(Each one) of you should save himself from the fire by giving even half of a date (in charity). And if you do not find a half date, then (by saying) a pleasant word (to your brethren).
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 394.
Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers.
Final Sermon of Muhammad
Five kinds of animals are mischief-doers and can be killed even in the Sanctuary: They are the rat, the scorpion, the kite, the crow and the rabid dog.
Hadith - Bukhari 4:531, Narrated 'Aisha
" God does not judge you according to your bodies and appearances, but He looks into your hearts and observes your deeds."
" [The man asked] 'Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?' The Prophet said, 'Your mother.' The man said. 'Who is next?' The Prophet said, 'Your mother.' The man further said, 'Who is next?' The Prophet said, 'Your mother.' The man asked for the fourth time, 'Who is next?' The Prophet said, 'Your father.' "
Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:2.
Happy is the man who avoids dissension, but how fine is the man who is afflicted and shows endurance.
Sunah of Abu Dawood, Hadith 1996.
He who has been a ruler over ten people will be brought shackled on the Day of Resurrection, until the justice (by which he ruled) loosens his chains or tyranny brings him to destruction.
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1037
" 'I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this,' putting his index and middle fingers together."
Sahih Al-Bukhari 8:34. 4
" I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for."
Narrated by 'Umar bin Al-Khattab: Sahih Al-Bukhari: Volume 1, Book 1, Number 1:
In the name of God, I put my trust in God. O God, I seek refuge in Thee lest I stray or be led astray or cause injustice or suffer injustice or do wrong or have wrong done to me!
Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2, Number 67b.
It is better for a leader to make a mistake in forgiving than to make a mistake in punishing.
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1011
It is a fine thing when a believer praises and thanks God if good comes to him, and praises God and shows endurance if smitten by affliction. The believer is rewarded for (every good action), even for the morsel he raises to his wife's mouth.
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 537.
It is better for any of you to carry a load of firewood on his own back than begging from someone else.
Riyadh-Us-Saleheen, Chapter 59, hadith 540
Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 38
Righteousness is good morality, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul and which you dislike people finding out about.
An-Nawawi's "Forty Hadith," Hadith 27.
Seven kinds of people will be sheltered under the shade of God on the Day of Judgment...They are: a just ruler, a young man who passed his youth in the worship and service of God...one whose heart is attached to the mosque...two people who love each other for the sake of God...a man who is invited to sin...but declines, saying 'I fear God'...one who spends his charity in secret, without making a show...and one who remembers God in solitude so that his eyes overflow.
Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Hadith 376.
Sometimes I enter prayer and I intend to prolong it, but then I hear a child crying, and I shorten my prayer thinking of the distress of the child's mother.
Fiqh us-Sunnah, Volume 2, Number 51b.
The example of a believer is like a fresh tender plant; from whichever direction the wind blows, it bends the plant. But when the wind dies down, (it) straightens up again.
Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, Number 1.
The first to be summoned to Paradise on the Day of Resurrection will be those who praise God in prosperity and adversity.
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 730.
" '...what is the best type of Jihad [struggle].' He answered: 'Speaking truth before a tyrannical ruler.' "
Riyadh us-Saleheen Volume 1:195
" While a man was walking along a road, he became very thirsty and found a well. He lowered himself into the well, drank, and came out. Then [he saw] a dog protruding its tongue out with thirst. The man said: 'This dog has become exhausted from thirst in the same way as I.' He lowered himself into the well again and filled his shoe with water. He gave the dog some water to drink. He thanked God, and [his sins were] forgiven.' The Prophet was then asked: 'Is there a reward for us in our animals?' He said: 'There is a reward in every living thing.' "
Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 104.
You have seen nothing like marriage for increasing the love between two people.
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 921.
You should marry virgins, and verily they are sweeter in tongue, more prolific in wombs, and easily satisfied with little.
Al Hadis, Vol. 2. p. 638
You should show courtesy and be cordial with each other, so that nobody should consider himself superior to another nor do him harm.
Riyadh-us-Saleheen. Hadith 602.
Attributed
The last day will not come until very tall buildings are constructed.
The last day will not come until the land of Arabia once again returns to meadows and is filled with rivers.
Many believe that "meadows" and "rivers" could be references to modern-day gardens/agricultural fields and water pipelines.

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