THE CRESCENT MOON - The lunar calendar determines the
Islamic year with its system of religious devotions. The Qur'an explains
that Allah created the stars to guide people to their destination. So the
crescent moon (hilal) and the star (najm) have become the traditional
dual symbol of Islam. Note: Some Muslims insist that this symbol is
nothing more that a carryover of the symbol representing the Ottoman
Non-Muslim apologists, especially Christian, insist that the moon is a symbol for the ancient Arabic moon god who was the highest of 360 idol gods worshipped at Mecca around the time of Muhammad.
Mohammed (570-632 AD), the founder of Islam, is considered in
this religion to be the last and greatest of all prophets. Born an orphan, he
was raised by his uncle and grandfather. Although he was a member of a poor
family in Mecca, his family was still well respected. Known for his
organizational ability and honesty, he was employed by a wealthy widow who he
eventually married. Mohammed periodically went to a cave outside of Mecca for
prayer and meditation. According to Muslim tradition, it was there that the
archangel Gabriel appeared to Mohammed, declaring him to be a prophet of God.
Mohammed's teaching stressed his belief in only one God,
social and economic justice and the final judgment. His emphasis on social
reform brought him into conflict with the wealthy merchants of Mecca. In 619
A.D. he was offered a prominent position in arbitrating feuds in the city of
Medina. Mohammed accepted the position and encouraged his followers to immigrate
there. In Medina he began to lay the foundation for Islamic practices and
continued his efforts toward societal improvement. The city of Mecca finally
surrendered to Mohammed in 630 A.D. after warring against Medina for a season.
Soon after this, tribes from all over Arabia were converted to Islam. There are
presently over 150 Islamic sects in the world.
The Qur'an is the main Scripture base for Muslims. Believed to be divinely
inspired, the Qur'an was allegedly revealed to Mohammed by Gabriel over a
period of approximately twenty-two years. The second source is the Sunna (the
example of the prophet) known through "Hadith"� (traditions concerning the
sayings or actions of Mohammed as he dealt with various issues). The Qur'an is
considered infallible; Hadith is not.
Select the desired topic from the drop-down box
to view what followers believe on that subject.