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What’s the main idea?

On his many caravan rides along the trading route between

Syria and Arabia, a merchant named Muhammad observed people of

all kinds of faiths. He became increasingly concerned that

people were straying from ethical and moral responsibility. In

A.D. 610, when Muhammad was 40 years old, the angel Gabriel

allegedly commanded him to become a prophet, calling people

back to the truth. The foundation of Islam was laid.

Islam is the second-largest religion in the world (after

Christianity), claiming one billion followers, called Muslims.

The religion hangs on the phrase, "There is no god but Allah

and Muhammad is his prophet." Allah (Arabic for "God") is

alone to be worshiped. So it’s a big mistake to think Muslims

view Muhammad the same way Christians view Jesus. Muhammad was

not a deity to be worshiped, but the last and greatest

prophet -- someone who brought a perfect message from God.

Muslims aren’t concerned as much about the right beliefs as

they are about the right actions. In "submitting to the will

of God" (that’s the meaning of the word "Islam"), they stick

to the Five Pillars, a set of important requirements that

includes regular charity, praying five times a day, and making

at least one hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca (Islam’s holy city).

In addition to this, most Muslims devoutly refrain from

alcohol, drugs, gambling, and certain foods such as pork. The

Qur’an (or Koran), which Muslims believe is the written

recollection of the visions Muhammad received, is the most

important text, although our Old and New Testaments are also

significant in Islam.


Christians and Muslims share a lot of similar beliefs. For

instance, Moses, Jacob, and David are influential in both

faiths. And Muslims have enormous respect for Jesus, seeing

him as the second-greatest prophet. Muslims also believe in

Jesus’ virgin birth and his miracles, even saying he’s the



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