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Islam (m/) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religious group teaching that there is only one God (Allah) and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion and with over 1.8 billion followers (or 24.1% of the world's population), most commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, unique and has guided mankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative example (called the sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570–8 June 632 CE).

Muslims believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Muslims consider the Quran to be the unaltered and final revelation of God. Like other Abrahamic religions, Islam also teaches a final judgment with the righteous rewarded paradise and unrighteous punished in hell. Religious concepts and practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law (sharia), which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to women and the environment. The cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem are home to the three holiest sites in Islam.

Aside from the theological viewpoint, Islam is historically believed to have originated in the early 7th century CE in Mecca, and by the 8th century the Umayyad Islamic caliphate extended from Iberia in the west to the Indus River in the east. The Islamic Golden Age refers to the period traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century, during the Abbasid Caliphate, when much of the historically Muslim world was experiencing a scientific, economic and cultural flourishing. The expansion of the Muslim world involved various caliphates and empires, traders and conversion to Islam by missionary activities (dawah). Read more...

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The world's first Swaminarayan Temple
Ahmedabad is the largest city in the state of Gujarat and the seventh largest urban agglomeration in India, with a population of almost 5.1 million. Located on the banks of the River Sabarmati, the city is the administrative centre of Ahmedabad district, and was the capital of Gujarat from 1960 to 1970; the capital was shifted to Gandhinagar thereafter. The city was founded in 1411 to serve as the capital of the Sultanate of Gujarat, by its namesake, Sultan Ahmed Shah. Under British rule, a military cantonment was established and the city infrastructure was modernised and expanded. The city was at the forefront of the Indian independence movement in the first half of the 20th century. It was the epicentre of many campaigns of civil disobedience to promote workers' rights, civil rights and political independence. With the creation of the state of Gujarat in 1960, Ahmedabad gained prominence as the political and commercial capital of the state. Once characterised by dusty roads and bungalows, the city is witnessing a major construction boom and population increase. A rising centre of education, information technology and scientific industries, Ahmedabad remains the cultural and commercial heart of Gujarat, and much of western India.

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Chechen separatist fighter praying during the First Chechen War
Credit: Mikhail Evstafiev

Chechen separatist fighter praying during the First Chechen War

In this month

Islam in the news

6 October 2018 – Foreign fighters in the Syrian and Iraqi Civil Wars
Jack Letts, a British Islamic State fighter held in Syria, faces deportion from Syria to Canada instead of the (The Guardian)
2 October 2018 – Terrorism in France
French RAID and BRI police units raid the headquarters of a Shiite association in (France-Soir via Koz Post)
1 October 2018 – 2018 Eastern Euphrates missile strike
Iran fires six ballistic missiles from its own territory at ISIL targets near the Euphrates river valley in eastern Syria, in response to the (The Independent)
26 September 2018 – Ahvaz military parade attack
(Rudaw)
22 September 2018 – 2018 Ahvaz military parade attack
Four unknown gunmen, wearing military uniforms, open fire during a military parade to commemorate the Iran–Iraq War in Ahvaz, Khuzestan, Iran, killing 25 people and wounding up to 60. Both the Islamic State and (Reuters)

Selected biography

Muhammad Iqbal
Muhammad Iqbal was an Indian Muslim poet, philosopher and politician, whose poetry in Persian and Urdu is regarded as among the greatest in modern times. Also famous for his work on religious and political philosophy in Islam, he is credited with first proposing the idea of an independent state for Indian Muslims, which would inspire the creation of Pakistan. He is best known for his poetic works, which include the Tarana-e-Hind, Asrar-e-Khudi, Rumuz-i-Bekhudi, and the Bang-i-Dara. He is officially recognised as the "national poet" in Pakistan. The anniversary of his birth on November 9 is a holiday in Pakistan. Iqbal was a strong proponent of the political and spiritual revival of Islamic civilisation across the world, but specifically in India; a series of famous lectures he delivered to this effect were published as The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. One of the most prominent leaders of the All India Muslim League, Iqbal would encourage the creation of a "state in northwestern India for Indian Muslims" in his 1930 presidential address.

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Muhammad al-Baqir
The parable of a man greedy of this world is the parable of the silk worm: the more it winds the thread round itself the farther it becomes from salvation, until it dies of grief.

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