Introduction

Islam (m/) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion which teaches that there is only one God (Allah), and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion 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 humankind 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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Battle of Manzikert
The Battle of Manzikert, or Malazgirt, was fought between the Byzantine Empire and Seljuq forces led by Alp Arslan on August 26, 1071 near Manzikert (modern Malazgirt, Turkey, in Mus (province)). It resulted in one of the most decisive defeats of the Byzantine Empire and the capture of the Byzantine Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes. The Battle of Manzikert played an important role in breaking the Byzantine resistance and preparing the way for Turkish settlement in Anatolia. The battle marked the high point of the initial Turkish incursions and was followed up two years later with a large influx of Turkish settlers and soldiers, many at the request of the crumbling Byzantine Empire. However, the battle was not the slaughter that many historians, including contemporary writers, have stressed it to be — large numbers of mercenaries and Anatolian levies fled and survived the battle, thanks in part to Alp Arslan's refusal to pursue them. All the Byzantine commanders, including Romanos, survived to participate in the numerous civil conflicts that wrecked Anatolia. Nonetheless, the Byzantine Empire would never again be able to muster a force as large, nor as distantly projected, as that which took part in the fateful battle.

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Example of an ijazah, or diploma of competency in Arabic calligraphy
Credit: 'Ali Ra'if Efendi, (edited by Durova)

Example of an ijazah, or diploma of competency in Arabic calligraphy

In this month

Omar Ibn Said

Islam in the news

6 December 2018 –
A car bomb explodes near a police post in Chabahar, Iran. Two police officers are pronounced dead and around 40 people were wounded in the attack. Islamic militant group (Middle East Eye)
30 November 2018 –
The Supreme Court of Canada says that Vice Media reporter Ben Makuch must give the Royal Canadian Mounted Police material he gathered for stories about an accused (CBC)
26 November 2018 – Somali Civil War
An Islamic cleric and 17 of his followers are killed by (TIME)
24 November 2018 – United Kingdom national security, Russia–United Kingdom relations
The British Army Chief of the General Staff, Mark Carleton-Smith, says Russia is a "far greater threat" to the United Kingdom's national security than the (BBC)
17 November 2018 – Syrian Civil War
After months of fighting, Syrian government forces retake control of Tulul al-Safa in southern Syria from (The New Arab)

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The Pentagon, minutes after American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into it
Khalid al-Mihdhar (May 16, 1975 – September 11, 2001) was one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77, which was flown into the Pentagon as part of a coordinated suicide attack on September 11, 2001. Mihdhar was born in Saudi Arabia and fought in the Bosnian War during the 1990s. In early 1999, he traveled to Afghanistan where, as an experienced and respected jihadist, he was selected by Osama bin Laden to participate in the 9/11 attacks plot. Mihdhar arrived in California with fellow hijacker Nawaf al-Hazmi in January 2000, after traveling to Malaysia for the Kuala Lumpur al-Qaeda Summit. Upon arriving in San Diego, California, Mihdhar and Hazmi were to train as pilots, but spoke English poorly and did not do well with flight lessons. In June 2000, Mihdhar left the United States for Yemen, leaving Hazmi behind in San Diego. Mihdhar spent some time in Afghanistan in early 2001 and returned to the United States in early July 2001. He stayed in New Jersey in July and August 2001, before arriving in the Washington, D.C. area at the beginning of September 2001. On the morning of September 11, Mihdhar boarded American Airlines Flight 77, which was hijacked approximately a half-hour after take off. The plane was deliberately crashed into the Pentagon, killing all 64 people aboard the flight, along with 125 on the ground. In the aftermath, intelligence files on Mihdhar indicated to investigators that al-Qaeda was behind the attacks.

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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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