To those not familiar with the faith there could be some confusion over the two terms: Islam and Muslim. A Muslim is a believer in or follower of Islam. Therefore the religion is Islam and the followers are Muslims.
The word “Muslim” means one who attempts to have complete submission to the will of God. Muslim strive to surrender to God’s commands in all their actions. In Islam there is no distinction made between daily life and religion or politics.
The religion was founded by Muhammad, a trade merchant from Arabia, in 570. His teachings provide the foundation that Muslims follow as a correct interpretation of God’s will.
There are two main denominations within Islam. The largest is Sunni Islam and the second largest is Shia Islam. The two were established when Muhammad died and the groups decided to follow different leaders. Their core beliefs are very similar. One of the largest differences in the two groups is the belief in the Imams, their religious leaders. Shias believe the Imams are an infallible authority, even over political leaders. This makes becoming an Imam a birthright. Sunnis feel there is no lineage right to becoming an Imam, therefore Imams must earn the trust of the people, which can later be lost.
This is part of a series on the cultures of religions excerpted from getmaximpact.com of Rochester Hills, Mich. It looks at Christian, Muslim, Hinduism, Buddhism, atheism, Sikhism, and Judaism. To view more religions, click here. It is used by their permission.
©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.
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