The Muslim reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Muslim

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A Muslim is a believer in or follower of Islam. The word Muslim means one who submits and implies complete submission to the will of God. Muslims believe that nature is itself Islamic, since it follows natural laws placed by God.

Thus a Muslim strives to surrender to God's commands every step of the way. There is no distinction made between daily life and religion or politics.

The basic beliefs of Muslims are: belief in God, His angels, His revealed Books, His Messengers, and the Day of Judgement, and affirmation of fate and the Divine Decree, the good of it and the bad of it.

The Five Pillars of Islam on which a Muslim's life is founded are:

Until recently the word was usually spelled Moslem; that spelling is now discouraged. Many English-language writers used to call Muslims "Mohamedans" or "Mohametans", meaning "followers of Mohammed", but this terminology is considered incorrect and insulting, because it is taken to imply that they worship the prophet Muhammad, contrary to the fundamental principles of Islam itself. By contrast, the term "Christian" does correctly imply the worship of Jesus Christ and the belief in his own ideas as divine. Muslims consider Muhammad and Jesus ("Isa") both to have been prophets of God.

Table of contents
1 Muslim civilization
2 Muslim civilization and modernity
3 Muslim culture
4 External Links

Muslim civilization

Muslim civilization is over fourteen centuries old, and is one of the greatest world civilizations. Early Muslim philosophy is widely credited with being the vital bridge between classical Greco-Roman civilization and the Europeans of The Renaissance. What Europeans call the "Dark Ages" were in fact the golden age of civilization for Muslims and Islam itself, which spread extremely rapidly through Asia to China in its first decades of existence, and then spread more slowly to Africa and Indonesia.

During that time, the principal language of religion and science for all Muslims was Arabic, and for many, it was also the language of daily life. A list of Islamic terms in Arabic provides simple definitions of the most important concepts by which society, religion and law were ruled.

Under the Ottoman Empire and later under colonialism and the British Empire, practices (especially fiqh or jurisprudence) ossified, and failed to keep up with al-urf, or change in culture. Muslim culture began to revive after World War I, and some consider 1979 to be a crucial year when several events (peace between Israel and Egypt, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and Iranian revolution) conspired to "wake up" the Muslim civilization. Shortly thereafter, innovative programs such as the Islamization of knowledge began to emerge, and these are presently spreading widely.

The Islamic World is the world-wide community of all believers in Islam, who are known as Muslims, and who number approximately one-and-a-half billion people

Both the Arab and the Non-Arab Muslims pray in Arabic.

Some other languages with mainly Muslim speakers (Persian, Urdu) are written in scripts derived from the Arabic script. Muslims speaking other languages often learn the Arabic script only to read the Qur'an. (Such readings often only involve vocalization without comprehension.)


Muslim civilization and modernity

Muslims today disagree significantly on how one should reconcile modernity and enlightenment values with adherence to Islam as a faith and way of life.

Islamism is a new form of Islam which views its teachings as the original, authentic form of Islam, and which views other forms of Islam as corrupted and illegitimate. In contrast, many in Sufi Islam see the incorporation of modern enlightenment values as consistent with the original theological program that they believe Islam was based on (see ijthad). In between these two views one can find a wide array of beliefs in Shiite and Sunni Islam.

There are distinctions between those who seek to live their lives as the first three generations of Islam did, and those who seek to change or reform Islam to conform to today's international norms. All the major denominations of Islam are fundamentalist, in the technical sense of the term. The term "fundamentalist" describes a movement to return to what it considers the defining or founding principles of the religion. For religious fundamentalists, their sacred scriptures are the words of God. Fundamentalist beliefs depends on the twin doctrines that God articulated His will precisely to prophets, and that they also have a reliable and perfect record of that revelation, which has been passed down to our day in an unbroken chain of tradition. Since Scripture is the word of God, no one has the right to change it or disagree with it. There are no denominations of Islam that have a liberal theological approach, but there are many individuals who promote such a point of view. For more on these topics, please see the articles on Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, Modern Islamic philosophy, and Islam.

Muslim of today also includes extremists that want to kill all those non-Muslims in the name of the Prophet. The jihadists are convinced they can continue fighting indefinitely. "Jihad is not made by us," says a midlevel insurgent leader. "It is made by the Prophet and will continue to Judgment Day." [1]. As one Muslim extremist recently said "The war in Iraq, he says, is one of liberation, not just of a country but of Muslim lands, Muslim people, Islam itself. There is no room for negotiation with the enemy, no common ground. What he and his men offer is endless, righteous resistance. "Maybe this war will take a long time," he says. "Maybe this is a world war." [1]. However, even though many Muslim extremists exist, most Muslims condemn the attacks and the Muslim extremist holy wars as it is against Muslim religion to kill or do bad to others.

Muslim culture

One of the tenets of Islam is that all mankind is one, so (particularly in the light of the example of Zayd, a black slave and one of Muhammad's closest disciples, having married Zaynab, a white Arab noblewoman) no orthodox Muslims have religious objections to inter-racial marriage.

See also: Islam -- List of noted Muslims -- List of Islamic terms in Arabic Qur'an -- Muslim names -- Islam in France

External Links