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ROUGH DRAFT: WORLD RELIGIONS REPORT TANESHA BRENNO 1-14-11 SHEILA FARR

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There were many religions I was interested in for my final project. The only religion I could find someone to interview was Muslim. I know a woman from my old town that had switched to Muslim when she was 18 years old. Muslim is not a new religion or anything, but they do believe that god revealed himself through all of his prophets to everyone. According to islamicity.com, for a fifth of the world¶s population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Mostly, Muslims follow a religion of mercy, forgiveness, and peace. One billion people from a vast range of races, cultures, and nationalities across the world are united by their common Islamic faith. 18% live in the Arab world. The world¶s largest Muslim community is in Indonesia, some parts of Asia, and most of Africa. Muslim beliefs are bound by one god; in the angels created by him; in the prophets through whom his revelations individual accountability for actions. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, john the Baptist, and Jesus. Attached to the Muslim religion are the five pillars of Islam. Included in these pillars are: 1.) Faith, the declaration of faith is called the shahadai, a simple formula which all the faithful is pronounced. 2.) Prayer, Salat is the name for the obligatory prayers which are performed five times a day, and they are a direct link to God from the worshippers. The five prayers contain versus from the Quran, and are said in Arabic, the language of the revelations. The prayers are said at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall. These prayers determine the rhythm of that particular day. A translation of the call to prayer is: God is most great. God is most great.

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God is most great. God is most great. I testify there is no God except God. I testify there is no God except God. I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God. I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God. Come to prayer! Come to Prayer! Come to success (in this life and hereinafter) Come to success! God is most great. God is most great. God is most great. There is no God except God. (www.islamicity.com ). 3.) The zakat, which is the most important principle of Islam. The Zakat basically means that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word Zakat means both ³purification´ and ³growth´. 4.) The Fast, every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from first light until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. People who are sick, elderly, on a journey, and women who are breastfeeding are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year. If they are unable to do this they are supposed to feed a needy person for every day missed. Children begin to fast (and observe prayer) from puberty, some even earlier. 5.) Pilgrimage, the annual pilgrimage to makkah is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. Nevertheless, about 2 million people go to Makkah every year from all over the world. The annual Hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year. The thing that I found to be the most interesting is the fact that the elderly are treated so well. In the Islamic world there are no nursing homes. The strain of caring for a person¶s parents in the most difficult time of their lives is really considered an honor and a blessing, and it is known as a special opportunity for great spiritual growth. I do wonder however, what it is that they do in the case of a person who has reached that point in their life when they are unable to care for themselves and they have no children who can help care for them. I know that when my grandmother got really sick, she needed someone there at all times to help care for her day in and day out.

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The Muslim population is around one billion. 30% of Muslims live in the Indian subcontinent, 20% in sub-Saharan Africa, 17% in Southeast Asia, 18% in the Arab world, 10% in the Soviet Union and China. Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan compromise about 10% of the non-Arab Middle East. Below I have written my conversation with Precilla, who is a middle aged woman who I have grown to adore. Precilla changed over to Muslim when she was a young woman and truly loves it. 1.) What does your faith mean socially, culturally, and personally? My faith is my love. Islam means everything to me. I would willingly do anything for Allah (our God) and/or prophets. As a Muslim I willingly follow the Qua¶ran and Allah. Socially, many people are racist towards us, so socially doesn¶t really go that well in some areas. But, most people I know don¶t care about my religion they love me as I am and always will. 2.) How do you live your faith day to day? I live in America at the moment (obviously), so technically I live like any other American- except I do not eat pork and I pray five times a day. 3.) How easy or difficult is it to practice your faith in the U.S? Not all that difficult, basically the same as anywhere else besides places like Southeast Asia or something like that, it actually depends where a Muslim is. There's plenty of racism in New York and other busy city places. But mostly it isn't very difficult to practice my faith in the U.S except the fact that there are fewer Mosques here then other Islamic places. 4.) Which portion of your sacred scriptures is most meaningful to you and why? The Qua'ran. Because it makes so much sense, teaches me new things every time I read a new portion of it, tells me about Allah, the Jenna (Heavan), and the Prophets (Peace Be upon Them). And so much more you can't even begin to imagine!

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5.) What holy places are especially significant to your faith? Why? The Makkah/Ka'ba. It is the most Holy Islamic place in the world. All Muslims (That are able too) must go there once in a lifetime - But it¶s not just a big black cube in the middle of Saudi Arabia! It¶s so much more then that! There's a stone from Heavan placed on the corner of it where people are just waiting to get a glimpse of or touch (I was so close but there were too many people) Our Prophet (PBUH) built the Ka'ba and it still remains today where many people come to do Omrah (Where we circle it seven times and do other things). Praying there is the most Holy place you could pray there. For each Ra'kah (When we bend down in Prayer) you get 100 Good Deeds. 6.) Have you ever been on a pilgrimage to a holy place or sacred site? What was it like? Are you planning to go in the future? How important is it for you to go? Question One; Yes, the Ka'ba/Makkah. Question two; it was VERY crowded but it was magical. (See question 6). Just to be there with thousands/millions of other Muslims and knowing we're not alone is comforting 7.) What role does your family play in the practice and living out of your faith? Basically what every Muslim does. Prays and follows Allah's sacred words. 9.) How do you view Christianity and the Christian church? You'd be surprised how similar the Bible and the Qua'ran are. I know many Christians, I don't judge by religion though. I don't care whether a person is Christian or Jewish or Chinese or Japanese. I treat everyone (Yes that includes animals, I'm an animal lover) and everything equally and justly. I think Christian Churches are beautiful, even though I never actually been in

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one, but I have seen many. But of course I choose Mosques over Churches as a Christian would choose Churches over Mosques as a Holy Place. 10.) What is your general impression of Christianity? No general impression really. Everyone is unique and individual. As Muslims are, but SOME people judge Muslims by the idiotic unethical terrorists that bring shame to Islam. They deserve to be punished for the grief and pain they have brought - Those terrorists are not true Muslims. I never really mentioned what the Ka¶ba was earlier, the Ka'ba is the place of worship which God commanded Abraham and Ishmael to build over four thousand years ago. The building was constructed of stone on what many believe was the original site of a sanctuary established by Adam. God commanded Abraham to summon all mankind to visit this place, and when pilgrims go there today they say 'At Thy service, O Lord', in response to Abraham's summons. There are so many different beliefs when compared to Christianity, but in the end everyone is human and all people should be treated alike. I know that with Precilla it is sometimes tough because some people are so cruel and can be hurtful. I feel bad for her sometimes but then again she is a big girl and made the choice all on her own to become Muslim. I never really knew a lot about the Muslims and their beliefs but since I have researched and done the rough copy of my final I have learned quite a bit about their everyday and every month routines.

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REFRENCES Appendices: A, B, and F. Bloom, Jonathan M. Revolution by the Ream: A History of Paper (link) (Aramco World: May/June 99: vol. 50/No.3, pp: 26-39). PDF version from the issue. Percy, Patty ³Islamic Nation´ retrieved on 1-14-11 from http://www.islam-qa.com/en . ³What is Islam´ retrieved on 1-12-11 from www.islamicity.com .