Since the seventh century, A.D., the culture of the Arab world has been dominated by the last of the three great monotheistic religions to have emerged from that region: Islam. Islam, faith of the vast majority of Arabs, is more than just a religion; it is the focal point of Arab society for Muslims and non-Muslims alike permeating that culture at every level-political, social, economic, as well as private. To appreciate the enormous force of Islam in the Arab world, one must understand the basic tenets of the faith, how it emerged and grew.
Islam originated in the Arabian Peninsula, present-day Saudi Arabia in 622 A.D. According to Islamic tradition, God (Allah) conveyed to Muhammad, a tradesman, a series of revelations which were to form the basis of the new faith. Islam means submission-submission to the will of God; a Muslim, in turn, is one who has submitted to Allah and who acknowledges Muhammad as His prophet.
Muslims consider Muhammad to be the last in a series of prophets which included Abraham, Moses and Jesus, to whom God revealed His Divine Message. Islamic tradition, in fact, takes into account the doctrines of both Judaism and Christianity which preceded it; for example, Muslims believe, as do both Jews and Christians, in one God and in an afterlife. Islam also acknowledges Jews and Christians as "people of the Book" (ahl alkitab), "the Book" meaning the Bible, and grants them privileged status from the early days of the Islamic empire into modern times. For this reason, religious minorities throughout the Arab world have survived and flourished during periods of severe cultural and religious repression elsewhere.
The body of revelation which Allah delivered to Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel is contained in the Qur 'an, the holy book of Islam. The Qur 'an, written in Arabic, the language of Allah's divine transmission, provides the Muslim believer with all he or she needs to know to lead a good and pious life. In addition to its obvious religious
  significance, the revelation of the Qur'an represents the crowning literary achievement
of the Arabic language. It has been both an immeasurable influence on the development of Arabic literature and an inspiration for all branches of literature and scholarship.
Islamic acts of devotion and worship are expressed in the Five Pillars of Islam. These involve, not only profession of faith, but also, recognition of God in all aspects of human conduct.
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