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Middle East Essay

  • Submitted by: xcesarx36987
  • on April 28, 2012
  • Category: History
  • Length: 1,491 words

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Below is a free excerpt of "Middle East Essay" from Anti Essays, your source for free research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Middle East
Over the last century, the Middle East has been a hotbed of ethnic rivalry, political and economic instability, religious conflict, territorial dispute, and war. Much of the friction in the Middle East derives from various interpretations of Islam and how the religion should be applied to politics and society. Knowing the basic principles of Islam is the first step toward understanding how contrasting ideas about the religion cause conflict in the Middle East.
Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, second only to Christianity in numbers of adherents. Muslims live in all parts of the world, but the majority of Muslims are concentrated in the Middle East and Asia. Islam has two meanings: peace and submission to Allah (God). Muslims believe that Islam is the only true religion and that it was revealed by the prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the seventh century. Muslims are divided into two major groups, the Shiites and the Sunnis. The difference between these two groups is rooted in Islam’s early history. Sunnis believe that the first four caliphs, or rulers, after the prophet Muhammad were legitimate leaders. Shiites believe that Muhammad’s son-in-law, Ali, should have succeeded him directly, a belief that renders the first four caliphs illegitimate. Their theology differs slightly, but both groups adhere to the five pillars of Islam: acknowledging that there is no true god except God and that Muhammad is the prophet of God; praying five times a day toward Mecca; giving alms to the poor; fasting during the month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the lunar year); and making an annual pilgrimage to Mecca for those who are financially and physically able. Islam also requires belief in six articles of faith, which are belief in God, belief in the messengers and prophets of God, belief in the Revelations and the Koran (the Islamic holy book), belief in angels, belief in Judgment Day, and belief in the ultimate power of God or God’s decree. Other...

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