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48 Interesting Facts About Islam

There’s a bad image of Islam thanks due to terrorist groups and the mass media and its disinformation. But here are some facts about this religion that will make you wonder how great it is.

  1. Islam is the name of the religion. A person who practices Islam is known as a Muslim. The adjective “Islamic” usually refers to objects and places, not people.
  2. Islam is an Arabic word that means “peace,” “security,” and “surrender.” Muslim means “one who peacefully surrenders to God.” Anyone from any race could be Muslim; in other words, “Muslim” does not refer to a particular race.
  3. Famous Muslims in America include Janet Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O’Neal, Mara Brock Akil (writer of the series “The Game” and “Girlfriends”), Mos Def (Yasiin Bey), Mike Tyson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Ice Cube, Akon, and Anousheh Ansari, the first Muslim woman in space.
  4. Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W)’s flight (the Hijrah) from Mecca in A.D. 622 is the beginning of the rise of Islam. It also marks the beginning of the Islamic, or Hijri, calendar.
  5. Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W) was born around A.D. 570 in Mecca, Arabia (present-day Saudi Arabia) and departed from this world on June 8, 632, in Medina, Arabia. He received his first revelation from God when he was 40 years old.
  6. In the Battle of Badr, 300 Muslims emerged victorious against an army of 1000 infidels.
  7. God’s help during the Battle of Trench in the form of strong winds against the infidels and the extra-ordinary safety of Muslims against those winds is still seen by even the Non-Muslim historians as a miracle.
  8. Muslims were the first to introduce trench warfare in Arabia during the Battle of the Trench.
  9. The Islamic Golden Age, which is traditionally dated as being the 8th–13th centuries, was marked by the ascension of the Abbasid Caliphate. The Abbasids were influenced by the Quran’s injunction that “the ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr.” During this time, the Arab world became an intellectual center for science, astronomy, chemistry, physics, mathematics, philosophy, medicine, and education.
  10. There are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, which is about 1/5 of the world’s population. Due to birth and conversion rates, Islam is considered to be the fastest-growing religion in the world today.
  11. The Muslims created a House of Wisdom (Bait-ul-Hikmat), which was active during the 9th –13th centuries, where both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars sought to translate the world’s knowledge into Arabic. Many classic works of antiquity that might have otherwise been lost were preserved in Arabic and Persian and later translated into Turkish, Hebrew, and Latin. Here, scholars synthesized and significantly advanced knowledge gained from the Roman, Chinese, Persian, Egyptian, Greek, Byzantine, and Phoenician civilizations.
  12. Muslim scholars Ibn Rushd and Ibn Sina were primarily responsible for saving the works of Aristotle, whose ideas would later dominate both the Christian and Muslim worlds.
  13. Inventions that emerged from the Islamic world include the discovery of citric acid (Jabir bin Hayyan), arabesque architecture, the minaret, the bridge mill, the vertical-axle windmill, teaching hospitals, marching bands, early torpedoes, the guitar, the lute, early attempts at gliding, algebra, the pinhole camera, the laws of refraction, coffee, and more.
  14. Muslim scholar Ibn al-Haytham, who was born in A.D 965, formulated the scientific method and has been referred to as “the world’s first true scientist.” He is also often regarded as the first theoretical physicist. Additionally, he developed what is called celestial mechanics, which lead to the eventual work of Europeans such as Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton.
  15. Islam is the second-largest faith community, after Christianity.
  16. Although Muslims are often associated with the Arab world, fewer than 15% of Muslims are Arabs. Muslims are found among virtually all ethnic groups, nationalities, and countries.
  17. Algebra, from the Arabic al-jabr, originated in the Islamic world.
  18. In November 2013, Marvel announced that a 16-year-old Pakistani Muslim American girl, Kamala Khan, from New Jersey will be one of their lead superheroes.
  19. Many academic traditions, including the distinction between graduates and undergraduates began at the Islamic university Al-Azhar (“the resplendent”) University in Cairo. The university was founded in the 10th century and is renowned for its philosophical and theoretical scholarship.
  20. A Muslim woman retains her own family name upon marriage, rather than taking the name of her husband. This symbolic act emphasizes that she remains her own person, with her own valid identity.
  21. Scholars such as Ibn Sina (980-1037) developed the work of the ancient Greeks in both medicine and philosophy. When Christians came into contact with the Muslim world during the crusades, they brought back Muslim scholarship which, in turn, helped spark the European Renaissance.
  22. Islamic astronomy became highly advanced during the Middle Ages. Astronomy was important to Muslims because it could be used to figure out the direction of Mecca so that people knew which way to face during prayers. This is one example of how the Western world is still influenced by Muslim innovations.
  23. The Islamic world produced the first skilled and specially trained pharmacists who made their own medicines and worked closely with physicians.
  24. A 13th-century Islamic writer described the circulation of blood some 400 years before this was “discovered” in Europe.
  25. One famous hadith (Islamic saying) is “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty”. Beauty has always been, therefore, very important to Muslims, and developments in the visual arts such as architecture, calligraphy, painting, textiles, metal work, and ceramics were encouraged. However, because of strict laws against idolatry, traditional Islamic art avoided images of humans or animals.
  26. The Quran stresses that there should be tolerance between Muslims and non-Muslims. Jews and Christians—people who, like Muslims, believe in the One God—are given particular respect in the Quran. Islam does not advocate forced conversion.
  27. Indonesia has the largest number of Muslims (120 million), followed by Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.
  28. Muslims do not describe Islam as a religion. Rather it is a deen, which comes from the Arabic for “way of life.” Muslims believe that Islam is more than a religious belief—it is a way of living in accordance with one’s religious faith.
  29. Muslims believe that everything on earth that follows God’s natural law is “muslim,” in a sense that it follows God’s will.
  30. The Islamic empire once stretched into modern-day Europe, particularly in Spain and the Balkans. Today, there are an estimated 12–20 million Muslims in Europe.
  31. During the Middle Ages, the Muslim world had two enormous business advantages:
    1) They had a huge range of contacts, so they could trade everything form African gold to Chinese porcelain to European amber and furs.
    2) Muslim craft workers were highly skilled, which meant their goods always found a ready market. Without Muslim merchants, Europeans would have had no rice, sugar, or coffee.
  32. Approximately 5–8 million Muslims live in the United States, and there are over 1,200 mosques. Muslims have been a part of the cultural landscape in America for the past two hundred years.
  33. Most historians agree Columbus was not the first person to “discover” America and that explorers, including Muslims from West Africa, arrived several centuries before Columbus. In fact, when Columbus made his historical journeys, he relied on the maps and geography studies of the 12th-century Muslim scholar Al-Idrisi.
  34. The first mosque built in the U.S. was the “Mother Mosque of America,” which was built in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1934. It is still used for worship today.
  35. In Europe, Muslim trade goods were a sought-after status symbol. Arabic style, wealth, and power were similar to a Gucci logo or the Nike “swoosh” today.
  36. Islam’s tradition of oral recitation developed into an efficient vehicle for mass-produced handwritten literature. A single Muslim reciter would read a book out loud to a group of scribes, who copied his spoken words simultaneously. Europe, in contrast, used a much slower system: monks copied books, individually and one at a time.
  37. In 10th-century Cordoba, an Umayyad (Islamic dynasty) city in Spain with over 70 libraries, the palace library alone had over 60,000 volumes, all written by hand. At the time, the best Latin library in Europe had only 600 parchment books.
  38. While the Chinese invented paper sometime before the 2nd century B.C., Muslims were the first to mass-produce paper on an intercontinental scale, developing a culture dependent on its abundance. As the price of paper dropped, literacy rose and booksellers and libraries became integral parts of every Muslim city.
  39. Islamic advances in the use of paper are the primary reason we read books rather than scrolls today.
  40. Arabic numerals, the numbers the Western world uses today, were developed by the Muslims.
  41. Muslims believe they are members of a worldwide Muslim community, known as the ummah, united by a religious bond that transcends tribal, ethnic, and national identities.
  42. There are 25 countries in which more than 95% of the population is Muslim.
  43. The Islamic year is 11 days shorter than the year used in the Western world. This is because the Western year is based on the orbit of the Earth around the Sun instead of on the phases of the moon.
  44. While some blame Islam for the oppression of women, others see it as a means to reform. The status of women in Muslim countries differs as much as the countries themselves. Restrictions often originate not from Islam, but rather from cultural customs sometimes wrongly justified under Islam.
  45. The translation of jihad as “Holy War” is incorrect. In Arabic, the phrase would be harbun muqaddasa tur, a phrase that is not found in the Quran or in any other form of Islamic literature. Its meaning is controversial, but most scholars agree it means both
    1) the inner struggle that one endures in trying to submit their will to the will of God, which is the “greater” jihad
    2) the physical struggle against persecution and oppression, which is the “lesser” jihad. Some scholars suggest a third meaning, which is the struggle to build a good society.
  46. Islam and Islamic law have consistently condemned terrorism.
  47. Muslim scholars agree that after the “ensoulment” (infusion of the soul) of the fetus (thought by some to occur at fertilization and by others at 120 days), abortion constitutes homicide and should be punished. Abortions are generally approved when the health of the mother is at stake.
  48. During WWII, the Grand Mosque of Paris gave the Jews Muslim IDs to help hide them from the Nazis.
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