Islam is one of the three major world religions, along with Judaism and Christianity,
that professes monotheism, or the belief in a single God. The Arabic name for God, Allah,
refers to the same God worshiped by Jews and Christians.
two centuries after its rise in the 7th century, Islam spread from its original
home in Arabia into Syria, Egypt, North Africa, and Spain to the west into
Persia, India, and by the end of the 10th century, beyond to the east.
the following centuries, Islam also spread into Balkans to the
north, and sub-Saharan Africa to the south. The most populous Muslim country is Indonesia, followed
by Pakistan and Bangladesh. Beyond the Middle East, large numbers of Muslims
live in India, Nigeria, the former republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics (USSR), and China.
One of the reasons
for the growth of the Muslim community has been its openness to new members.
Children born to Muslim parents are automatically considered Muslim. At any
time, a non-Muslim can convert to Islam by declaring himself or herself to be a
Muslim. A person's declaration of faith is sufficient evidence of conversion to
Islam and needs not be confirmed by others or by religious authorities.
The Islam religion believes that Jesus was a prophet
equal to the likes of Moses, Abraham or Adam. Failure to do Allah's will
or their religious duties is sin to the Islam religion. Salvation is
earned by man paying for his own sins in some way.