Islam has 1.3 billion followers around the world. It was founded by the prophet Mohammed, who received the holy scriptures of Islam, the Koran, from Allah c. A.D. 610. Islam (Arabic for "submission to God") maintains that Mohammed is the last in a long line of holy prophets, preceded by Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus Christ. In addition to being devoted to the Koran, followers of Islam (Muslims) are devoted to the worship of Allah through the Five Pillars: the Statement: "There is no god but God, and Mohammed is his prophet;" Prayer, conducted five times a day while facing Mecca; the giving of alms; the keeping of the fast of Ramadan during the ninth month of the Muslim year; and the making of a pilgrimage at least once to Mecca, if possible. The two main divisions of Islam are the Sunni and the Shiite. The Wahabis are the most important Sunni sect, while the Shiite sects include the Assassins, the Druses, and the Fatimids, among countless others.
Last updated by Nelson Mar 4, 2009.