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The Early Arabs wandered around the Arabian Peninsula, living a nomadic life. Their leaders chose their ruler, who was known as the Sheikh. They were polytheistic people, meaning that they believed in many gods. There was one supreme god, however, know as Allah. (Slide 2)
Muhammad was a man from the city of Makkah. While in the desert, he said that he had been given revelations from Allah. Muslims believe him to be the great prophet from Allah. His teachings, along with his revelations were written down in the Quran. He became religious leader as well as the political leader of Islam. (Slide 3)
There are 5 pillars of Islam, which are the bases of their religion and tell them how to worship. The 1st is the belief that there are no other gods but Allah. The 2nd is that they must pray 5 times a day, facing towards towards their holy city of Makkah. The third is that they must be charitable, and give to the poor. The 4th is that they must fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan. The 5th is that they must make a pilgrimage to Makkah once in their lifetime if they are able to. (Slide 6)
Once Muhammad had died, the people who followed him were split on who should become their next leader. This caused two different groups known as the Sunnis and Shi'tes to form. The Sunnis believed that the leader should be chosen by the people, while the Shi'ites thought it should be someone descended from Muhammad. (Slides 8-9)
Fundamentalists take the Quran literally, and follow many of the old customs of the religion. (Slide 12)
Extremists have their own way of interpreting the scriptures and decide by themselves what is acceptable in the religion. (Slide 12)
Arabic culture has been very influential in the world. The Quran grants equal rights to women and men, although women sometimes wear a head scarf called a Hijab to respect their husbands. They have also made many contributions in math and science, such as developing Algebra and bringing back the old writings of ancient Greek Philosophers. They also made the Arabic system of numbers, and made the Astrolabe, which helped ships find their location while on long voyages because of the stars. (Slide 11)
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