Islam was founded is seventh century C. E. in the Arabian Peninsula. It is an Abrahamic religion. Followers of Islam, called Muslims, believe that Abraham, Moses, and Jesus are all prophets sent from God just as Christians do. They believe that Mohammad is the last of the prophets and is the founder of the religion. Islam is related to Judaism because they both follow dietary laws. All three religions are monotheistic.
The Islamic holy book is the Quran and the place of worship is a mosque. The religious leaders are the caliph and imams. Muslims follow five guidelines for how to live their life called the 5 Pillars of Faith. These include Shahadah, the statement of faith, Salat, praying five times daily, Sawn, fasting during Ramadan, Zakat, giving to charity, and Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in one's life unless he or she is unable to due to health or financial reasons. In the case that one is unable to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, a family member may do it for him or her.
The two major sects of the Islamic religion are the Sunnis and Shiites. Other sects include Ismailis, Alveisl, Alawites, and Dvuze. Sunnis believe that the new leaders after the death of Mohammad should be chosen by the people, while Shiites believe that the new leader should be a descendant of Mohammad and be called the caliph. Sunnis practice their religion through their daily life. Shiites, on the other hand, believe that true faith in one's religion is shown through sacrifice and dying for ones's religion.
Ramadan is a major holiday in the Islamic faith. It is the ninth month of the lunar calendar, when Muslims fast during daylight hours. This is done to grow closer to Allah and to follow the example of Mohammad. Eid al-Fitr is the day to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Eid al Adha is a day to commemorate Abraham's complete faith in God when he was willing to sacrifice his only son for Him. Muslims remember this by sacrificing animals. Many traditions are followed to bring a baby into the Islamic faith. The first words a new born baby must hear are the shahadan, the statement of faith and the first thing the baby must eat is something sweet, to follow the example of Mohammad. On the seventh day after the child is born, the baby's head is shaven and the parents give silver to charity in the same amount of weight of the baby's hair. Another tradition to celebrate a baby's acceptance into this religion is to sacrifice a sheep and give the meat to neighbors and the poor.