Mecca is the holy city of Islam. It is the goal of all Muslims to travel there one day.
The Prophet Muhammad received the word of God from the archangel Gabriel during 610-632 c.e . He belonged to The Hashim clan within the Quraysh tribe.
The Qur'an is a text inscribed on a golden tablet in heaven by God himself. Muhammad heard the heavenly text being read and repeated it aloud to his followers.
Medina, a commercial and cultic rival of Mecca, proved more receptive to Muhammad's teaching and within two years Muhammad was in command of the city.
Once both Mecca and Medina were in his hands, Muhammad was able to bring most of the Arabian peninsula under his command before his death in 632.
The five pillars are the foundation of Islam, and are as follows: (1) Shahadah - declaration of faith. (2) Salah - five daily prayers. (3) Zakat- the giving of charity. (4) Ramadhan- fasting from dawn to dusk in the month of Ramadan. (5) Haij-the pilgrimage to Mecca.
The pilgrimage to Mecca is an obligation of every able-bodied Muslim. The endpoint of the pilgrimage is the sacred Ka'ba, the holiest site in Islam. Pilgrims perform a circular march around the temple.
The key Muslim beliefs are as follows: Allah is the name for God in Arabic. God is all-knowing and all powerful. God controls everything that happens, and people should try to do the will of God at all times. All life is created by God and therefore must be respected.
There are two major sects of Islam, the Sunnis and the Shi'as. The split between the Sunnis and Shi'as occurred after the death of Mohammed. Some people in the Muslim community thought that a person who was most knowledgeable and closet to the prophet should be the next ruler of the Muslim community.
Because of this disagreement, some Muslim became Sunni, following the leaders who most knowledgeable, and the Shi'as followed the leaders who were blood-related to the prophet.