Religious Belief Systems of the Ancient Times: Islam and Hinduism

Essay by Czerny1791 April 2004

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Throughout history, major belief systems have developed and have played a significant role in shaping the culture and historical development of a region. Such belief systems which have played such a major impact on their region's development are Hinduism and Islam. Hinduism and Islam's dietary restrictions, belief in afterlife, and traditional values have influenced how the Islamic and Hindu people lead their every day lives, and how their nations have developed.

        The Islamic religion began in 622 A.D. in the Arabian Peninsula. In 570 A.D. Muhammad, who was at that time a caravan merchant married and gave birth to his children. He was troubled by the Arab worship of idols. According to Islamic belief, an angel, named Gabriel commanded Muhammad to spread the religion of Islam to his people. Muhammad obeyed. He created a religious community for his followers in Mecca, which today Muslims are required to journey to, as a religious pilgrimage.

        The people of the Islamic faith accept five basic duties, also known as the Five Pillars of Faith. The first pillar or duty is that the Muslim people must believe only in one God, the all-powerful Allah and his prophet, Muhammad. The next pillar or duty is that all Muslims are expected to pray five times a day, in the direction of Mecca. The third pillar or duty of the Islamic belief system is that the Muslims people are required to give alms to the poor, or in other words charity to help the less fortunate. They must also give money to help in the maintenance of their local mosque. Fourth, the Muslim people are required to fast from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan, except for the very young and the very sick. Lastly, the Muslim people are supposed to visit Mecca at least...