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Islam (/ˈɪslɑːm/; Arabic: الإسلام, al-ʾIslām [ɪsˈlaːm] (listen), transl. "Submission [to God]") is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God (or Allah) as it was revealed to Muhammad, the main and final Islamic prophet. It is the world's second-largest religion behind Christianity, with its followers ranging between 1-1.8 billion globally, or around a quarter of the world's population. Due to the average younger age and higher fertility rate, Islam is the world's fastest growing major religious group, and is projected by Pew Research Center to be the world's largest religion by the end of the 21st century, surpassing that of Christianity. It teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided humanity through various prophets, revealed scriptures, and natural signs, with the Quran serving as the final and universal revelation and Muhammad serving as the "Seal of the Prophets" (the last prophet of God). The teachings and practices of Muhammad (sunnah) documented in traditional collected accounts (hadith) provide a secondary constitutional model for Muslims to follow after the Quran.

Muslims believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times through earlier prophets such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, among others; these earlier revelations are attributed to Judaism and Christianity, which are regarded in Islam as spiritual predecessor faiths. They also consider the Quran, when preserved in Classical Arabic, to be the unaltered and final revelation of God to humanity. Like other Abrahamic religions, Islam also teaches of a "Final Judgement" wherein the righteous will be rewarded in paradise (Jannah) and the unrighteous will be punished in hell (Jahannam). The religious concepts and practices of Islam include the Five Pillars of Islam—considered obligatory acts of worship —and following Islamic law, sharia, which touches on virtually every aspect of life, from banking and finance and welfare to women's roles and the environment. The Five Pillars comprise Shahada, the Islamic oath and creed; Salah, daily prayers; Zakat, forms of almsgiving; Sawm, religious fasting; and Hajj, a mandated once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca during the 12th month of the lunar calendar. Khitan, the religious rite of circumcision, is seen as obligatory or recommendable for male followers. Prominent religious festivals include Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha. The cities of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem are home to the three holiest sites in Islam, in descending order: Masjid al-Haram, Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, and Al-Aqsa Mosque, respectively.

Islam originated in the 7th century at Jabal al-Nour, a mountain peak near Mecca where Muhammad's first revelation is said to have taken place. Through various caliphates, the religion later spread outside of Arabia shortly after Muhammad's death, and by the 8th century, the Umayyad Caliphate had imposed Islamic rule from the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Indus Valley in the east. The Islamic Golden Age refers to the period traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century, during the reign of the Abbasid Caliphate, when much of the Muslim world was experiencing a scientific, economic, and cultural flourishing. The expansion of the Muslim world involved various states and caliphates as well as extensive trade and religious conversion as a result of Islamic missionary activities (dawah). (Full article...)

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Islam in the news

21 November 2022 – 2022 FIFA World Cup controversies
The Iranian team chooses not to sing the Iranian national anthem prior to a match against England amid ongoing civil unrest in Iran. (Reuters)
19 November 2022 – Mahsa Amini protests
Iranian security forces open fire on anti-government protesters in Divandarreh, Kurdistan province, killing three people. (The Guardian)
The Iranian military deploys armoured personnel carriers in Mahabad, West Azerbaijan province, amid fears of a massacre in the restive city. The Iran Human Rights group reports heavy gunfire. (Times of Israel)
18 November 2022 – Mahsa Amini protests
Protesters set fire to the house of the Islamic Republic of Iran's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Khomein, Markazi Province. (France 24)
14 November 2022 – Kurdish–Iranian conflict
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) strikes the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan in Koy Sanjaq, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, with four missiles, killing at least one person. The IRGC says that it "targeted terrorist groups" with missiles and drones. (Al Jazeera)
13 November 2022 – Mahsa Amini protests
The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Iran issues the first death sentence in connection with the protests. The sentenced person was convicted of burning a government office. (MSN)

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Akhtar Hameed Khan was born in Agra, India
Akhtar Hameed Khan (1914–1999) was a development activist and social scientist credited for pioneering microcredit and microfinance initiatives, farmers' cooperatives, and rural training programmes in the developing world. He promoted participatory rural development in Pakistan, Bangladesh and other developing countries, and widely advocated community participation in development. His particular contribution was the establishment of a comprehensive project for rural development, the Comilla Model (1959). It earned him the Magsaysay Award from the Philippines and an honorary Doctorate of Law from Michigan State University. In the 1980s he started a bottom up community development initiative of Orangi Pilot Project, based in the outskirts of Karachi, which became a model of participatory development initiatives. He also directed many programmes, from microcredit to self-finance and from housing provision to family planning, for rural communities and urban slums. It earned him international recognition and high honours in Pakistan. Khan was fluent in at least seven languages and dialects. Apart from many scholarly books and articles, he also published a collection of poems and travelogues in Urdu.

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The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers... — Recep Tayyip Erdoğan


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