A introduction of Encyclopedia of Islam :
Among the world’s religions, few have attained the historical, cultural, and civilizational stature and diversity that Islam has. Since the seventh century, when it first emerged in the western region of the Arabian Peninsula known as the Hijaz, it has been continuously adapted and carried forth
by its adherents, who call themselves Muslims, to new lands and peoples in the wider Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, and, more recently, to the
Americas, Australia, and New Zealand.
Indeed, the new religio-historical syntheses brought about by the back-and-forth interactions of Muslims and non-Muslims, and of the many different cultures to which they belong, have had significant influence for centuries, not only upon the religious experience of a large part of humankind, but also upon the development of philosophy, the arts and sciences, and even the very languages we speak and the foods we eat.Encyclopedia of Islam
What Is Islam?
This is a question that Muslims have been answering for centuries when it is raised in their homes, schools, and in the circles of gifted scholars, powerful rulers, and wealthy merchants and businessmen. It is also a question posed by many non-Muslims—never more than now, in the first decade of the 21st century. The answers given by Muslims, like those proposed by nonMuslims, have varied greatly, depending on their education, social status, background, and the wider historical and cultural contexts in which they live.Encyclopedia of Islam
Rather than beginning with a single, definitive response as to what Islam is, a more fruitful approach is to begin with the proposition that Islam is to a large extent what Muslims have made of it based on their different religious sensibilities, cultural identities, social statuses, and historical
circumstances. Encyclopedia of Islam
Many of the faithful start with the Quran, the Islamic holy book, which they believe to be a collection of revelations from God (called Allah in Arabic) as delivered in the Arabic language via the angel Gabriel to Muhammad (ca. 570–632) over a 23-year period while he was living in the western Arabian towns of Mecca and Medina (formerly known as Yathrib). It is about the length of the Christian New Testament, consisting of 114 chapters and more than 6,200 verses. About Islam, the Quran itself declares.Encyclopedia of Islam