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Islam (/ˈɪslɑːm/) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God (Allah) and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion and the fastest-growing major religion in the world, with over 1.8 billion followers or 24.1% of the global population, known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, unique and has guided mankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative example (called the sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570–8 June 632 CE).

Muslims believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. As for the Quran, Muslims consider it to be the unaltered and final revelation of God. Like other Abrahamic religions, Islam also teaches a final judgment with the righteous rewarded paradise and unrighteous punished in hell. Religious concepts and practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law (sharia), which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to women and the environment. The cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem are home to the three holiest sites in Islam.

Aside from the theological viewpoint, Islam is historically believed to have originated in the early 7th century CE in Mecca, and by the 8th century the Umayyad Islamic caliphate extended from Iberia in the west to the Indus River in the east. The Islamic Golden Age refers to the period traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century, during the Abbasid Caliphate, when much of the historically Muslim world was experiencing a scientific, economic and cultural flourishing. The expansion of the Muslim world involved various caliphates and empires, traders and conversion to Islam by missionary activities (dawah). Read more...

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Turkey is a Eurasian country that stretches across the Anatolian peninsula in southwestern Asia and the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. The region comprising modern Turkey has seen the birth of major civilisations including the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Owing to its strategic location at the intersection of two continents, Turkey's culture is a unique blend of Eastern and Western tradition, often described as a bridge between the two civilisations. Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic whose political system was established in 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk following the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I. Since then, Turkey has increasingly integrated with the West while continuing to foster relations with the Eastern world. It is a founding member of the United Nations, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a member state of the Council of Europe since 1949 and of NATO since 1952. Since 2005, Turkey has been in accession negotiations with the European Union, having been an associate member since 1963. Turkey is also a member of the G20 which brings together the 20 largest economies of the world.

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Sultan al-Atrash
Credit: American Colony (Jerusalem) photo dept. (edited by Durova)

Sultan al-Atrash, (1891-1982) was a prominent Arab Druze leader, Syrian nationalist and Commander General of the Great Syrian Revolution (1925-1927).

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Hagar and Ishmael in the Wilderness, by Karel Dujardin
Ishmael is a figure in the Torah, Bible, and Qur'an. Jewish, Christian and Muslim believers regard Ishmael as Abraham's eldest son, born of his wife Sarah's hand maiden Hagar. Though born of Hagar, according to Mesopotamian law, Ishmael was credited as Sarah's son. According to the Genesis account, he died at the age of 137. Both Jewish and Islamic traditions consider Ishmael as the ancestor of northern Arab people. Judaism has generally viewed Ishmael as wicked though repentant. The Hebrew scriptures maintain that Isaac (the father of the Jewish people) rather than Ishmael was the true heir of Abraham. The New Testament contains few references to Ishmael. In Christian biblical interpretation, Ishmael is used to symbolize the older—now rejected—Judaic tradition; Isaac symbolizes the new tradition of Christianity. Islamic tradition, however, has a very positive view of Ishmael, giving him a larger and more significant role. The Qur'an views him as an Islamic prophet.

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Service (is) the cause of your getting distant from pride.
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