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It was their right and duty as loyal followers, a way they could prove their faith and their commitment to God. This mindset is one reason the Muslims under Mohammed's leadership during his conquests were so successful, as described below.
Reasons for Success
Mohammed and his followers defeated migrants and other raiding parties in part because they decided to attack and defend their holy place during the holy month of Ramadan, something that was unexpected. Among those the Muslims following Mohammed opposed included a group named the Quraysh. During the infamous battle at Badr Walls, Mohammed said to his followers about to engage in battle, that "no man will be slain this day fighting against them with steadfast courage, advancing and not retreating, but God will cause him to enter Paradise." Many Muslims following the messenger Mohammed believed that God sent to them 3,000 angels the day of the conquest at Badr, and that the Lord would send an additional 5,000 angels to ensure victory.
The Quraysh, who the Muslims fought against, did not believe in the same "signs" and angels as the followers did, and thus had less strength and faith to hold onto during the battle. Throughout history and historical documents there is evidence of the fervor with which Muslims practiced their faith. It is their belief in religious symbols that helped fuel them to victory in many battles, including in the battle of Badr. What other people and raiders lacked was the same set of beliefs and faith that God backed their cause.
Following this battle Mohammed attacked many others whom he accused of breaking allegiance with the true faith, including the Jews of Medina and the Banu Qaynuqa, defeating them and expelling them from Mecca.
For those that died, they believe they did so as martyrs, fully backed by God and expectant that they would be rewarded with a special place in heaven. It is this steadfast belief that continues to support those that fight today in the name of Allah, believing God will provide the wherewithal to defeat any enemy that might invade Mecca or the freedoms true Muslims should enjoy as followers of God.
Opposition to Papacy (600-1054)
The rise of Islam prompted many actions from the papacy, including the Crusades, major events occurring around the early years in AD. Opposition to the papacy is highlighted primarily during the time between a.D. 600 and 1300, during the medieval age. During this time, most of the Christian churches remained under the domination of the papal hierarchy. Islam was also rising during this time. Throughout the 8th century, more and more Christians were influenced by Islam, due to its expansion and growth, and strong leadership. While Islam continued in its conquests against those that would oppose the "true" faith, much of Christianity suffered. Part of the problem rested in the fact that Christianity as a faith is much more disjointed than the Arabic Islamic faith. For example, there was not agreement among Christian sects on the use of icons for worship; while Latin priests were encouraged to be celibate, Greek priests enjoyed fruitful and blessed marriages. Pope Leo IX excommunicated the patriarch of Constantinople, causing more ripples in the already weak platform maintaining the Christian religion.
Akbar (2002) notes that the Muslims often took up jihad to protect their holy lands and communities, and the papacy continuously opposed this, claiming the Islamic faith a "heresy against Christ." Despite this the Muslims continued to support their beliefs. Christian opposition to the Islamic faith and actions of Mohammed became evident during the crusades, started in the medieval period where church leaders attempted to "wipe out" those they considered heretics. This constant battle between the papacy, Christendom and the Islamic faith has continued into the modern era. Radical movements are still common in Arab countries, where fervent Muslims still turn to the preaching of Mohammed for guidance, support and strength during raids to protect what they believe is theirs. While today there is not strong evidence the Caliph or other leaders of the Muslim faith clearly have the interests of the Arab community at heart, the leaders still suggest their only goal is to protect community.
Doctrine/Women and Iran
Five core Pillars along with the key beliefs presented at the start of this research paper help create a solid framework for Muslims to practice. These Pillars suggest all servants or Muslims must declare their faith, that there is no God other than Allah, and that Mohammed is God's servant and primary messenger. The next pillar states that all faithful Muslim should pray five times each day; these prayers must occur in a sequence, beginning with the first prayer just before sunrise, the second during midday, the next during the early afternoon before the sun sets, the next during the evening and finally a prayer once the night is fully darkened, called the "Isha" prayer.
A third pillar of the faith is that all Muslims should contribute a minimum percent of their earnings to the poor and those in need, further emphasizing the ideal that all man possesses he has only because God allows him to, and anyone in need deserves a share. This pillar is often referred to as the "Zakaat." Fasting is yet another pillar of the faith, observed every year during the 9th month of the year, called the month of "Ramadan." During this time Muslims fast and abstain from all food, drink and physical pleasure from the time the sun rises until it sets.
The last pillar is that of Hajj or pilgrimage. It dictates that at minimum once during a lifetime, one must make a journey to Makkah. Most followers attempt to do so provided they have the means to do so. There is no evidence that those who are unable, because of physical or other impairment, will suffer because of their lack of visitation.
The Islamic faith holds very distinct doctrine and rules or regulations regarding the actions of men and women following the sayings and teachings of Mohammed. The faith has for some time, insisted on the subservience and humility or humble and modest nature of women. Women are encouraged to remain loyal and committed to their partners and to God. They are forbidden many of the freedoms their male counterparts are. The status of women has changed dramatically since the time of the early rise of Islam to the modern state of the Islamic Republic. Still, there is much room for improvement for anyone concerned with women's rights. One must recognize however that the rise of Islam did provide women more opportunities than before Mohammed's appearance, even if their life today seems restrictive. For example, the rise of Islam brought with it the opportunity for women to explore something other than the Zoroastrian view of "the uncleanness of women and to restrictive codes of conduct" that often governed their lives.
Women today are not necessarily viewed as unclean, though they are still subject to many restrictive codes of conduct. They are allowed however to venture outside their homes, to work and to socialize with other women in the community. They may interact with men provided they are in the presence of their partner or a male member of the family. Many Muslims insist they are protective of their women.
Islam has enjoyed a long and turbulent history. There is no doubt however, that Islam enjoyed a vibrant and rewarding period during its rise, the time when believers came to know the powerful Mohammed and create a foundation for a faith that remains one of the most popular today.
Rich in faith and customs, much of what Islam is today relates to its religion. There exist within Arabic nations the belief in God, and a fervent commitment to a well-defined faith. Muslims commitment to the Prophet helped spurn a strong and long-lasting religious fervor during the rise of Islam that continues to echo throughout Islamic nations today.
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