Despite its huge following around the world and the growing Muslim communities in the United States, Islam is foreign to most Americans who are familiar with Christianity or Judaism. Because most Americans know little or nothing about Islam, they have many misconceptions about Muslim beliefs and rituals especially after sep. 11. The negative image many people in the United States and Europe have of Islam and the Muslim world has a long history. Many have judged Islam without making an effort to consider this religious tradition on its own terms, without bothering to become acquainted with its teaching and the ways in which Muslims practice their faith. .
Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam is a monotheistic religion, based on the belief in one God. This religion was proclaimed by the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia, in the 7th century A.D. The term Islam virtually means "surrender". Within Islam the believer is called a Muslim and the Arabic name for God is Allah. The will of Allah, to which man must submit, is made known through the sacred scriptures, the Qur'an. Allah revealed the Qur'an to his messenger, Muhammad. Muhammad is the last of a series of prophets (including Adam, Noah, Jesus, and others). Muhammad's(S) message does away with the "revelations" attributed to earlier prophets. From the very beginning of Islam, Muhammad had promoted a sense of brotherhood and a bond of faith among his followers. The Prophet Muhammad (s) migrated to Madinah in AD 622, it was during this time that his preaching was accepted and the community-state of Islam emerged. Islam also seeks to regulate not only the individual's relationship to God but human relationship in a social setting as well. Thus, there is not only an Islamic religious institution but also an Islamic law, state, and other institutions governing society. .
Islam is based on five pillars that all Muslims must follow. The first pillar is the profession of faith which states, "There is no god but God; Muhammad is the prophet of God.