Islam is a monotheistic Abrahamic religion that originated in the Middle East. Its main teachings are that there is only God (Allah) and that Muhammad is His messenger. One of the central beliefs is that God is merciful and all-powerful. Muslims also believe that God has guided mankind over the centuries through prophets, natural signs as well as scriptures. These scriptures encompass the Quran and are considered to the verbatim word of God. Accompanying the Quran is the Ḥadīth, which are oral traditions relating to the prophet Muhammad that have been recorded and passed down. Islam is the world’s second-largest religion, with 1.9 billion followers. Religious concepts and practices within Islam include the five pillars, which are obligatory acts of worship such as prayer and charity, as well as Islamic law (shariah), fasting during the month of Ramadan and pilgrimage to Mecca, i.e. Hajj. Although animate symbols are not allowed in Islam, calligraphy and geometric design play a large role in communicating significant religious principles, phrases, and important beliefs and concepts. These can be found in Islamic art and architecture, but also as fixtures and decor in homes, restaurants, and other commercial spaces in Muslim countries and establishments.
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