The first civilization to research Divine Right founds this religion.
"Islam" means "the submission to God." It is the world's second largest religion. Most adherents can be found in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, but Islam has a strong presence in Europe as well. Muslims - followers of Islam - believe that there is only one God ("Allah" in Arabic), and that over the years he has revealed his desires to a number of great prophets: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. The last and greatest of prophets, Muhammad has written down God's direct words in the Koran, which is the only true guide to a holy life.
Muhammad was born in the city of Mecca (which is now part of Saudi Arabia). He lived from 570 to 632. He began life as a merchant, but during his 40th year he experienced a series of visions from God, who commanded him to memorize the verses that would later make up the Koran. Muhammad revealed his visions to others and he gained followers. He and his followers were reviled and attacked by those who did not believe, but they were following the path that God had set for them and emerged triumphant, eventually unifying all of Arabia under one rule. After Muhammad's death, his words spread throughout the Middle East and far beyond.
Since Muhammad, Islam has broken into a number of branches, the three most prominent being the Sunni, Shi'ite and Kharijite. These schools disagree on the correct succession of authority after Muhammad's death - a matter of great religious and political importance to Islam.
All Muslims believe in the "Five Pillars of Islam," which state that one must do the following to achieve salvation: acknowledge that there is no god but God, and Muhammad is his Prophet; pray daily to God at the five established times; give a portion of one's wealth to the poor; fast from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadan; and make a pilgrimage to Mecca during the holy month of Dhul Hijjah.