The Quran is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be a revelation from God. It is regarded as the finest work in classical Arabic literature; the Quran is divided into chapters. Muslims believe that the Quran was orally revealed by God to the final Prophet, through the archangel Gabriel, incrementally over a period of some 23 years, beginning on 22 December 609 CE, when Muhammad was 40, concluding in 632, the year of his death. Muslims regard the Quran as Muhammad's most important miracle, a proof of his prophethood, the culmination of a series of divine messages starting with those revealed to Adam and ending with Muhammad; the word "Quran" occurs some 70 times in the Quran's text, other names and words are said to refer to the Quran. According to tradition, several of Muhammad's companions served as scribes and recorded the revelations. Shortly after his death, the Quran was compiled by the companions, who had written down or memorized parts of it; the codices showed differences that motivated Caliph Uthman to establish a standard version, now known as Uthman's codex, considered the archetype of the Quran known today.
There are, variant readings, with minor differences in meaning. The Quran assumes familiarity with major narratives recounted in the Biblical scriptures, it summarizes some, dwells at length on others and, in some cases, presents alternative accounts and interpretations of events. The Quran describes itself as a book of guidance for mankind 2:185, it sometimes offers detailed accounts of specific historical events, it emphasizes the moral significance of an event over its narrative sequence. Hadith are additional written traditions supplementing the Quran. In most denominations of Islam, the Quran is used together with hadith to interpret sharia law. During prayers, the Quran is recited only in Arabic. Someone who has memorized the entire Quran is called a hafiz. Quranic verse is sometimes recited with a special kind of elocution reserved for this purpose, called tajwid. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims complete the recitation of the whole Quran during tarawih prayers. In order to extrapolate the meaning of a particular Quranic verse, most Muslims rely on exegesis, or tafsir.
The word qurʼān appears assuming various meanings. It is a verbal noun of the Arabic verb qaraʼa, meaning "he read" or "he recited"; the Syriac equivalent is qeryānā, which refers to "scripture reading" or "lesson". While some Western scholars consider the word to be derived from the Syriac, the majority of Muslim authorities hold the origin of the word is qaraʼa itself. Regardless, it had become an Arabic term by Muhammad's lifetime. An important meaning of the word is the "act of reciting", as reflected in an early Quranic passage: "It is for Us to collect it and to recite it."In other verses, the word refers to "an individual passage recited ". Its liturgical context is seen in a number of passages, for example: "So when al-qurʼān is recited, listen to it and keep silent." The word may assume the meaning of a codified scripture when mentioned with other scriptures such as the Torah and Gospel. The term has related synonyms that are employed throughout the Quran; each synonym possesses its own distinct meaning, but its use may converge with that of qurʼān in certain contexts.
Such terms include kitāb. The latter two terms denote units of revelation. In the large majority of contexts with a definite article, the word is referred to as the "revelation", that, "sent down" at intervals. Other related words are: dhikr, used to refer to the Quran in the sense of a reminder and warning, ḥikmah, sometimes referring to the revelation or part of it; the Quran describes itself as "the discernment", "the mother book", "the guide", "the wisdom", "the remembrance" and "the revelation". Another term is al-kitāb, though it is used in the Arabic language for other scriptures, such as the Torah and the Gospels; the term mus'haf is used to refer to particular Quranic manuscripts but is used in the Quran to identify earlier revealed books. Islamic tradition relates that Muhammad received his first revelation in the Cave of Hira during one of his isolated retreats to the mountains. Thereafter, he received revelations over a period of 23 years. According to hadith and Muslim history, after Muhammad immigrated to Medina and formed an independent Muslim community, he ordered many of his companions to recite the Quran and to learn and teach the laws, which were revealed daily.
It is related that some of the Quraysh who were taken prisoners at the Battle of Badr regained their freedom after they had taught some of the Muslims the simple writing of the time. Thus a group of Muslims became literate; as it was spoken, the Quran was recorded on tablets and the wide, flat ends of date palm fronds. Most suras were in use amongst early Mu
A combination of Islam and feminism has been advocated as "a feminist discourse and practice articulated within an Islamic paradigm" by Margot Badran in 2002. Islamic feminists ground their arguments in Islam and its teachings, seek the full equality of women and men in the personal and public sphere, can include non-Muslims in the discourse and debate. Islamic feminism is defined by Islamic scholars as being more radical than secular feminism and as being anchored within the discourse of Islam with the Quran as its central text; as a "school of thought", it is said to refer to Moroccan sociologist "Fatema Mernissi and scholars such as Amina Wadud and Leila Ahmed". Advocates refer to the observation that Muslim majority countries produced several female heads of state, prime ministers, state secretaries such as Lala Shovkat of Azerbaijan, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, Mame Madior Boye of Senegal, Tansu Çiller of Turkey, Kaqusha Jashari of Kosovo, Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia. In Bangladesh, Khaleda Zia was elected the country's first female prime minister in 1991, served as prime minister until 2009, when she was replaced by Sheikh Hasina, who maintains the prime minister's office at present making Bangladesh the country with the longest continuous female premiership.
There are substantial differences to be noted between the terms'Islamic feminist' and'Islamist'. Any of these terms can be used of women. Islamic feminists interpret the religious texts in a feminist perspective, they can be viewed as a branch of interpreters who ground their arguments in Islam and its teachings, seek the full equality of women and men in the personal and public sphere, can include non-Muslims in the discourse and debate. Islamic feminism is defined by Islamic scholars as being more radical than secular feminism, as being anchored within the discourse of Islam with the Quran as its central text. During recent times, the concept of Islamic feminism has grown further with Islamic groups looking to garner support from many aspects of society. In addition, educated Muslim women are striving to articulate their role in society. Islamists are advocates of political Islam, the notion that the Quran and hadith mandate a caliphate, i.e. an Islamic government. Some Islamists advocate women's rights in the public sphere but do not challenge gender inequality in the personal, private sphere.
Su'ad al-Fatih al-Badawi, a Sudanese academic and Islamist politician, has argued that feminism is incompatible with taqwa, thus Islam and feminism are mutually exclusive. Margot Badran of Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding argues that Islam and feminism are not mutually exclusive and that “Islamic feminism, which derives its understanding and mandate from the Qur'an, seeks rights and justice for women, for men, in the totality of their existence. Islamic feminism is both contested and embraced.” During the early days of Islam in the 7th century CE, changes in women's rights affected marriage and inheritance. The Oxford Dictionary of Islam argues for a general improvement of the status of women in Arab societies, including the prohibition of female infanticide, though some historians believe that infanticide was practiced both before and after Islam. Under Islamic law, marriage was no longer viewed as a status but rather as a contract, in which the woman's consent was imperative, either by active consent or silence.
"The dowry regarded as a bride-price paid to the father, became a nuptial gift retained by the wife as part of her personal property". William Montgomery Watt states that Muhammad, in the historical context of his time, can be seen as a figure who testified on behalf of women's rights and improved things considerably. Watt explains: "At the time Islam began, the conditions of women were terrible – they had no right to own property, were supposed to be the property of the man, if the man died everything went to his sons." Muhammad, however, by "instituting rights of property ownership, inheritance and divorce, gave women certain basic safeguards." Haddad and Esposito state that "Muhammad granted women rights and privileges in the sphere of family life, marriage and economic endeavors, rights that help improve women's status in society."Feminist critics of the notion that Islam bettered the status of women include Leila Ahmed, who states that Islamic records show that at least some women in pre-Islamic Arabia inherited wealth, ran businesses, chose their own husbands, worked in respected professions.
Fatima Mernissi argues that customs in pre-Islamic Arabia were more permissive of female sexuality and social independence, not less. Mahood A, Moel J, Hudson C, Leathers L. conducted a study and questioned individual women about how their role as a woman in their religion and if it empowering them in any way, an interviewee states "In Islam and its teachings are capable of giving women an equal footing in society to men, that Islam does not relegate women to the private sphere. I believe some Muslims have distorted our teachings and forgotten our heritage. I believe that Islam can be used as a source of empowerment for women.” Whilst the pre-modern period lacked a formal feminist movement a number of important figures argued for improving women's rights and autonomy. These range from the medieval mystic and philosopher Ibn Arabi, who argued that women could achieve spiritual stations as high as men. In eras, Nana Asma’u, daughter of eighteenth-century reformer Usman Dan Fodio, pushed for literacy and the education of Muslim women.
Wealthy noblewomen funded Islamic religious and learning establishments, though few of those establishments admitted female students
Spread of Islam
Muslim conquests following Muhammad's death led to the creation of the caliphates, occupying a vast geographical area. These early caliphates, coupled with Muslim economics and trading and the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, resulted in Islam's spread outwards from Mecca towards both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the creation of the Muslim world. Trading played an important role in the spread of Islam in several parts of the world, notably southeast Asia. Muslim dynasties were soon established and subsequent empires such as those of the Abbasids, Almoravids, Ajuran and Warsangali in Somalia, Mughals in the Indian subcontinent and Safavids in Persia and Ottomans in Anatolia were among the largest and most powerful in the world; the people of the Islamic world created numerous sophisticated centers of culture and science with far-reaching mercantile networks, scientists, mathematicians and philosophers, all contributing to the Golden Age of Islam. Islamic expansion in South and East Asia fostered cosmopolitan and eclectic Muslim cultures in the Indian subcontinent, Malaysia and China.
As of 2015, there were 2 billion Muslims, with one out of four people in the world being Muslim, making Islam the second-largest religion in the world. Out of children born from 2010 to 2015, 31% were Muslim. Babies born to Muslims are expected to outnumber those to Christians by 2035; the expansion of the Arab Empire in the first centuries after Muhammad's death soon established Muslim dynasties in North Africa, West Africa, to the Middle East, Somalia. Within the century of the establishment of Islam upon the Arabian peninsula and the subsequent rapid expansion of the Arab Empire during the Muslim conquests, one of the most significant empires in world history was formed. For the subjects of this new empire subjects of the reduced Byzantine, obliterated Sassanid Empires, not much changed in practice; the objective of the conquests was of a practical nature, as fertile land and water were scarce in the Arabian peninsula. A real Islamization therefore only came about in the subsequent centuries.
Ira Lapidus distinguishes between two separate strands of converts of the time: one is animists and polytheists of tribal societies of the Arabian peninsula and the Fertile crescent. Islam was introduced in Somalia in the 7th century when the Muslim Arabs fled from the persecution of the Pagan Quraysh tribe; when the Muslims defeated the Pagans, some returned to Arabia, but many decided to stay there and established Muslim communities along the Somali coastline. The local Somalis adopted the Islamic faith well before the faith took root in its place of origin. For the polytheistic and pagan societies, apart from the religious and spiritual reasons each individual may have had, conversion to Islam "represented the response of a tribal, pastoral population to the need for a larger framework for political and economic integration, a more stable state, a more imaginative and encompassing moral vision to cope with the problems of a tumultuous society." In contrast, for sedentary and already monotheistic societies, "Islam was substituted for a Byzantine or Sassanian political identity and for a Christian, Jewish or Zoroastrian religious affiliation."
Conversion was neither required nor wished for: " did not require the conversion as much as the subordination of non-Muslim peoples. At the outset, they were hostile to conversions because new Muslims diluted the economic and status advantages of the Arabs."Only in subsequent centuries, with the development of the religious doctrine of Islam and with that the understanding of the Muslim ummah, did mass conversion take place. The new understanding by the religious and political leadership in many cases led to a weakening or breakdown of the social and religious structures of parallel religious communities such as Christians and Jews; the caliphs of the Arab dynasty established the first schools inside the empire which taught Arabic language and Islamic studies. They furthermore began the ambitious project of building mosques across the empire, many of which remain today as the most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world, such as the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. At the end of the Umayyad period, less than 10% of the people in Iran, Syria, Egypt and Spain were Muslim.
Only on the Arabian peninsula was the proportion of Muslims among the population higher than this. Expansion ceased and the central disciplines of Islamic philosophy, theology and mysticism became more widespread and the gradual conversions of the populations within the empire occurred. Significant conversions occurred beyond the extents of the empire such as that of the Turkic tribes in Central Asia and peoples living in regions south of the Sahara in Africa through contact with Muslim traders active in the area and Sufi orders. In Africa it spread along three routes, across the Sahara via trading towns such as Timbuktu, up the Nile Valley through the Sudan up to Uganda and across the Red Sea and down East Africa through settlements such as Mombasa and Zanzibar; these initial conversions were of a flexible nature. The reasons why, by the end of the 10th century, a large part of the population had converted to Islam are diverse. According to British-Lebanese historian Albert Hourani, one of the reasons may be that "Islam had become more defined, the line between Muslims and non-Muslims more drawn.
Muslims now lived within an elaborated system
Islamic eschatology is the pillar of Islamic theology concerning the day of judgement, the "Day of Judgement " after that, known as Yawm al-Qiyāmah or Yawm ad-Dīn. It is characterized by the annihilation of all life, which will be followed by its resurrection and judgment by God; when al-Qiyamah will happen is not specified, but according to prophecy elaborated by hadith-literature, there are major and minor signs that will foretell its coming. Many verses in the Quran mention the Last Judgment; the main subject of Surat al-Qiyama is the resurrection. The Great Tribulation is described in the hadith and commentaries of the ulama, including al-Ghazali, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Majah, Muhammad al-Bukhari, Ibn Khuzaymah; the Day of Judgment is known as the Day of Reckoning, the Last Day, the Hour. Unlike the Quran, the hadith contain several events, happening before the Day of Judgment, which are described as several minor signs and twelve major signs. During this period, terrible corruption and chaos would rule the earth, caused by the Masih ad-Dajjal Jesus will appear, defeating the Dajjal and establish a period of peace, liberating Islam from cruelty.
These events will be followed by a time of serenity. Like other Abrahamic religions, Islam teaches that there will be a resurrection of the dead followed by a final tribulation and eternal division of the righteous and wicked. Islamic apocalyptic literature describing Armageddon is known as fitna, Al-Malhama Al-Kubra or ghaybah in Shī'a Islam; the righteous are rewarded with the pleasures of Jannah, while the unrighteous are punished in Jahannam. Two main sources in Islamic scripture discuss the Last Judgment and the tribulation associated with it: the Quran, viewed in Islam as infallible, the hadith, or sayings of the prophet. Hadith are viewed with more flexibility due to the late compilation of the sayings in written form, two hundred years after the death of Muhammad; the Last Judgment and the tribulation have been discussed in the commentaries of ulama such as al-Ghazali, Ibn Kathir, Muhammad al-Bukhari. In Islam, a number of major and minor signs foretell the end of days. There is debate over whether they could occur concurrently or must be at different points in time, although Islamic scholars divide them into three major periods.
Sexual immorality appears among people to such an extent that they commit it except that they will be afflicted by plagues and diseases unknown to their forefathers. The coming of fitna and removal of khushoo' The coming of Dajjal, presuming himself as an apostle of God. A person passing by a grave might say to another: I wish it were my abode; the loss of honesty, authority put in the hands of those who do not deserve it. The loss of knowledge and the prevalence of religious ignorance. Frequent and unexpected deaths. Increase in pointless killings. Acceleration of time. Rejection of Hadith; the spread of riba and the drinking of alcohol. Widespread acceptance of music. Pride and competition in the decoration of mosques. Women will increase in number and men will decrease in number so much so that fifty women will be looked after by one man. Abundance of earthquakes. Frequent occurrences of disgrace and defamation; when people wish to die because of the severe trials and tribulations that they are suffering.
Jews fighting Muslims. When paying charity becomes a burden. Nomads will compete in the construction of tall buildings. Women will appear naked despite their being dressed. People will seek knowledge from straying scholars. Liars will be believed, honest people disbelieved, faithful people called traitors; the death of righteous, knowledgeable people. The emergence of indecency and enmity among relatives and neighbours; the rise of idolatry and polytheists in the community. The Euphrates will uncover a mountain of gold; the land of the Arabs will return to being a land of fields. People will earn money by unlawful ways. There will be little vegetation. Evil people will be expelled from Al-Madinah. Wild animals will communicate with humans, humans will communicate with objects. Lightning and thunder will become more prevalent. There will be a special greeting for people of distinction. Trade will become so widespread. No honest man will remain and no one will be trusted. Only the worst people will be left.
Nations will call each other to destroy Islam by every means. Islamic knowledge will be passed on. Muslim rulers will come who do not follow the tradition of the Sunnah; some of their men will have the hearts of devils in a human body. Stinginess will become more widespread and honorable people will perish. A man will obey his wife and disobey his mother, treat his friend
A mosque is a place of worship for Muslims. Any act of worship that follows the Islamic rules of prayer can be said to create a mosque, whether or not it takes place in a special building. Informal and open-air places of worship are called musalla, while mosques used for communal prayer on Fridays are known as jāmiʿ. Mosque buildings contain an ornamental niche set into the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca, ablution facilities and minarets from which calls to prayer are issued; the pulpit, from which the Friday sermon is delivered, was in earlier times characteristic of the central city mosque, but has since become common in smaller mosques. Mosques have segregated spaces for men and women; this basic pattern of organization has assumed different forms depending on the region and denomination. Mosques serve as locations for prayer, Ramadan vigils, funeral services, Sufi ceremonies and business agreements, alms collection and distribution, as well as homeless shelters. Mosques were important centers of elementary education and advanced training in religious sciences.
In modern times, they have preserved their role as places of religious instruction and debate, but higher learning now takes place in specialized institutions. Special importance is accorded to the Great Mosque of Mecca, Prophet's Mosque in Medina and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. In the past, many mosques in the Muslim world were built over burial places of Sufi saints and other venerated figures, which has turned them into popular pilgrimage destinations; the first mosque was built by Muhammad in Medina. With the spread of Islam, mosques multiplied across the Islamic world. Sometimes churches and other temples were converted into mosques, which influenced Islamic architectural styles. While most pre-modern mosques were funded by charitable endowments, modern states in the Muslim world have attempted to bring mosques under government control. Increasing government regulation of large mosques has been countered by a rise of funded mosques of various affiliations and ideologies, many of which serve as bases for different Islamic revivalist currents and social activism.
Mosques have played a number of political roles. The rates of mosque attendance vary depending on the region; the word'mosque' entered the English language from the French word mosquée derived from Italian moschea, from either Middle Armenian մզկիթ, Medieval Greek: μασγίδιον, or Spanish mezquita, from Arabic: مَـسْـجِـد, translit. Masjid, either from Nabataean masgĕdhā́ or from Arabic Arabic: سَـجَـدَ, translit. Sajada ultimately from Aramaic sĕghēdh; the first mosque in the world is considered to be the area around the Ka‘bah in Mecca, now known as Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarâm. A Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari states that the Kaaba was the First Mosque on Earth, the Second Mosque was the Temple in Jerusalem. Since as early as 638 AD, the Sacred Mosque has been expanded on several occasions to accommodate the increasing number of Muslims who either live in the area or make the annual pilgrimage known as Ḥajj to the city. Others regard the first mosque in history to be the Quba Mosque in present-day Medina since it was the first structure built by Muhammad upon his emigration from Mecca in 622, though the Mosque of the Companions in the Eritrean city of Massawa may have been constructed at around the same time.
The Islamic Prophet Muhammad went on to establish another mosque in Medina, now known as the Masjid an-Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque. Built on the site of his home, Muhammad participated in the construction of the mosque himself and helped pioneer the concept of the mosque as the focal point of the Islamic city; the Masjid al-Nabawi introduced some of the features still common in today's mosques, including the niche at the front of the prayer space known as the mihrab and the tiered pulpit called the minbar. The Masjid al-Nabawi was constructed with a large courtyard, a motif common among mosques built since then. Mosques had been built in Iraq and North Africa by the end of the 7th century, as Islam spread outside the Arabian Peninsula with early caliphates; the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala is one of the oldest mosques in Iraq, although its present form – typical of Persian architecture – only goes back to the 11th century. The shrine, while still operating as a mosque, remains one of the holiest sites for Shia Muslims, as it honors the death of the third Shia imam, Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Hussein ibn Ali.
The Mosque of Amr ibn al-As was the first mosque in Egypt, serving as a religious and social center for Fustat during its prime. Like the Imam Husayn Shrine, nothing of its original structure remains. With the Shia Fatimid Caliphate, mosques throughout Egypt evolved to include schools and tombs; the Great Mosque of Kairouan in present-day Tunisia was the first mosque built in northwest Africa, with its present form serving as a model for other Islamic places of worship in the Maghreb. It includes naves akin to a basilica; those features can be found in Andalusian mosques, including the Grand Mo
Criticism of Islam
Criticism of Islam has existed since Islam's formative stages. Early written disapproval came from Christians and Jews as well as from some former Muslims such as Ibn al-Rawandi; the Muslim world itself suffered criticism. Western criticism has grown in the 21st century after the September 11 attacks and other terrorist incidents; as of 2014, about a quarter of the world's countries and territories had anti-blasphemy and anti-apostasy laws or policies, of which 13 nations, all of which were Muslim majority nations, had the death penalty for apostasy. Objects of criticism include the morality of the life of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, both in his public and personal life. Issues relating to the authenticity and morality of the constitutional scriptures of Islam, both the Quran and the hadiths, are discussed by critics. Islam has been viewed as a form of Arab imperialism and has received criticism by figures from Africa and India for what they perceive as the destruction of indigenous cultures.
Islam's recognition of slavery as an institution, which led to Muslim traders exporting as many as 17 million slaves to the coast of the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, North Africa, has been criticized. Another criticism focuses on the question of human rights in the Islamic world, both and in modern Islamic nations, including the treatment of women, LGBT people, religious and ethnic minorities, as evinced in Islamic law and practice. In the wake of the recent multiculturalism trend, Islam's influence on the ability or willingness of Muslim immigrants to assimilate in the Western world, in other countries such as India and Russia, has been criticized; the earliest surviving written criticisms of Islam are to be found in the writings of Christians who came under the early dominion of the Islamic Caliphate. One such Christian was John of Damascus, familiar with Islam and Arabic; the second chapter of his book, The Fount of Wisdom, titled "Concerning Heresies", presents a series of discussions between Christians and Muslims.
John claimed an Arian monk influenced Muhammad and viewed the Islamic doctrines as nothing more than a hodgepodge culled from the Bible. Writing on Islam's claim of Abrahamic ancestry, John explained that the Arabs were called "Saracens" because they were "empty" "of Sarah", they were called "Hagarenes" because they were "the descendants of the slave-girl Hagar". Other notable early critics of Islam included: Abu Isa al-Warraq, a 9th-century scholar and critic of Islam. Ibn al-Rawandi, a 9th-century atheist, who repudiated Islam and criticised religion in general. Al-Ma'arri, an 11th-century Arab poet and critic of Islam and all other religions. Known for his veganism and Antinatalism. In the early centuries of the Islamic Caliphate, Islamic law allowed citizens to express their views, including criticism of Islam and religious authorities, without fear of persecution; as such, there have been several notable critics and skeptics of Islam that arose from within the Islamic world itself. In tenth and eleventh-century Syria there lived.
He became well known for a poetry, affected by a "pervasive pessimism." He labeled religions in general as "noxious weeds" and said that Islam does not have a monopoly on truth. He had particular contempt for the ulema, writing that: They recite their sacred books, although the fact informs me that these are fiction from first to last. O Reason, thou speakest the truth. Perish the fools who forged the religious traditions or interpreted them! In 1280, the Jewish philosopher, Ibn Kammuna, criticized Islam in his book Examination of the Three Faiths, he reasoned that the Sharia was incompatible with the principles of justice, that this undercut the notion of Muhammad being the perfect man: "there is no proof that Muhammad attained perfection and the ability to perfect others as claimed." The philosopher thus claimed that people converted to Islam from ulterior motives: That is why, to this day we never see anyone converting to Islam unless in terror, or in quest of power, or to avoid heavy taxation, or to escape humiliation, or if taken prisoner, or because of infatuation with a Muslim woman, or for some similar reason.
Nor do we see a respected and pious non-Muslim well versed in both his faith and that of Islam, going over to the Islamic faith without some of the aforementioned or similar motives. According to Bernard Lewis, just as it is natural for a Muslim to assume that the converts to his religion are attracted by its truth, it is natural for the convert's former coreligionists to look for baser motives and Ibn Kammuna's list seems to cover most of such nonreligious motives. Maimonides, one of the foremost 12th century rabbinical arbiters and philosophers, sees the relation of Islam to Judaism as theoretical. Maimonides has no quarrel with the strict monotheism of Islam, but finds fault with the practical politics of Muslim regimes, he considered Islamic ethics and politics to be inferior to their Jewish counterparts. Maimonides criticised what he perceived as the lack of virtue in the way Muslims rule their societies and relate to one another. In his Epistle to Yemenite Jewry, he refers to Mohammad, as "hameshuga" – "that madman".
In Dante's Inferno, Muhammad is portrayed as split in half, with his guts hanging out, representing his status as a schismatic. Some medieval ecclesiastical writers portrayed Muhammad as possessed by Satan, a "precursor of the Antichrist" or the Antichrist himself. Denis the Carthusian wrote two treatises to refute Islam at the request of Nicholas of Cusa, Contra perfidiam Mahometi, et contra multa dicta Sarracenoru