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Islam (Arabic: الإسلامal-’islām, pronounced [ʔislæːm] (About this sound listen) is the religion articulated by the Qur’an, a book considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of the single incomparable God (Arabic: الله‎, Allāh), and by the Islamic prophet Muhammad's demonstrations and real-life examples (called the Sunnah, collected through narration of his companions in collections of Hadith). The word Islam, a triliteral of the word salaam, is a homograph, having multiple meanings, including peace and surrender (to God). Adherents are known as Muslims, which is the active participle of the verb of which Islām is the infinitive. Muslims regard their religion as the completed and universal version of a monotheistic faith revealed at many times and places before, including, notably, to the prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Islamic tradition holds that previous messages and revelations have been changed and distorted over time. Religious practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are five duties that unite Muslims into a community. Islamic law (Arabic: شريعة Šarīʿah) touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, encompassing everything from dietary laws and banking to warfare, welfare, and Jihad. Almost all Muslims belong to one of two major denominations, the Sunni (87-90%) and Shi'a (10-13%). Islam is the predominant religion in much of Africa, the Middle East and major parts of Asia. Large communities are also found in China, Russia and the Caribbean. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world. With 1.57 billion Muslims (see Islam by country), Islam is the second-largest religion in the world and arguably the fastest growing religion in the world.

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Battle of Khandaq (Battle of the Trench)
The Battle of the Trench also known as Battle of the Confederates, was a fortnight-long siege of Yathrib (now Medina) by Arab and Jewish tribes. The strength of the confederate armies is estimated around 10,000 men with six hundred horses and some camels, while the Medinan numbered 3000. The battle began on March 31, 627. The outnumbered defenders of Medina, mainly Muslims led by Islamic prophet Muhammad, opted to dig and fight from a trench rather than face the tribes in the open. The trench together with Medina's natural fortifications rendered the confederate cavalry (consisting of horses and camels) useless, locking the two sides in a stalemate. Hoping to make several attacks at once, the confederates persuaded the Banu Qurayza to attack the city from the south. However, Muhammad's diplomacy derailed the negotiations, and broke up the confederacy against him. The well-organized defenders, the sinking of confederate morale, and poor weather conditions caused the siege to end in a fiasco. The siege was a "battle of wits", in which Muslims diplomatically overcame their opponents with very few casualties. Efforts to defeat the Muslims failed, and Islam became influential in the region. As a consequence, the Muslims besieged the Qurayza, and upon the latter's unconditional surrender. The defeat also caused the Meccans to lose their trade and much of their prestige.

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Example of an ijazah, or diploma of competency in Arabic calligraphy
Credit: 'Ali Ra'if Efendi, (edited by Durova)

Example of an ijazah, or diploma of competency in Arabic calligraphy

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Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham (965 in Basra - c. 1039 in Cairo), was a Persian polymath. He made significant contributions to the principles of optics, as well as to anatomy, astronomy, engineering, mathematics, medicine, ophthalmology, philosophy, physics, psychology, visual perception, and to science in general with his introduction of the scientific method. He is sometimes called al-Basri (Arabic: البصري), after his birthplace in the city of Basra. He was also nicknamed Ptolemaeus Secundus ("Ptolemy the Second") or simply "The Physicist" in medieval Europe. Born circa 965, in Basra, part of present-day Iraq and part of Buyid Persia at that time, he lived mainly in Cairo, Egypt, dying there at age 76. Over-confident about practical application of his mathematical knowledge, he assumed that he could regulate the floods of the Nile. After being ordered by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the sixth ruler of the Fatimid caliphate, to carry out this operation, he quickly perceived the impossibility of what he was attempting to do, and retired from engineering. Fearing for his life, he feigned madness and was placed under house arrest, during and after which he devoted himself to his scientific work until his death.

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Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Religion is a link between God and man and man and man. Political ideology is a link between man and man. For this reason the great religions of the world like Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the last of all religions, have outlived and outlasted political ideologies. If an unlearned adventurer in his quest for political power and perpetuation brings religion down from its celestial plane to a mundane level by converting it into a narrow political ideology, the adventurer endangers the link between God and man and man and man.

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