The crescent moon and star is an internationally-recognized symbol of the faith of Islam.
The present form of Islam began in Arabia in 622 CE (the year zero of the Islamic calendar).
It is based on the ministry of a man named Muhammad (peace be upon him), and on the words that Allah gave to the world through Muhammad (pbuh).
(NB. Muhammad is so esteemed by Muslims that it is usual to utter the blessing "peace be upon him" after his name. This is often abbreviated to "pbuh" and should be inferred throughout this site.)
Muhammad did not found Islam. Islam was created by Allah at the beginning of time, and in fact Muslims regard Adam as the first Muslim.
Muhammad was the final messenger through whom Allah revealed the faith to the world. There had been earlier messengers, among them Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
Muhammad was not only a religious leader, but a political leader as well. This established a close relationship between religion and "politics" and helped to ensure the rapid spread of the faith, and its influence on the complete way of life in many countries.
In his final sermon Muhammad summarised the heart of Islam:
- Belief in One God without images or symbols,
- Equality of all the Believers without distinction of race or class, the superiority of individuals being based solely on piety;
- Sanctity of life, property and honour;
- Abolition of interest, and of vendettas and private justice;
- Better treatment of women;
- Obligatory inheritance and distribution of the property of deceased persons among near relatives of both sexes, and removal of the possibility of the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few."
From the BBC World Service Web site.