MECC: Middle East Artifact
Portrait. Persian. Private Collection, North Carolina.

Religions of the Arab World

Islam

The predominant religion of the Middle East is divided among various sects, the largest and most important of which are Shi’a and Sunni Islam, a monotheistic religion based on the holy text of the Qur’an However each sect having their own interpretation of the text. The five pillars of Islam are the Shahadah (There is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is his prophet, Salah (five daily prayers), ZAkah (charity), Sawm (fasting during Ramadan), and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

Christianity

It is estimated, though not confirmed that there are between 12 and 16 million Christians living in the Middle East. Also a monotheistic religion with origins in the Middle East and teaching based on the old and new testaments. Christian sects include Maronite, Protestants, Greek Othodox, Armenian Orthodox, Coptic, and Chaldean, among many others.

Judaism

The historical predecessor of both Christianity and Islam and practiced by approximately 6 million people in the Middle East, Judaism is also a monotheistic religion based on the Torah, which is the old testament of the Christian Bible.

Druze

The populations live primarily in Lebanon and Syria, and they are another monotheistic religion of the Arab w World. The Druz consider themselves a sect of Islam that split from the Shi’a , and they believe that the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim was an incarnation of God who disappeared in 1021 but will return, bringing a Golden Age to believers.




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