Islam is the official religion of the U.A.E. and is integral to the local culture. The Arabic word “Islam” literally means “submission to God,” and the core of the faith is the belief that there is only one God (Allah) who should be worshiped. And, in a line of prophets who included Adam, Abraham, Noah, Moses, John the Baptist, David, and Jesus, Mohammed was the last and most definitive. Muslims believe that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all essentially the same, but that the messages from the earlier prophets have been distorted and that Mohammed was chosen by God to revive, refine, and purify His message.
The main sources of Islam are the Koran (or Qur’an) – the revelations Mohammed received during his lifetime – and Mohammed’s own actions, the Hadith.
Mohammed was born in Mecca (in present-day Saudi Arabia) in 570 and began to receive revelations from God, via the angel Gabriel, around 610. These continued until his death in nearby Medina in 632. The illiterate Mohammed would pass on each revelation to his scribes, who would then input them as a particular verse in the Koran. The Arabic word qur’an means “recitation,” and Muslims regard the holy book’s contents as the word of God. The Koran’s 114 chapters were not revealed in the order presented, and in fact many were patched together from passages received by Mohammed at different times in his life. The year before he died, however, Mohammed finally recited in its entirety the order in which these original verses were to stay.