About 570CE there was a new prophet born, who was called Muhammad. Muhammad was considered by the Muslims to be last of the chain of prophets, who had come to restore the true religion. This was regarded as the final stage in the evolution of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic monotheistic Tradition. "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his Messenger. The sacred book of Islam, known as the Holy Qur'an, received a series of revelations to Muhammad and this tells of Abraham and Ishamel built together the holiest Sanctuary in Islam, the Ka'bah. This is thought to be the site of Adams's original place of worship. In the Qur'an, Abraham was told by God that the Ka'bah should be a place of Pilgrimage and it was regarded as a holy place by the Arabian Tribes. Muhammad life story was important to the Muslims, as his character is said to be a model of the teachings in the Qur'an. Allah (God) is the focus and sole authority, not Muhammad's to recite the Qur'an is thought to have a healing and soothing effect. This also brings about protection, guidance knowledge according to Muslim tradition. When reciting the Qur'an it is said that you have to be in a purified state, this is because the words are so powerful that the one who recites this takes on a great responsibility. It is said that the Qur'an should be learnt as a child, (when the memorisation of this is the easiest) and when the power of the words will help to shape one's life. Also another part of the Islamic religion was Sunni-Shi'te split. After Muhammad's death, the Muslim community began to divide, due to an issue who would succeed Muhammad. Sunni - who follow the elected caliphs are 'the people of the Sunnah'. They are traditionalists who emphasize the authority over the Qur'an. The Sunnis believe that Muhammad without electing a successor to the ummah, being the Muslim community. The Caliphs are not a replacement for the Prophet, he is the leader of worship and administrator of the Shari'ah, Sacred law of Islam. Shi'ites are devoted to the memory of Muhammad's close relatives, these being Ali, Famita (Prophets daughter) and their sons Hasan and Husayn. The Shi'ites do not recognise the Sunni caliphs, they pay their respects to the seven or Twelve Immans (leaders, guides). Ali, Hasan and Husayn were the first three. The Shi'ites believed that there were twelve Immans, who were legitimate successors to Muhammad.
Sufism is the mystical path of Islam, which is said to date back to the time of the prophet. As well as studying the Qur'an, Sufis study their own hearts and the world around them. Life is a book filled with signs, divine symbols, and elements of beauty, which speak to people who understand. Sufi teachings come from the heart of mystical experiences, defying ordinary logic. Paradox, metaphor, world of creative imagination, an expanded sense of reality. Sufi thought is expressed through poetry is the way of the Sufi expressing their connection with the Divine. Rumi was the thirteenth century member of the Mevlevi Dervish Order in Turkey (famous for Whirling Dervishes). Their dances lead to transcendental rapture, who was also a master of mystical poetry.
The aim of Sufism is to become purified of self, that one perfect mirror for the divine attributes. Its practice is called Dhikr. It is about stirring the heart and piercing the solar plexus The seat of the ego, this is done by movements of the head and Continually repeating La Ilaha Illa Alla (There is nothing except God)
Sufism carries the inner practice of Islam, the outer practice is forth in the shari'ah, the straight path to the Divine Law.
The Five Pillars of Islam.
1. Shahadah - There is no God but God.
2. Daily Prayers.
4. Zakat - Spiritual tithing in Islam
5. Hajj - Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca.