Along with Judaism and Christianity, Islam is one of the three great monotheistic religions that comprise the majority of adherents in the world’s religions today. Islam means "submission," and it began in the seventh century with the revelations of the prophet Mohammad. These revelations were recorded in the Quran, which is the sacred text of Islamic faith.
Founded on the principle of submission to Allah, Islam spread rapidly over the centuries. It is believed that the angel Gabriel appeared before Mohammad with a message directly from Allah. In 622, Mohammad fled persecution and made his way north to the city of Medina. His flight, or "hijira," marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
In spite of the actions of a few, the Qu'ran teaches the importance of peace and inclusion. It is believed that mankind was created from a single soul, and all people are equal in the eyes of God. The five pillars are faith, prayer, charity, self-purification and the pilgrimage to Mecca. By some measures, as many as one-fifth of the world's population are devout Muslims, and it is the second largest religion in the world. Islam's main message is simple: worship and obey Allah, and pray. With so many devout followers, and the simplicity of its core message, it is easy to see why Islam is considered such an important religion in the world today.