classical Islamic architecture, from a courtyard in Tunis, Tunisia



information on the great world religion,
its people and their way of life

initial draft prepared by a Greenstar Explorer, Nirupama Bala;
edited and enhanced by Michael North;
reviewed and critiqued by Khalid Moidu,
with added content suggested by James Kirkham

The information in the websites referenced on this page is the sole responsibility of the authors and publishers of those sites. Opinions and interpretations contained in those sites are not necessarily endorsed by Greenstar.

Dedicated to the peace and security of all the people of the Middle East, and to better understanding among Muslims and the people of the world.


Islam is a religion founded and based on faith in one supreme God, Allah.

Every follower of Islam believes in this central doctrine and in Prophet Muhammad being the last messenger of God. The Quran, the holy book of the religion is a compilation of all of God's revelations to the Prophet. God revealed his message to the Prophet Muhammad through the archangel Gabriel, about the onenness of God, how to worship him, and the perfected way of life. Therefore the Quran is considered the unchanged word of God and the constitution and the guide for Muslims in this life.

The following sites provide details about the fundamental beliefs, principles and tenets of Islam.

The Islam Page

Islam: Empire of Faith

Understanding Islam

Introduction to Islam for non-Muslims

Virtual Library, Middle East and North Africa



A brief history of Islam

Islam originated around 600 AD in the Central Asian Arabian desert and soon spread to east Asia, Central Europe and North Africa. The religion started with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad who is considered to be the messenger of the one and only, formless, all-powerful God, Allah.

Islam spread rapidly from the Arabian peninsula in less than 30 years. The Persian and Roman Empires were defeated by the much less equipped and out-numbered Muslim armies. Over the next several centuries, Islam reached as far as India in the east, and to Spain in the west. The spread continued through traders to southeast Asia, where for example, Indonesia, today's largest Muslim country, received the message of Islam through Arab traders.

During the peak of Islam's rule, when Europe was in the Dark Ages, the sciences of mathematics, algebra, astronomy, medicine, physics and other disciplines were developed and are still in use today based on the principles of the early Muslim scholars.

Today, Islam is considered to be the fastest growing religion in the world.

Brief history of Islam

A Complete Chronological History of Islam

Muslim scientists and civilization

Detailed history of Islam

Islamic history reference book


Prophet Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad was married to a wealthy lady, and he was known for being a trustworthy, honest and kind person, when God revealed to him at his age of 40 years the details of a perfected religion through the angel, Gabriel. Prophet Muhammad is the last of a line of prophets beginning with Abraham, Moses and Jesus.

The life of the Prophet before and after the revelation, his sayings and God's teachings, are well delineated in the following websites.

Biography, mission and the message of Muhammad

About the Prophet Muhammad

The Influence of Prophet Muhammad (for children)



Women, status and role:

Women are the dominant players in family and home, while the man is considered to be the economic provider. Women are expected to cover their bodies, except their hands and faces, in front of men other than than their brothers, husbands, fathers and sons, as an expression of modesty and so as not to sexually provoke or invite unacceptable sexual behaviour. The following websites give information as to the status and role of women in Islamic society, their attire and on issues like polygamy, which is allowed under Islamic law.

Separation of Women and Men



Who Practices Polygamy?

Islam's Position on Polygamy

Polygamy and the Family



The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem


Shiite and Sunni

Islam is a very united religion. However, due to different ways of interpretation of teaching of the prophet , Muslims are made up of two main different groups; Shi'ite and Sunni are the two main denominations. Of these two, Sunnis are a majority. The following websites provide detailed information regarding origin, principle differences and practices of these two factions of Islam.

The Great Schism

Early and Medieval Shi'a

Islam: Religious and Political Organization


Festivals and Celebrations

Every Muslim except for the young and infirm is expected to lead a life of fasting, prayers, abstinence from alcohol and certain food items that are considered harmful. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Eid-Ul-Fitr is the festival that marks the culmination of Ramadan. More details about the festivals and practices of a Muslim can be obtained from

Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr

Ramadan and Fasting

Ramadan: The month of fasting


Muslims eat and drink all foods except pork and its products, and all types of alcohol beverages, as these are clearly prohibited in the Quran. Other animals should be slaughtered properly from the neck, while reciting: In the name of God, God is Great. This way of killing is the least painful for the animal. Muslims are prohibited from eating anything that is dead, except sea creatures.

Details about the food preferences of a Muslim as per the Quran, can be obtained at the following site:

A Guide to Halal Food Selection


Islamic countries, maps and photographs

Middle East:

Middle East Maps

Muslim countries, their governments, photo galleries.:

The Muslim World: Flags, Governments, Photo Gallery


Afghanistan Photo Galleries

Afghan Web

Afghan Archivist of Culture

The Afghan Folio


Islam: Science, technology, education

Articles, news, opinions on Islam and its impact on Science, humankind.

Islamicity: Comprehensive Portal

Islam and its Background in Science


History and Science:

Islam, Knowledge, and Science


School Resources for Islamic Students


Detail of ceramics from the face of Al Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem


Islam and current events

Islamic fundamentalism at its extreme form has been named as the primary reason behind the events of recent past. This brand of Islamic fundamentalism preaches that its is acceptable to harm people who may through some means be the cause of the misery of others.

This reasoning is far from what is allowed in the Quran. A number of well known specialists of Islamic faith have brought forth this fact. The following web sites contain their opinions on recent world events.

The history of tolerance by Islam towards other religions

Islam, Terrorism and the Christian's Response

Islam, Jihad and Violence

Islamic Extremism

Fundamentalism and Islam

American Academy of Religion

Insight from Yusuf Islam (aka singer-songwriter Cat Stevens)


These websites provides links to numerous other pages regarding the recent happenings.


Islamic and Middle Eastern Music

Greenstar has selected the very best of music from the world of Islam, sacred and classical, as well as modern interpretations. Samples of this music, and reviews, are available here:

World Music Store: Middle East


The People of Islam

Greenstar has developed a close working relationship with the people of Al-Kaabneh, a Palestinian village on the West Bank, Palestinian Authority. The Bedouin people of this village are strict, traditional adherents of Islam, with a pure simple practice that is probably similar to that known in the original small desert villages where Islam first arose over 1000 years ago.

You can see the people of this village, watch video and hear their traditional music, some of which is closely tied to their Islamic faith, on the Greenstar website:

Solar-Powered Community Center, Palestinian Authority

A good resource for connecting with ordinary, individual people who caare about the lives of the Palestinian people can be found here:

The People of Palestine and friends

Islamic art is one of the most refined and beautiful artistics traditions in the world, and encompasses a wide variety of architecture, ceramic, tile, calligraphy and glass style.

Click here for some beautiful examples of classic Islamic art.


A brief study like this can claim to be neither totally representative nor complete, in describing the depth and breadth of Islam. We would like your suggestions on how to improve this resource, in order to further understanding among all people of the world.

Please address comments to Paul Swider, who co-ordinated this Greenstar Explorer project, at

The key research for this page was done by Nirupama Bala, a software engineer working in Dallas, Texas. His motivation in joining the Greenstar Explorers program is to help people help themselves, by doing research on possible new ventures for Greenstar. Click here to learn more about the Explorers program.