Islam: 15th century of the Hegira
At the dawn of the fifteenth century of the Hegira, this double issue of the Unesco Courier highlights some of the basic facets of the thought and spiritual ideals of the Islamic community, which embraces almost a fifth of humanity. The geographical and cultural diversity of this vast community bears witness to the universality of the Islamic message and civilization.
The emergence of Islam and the exceptionally swift pace at which it came to spread out into the world marked a turning-point in the history of mankind. After being revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia, Islam ranged, in the space of a few generations, from Africa's Atlantic seaboard to the coasts of South-East Asia. At the present time, Islam embraces more than 800 million men and women who have the deep-rooted feeling of belonging to one and the same community. Even today, Islam is continuing to spread. The deep-seated cause of its growth lies in a universalist outlook that transcends all distinctions of race, and enables peoples to join together in Islam while still preserving their own culture.