It still remains uncertain of the time when the first Muslim came to the United States. Islam religion did not initially arise in the United States. It was brought into the United States by people who came to America from other countries. It is believed that the earliest Muslims originated from Senegal and Ghana in the 14th century. These were the ousted moors from Spain who traveled to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Some historians as well claim that in the 12th century, Columbus carried a booklet written by Portuguese Muslims as he went to United States ( Haniff, 303). However, others assert that a Muslim guide called Istafan during the journey to the New World in the 16th century, who led the Spanish in their downfall of what would become Arizona and New Mexico.
However, it is certain that from the total population of slaves ten to fifteen percent were Muslims. This set up the first surge of Muslims in the United States. It was quite challenging to preserve their religion and majority of them ended up being converted to Christianity ( Haniff, 304). In order to maintain their religion, culture, names and traditional clothes, much effort had to be put in keeping it a secret. Nonetheless, some African-Americans in Georgia were able to retain their faith till early 20th century. As a result, several other African-Americans converted and set up mosques in various parts.
From 1878 to 1924, several Muslim immigrants from Lebanon and Syria arrived in the United States and settled in Dakotas, Michigan, Lowa and also Ohio. They were looking for better economic opportunities than it was in their homeland. They usually did manual work. In order to survive, they worked as manual laborers for the Native Americans (Haniff, 304). For instance, Ford Company was the first big employer who recruited several Muslims and blacks, because these were the people who would admit working in hot, risky and unfavorable working conditions in the factories.
In the 1930s, Arab immigrants started to construct mosques and set up communities. On the other hand, African-American Muslims had erected their mosques in North America and as at 1952; there were more than1, 000 mosques. After 30 years of exclusion, several Muslims came in from various parts of the world when the United States allowed entry of immigrant into the United States in 1952. Majority of these immigrants were from Palestine, Egypt, and Iraq (Haniff, 306). In the 1960s, several Muslims from south-east Asia, Africa and also Latin America moved into the United States.
Currently, it is said that approximate number of Muslims in the country is about three million. It indicates that out of the total United States’ population, Muslims make up 1%. So far, Islam is anticipated to be the second largest religious denomination after Christianity in the United States. The population of Muslim immigrants has really escalated over the past 20 years. 10 % are legal Muslim immigrants while a smaller percentage is illegal Muslim immigrants. Natural increase is another cause for the increase in Islam (Mohamed). It has been discovered that compared to Americans of other religions, Muslims tend to have many children. Muslims as well tend to look young as compared to other people.
Muslims usually pray in sacred buildings called mosques. As they pray, they face toward Mecca. At the moment, there are exceeding 1500 mosques across the entire country (Haniff, 306). Moreover, beliefs are very essential in Islam. One has to always believe and make regular recitation of the statement –Shahada- which means that God does not exist however, there is a prophet called Muhammad. To be regarded as a Muslim, no additional official creed is required. However, Islam has 6 basic beliefs summarizing that; there is only one God, God has his angels, who are his messengers, the Quran as the perfect and Holy book, God’s prophet such as Muhammad should be respected, the belief of a life after death and God as the supreme being amongst everything.
The Islamic religion is led by its own leaders headed by Imam Ali. Eleven more leaders took after Imam Ali from his lineage. Hasan is the first son, followed by Husayn, then Ali ibn Husayn, the next one is Muhammad ibn Ali, the third son is Ja’far ibn Muhammad, fourth son is Musa ibn Ja’far, the fifth son is Ali ibn Musa, the sixth son is Muhammad ibn Ali, the seventh son is Ali ibn Muhammad, the eight son is Hasan ibn Ali and the last on is al-Hujjah al-Qa’im al-Mahdi al-Hadi ibn Hasan. All of them are rightful Imams. Everyone delegates his roles and leadership to subsequent brother to succeed him (Leaders of Islam). And that ninth one is to fill the earth full of coercion with justice.
In essence, Islam religious is growing at a high rate in America. Despite Muslims being undermined and treated as unwelcomed foreigners, they have become more incorporated in the society at large and thus becoming an integral part of American diversity. Today, Muslim has spread across the country many people from other religions converting to Muslim since they have taken action to become active politics and in educating them about their religion.