-- Islam has experienced the sharpest growth in the U.S. of any non-Christian religion over the last several decades.-- Recent events related to 9/11 and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East are motivating Americans to desire an accurate picture of the Islamic faith as it's currently practiced.-- This guide provides accurate information while no prior knowledge is required.Islam is practiced by a diverse number of peoples from various cultures - estimates show there are nearly I billion Muslims worldwide - and yet westerners are not well acquainted with the faith. The deep divide between Muslim and Christian worlds has made the knowledge gap more pronounced, but increasingly, Muslim communities are intermingling with Christian ones in the U.S., raising hopes that greater mutual understanding will result. The Pocket Idiot's Guide "RM" to Islam covers the rise of Muhammad and the development of the Islamic community into its two main branches today - Sunni and Shi'i. This condensed guide furthermore explains Islam's central tenants, concepts and ritual, like the Qu'ran and its role in Shari'a law, or the meaning of imam, jihad, Sufi and Ramadan. Islam's opportunities and challenges facing it in today's societies are also examined: from Islam and the role of women to current Muslim politics - both popular and radical are key concerns for many Muslims.