The religion of the Arabs is Islam. Islam literally means "submission" in Arabic. The people who follow Islam are called Muslims. The religion was started by a prophet named Muhammad, who was a good trader and businessman. At age forty, he met the angel Gabriel, who told him to spread the word of God, or Allah. However, it was not until about three years later until he started preaching the words of Allah. The people who listened to his preaches were his descendants and wrote down exactly what he said and put this all together into a sacred text called The Qur'an. There are Five Pillars of Islam: Shahadah, profession of faith, Salah, prayer, Zakat, almsgiving, Sawm, fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, and Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. There are two major divisions in beliefs about the religion, Sunni and Shi'a. Muslims were often characterized by their commitment to Allah. One of the defining characteristics of Islam is the primacy of sacred places including Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. Muslims gather at mosques to worship Allah, pray, and study scripture. There is not a sharp distinction between the religious and secular aspects of life in Islam; all aspects of a Muslim's life are to be oriented to serving Allah. Islam expanded almost immediately beyond its birthplace in the Arabian peninsula, and now has significant influence in Africa, throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas.