Islam

					World
Religions
 Islam
        Overview – General
• Islam began in the interior of Arabia in the 7th
  century AD
• Within 20 years it absorbed the tribesmen of the
  entire peninsula, and continued to expand
  geometrically
• Today there are approximately 1.2 billion
  Muslims worldwide
• Between 1976 and 2003 Islam grew to 1.2
  billion from .5 billion (that’s almost triple in 24
  years!)
• Largest numbers in a belt of countries along
  both side of the equator, stretching from
  Morocco to the Philippines
         Overview – General

– Greatest concentration are in the Indian sub-
  continent (Pakistan, Bangladesh, India --- c.
  250 million
– Indonesia has c. 175 million (more than Egypt,
  Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran combined)
– USA 5 million, France 4.5 million, Germany 3
  million, Turkey 2.5 million, Britain 2 million
In the US, Muslims outnumber all Episcopalians, and are a
 little more than one third as large as the SBC, the largest
           Protestant denomination in the world.
         Overview – Arabia Before Muhammad

• Religious dissatisfaction in the years before the rise
  of Islam
• Christianity and Judaism had made inroads to
  Arabia
• Conflict between Christians and Jews, and between
  Christian groups
• Knowledge of these religions and their conflicts
  became important to the rise of Islam
• Allegedly, Christians ignored the Arab people and
  failed to translate the Bible until after rise of Islam
         Overview – The Prophet (570-632 AD)


• Muhammad born c. 570 AD in Mecca (modern Saudi
  Arabia)
• Orphaned at 6 (father died before Muhammad was
  born, mother died when he was 6); never formally
  educated and illiterate
• In youth he worked along the caravan routes
  between the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea
• He encountered many Christians, Jews, and
  Zoroastrians, heard their beliefs and witnessing their
  disputes
• At 25 met an married Khadija, a wealthy widow of 40
          Overview – The Prophet (570-632 AD)

• Khadija bore six children and became Muhammad’s
  first convert
• No longer needing to work, he began going into the
  hills to meditate c. 610
• During one such period, he claimed to have met the
  angel Gabriel who brought him a special message
“Read in the name of thy Lord who created, who created man of blood
coagulated. Read! Thy Lord is the most beneficent, who taught by the
          pen, taught that which they knew not, unto men.”

 Claimed words were whispered in his ear by Gabriel in
   dictation fashion---meaning words, form, and style
                      were all divine
         Overview – The Prophet (570-632 AD)


• Claimed the messages “sent down” were from a
  heavenly book which is eternal and co-existent with
  God
 It is the “Well Preserved Tablet” or “Mother of the Book”
 It consists of God’s unchanging will and truth
 Other books given to past prophets were also taken from this
   book

     Muslims believe that the nature of Muhammad’s
   revelations were such that his mental processes were
suspended and he was in a trance-like state when the angel
                 communicated with him.
          Overview – The Prophet (570-632 AD)

• Muhammad claimed the new book was given due to:
  – the need for Arabs to have God’s word in their
    language
  – Corruption of former texts by Christians and Jews
• The Ou’ran (Koran), as the book became known, is
  highly reverenced by Muslims
• Even handling the book is considered important
    It is not allowed to be placed on the ground
    Translation out of Arabic is frowned upon because
     it is believed that in translation it loses it status as
     the true word of God
        Overview – The Prophet (570-632 AD)

• Muhammad’s visions and revelations continued – in
  dreams & ecstatic seizures – for 23 years until his
  death
• His revelations culminated in the conviction that
  there was only one God, Allah, and he, Muhammad,
  was the last (and greatest) prophet
• He began preaching this message to the people of
  Mecca, with very little support – even hostility
• When he began to have converts they too were
  persecuted
• In 620 a group of men traveled from Yathrib
  (Medina) to confer with Muhammad
         Overview – The Prophet (570-632 AD)

• 621 - 12 delegates (10 were Jews who thought he
  was the Messiah) from Yathrib came to ask him to
  be judge of the city
• 622 - Hearing of a plot to assassinate him, he moved
  from Mecca to Medina, arriving on September 24.
  This journey is called the “Hijrah” (migration), and is
  the time from which Muslims date their calendars
• He consolidated his power into a spiritual/political
  machine in Medina, but soon met with resistance
  from local Jews
  – In the beginning he told people to pray facing Jerusalem
  – After hostilities from the Jews, he instructed people to
    pray facing Mecca
        Overview – The Prophet (570-632 AD)

• Muhammad led his people to raid Meccan traders
• 624 - angry Meccans sent an army against Medina,
  but were defeated by Muhammad’s army
• 630 - Muhammad conquered Mecca with an army of
  10,000
  – Went to the Kaaba, the sacred temple in Mecca, and
    destroyed 360 idols
  – To this day the Kaaba is the most sacred sanctuary to
    Muslims
• 632 - Muhammad returned to Medina, became ill,
  and ultimately died
      Muslim Theology

          The Name Says It All
     Islam – Submission, or to Submit
     Muslim – One who Submits
The Qu’ran
 A copy of the eternal book in heaven
 The source of all education
 A great act of piety to memorize the whole
 text
 It alone is God’s final revelation
 It is guarded by God from any corruption or
 distortion
       Muslim Theology

The Qu’ran
 Supposedly, the exact words of Allah given by
 Gabriel to Muhammad
 Zayd, Muhammad’s secretary, wrote them down
 (remember, Muhammad was illerate)
 Never published during Muhammad’s lifetime
 114 “suras” (chapters) and 6,000 “ayas” verses
 The combined Qu’ran, traditions, consensus, and
 analogy, make up the “Shari’ah”, the rules and
 regulations governing the day to day life of
 Muslims
       Muslim Theology

 The Hadith
• A record of the carefully observed actions
  and words of Muhammad
• Many accounts exist; six are considered
  authentic
• The form is normally: “so and so heard from
  so and so that the prophet said or did thus
  and so.” The report of what the prophet said
  or did will follow.
• Part of the governing teachings of Islam
        Muslim Theology

The Nature of God
• God is absolute or unrestrained will
• God has no Son, thus Jesus is not God
• God has 99 names; devout Muslims repeat these as
  Catholics would a rosary, often using beads to aid
  memory
• The accepted prophets of Islam (including Adam,
  Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and
  Jesus) were all created human beings, and therefore
  have no divine characteristics
• There are other spiritual beings
        Muslim Theology

The Nature of God
• Other spiritual beings (cont.)
  – Angels
  – Djinn – created of fire and are halfway between
    humans and angels
     • Some are guardian beings, others are demons
     • The demon leader is a fallen angel, Iblis
     • He is tempter and the prosecutor of humanity,
       and was responsible for the fall of Adam
        Muslim Theology

Predestination – Al-Qadar
• All is in the hands of God – He is absolute will
• He has planned all events in advance
• Muslims express this belief in the statement, “im
  shallah” (if God wills it)

“This does not mean that human beings do not
  have a free will. Man has a free will and is
  therefore responsible for his own choices.”
                    Islam-guide.com
         Muslim Theology

Predestination – Al-Qadar (cont.)
• The belief in predestination means four things:
  – God knows everything; he knows what has happened and
    what will happen
  – God has recorded all this information
  – Whatever God has willed to happen happens, and whatever
    he wills not to happen does not happen
  – God is the creator of everything
           Eschatology – Judgment Day
  -- At the last day, trumpet sounds, bodies rejoin souls
  -- People are judged based on deeds and beliefs recorded in a
     book kept for this purpose
  -- The faithful and virtuous go to paradise, evil go to torment
        Religious Institutions & Institutes

The Mosque
• Because Islam is not a temple centered religion, the
  mosque is primarily a place for prayer (though some
  instruction may take place there)
• Islam sees no need for priests, ministers, or
  intermediaries
• In place of temples, Muslim life is governed by the
  Shari’ah, the Qu’ran, & the Hadith, usually on a
  personal and individual basis
• Thus, temples may be very bare places with only a
  place to kneel for prayer
         Religious Institutions & Institutes

The Five Pillars
• Shahadah (bearing witness by repetition of the
  creed)
   – “La ilaha illa Allah; Muhammad rasul Allah” There is
     no God but Allah: Muhammad is a messenger of
     Allah
   – The devout utter it as often as possible everyday
   – It is the Muslim profession of faith. To utter it makes
     one a devout Muslim
   – It affirms God’s oneness and Muhammad’s central
     role in the religion
         Religious Institutions & Institutes

The Five Pillars
• Salah (worship through daily prayer)
  – The call to prayer is Adan, made five times a day: dawn,
    midday, late afternoon, just after sunset, and at evening
  – The call follows a specific script and order
  – In the early days, Muezzins (criers) climbed to the
    Minarets (other parts of the temple) five times a day and
    called people to prayer
  – Today this is usually done by prerecorded messages or
    singing
  – On Fridays a sermon is added to the noon prayer
  – Before prayers, Muslims must wash (in sand if water is
    unavailable)
        Religious Institutions & Institutes

The Five Pillars
• Zakat (almsgiving)
  – Proper Muslims share their belongings with people
    of the community
  – Begging is not dishonorable
  – This is a mandatory tax on Muslims
  – Not strictly enforced
  – Given at specific time of year
  – Amount 2.5% of cash income
         Religious Institutions & Institutes
The Five Pillars
• Ramadan Fast
  – 9th month of the Islamic calendar
  – Must refrain from food, drink, smoking, and other things
    deemed pleasurable until sunset (until one cannot tell the
    difference between a white thread and a dark one)
  – Ramadan is seen as an exercise in self-restraint in
    obedience to God
  – During the last 10 days of Ramadan the night of prayer
    occurs
  – After Ramadan, a three day fast ensues. Family visits
    together and exchanges gifts
  – Some can be excluded from the fast: sick, young, elderly,
    pregnant, nursing, or during menstrual cycle
         Religious Institutions & Institutes
The Five Pillars
• Hajj (the pilgrimage)
  – During month of Dhu al-Hajj
  – During pilgrimage, pilgrims must abstain from food and
    drink during daylight hours
  – Must visit the well of Zamzam, the place where Hagar and
    Ishmael went on their journey
  – After pilgrimage, pilgrims are known as Hajji
     • Must have a Haj permit (visas based on the population of each
       country)
     • Washes himself, dons a white robe, and participates in the
       ritual of absolution, after which he can never kill man, beast, or
       plant
     • During hajj, fingernails or hair cannot be cut, and sexual
       activity is prohibited
          Religious Institutions & Institutes

  Jihad
• Historically, Muslims waged war to spread Muslim
  rule rather than to force conversions (though forced
  conversions did happen)
• Some Muslims see the Jihad as an allegory
• Four types of Jihad are taught:
  –   War with the tongue (proclamation of the message)
  –   War with the heart (most important)
  –   War with the sword (physical warfare)
  –   War with the hand (setting a good example)
       Religious Institutions & Institutes
          Ye should believe in Allah and his messenger,
 Jihad    and should strive for the cause of Allah with
            your wealth and your lives (Surah 61:11)

• Many Muslims believe these words apply to
  spiritual striving rather than physical, but
  the concept of physical striving is important
  to Muslims
• There are five rules that normally govern the
  Jihad as holy war. They are:
        Religious Institutions & Institutes

• Physical violence may never be used to advance the
  cause of Islam (An Islamic country, therefore, may
  never initiate conflict)
• Islam should be propagated only by reason and
  rational appeal
• If another nation commits an act of aggression
  against an Islamic country, the Islamic country is
  justified in using military force to defend itself
• If a non-Islamic country uses physical force to
  repress the free exercise of Islam, including the
  propagation of Islam, those actions constitute
  physical aggression against Islam, or a particular
  Islamic country
         Religious Institutions & Institutes


• If there is territory that once was Islamic, it must be
  reclaimed. Reversion is therefore considered
  physical aggression against Islam.

 Also Important
                      A jihad warrior killed in battle is
                       assured of going to paradise
          Religious Institutions & Institutes

• Islam and Women
  – Muhammad raised status of women considerably (must
    be historically and culturally relative to understand this)
  – Muslim men may have only four wives
  – Muslim men may divorce wife easily, but must pay a
    dowry
  – In most places Muslim women may not come to the
    Mosque
  – There are places and instances where this is changing. In
    some mosques women are allowed to kneel on one side
    of the building, while men kneel on another
          Religious Institutions & Institutes

• The Role of Jesus
  – The Qu’ran states that He was the greatest prophet before
    Muhammad
  – Jesus was called upon to protect the Torah
  – The virgin birth is affirmed, but He was born under a palm
    tree
  – Mary is regarded as the greatest among women
  – The last supper is mentioned, but not the crucifixion
  – Jesus went directly to paradise
  – Christ’s return is affirmed, but to establish the Muslim
    religion
  – The deity and son ship of Jesus are denied
      Variations Within Islam

Sunnis
  Orthodox & Traditionalists. Make up 85% of Muslims
  worldwide
  Fundamental authority is the Shari’ah as interpreted
  by learned men who base their interpretation on the
  Hadith
  There are four divisions of Sunnis
     Hanifites – Western Asia, India, lower Egypt
     Malikites – North and West Africa, upper Egypt
     Shafi’ites – lower Egypt, Syria, India, Indonesia
     Hanbalites – Saudi Arabia (most conservative)
      Variations Within Islam

Shi’ites
  Developed as a result of a rupture in the religion
  following Muhammad’s death
  Muhammad’s son, Ali, was not chosen to be his
  father’s successor (some claimed Muhammad had
  chosen him)
  He was murdered in 661 – the Ummayad dynasty
  took over
  Ali’s youngest son waged war against the
  Ummayads, but was defeated at Karbala and
  executed
  His followers broke away and called themselves,
  Shia Ali (the part of Ali). Later called Shi’ites
         Variations Within Islam

• Shi’ites (cont.)
     Largest group known as “Twelvers”
     These refer to Ali and the eleven who succeeded
     him as Imams
     Each one died mysteriously except the twelfth,
     Imam Zaman or Mahdi (Messiah)
     He is believed to be alive even today, but invisible
     One day, it is said, he will return and bring justice to
     the earth
     He is considered the Imam for all time
         Variations Within Islam
• Differences Between Shi’ites and Sunnis
  – Believe further revelations come through the Imams (the
    great prophets)
  – Believe that there have been seven such revelator
    Imams—some never died
  – Believe in Mahdi (messiah)
  – Prize martyrdom
  – Reject the current Qu’ran—believe it was tampered with.
    Allegorical interpretation is the key to understanding it

   Shia Islam is the official religion in Iran. It is the
 largest group in southern Iraq. Worldwide, 10% to
             15% of Muslims are Shi’ites
        Variations Within Islam

Sufis
  Muslim mystics and ascetics from c. 800
  Sufi means “woolen” and refers to the course
  woolen garments worn by Sufis
  They live in poverty and reject the world’s niceties
  Claim their lifestyle is more like early, “more pious”
  Muslims
  Following their founder, Mansur al-Hallaj, who
  claimed mystical oneness with Allah and said, “I am
  the truth,” they follow the more mystical aspects of
  the faith
         Variations Within Islam

• Sufis (cont.)
  – Sufis constantly seek love and knowledge through a
    direct experience with God
  – Worship rituals include chanting, meditations, and
    musical recitations
  – They were persecuted early on and forced
    underground (following the crucifixion of al-Hallaj)
  – 12th century a professor of theology, Abu-Hamid al-
    Ghazali, left his post seeking God through mystical
    experiences. He joined the Sufis and ultimately
    became their teacher
  – Islam came to accept his teachings and Sufis began
    building monasteries, training adherents
         Variations Within Islam


• Sufis (cont.)
  – When a convert joins a monastery he is known as a
    fakir (poor man) or a dervish (one who comes to
    the door)
  – Discipline, poverty, abstinence, and sometimes
    celibacy were hallmarks of the order
  – Dervishes sometimes practice whirling for hours at
    a time as a means to achieve a mystical encounter
What is the                       For the darkness of
Answer                            Islam?


              “Anyone who comes to
                me, I will not turn
                      away”
               Not what --- Who!

				
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