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Islam Notes

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Islam Notes

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Islam

Surrendering to the Will of God

A. ROOTS

Religious: Abrahamic Family

Judaism

Christianity

Philosophic: Ancient Greeks

Socrates: epistemology

Plato: social philosophy

Aristotle: ethics

Etymologies

Islam - Arabic s-l-m: "peace" or "surrender"

Muslim - M-s-l-m: "one who surrenders"

Allah – al + Ilah: "The God"

If the masculine plural "im" is dropped from "Elohim" of the Ancient Hebrews, the two sound similar

B. Life in Mecca (during Muhammad’s time)

Ignorance

Poverty and robbing among tribes

Traders: prostitution, drinking, gambling

Cynicism

Social chaos

Religion: animistic polytheism

demons: personifications of people’s fears; did not inspire people to higher life or curb immoral behavior

Arabia needed a social revolutionary

C. Muhammad
"the Seal of the Prophets" (570-632 CE)

Born into the leading tribe of Mecca: the Koreish

Father died before his birth; mother died when he was eight

Adopted by uncle

Worked hard

Own hardships allowed him to feel compassion (like Siddhartha)

Early Adulthood

Disgusted by public life, isolated himself

Adulthood (age 25)

Entered caravan business

Married Khadija (wealthy and 15 years older)

married 15 years, four children, all theirs, later: more wives

Spirituality

Mount Hira: retreated to a cave in prayer

"Allah" – Arabic creator deity worshipped by hanifs (mystics)

All-night vigils allowed Muhammad to feel the awesome presence of Allah

Muhammad’s religious experience began with, "La ilaha illa ‘llah! There is no God but God!"

The Night of Power (Al-Qadir) – 610 CE

In the cave, he heard, "Proclaim" from an angel and the "Book" was opened to him

Went back to Khadija: she became first convert

Preached for 23 years, persecuted, insulted, outraged

 

Ministry

Did not pander to miracle-hungry people

Did not inflate his own image:

"I never said that God’s treasures are in my hand, that I knew the hidden things, or that I was an angel. I am only a preacher of God’s words, the bringer of God’s message to mankind."

Signs of God

Not in supernatural miracles (magic), but in the miracle of Creation, the order of the universe

Led Muslims to science long before the West

Only miracle was the Koran "God dictated to me" (Muhammad couldn’t have produced it on his own)

Reaction of Mecca’s religious and political establishment

Threatened polytheistic beliefs

Threatened revenue coming into Mecca from pilgrimages to 360 shrines

Moral demands: end licentiousness

Challenged an unjust social order: democratic, equality before God

Muhammad was first greeted with ridicule, then open persecution

In 3 years, there were only 40 converts

In 10 years, there were a few hundred families

The Hijra (migration to Medina "Yathrib")

622 CE…Muslim calendar is dated from here

Too dangerous for Muhammad to stay in Mecca

Left with 70 families

Medina ("the City") was ridden with tribal rivalries and needed an objective leader

From Prophet to Statesman

Justice and mercy: justice in relations with others, forgiving in injuries

Muhammad: from prophet to statesman, judge, general, teacher

Lived a simple life, accessible to all, no class consciousness

Welded five tribes of the city, three Jewish, into a confederation

Conflicts with Mecca

First battle (victory)

623 CE

Mecca outnumbered Medina

Interpreted as a sign

Second Battle (loss)

624 CE

Last Battle

630 CE

Muhammad entered the Ka’ba (a cubical temple believed to have been built by Abraham) in Mecca

All of Mecca converted

The Spread of Islam

Muhammad died in 632 CE with all of Arabia converted

Armenia, Persia, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, No. Africa, & Spain were conquered by 700 CE

Defeated in 733 CE by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours

All of Europe may have been Muslim

The Koran (recitation)

Most recited and read book

4/5 the size of the New Testament

Muslims tend to read the Koran literally

Revelations from Gabri’el to Muhammad over 23 years

Considered the culmination of the Old and New Testaments

Old and New Testaments are only part of the Truth and were partially corrupted in transmission.

The Koran is the final and infallible revelation of God’s will.

Five Pillars

The Creed- the Shahadah

"There is not God but God, and Muhammad is His Prophet."

Prayer - salah

Five times daily, Facing Mecca, Washing precedes it

Ends in the prostrate position

Symbolizes the fetal position (rebirth) and submission before Allah

Charity - zakah

2.5% of all holdings

Fasting – Ramadan

Pilgrimage to Mecca – the Hajj

In Mecca, all Muslims wear two white sheets

Islam

A monotheistic religion

Muhammad’s birthplace: Mecca

Muslim holy text: the Koran: the most widely read book in the world

Know the Five pillars

Muslim house of worship: mosque

Muhammad’s wife Khadji

Muhammad’s religious experience in cave

Know the Muslim Holy Month: Ramadan

Meaning of the words Islam and Muslim: to submit, a slave to God

Know where Muhammad set up the first Muslim community: Yathrib

Know Koran forbids primogeniture: it does not promote economic equality

The ultimate power women have when it comes to marriage: they inherit the husband’s wealth

 

Three instances that the Koran mentions polygamy as acceptable: war, when the wives are treated equally, when there are less than four

What did Allah reveal through Jesus? the Golden Rule, love your neighbor

The Shahadah? The Muslim Creed: There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet

Muslims are required to pray 5 times a day: sunrise, noon, or zenith of sun, mid-decline of sun, sunset, before bed

Know the difference between Greater and Lesser Jihad

Greater Jihad: refers to the spiritual battle withijn one's self.  Muhommad tended to emphasize the importance of this meaning of the word.

Lesser Jihad:  However, another valid meaning for the term refers to a military campaign against infidels (non-believers) who oppress a particular Muslim community.

During the last century, the Lesser Jihad has come to be the primary meaning of the term jihad.  This is due to centuries of economic and political domination by the Western powers of Europe and the United States.

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D. “The more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes” to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone” Thomas Merton