RELG 207 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Shahada, Worship God, Salah

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June 18, 2015
Introduction to World Religions Islam
Overview of Islam : Basic Concept
Definitions
1) How do we define Islam
Who speaks for Muslims?
Common aspects, elements and beliefs
The Arabic word Islam means to turn oneself over to, to resign oneself, to submit. In religious
terminology, it means submission or surrender to God, or to Gods will
2) Muslim
One who submits
The Bedouins say, We have faith. Say. You do not have faith, rather say, We have submitted, for
faith has not yet entered your hearts. If you obey God and His messenger, He will not diminish you
anything of your works. (49:14)
In this verse, it is clear that submission is not the same as faith (iman), since submission means
obeying God and the Prophet, whereas faith is something deeper, involving knowledge and
commitment
3) Religion
Arabic term al-din, derived from al dayn (debt)
Three elements of religion
Islam (submission)
Iman (faith or conviction)
Ihsan (performing good deeds)
The Hadith of Gabriel
Umar ibn al Khattab said: One day when we were with Gods messenger, a man with very white
clothing and very black hair came up to us. No mark of travel was visible on him, and none of us
recognized him. Sitting down before the Prophet, leaning his knees against his, and placing his hands
on his thighs, he said Tell, Muhammad, about submission. He replied Submission means that you
bear witness that there is no good but God and that Muhammad is Gods messenger, that you should
perform the ritual prayer, pay the alms tax, fast during Ramadan, and make the pilgrimage to the
House if you are able to go there. The man said, You have spoken the truth. We were surprised at
his questioning him and then declaring that he had spoken the truth. He said Now tell me about faith.
He replied Faith means that you have faith in God, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the
Last Day, and that you have faith in the measuring out, both its good and evil. Remarking that he had
spoken the truth, he then said, Now tell me about doing what is beautiful. He replied, Doing what is
beautiful means that you should worship God as if you see Him, for even if you do not see him, He
sees you. Then the man said, Tell me about the Hour. The Prophet replied, About that he who is
questioned knows no more than the questioner. The man said, Then tell me about its marks. He
said, The slave girl will give birth to her mistress, and you will see barefoot, the naked, the destitute,
and the shepherds vying with each other in the building. Then the man went away. After I waited for
a long time, the Prophet said to me, Do you know who the questioner was, Umar? I replied God
and His messenger know best. He said, He was Gabriel. He came to teach you your religion.
Sources for Islam and Muslims
1) Koran
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2) Hadith (report)
3) Sunna (custom)
4) Sira (biography)
Islam as the Primordial Religion
Islam considers itself as the final revelation in the history of the present humanity. It is the final
religion in a long chain of prophecy that goes back to Adam. The recipients of these earlier revelations
are referred to in the Koran as people of the scripture or people of the book (ahl al-kitab)
When [Abrahams] Lord said to him, Submit, he said, I have submitted to the Lord of the worlds.
And when I revealed to the Apostles [of Jesus], Have faith in Me and in My messenger, they said,
We have faith, and we bear witness that we are muslims. (5:111)
All prophets submitted themselves to Gods will and hence were muslims. In the same way, all those
who follow the religions brought by the prophets are muslims.
Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, is known as The Seal of the Prophets (Khatam al-anbiya)
There is but a single religion which has constituted the heart of all messages from heaven and which
Islam has come to assert in its final form
Islam as the return to the primordial religion (din al-fitrah, or the religion that is in the nature of
things), the religion of primordial monotheism (din al-hanif). Before the creation of the world, God
asked man: Am I not your Lord and the whole of humanity, both male and female answered: Yea,
verily we bear witness (7:172).
Four Basic Meanings of the Word Islam
In short, we have four basic meanings for the word Islam, moving from the broadest to the narrowest.
1. The submission of creation to its Creator;
2. The submission of human beings to the guidance of God as revealed
through the prophets;
3. The submission of human beings to the guidance of God as revealed
through the prophet Muhammad;
4. The submission of the followers of Muhammad to Gods practical instructions. On
the other hand, while in theory these meanings can be distinguished, in practice they are
often conflated, and it is not always easy to separate them.
Principles of the Faith
Tawhid (Gods Oneness, Divine Unity)
Say: He is God, Matchless; God, Ceaseless! Nor begetting and Not begotten; Without a single
partner, Peerless (112:1-4).
1) Angels
2) Scriptures
3) Prophets and messengers
4) Final Judgment
5) Divine decree and predestination
Pillars of Islam
1) Shahadah (Witness/Testimony)Declaration of faith
2) Salat (Worship/Prayer)Obligatory prayer
3) Zakat (Almsgiving/Religious tax)Compulsory giving
4) Sawm (Fasting)Fasting in the month of Ramadan
5) Hajj (Pilgrimage)Pilgrimage to Mecca
In the Hadith of Gabriel, Muhammad defines Submission (i.e. Islam) as follows:
Submission is that you bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is His
messenger (shahadah), that you perform the prescribed ritual-prayers (salat), that you fast the
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