The Study of World Religions
Friday March 26,2010
The rest of the lectures will not be covered on the exam.
1. Shahadah- This is the basic confession of faith in the Islam and it consists of two statements.
The first statement is there is only one god the God Allah. The second statement is that
Muhammad is his prophet.
2. Salat- These are obligatory prayers that are recited 5 times a day. If you are travelling or you
are ill, then you can suspend the obligation.
3. Zakat- This is almsgiving. If you are Muslim, 2.5% of your wealth each year is given to charity.
4. Ramadan- You must abstain from all of the good things in life, such as food, cigarettes, sex,
etc., during the daylight hours for a month. Ramadan ends with a feast and with the exchange
5. Hajj- Every Muslim once in their life, if they have the finical means, should make an effort to
go to Mecca, which is called pilgrimage. Central to the Hajj is the visit to Ka’ba.
Jihad- Literally means to struggle or to exert, especially in the way of God. You will do this by
keeping the five pillars. There are two types of Jihad.
1. Jihad-i-akbar- This is the higher jihad. It involves keeping to the five pillars and being the
muslim that you ought to be. The way of being and submitting to Allah.
2. Jihad-i-asgar- This is the lower jihad. At some point when the Muslim community is
threatened, this jihad is when you take up arms in defense.
Sufism-Sufism is the response that occurred due to the gain in wealth of Muslims. It is the mystical
branch of Islam. Sufis believe that a good life is a simple life and that they should renounce worldly
possessions. They believe that you should live in asceticism and live a life in the service of God. It is
much less popular than Sunni because it is the mystical branch of Islam. They are called Sufis
because they wear white, woollen robes. The word for wool suf. Sufism is characterized by three
main things: asceticism (dedicate your life to God), love (God is love), and knowledge.
Ma’rifa- When a mystic has an encounter with God, it is described as an act of participation with the
one from who all things come from. It is a form of knowing or knowledge. When you encounter God,
you cannot describe him because it transcends all words.
Tariqahs- Sufi orders. You will have different teachers and different ways of practicing Sufi and the
orders you receive will depend on the teacher.
Fakir- Literally means poor in spirit. A fakir is a member of the Sufi order. Al-Hallaj- One of the three Sufi mystics. The mystic who made the mistake of saying that he was God
and for that he was executed. He is 9 century mystic.
Rabi’a- One of the three Sufi mystics. This is the female Sufi. There are a bunch of suitors that came
to see her and eventually one was deemed suitable to talk to her, but she turned him down because
he did not have the answers that she was seeking. She is an 8 century mystic.
Rumi- One of