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Lecture 2

Monday September 17 Week 2.docx

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Religious Studies
RELS 226
Sayeh Meisami

Monday September 17, Week 2 The Arabian Context of Islam and the Early Days Hallmarks of Arabian Life (Pre-Islamic)  Semite background and languages, pastoral-nomadic life (not a lot of farming due to deserts, more meaning the simple life), trade-based economy, tribal loyalty (Bedouin tents, people who stayed in one place but wasn‟t necessarily a city), carpe diem philosophy (very fatalistic; did not believe in an afterlife… nothing can kill us but time), felt that words can be more effective than acts Religion of Pre-Islamic  Believed in diverse deities similar to Ancient Greece  Worshipped sacred idols and statues… worshipped objects (did not actually… they claimed they worshipped something beyond that)… Islam fought this because it was something worldly… and soon you start to worship the object and not whatever it was beyond that  Made pilgrimages to the shrines, which they kept at Ka‟ba (Ka‟ba means „cube‟ in Arabic)  Allah was the supreme god of Mecca  There was no afterlife and no immortality; were very practical in their beliefs and morality (almost humanist)  They were already familiar with Judaism and Christianity Muhammad Before Prophet hood  Born into an influential tribe with a very strong familial connections, but was orphaned very young  Lead a normal life (worked as a Shepard, married wealthy)  Was a very thoughtful and meditate person, well spoken and intelligent. However, he was illiterate and therefore could not have written the Qur‟an without the help of God  He was very critical of the moral corruption in Mecca, and people respectful of him; called him trustworthy. He was a peacemaker, a problem solver, and had sympathy for the oppressed  He was not just the average person from the get go, and was already a worldly experienced man by the time that he was spoken to The Messenger of Allah  Revelation occurred in 610 AD. Gabriel comes to Muhammad while he is meditating in a cave in Mecca, and told him to recite in the name of the creator.  He is only the messenger… he is not a producer. He was accused of being a poet (poets were respected but feared because they had the power of words and persuasion), bu
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