RELIGIOUS STUDIES, NOVEMBER 8th, LECTURE NOTES
- direct words of Allah
- 114 Surahs (chapters)
- canonized / codified standard version took 300 years.
The finalized version can be successfully traced
straight back to UTHMAN.
*need to know uthman, umar, earlier figures for test
- not much deviation from mouth of Muhammad to what we
- in 1972, some workers renovating a mosque in Yemen
found a pile of documents: dated between 705 & 715.
created only 70 years after death of the prophet. these
texts are written without vowel marking, allowing the
words to have as many as 30 possible translations.
Simple forensic techniques show that the texts were
overwritten by different texts.
- words from several different ancient languages are in
the koran and can be interpreted differently.
- luxembourg's research does not challenge any of the
major tenants of Islam.
- the Koran, despite its presentation of being
unchanged and without moderation, it did take time for
it to stabilize. In the beginning there was some
contradictions. Arabic is polyvalient, meaning that the
same piece of text can mean different words.
- koran has huge body of commentary that aims to flesh it out.
- these commentaries became more important as Islam
spread from its cradle to different parts of the world.
*as they spread into parts of the world with other
languages, like aramaic, how do you explain these
arabic texts? aramaic words make their way in.
- TAFSIR: the act of offering a commentary on the
- the Quranic exegesis has only been done by men, women
are excluded from this and often illiterate.
- BISMILLAH: this is the passage that all the Surahs
but #9 start with, a shorthand way of referring to
*know tafsir for midterm
- Uthman was an UMMAYAD
- lot of people didn't like UTHMAN. Reasons:
● his attempt to standardize the Qur'an. this meant
that some people's versions were suppressed, they
felt threatened and resisted this.
- UTHMAN was assassinated in 656.
- ALI was related to Muhammad. He was a respected
politician, theologian, and person. Some thought he was
a part of uthman's assassination. He didn't punish his
assassinators to the fullest.
- This causes a split between those who had supported Uthman and those who did not (who came to support Ali)
- this led to the BATTLE OF THE CAMEL in 656 CE
- things got so intense that in order to end the stand
off, ALI agreed to get together with a new committee
and pick a new Caliph. Some chose Ali, some didn't.
They eventually decided against Ali.
- 661: Ali was assassinated (essentially by some of his
previous followers for agreeing to this arbitration)
- in 670: his son HASSAN was assassinated
- in 680: his son HUSSEIN was assassinated
- THIS ENDS THE LINE OF MUHAMMAD
- And so Umar/Uthman's family takes over and begins the
DAMASCUS CALIPHITE, in power for 70 years.
- this whole conflict marks the split of the SUNNI and
- The Hadiths are a collection of sayings, doings,
thinkings of muhammad as remembered by folks close to
him and passed on.
- Hadiths are like WWMD
- contain info about how to interpret certain passages
of Qur'an and concerns about daily living.
- his followers wanted a codified collection of the
Hadith ~ sayings and doings
- stuff like what foot to put through the doorway first (left foot as it happens)
- assumed to have developed from "oral" tradition
- ISMA: the quality of never knowingly sinning.
Muhammad was said to have ISMA. Doing these sinless
actions was a good safegaurd for the pious.
- this tradition helped the Umma make their own
SUNNI & SHI'A
- Sunni: "followers of the Sunna" or "Way of Muhammad"
● 90% of Muslims are Sunni
● major ideological stance, NO SUCCESSOR: up to the
Umma to elect one and this leader has no special
● they have a variety of HADITHS that seem to back
this no successor policy
● The successor is not to have any special status,
only man, no replacement for muhammad nor is he a
● 10% of Muslims, minority group
● Claim that Muhammad's successors should follow the
blood lines of Muhammad. It should be Ali and his
children. Ali was killed though and so were his
● This carries out into certain theological
perspective. ● Iran is all Shi'a
● Ali was only legitimate successor
● Muhammad was given a mystical grace and by his
blood, his descendents inherit this.
● the IMAM for them is a very important religious
figure, an authority granted by God. This is more
like pope compared to how Sunni see the imam,
sunni's see imam more like a democratic /
*in shi'a it is Imam, in sunni it is imam.
SHI'As trace leadership to 12 lines:
look this up in tb
- 85% of Shi'a look to the twelvers
- succession of 12 Imans
- MUHAMMAD AL MAHDI "Concealed Iman" will come out of
hiding at the end of days and bring about a new world
order. They argue that he is in fact thee MAHDI (that
we had t