RLGN 1285 Lecture Notes - Muawiyah I, Zakat, Ulama

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Published on 26 Jan 2013
The Pre Islamic Context
The long period of pre Islamic Arab history is called jahiliyah in the Quran, meaning foolishness
or ignorance. The Arabs in that society worshiped many Gods. Allah is Arabic means God.
Among the Gods were Habul, Al-lat, al-Uzzah and Manat. The later three considered to be the
daughters of Allah. Their statues along with many other idols were (a painting of Jesus and
Virgin Mary included) were placed around the Kabah. They were all worshiped there. Before
Islam, the Kabah was a place from pilgrimage. People from all over and around Arabia would
come there. During pilgrimage season, there was also a trade fair, which gave the city of Mecca a
special status. The people of Arabia did not believe in the afterlife and thus enjoyed life on earth
to the fullest. The Quran describes this attitude as gloomy, “Wise men who drown their sorrows
in wine, women and sentimental verses.” Jewish and Christian societies also existed in and
around ancient Arabia. Islam is considered as the ‘revivifier” of the true religion of God.
The Life of Mohammad
Born in 570 in the tribe of Quraysh. His father died before birth and his mother soon after his
birth. He was first raised by his Grandfather who also passed away soon after and then by his
Uncle Abu Talib. He was known among everyone as honest and trustworthy. At the age of 25 he
married a rich widow, her name was Khadijah. He did not like idol worshiping and considered it
foolish. One day during the month of Ramadan he was sitting in a cave in Mount Hira and was
approached by Angle Gabriel. He ordered him to read in the name of the Lord. Muhammad was
illiterate. He was frightened and he ran home. He started getting more visions and was convinced
he was possessed by a demon. His wife took him to a devout Christian and he convinced
Mohammed that he was a Messenger of God. Angel Gabriel started teaching Mohammad Gods
words and ways. After 12 years Mohammed started preaching. He met with little success as
Makkans (Meccans) did not wish to abandon the ways of their forefathers. The first ones to
accept the religion of Islam was Khadijah, the Prophet’s cousin Ali, his slave Zayd and his
companion Abu Bakr. His teachings were not only religious but also moral and social. He soon
had a small band of followers. Soon his life was under threat as the Makkans considered him a
threat to society and their customs. Prophet Mohammad migrated to Madina for protection. This
migration is known as the Hijrah. This is the beginning of the Islamic calendar. In Madina the
Prophet created the first Islamic society as he found more followers. Laws there were based
under the Quran known as Shriah law. He later changes the direction of prayer for all Muslims
from Jerusalem to Mecca and drops the fast of Yom Kippur to the fast of Ramadan. He slowly
gains more and more followers and he announces to everyone, “O, people, I am God’s
Messenger to you all”. The religion of Islam is finally born. The Muslims formed an army and
met with the Makkans at Badr, highly outnumbered they defeated their enemy. But the Muslims
were soon defeated at Uhud. Later with a much stronger army the Muslims defeated the
Makkans at the “Battle of the trench”. The Prophets mission of Islamizing all of Arabia was
coming closer. He soon entered Makkah with his army and took over. He was known as a rasul
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