AGENDA FOR March 13
- THE PRE-ISLAMIC CONTEXT
- THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM
- THE QUR’AN
- In the Arabian peninsula (pre-Islam)
- In a general sense according to the tradition within Islam from a religious perspective
according to the traditions and its stories about the earlier time, what were people
doing? What kind of religion were they practicing
- Polytheism ATT (acronym for according to the tradition)
- “Tradition” Islam? There is diversity in the Islamic tradition itself.
- Each particular group looks back on Islamic history in slightly different
- So according to the tradition we would characterize the Arabian
peninsula as polytheistic. So people at the time were worshiping many
gods depending on the context
- From the perspective of history, certainly there might have been polytheistic practices
in place, certainly the Kaaba the rituals associated with the Kaaba.
- Historians are convinced that Judaism and Christianity were absolutely in the mix and
out there at the time.
- It is clear in the Quran and the early Islamic tradition that there is a familiarity with the
Jewish and Christian traditions
- Scholars will even suggest that not only is Muhammad (PBH) aware of things like the
Hebrew bible and New Testament of things like the gospels, he is also familiar with
rabbinical work and commentaries, which means he must have been in contact with
experts or he himself would have been somewhat of an expert.
- The way the Islamic tradition sets up the story is that its polytheistic culture, the
prophet arrives and brings in or revivifies or reinstates a monotheistic tradition.
- Talk about the biography of the prophets mainly the surah literature. The surah
literatures are sacred biographies. This literature comes around the 7 or 8 century.
- Hadith literature is a later form of literature that records the sayings and doings of the
prophet comes a little later.
- So as historians we would look at early stuff to get insight on Muhammad (PBH). Not
that the hadith literature isn’t important but the surah literature is certainly earlier.
- The biographical (surah) literature on the prophet is well known for its celebratory
perspective. The prophet dies 632 CE. The people writing these biographies were celebrating the prophet. It is clear for them who he is his role, his identity and they write
these stories about him to celebrate.
- The later traditions, as the historians and hadith experts begin generating more precise
from tradition’s perspective more accurate pictures of the prophet. These later
traditions actually don’t really like the biographical literature. In terms of the Islamic
tradition its looks back on the biographical literature as slightly exaggerated and less
than desirable in terms of its accuracy
- So even within the tradition there are subcomponents that are sometimes
accepted and not accepted in the tradition.
- So can think of history as running on like this we have Muhammad (PBH) w