Islam; Identity and Authority
Madina was a theocratic state that maintains the message of God (Qur’an) as its identity (islam)
the direction of prayer was changed from the city of Jerusalem to the Ka’bah (is changed
creating the Kabbah as a new identity for muslims, the center of prayer upon which for muslims
Bearing witness and performing shahadah turns a person into a muslim and to live by the
shari’ah that was taught by God.
Kharijis believed that anyone who commited major crimes cannot be regarded as Muslims and
should be treated as disbelievers.
Identity of the Sects
Allegiance to Ali and descendants and a right to spiritual and temporal authority after
Muhammad (pbuh) and one individual that is to be the rightful and divinely leader of
the muslim community.
messianic expectations because the death of Husays was on the tenth of Muharram and
the shia people celebrate the Ashura expressing sorrow and merriment as well as
blessing and mystery.
II. Sunni; imam is regarded leader of prayer at a mosque
Muhummad (pbuh) is the messenger of God and the Qur’an that is revealed to him is the divine
word of God.
The Qur’an is held as a canon; The status of Quran
Muhammad (pbuh) is an unlettered prophet and he can neither read nor write which is
proof the words being the pure words of God; not contaminated with human wisdom
making the word divine
Muslims believe that the Qur’an is a heavenly book that is preserved by God and is the
“mother of the book
qur’an literature shapes the Arabic language literature (literary expression, powerful
and elegant words and phrases
recited in a child’s birth, at marriage, at important business deals and to celebrate
success or express sorrow at misfortune , recited at special public occasions, radio and
television and reciting it is considered virtuous, it also consists of much of Arabic
calligraphy art (social roles)
Authority of Interpretive Extenstions Tafsir; orally transmitted legacy based on pronouncements and opinions of the first
generation of Islam
interpretations developed into a science that included grammatical and general
linguistic structure, the meaning or purport of its metaphors and parables and historical
and hagiographical contexts of its stories.
or theological school, religious trend, political movement made Qur’an its primary
support and justification leading to sects and legal schools and mystical and
philosophical movements serving as a practical moral and legislative guide for prophet
and his nascent community leading it to become a unifying force across diversifying
tradition as the primary source of Islamic faith an d morality, law and piety
Authority of the Caliphates
Whoever receives the authority afterwards is through God`s behalf and therefore Abu
Bakr was called the successor or representative of the messenger
four caliphs following were Abu Bakrm Umar, Uthman and Ali (ra)
Kharijis argued that anyone that is pious and he can also be a slave should be allowed to
become a caliphate.
After Ali, Hassan was appointed Caliphate but he gave Muawiya a powerful position and
later Muawiya appointed his son Yazid successor but Hussayn disagreed and thus the
battle at Karbala leading people to question the ideal Islamic polity and what was
irreligious monarchical rule; questioning the power of authority. This led the Umayyad
dynasty to have little support, and most looked towards descendants of prophet
through Fatimah and cousin and son in law Ali for guidance (clash of authoritative
Family of prophet given authority?
Fragmentation of Caliphate
Abbasid state weakened and centers around Persia, Central Asia, Africa and Spain began
to develop their own Islamic works
Sunni continued to regard Abbasid caliphate as legitimate but also claimed they were
descendants of prophet
Shia did not accept claim and believed descendants can only be trhough Fatimah and Ali
because too many people claimed to be descentants
Persian Buyids ruled and sympathized with Shias and in N. Africa revolution and Ismaili
Shia imam proclaimed to be legitimate caliphate. Fatmids ruled Egyps, Syria, Cairo’s
capital and authority was on missionary organizations and the Fatmids of Egypt