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module 9.docx

Religious Studies
Course Code
Peter Frick

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Terminology and Sources
This is the third 'major western religion'
Islam is "The Way of Submission"
Key Terminology
Islam: root s-l-m  means submission or surrender
oCan also mean salam, 'peace'
oTotal submission to will of God gives inner peace and safety
Muslim: s-l-m once again
oOne who submits to the will of Allah
oInanimate life is muslim by nature
oHumans are Muslim by will and obedience
oMuslim must confess faith (shahadah) in front of 2 muslim witnesses
There is no God except God
Muhammad is the messenger of God
oThere is no worship of Muhammad, only God
oYou submit to the will of God as it is revealed to Muhammad
Quran, Koran are holy scriptures
o"Recitation"; speak out loud words of Holy Scripture
o114 Surahs; somewhat similar to chapters or books in Bible
oMore sections than Bible
oWritten in Arabic; technically not accurate when translated
Sources for the Study of Islam
oLittle biographical information about Muhammad
oTradition about Muhammad's life and actions
oCollected orally initially
oProphetic, written, often legal tradition
oBelieved to be divinely inspired
oSometimes compared to Oral Torah
oOrigin in 8th Century
Pre-Islamic History
Period of 1500 years understood as pre-islamic history
Characterizes as an age of foolishness or ignorance (jahiliyah)
oNot intellectual foolishness, but of spiritual reality and true understanding of the
nature of things
Lack of moral and religious consciousness
Judaism and Christianity are part of this age
oThey received revelation from Allah but distorted these revelations
Acknowledges monotheistic roots of all 3 religions but claims to be only fulfillment of
Islam is the only one that completes divine self-disclosure through Mohammad
Allah is the Creator God (means "The God")
He was there from the very beginning
During the time of ignorance, He was not understood and worshipped alone
Polytheism and animistic worship were rampant
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Tribes acknowledged One God, but believed he had three Goddesses (daughters)
oManat (Aphrodite?)
oQuaran repudiates these goddesses and calls them Idols
Large rectangular stone known as the Ka'bah
oShrine that served as a place of idolatrous worship in pre-islamic times
oCentre of idol-worship of the pre-islamic age
Numerous Arabic tribes lived in the area and served idols
City important for pilgrimage, trade; an economic centre
No Belief in Afterlife
No transcendance, only imminent aspects
Hedonistic life predominated; wine, women, pleasure…
Father of Judaism; important in Christianity and Islam
Hagar and Ishmael went to Mecca when they were sent away by Abraham
Abraham came to Mecca to find them, submitting to God's will
Abraham submitted to Allah's will and thus was the 'first true Muslim'
In Mecca, Allah commanded him to cleanse the Kabah from Idols
oAbraham drove out the idols
oBrought about move from polytheism to monotheism
Islam is sometimes seen as the "Pure religion of Abraham"
The Life of Muhammad - Early Years
Muhammad was born in Mecca (Makkah) in 570 CE
Mecca was a caravan station on trade route between North (Syria), South (Africa), and
East (India)
oIt was a hub for trade
Shaped by Jewish and Christian cultures and devotional and moral ideas
Arab tribes in Mecca resisted Christian proselytizing
Mecca was surrounded by various tribal regions
oIt was the tribes that gave a person (especially an orphan) rights and protection
oRelatives are responsible for one another
Was of the tribe of Quarysh
Father (Abdallah) died before his birth
Mother (Amina bint Wahb) died a few years after his birth
Grew up an orphan, cared for by paternal grandfather abd al-Muttalib who soon died
Was then raised by uncle Abu Talib, head of the Hashim clan
Little is known of his youth
Had little education; may have been illiterate
In his teens, occasionally accompanied Uncle on caravan journeys into Syria
Worked for Khadijah, a rich widow who owned the caravans
oShe was much older than him, but they married in 595 when he was 25
They had six children
oAll died save one girl (Fatima)
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