textbook notes-rlg204.doc

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Alireza Haghighi

TEXTBOOK NOTES The Life of Muhammad • Sirat RasulAllah, written about a century after Muhammad's death, provides first coherent outline of Mohammed’s career Birth and Childhood • Mohammed’s father abd Allah died before his son was born • Mohammed’s motherAmina heard a voice saying that you are pregnant with the lord of this people • Christians wanted to take him back to their country as they knew he was destined for a great future • a man named Bihara knew the marks of prophet-hood and so he told abu Talin to protect mu- hammed from the Jews who would harm him if they knew his true identity • when he was 6, his mother died, cared by grandfather and then by uncle EarlyAdulthood • he came known as “the trustworthy” • widow Khadija hired him to trade for her in Syria • Khadija was impressed and proposed • another incident illustrates his reputation—people were set out to demolish and rebuild Kaba • the rebuilding proved to be problematic • when the walls had been built up to the level of the famous black stone, the various clans of Qurayash began to quarrel over the right to put the black stone in place • Muhammad was the arbitrator- he order the black stone to be put on a cloak and called on members of each tribe to lift the cloak together • Muhammad placed the stone in position with his own hands • he used to meditate on Mount Hira • during the month of Ramadan, when he was 40 years old, he was visited by angel Gabriel who said “read” or recite • revelations terrified him, received immediate reassurance from Khadija • Khadija said we need to test if the agent of revelation is good or evil • once when Gabriel came to Muhammad while they were together, Khadija put aside her veil, the angel immediately departed-shows modesty • Khadija was first to accept Muhammad’s message (first Muslim) • Ali, son of abu Talib was second Muslim • ritual worship- salat was the first duty placed on early community of Muslims • Gabriel himself taught Muhammad how to perform the ritual Opposition • 3 years after quiet persuasion, god instructed Muhammad to go public with his message • the worst of the ill treatment came from Muhammad's tribal kinsmen, his uncle abu lahab was particularly troublesome • Qurayshi leaders grew into more serious opposition when Muhammad began to preach against their gods • prophets uncle abu talib who was not a Muslim defended him until his death • a band of Muslims fled to Abyssinia at the prophets urging (83 men accompanied by their family) • Muhammad’s opponents responded with a boycott of the banu hashim and banu muttalib • the two clans were to be cut off from buying, selling, marrying and being given in marriage • under boycott, the Muslim community suffered extreme privatization for 2-3 years the Night Journey and Ascent to Heaven • Muhammad made a miraculous one-night visit to Jerusalem accompanied by Gabriel • before returning from Jerusalem to mecca, Muhammad was given a view of hell and a full tour of heaven the Hijra • Muhammad ordered his followers to relocate to Medina • once in Medina Muhammad needed headquarters • Muhammad delegated the decision to his camel and constructed his mosque at the site where his mount first sat down • mosque was to serve for a place of congregational prayer, courtroom, military headquarters • Medina was torn by tribal and religious differences • the constitution of Medina established political order-the basic features of this order were simple: muslims were to act as a single community, or umma, regardless of tribe, jews allied with the Muslims were to be treated as part of this umma; and Muhammad was to be accepted as arbitrator of all disputes • Muhammad's biggest challenge was hypocrites, who outwardly adhered to Islam but secretly sought to undermine the prophets mission at every opportunity Battle of Badr • Badr was the only battle in which angels actually engaged in combat • The Meccans seized all the property left behind by the Muslims when they had migrated to Medina • Muhammad led an attack party against a heavily laden caravan belonging to the Meccan trader and head of the Umayyah clan • The caravan escaped unharmed but 800 men, under the command ofAbu Jahl, was sent against Muhammad • The two sides met at near a place called Badr and, in the ensuing battle, although the Muslims were outnumbered, they were victorious;Abu Jahl was amongst those who fell • The battle of Badr was a major turning point in the history of Islam Confrontation with the Jews of Medina • Mohammad returned to confront the threat at home with new vigour • there was an assassination of one of Muhammed's opponents • after the murder, there was no Jews in Medina who did not fear for his life, and the prophet instructed his followers to kill any Jews who falls into your power • these events lead to major change • direction of prayer was changed to Mecca instead of Jerusalem • had huge symbolic importance, it made anArabian sanctuary the central focus of ritual, and it seemed to seal Muhammed's break with the Jews of Medina and to inaugurate a new more independent and moreArab monotheism Battle of Uhud • Meccans determined to avenge their defeat at Badr, organized a force to move against Medina • one of the worst lost was the prophets uncle, Hamza • in the end the Meccans withdrew claiming to have evened the score • the Qur’an assures Muslim that it was a test, how else could god known who were true believers except by observing who persevered in the face of adversity The peace of al-hudaybiyya and the farewell pilgrimage • in the sixth year after he entered Medina, Muhammad felt confident enough of his position to attempt a pilgrimage to mecca • according to the terms of the agreement, Muslims were not to enter mecca that year but would be allowed to come for three nights to perform pilgrimage in future years • there was no victory in Islam like this • people met safely, there was no war • in the tenth year after the Hijra Muhammad performed the pilgrimage for the last time, he delivered his most famous and most treasured speech, he concluded with unity • Muhammad died in the quarters of his wifeAisha The Qur’an • Qur’an should be thought of as a sort of anthology of discrete recitations • the Qur’an is a sacred object • the reason that the fragments were preserved at all was that someone considered the physical copies and fragments of the Qur’an to be sacred • the second way of approaching it is that it is not a sacred object, but as a historical artifact • third way is to focus on what it says-- this tends to be the major interest of contemporary readers who suffer from the modern, secular habit of thinking of a book chiefly as a means of conveying a message Jesus in the Quran • Jesus is the dominant prophetic figure in the quran and arguable its most fully developed character • Virgin birth, about miracles he peroformed as a child, about his disciples • Quran denies that Jesus is the Son of God and insists that he a messenger • Jesus was only a prophet. He didn’t die on the cross. the History of the Text • such anomalies are so few and so minor that at first blush it might appear that the text of Qur’an has no history-or its history is limited to changes in styles ofArabic calligraphy • the text has been proven remarkably immune to the forces of time • for Muslims the process was- Muhammad began to receive revelations from god through angel Gabriel, the prophet recited revelations in the presence of his followers throughout his career, his followers memorized or wrote these revelations down on whatever material they could find. After Mohammed's death some of his companions gathered and organized the revelations in written collection • finally around 659 Uthman arranged for the collection and editing of an official version of the Qur’an from the best sources • the Qur’an includes 4 overlapping kinds of material: oracular utterances, polemical passages, narrative passages and religious law the Qur’an in Muslim Piety • the Qur’an should never be carried below the waist, it should never be placed beneath other books and should not be touched by a ritually impure Muslim or by an unbeliever • power and blessing also accompany the verbal recitations of the Qur’an • such recitations is central to all Muslim's ritual observance and pervasive influence in Muslim piety the Eternity of the Quran • the word of god • eternally existing with god and this same eternal, uncreated word is manifested on earth in the form of a book the Immutability of the Quran • it simply could not and would never be equalled in beauty or perfection • there was a question of how the Qur’an could have existed from eternity when it is so clearly reflected in the immediate context of the life of the prophet • Muhammad has no part in its production except as a faithful transmitter of the message Interpreting the Quran • Need to begin with the knowledge ofArabic vocabulary and grammar of the passage • Will need to have a thorough knowledge of the life of Muhammad • Finally, Hadith literature: traditions from the prophet: explains the ideally requires access to a substantial library • Quran is a book which cries out for interpretation Quranic Narratives • Quran: fond of stories about prophets: from Hebrew scriptures and Christian scriptures • Accounts to Adam, Noah,,Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus • Names and the details of the stories differ: point if the always the same: when God sends a prophet, woe to those who reject the msg. • Stories of prophets: along with this Quran also has a good deal to say about previous scriptures • Casual observation will show that extant versions of these scriptures do not match the Quran • Muslims have concluded that Jewish and Christian scriptures have been corrupted. Quranic Law and the Problem ofAbrogation • Source of practical guidance • God says a good deal in Quran: how he would
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