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Department
Religion
Course
RLG204H5
Professor
Alireza Haghighi
Semester
Summer

Description
1 SHORT ANSWERS What are the major teachings of the holy Qur’an? There are six major teachings of the holy Qur’an. These six major teachings are Allah and his laws, the Qur’anic universe, the Muslim community, the final Day of Judgment, the path to paradise, and the previous prophets. The first major teaching of Islam is Allah and his laws. This means that Allah is the central concept of Qur’an. Allah is the ruler of Qur’an. Allah is mentioned in Qur’an more than 2500 times. Thus, the basic theme about Allah is that he is all-mighty, all-powerful, and all-merciful. Allah brought this world into being. All has sent messages to his creatures in the past, through our prophets. Allah has, also, given the Muslim community the laws. These laws are called Shar’iah in Islam. These laws have reached their perfection and completion in Islam. Allah is the one who will bring an end to this world at a time known only to him. So, all living beings, including human beings and Jinns, will be strictly judged on their deeds performed in this world and life on earth. The overall emphasis of Qur’an is that there should not be any association of simple mortal beings alongside Allah. The second major teaching of Islam is the Qur’anic universe. There are three realms of the Qur’anic universe that are heaven, earth, and hell. Human beings and spirits inhabit the world, or earth. In addition, the angels serve as the link between God and human beings. Somewhere in between angels and humans are invisible and intelligent beings called Jinn. Jinn are created of fire, instead of earth of which humans are created from. At the opposite end of the spectrum from Allah is Satan, which is the principle of evil in this universe. Humans share a unique relationship with their God. Allah has created human beings in the “best of molds” to be his representatives of earth. The third major teaching of Islam is the Muslim community knows as Umma. Umma’s mission is to be the servants of Allah, and to spread his rule to both the individual and community obligations. Allah in the Qur’an says that Muslims have constituted a new community of believers. The Qur’an emphasizes the social dimension of service to Allah. The Umma also has a moral mission to create the moral social order. The Qur’an, while recognizing the differences of status, 2 wealth, and tribal origins, teaches Umma the ultimate supra-tribal (transnational) unity and equality before God. The Umma must pursue a path of social justice. Social justice is institutionalized by the Qur’anic decrees. The fourth major teaching of Islam is the final Day of Judgment. This message is a simple one, which is that all living being will die at an appointed time and then at a time known only to Allah, and thus, they will be judged strictly based on their deeds performed in this world. Thus, all human beings are free to fashion their lives the way they want. Allah has the full control of this world, but humanity is responsible for its own actions upon which they will be designated for heaven or hell on the Day of Judgment. The fifth major teaching of Islam is the path to paradise. All humanity must believe in truth and the content of the scripture, which is Qur’an. This means the eternal truth is that there is one God that is Allah; his last prophet is Muhammad; and one must also believe in the final Day of Judgment. The evidence of this is putting the word, or the laws of Allah, to action. The laws of Allah are a gift to humanity. The Qur’an reveals laws as they were revealed to the previous communities. The Qur’an also serves as the correcting function, and says, “humans have misinterpreted and tampered with the earlier revelations, and so infusing the world of God with human perversions. The final major teaching of Islam is the existence of previous prophets. The God mentioned in Qur’an is the same God who communicated with the earlier prophets. There are 28 figures other than prophet Muhammad mentioned in the Qur’an. However, only a limited number of them were given sacred scriptures. Thus, the specific prophets in this regard are Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus. First, explain the perpetual state of war in pre-Islamic Arab society. Second, how did the prophet address and solve the issue of violence in his society. Finally, what is the role of violence in Islamic Jihad? In the pre-Islamic Arab society, the war was an activity and a condition. The state of war was one’s tribe against all others. Thus, it drove the Arabs into desperation. The tribal loyalty was based on blood-ties and kinship. However, Prophet Muhammad solved this 3 issue of violence in his society by preaching the messages of the Qur’an. Arabs were hesitant to follow him in the beginning. This was because they feared losing support of their tribes. Prophet asked them to be loyal to Allah. Arabs were asked to show their commitment to Islam by having the willingness to fight to maintain the new religion. Thus, Qur’an in the issue of Jihad does not wage war. Qur’an says that peace, by resisting aggression, rather than converting to Islam is the aim of fighting. Qur’an also says that violence was used to protect Islam and the Muslim community against the aggressors. It was the only way to protect Islam, and so a self-defense for the new religion and the Umma. However, fundamentalists have twisted the message of Qur’an into war against all. Allah in the Qur’an tells the followers to strive against the unbelievers by following Islam, and this called Jihad. Commands of Jihad are to spread the message of Qur’an to others. Also, Allah says to fight only those who fight you, and to kill only those who have gone against Him, and so the disobedient ones. Moreover, there are certain rules and limitations to Jihad. Jihad is not to fight against weak as women, children, elderly, or handicaps. Islam is not a violent religion. Thus, Jihad to maintain Islam first orders to find peaceful ways of solving the problems. In contrast, the extremists like Osama bin Laden, in the name of Allah, misinterpret Quran and “kill Americans and allies, even if it includes killing civilians by the means of military.” Jihad in Qur’an does not justify violent and terrorist acts by all means. 2:29pm Lol. It says prophet SAW issue of violence was solved by preaching etc... yeah I know... but I am asking about the state of war which tribes were at war etc...? they say the prophet SAW when they ask how did the prophet solve the addess and solve? and when it says the tribal loyalty was based on blood ties etc how does that relate to this? Like I know back christian...so are they saying that those that were blood related supported the muslims uncle i think was a Yes he solved it by preaching the words of Islam....and also solved the violence that way. He went to scared that they wide lose support of others (tribes). So he solved one that way. Others he solved by battle once attacked upon. However he did not strike first... he only fought those who fought him and/or who were disobedient to Allah n his message 4 how did they gain the support of the tribesÉ Explain the perpetual state of war? So its saying that ppl of the tribes were related in diff ways. Background info Chat Conversation End Sent from Oakville Discuss the commonalities and differences between the Sunni and Shi’a; explain how and in what ways Sufism differ from both these branches of Islam. The commonalities and differences between the Sunni and Shi’a can be discussed in five ways that are theology, leadership, imamates, family laws, and their worldview. We will discuss theology first of all. Shi’a have adopted a position very similar to that of mutazilites. Sunni and Shi’a both believe in the unity of Allah and the mission and message of prophet Muhammad. They both believe in the prophetic-revelation event of prophet Muhammad. However, Shi’a and Sunni have different theologies regarding the Shahadah, which is the testimony of Muslim faith. Shi’a have added a phrase to the Shahadah. Sunni believe that Shahadah is “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.” Shi’a have added the phrase, “and Ali is the friend of Allah.” The second way of discussing Shi’a and Sunni is their leadership. Sunni do not have a centralized authority. They believe that religious authority is rooted in the community Ijma, which is the consensus. Shi’a, on the hand, say that authority resides in prophet, the twelve imams, and the Ulama, who is the Imams’ deputy. This brings us to the discussion of imamates. Sunni and Shi’a both respect the immediate family of Muhammad, PBUH. Sunnis more closely relate to hazrat Fatima, hazrat Ali, and prophet’s two grandsons, Hazrat Hassan and Husain. Shi’a relate to the family including all twelve imams. Shi’a, in contrast to Sunni, believe that the imams were not made of dust like us, and rather they are made of columns of divine light before the creation of this world. They believe that imams, like prophet, have the powers to perform miracles. They also believe that the imams are infallible, which means that Allah protects them against all sins and errors. Shi’a believe that Shirk is when one denies the acceptance of imams. However, Sunni’s believe shirk is when one believes and worships other deities than God, Allah. Next, Sunni and Shi’a differ the most in their family laws. Shi’a believe in the practice 5 of temporary marriages, called Mutah. The children born within the Mutah are legitimate. However, Sunni reject this practice all together. Also, the inheritance rights are different among Sunni and Shi’a. Women in Shi’a enjoy greater advantages than Sunni. Also, the men have less privileges and freedom over divorce to their wives. In addition, the worldview of Sunni and Shi’a is different. Sunni have a dichotomous view, which is that the domain of Islam is opposed to the domain of unbelievers. However, Shi’a believe in three-sided scheme. That three sided scheme is that (a) Shi’a are true believers, (b) Muslims who believe in prophetic-revelation event, but reject the twelve imams, and (c) all other humankind. Sufism is an area of Islam that is different than Shi’a and Sunni. Sufism believes in the spiritual side of Islam, of which not many are aware. Sufism tries to converse with God directly and pursue spirits rather than the letter of law. Sufism puts an emphasis on belief and internal submission to God. Thus, they promote harmony between internal and external aspects of faith. They believe that through their spiritual practices, they will purify their souls. Thus, the path towards God is individual journey to self-purification. guess they spiritually try to connect with God and they try to be connected more spiritually rather than following laws that God has sent thru the Quran e.x Shariah Discuss the prophet’s strategy in Medina and explain the constitution of Medina. Make sure that you elaborate on the outcome of the constitution for Muslim community. After the second pledge, prophet Muhammad ordered his followers in Mecca to migrate to Medina, where they would be under the protection of Ansar. However, prophet did not migrate himself yet. He waited in Mecca for Allah’s orders or message to move to Medina. Prophet Muhammad eventually migrated to Medina. Once he was in Medina, he immediately demonstrated his consummate political skills. First of all, he needed a site for his operation of the headquarters. Prophet’s mosque was a place for congregational prayers, courtroom, and military headquarters. Once the site for his operation was established, Prophet Muhammad set out to clear his political position. Subsequently, Ibn Ishaq placed the Constitution of Medina. The Constitution of Medina was a document, which established the political order for Medina. Its features were very simple. They included that all Muslim were to act as single and united community, regardless of any tribes. Also, the constitution included that all Jews who allied with Muslims were to be treated as part of the Umma, the community. Finally, that feature that 6 Muhammad was to be accepted as the arbitrator of all disputes. The consequences of the constitution were unexpected for Mecca. Mecca was a place in which to be a Muslim was neither fashionable nor advantageous. However, in Medina, Islam was in vogue and prophet Muhammad was the ascendant. Consequently, the biggest challenge for Muhammad was an entirely new class of troublemakers, the so-called hypocrites, who outwardly adhered to Islam, but were secretly trying to undermine prophet at every opportunity. Okai ansar are people of madina ,Muslims who already resiThe Hijraَِْ ) is theHijra= migration of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers to the city of Medina in 62 So prophet strategy in madina is Constitution of madina which include the factors that were part of it Then other achievement were Mosque ,battle of Barr uhad ,found out the hypocrites ,were able to lead and freely invite people to islam ,defeated quresh and conquest of Makkah Went for hajj from there And last speech Are more of the achievements And dont put to much effort on who OBN ishaq was Not the actually thing to know Explain two approaches to re-reading Islam’s position on women. Bring at least one example of each approach. The first approach to re-reading Islam’s position on women is going back in history and studying the role of women in Islam. It is about Islam’s equality. Women played an active role n society. When Salama asked, “Why there is no women mentioned in Qur’an?” Allah answered that it is because both sexes are equal as believers and members of the Muslim community. Qur’an says that whoever does good deed, whether man or women, and is a believer, will enter paradise. Qur’an also says that it’s a man’s and a woman’s equal responsibility to raise a family and share responsibilities. The two sexes have equal rights, mutual responsibilities, and equitable relations before Allah and the law. Also, Quran does not say that women have to obey their husbands in all aspects. However, women are actually given fewer rights than men in Islam. For example, women could be seen as an object that could be inherited. Therefore, most reforms made were for the 7 benefit of women. For example, most nations today consider polygamy as illegal, and even in Islam monogamy is preferred. The second approach to re-reading Islam’s position on women is ijtehad = s the making of a decision in Islamic law (sharia) by personal effort (jihad), independently of any school (madhhab) and re-read the Qur’an and Shar’iah in light of the modern reality of life, which means that men are preferred over women. Quran says that Allah privileges only the most pious above all. However, Men have an advantage over women in divorce laws in Islam. Qur’an says that a man can divorce his wife without assistance or formal process, whereas, women need to consult with authority first to get divorce. Also, men are preferred over women for a greater share of property inheritance. Thus this contradicts equality rights in Qur’an. However, men have the responsibility to pay out wealth to support women. Today, in Islamic nations, a testimony of a man is considered equal to two testimonies of women. However, Qur’an does not specify gender. Thus, women wanted to have a say in going to war and collecting treasure, and also wanted a say in sex acts. the reason why no females were mentioned is because, the quran is for both males and females for all the muslims if that is the case why are men only mentioned... so what Allah did was write the Quran in a way, that shows the major contributions and major roles of the prophets playing in a Islamic way of life.. So the males in the Quran actually revealed how Islamic life should be lived Because they had the major roles in Islam hmm okay...i guess but like major people like khatija and aisha they were realy intelligent and they are mentioned in the hadiths Yup. Yes that is true but in the Islamic history it was male who actually brought out islam it's true that Khadija was one of the first muslims 8 but it was because the prophet married her and then she became one major contributions to islamic history- it was men and also they had to be at warss too..y that who made the YES! okay okay make sense 6:17pm Muslim played an equal role, but in different ways According to A. Sachedina in his article “Why democracy and why now?” how can Muslims foster a positive understanding of democratic ideals within an Islamic framework? In “Why Democracy and Why Now,” A. Sachedina argues that Muslims can foster a positive understanding of democratic ideals within an Islamic framework. He argues that Muslims can benefit from living in a civil, democratic society. They can make demands from their political or religious leaders. The preacher may not have people’s interest at heart, but nevertheless, can sound convincing. Sachedina argues that democratic ideas must be thought within the authentic ethical culture of Islam and its teachings about accountability of humans in this world and the next. With democracy, Muslims can eliminate religious and political authoritarianism and build democratic institutions. However, today too many seminaries and Ulama, which are the clergy, have adopted illiberal and anti-democratic attitudes, and they also try to attack the concepts of tolerance and rationality. For example, in Iran and Egypt, people are oppressed and labour in poor conditions. They are desperate for some hope. Sachedina argues that in order to gain culture tolerance and search of hope, we must reach intelligent Muslim audience outside the west. Also, authoritarianism and extremism are not the aims of Islam. Thus, it is a sacred duty of all Muslims to try and solve these issues. What are some important concerns issues about the modern life? What are Islam’s answers to these issues? 9 The major concern about the modern life for Islamic individuals is human rights discourse and the fact that human right is western initiative. Colonialists argue that Islam is incompatible with human rights and that it is intrinsically against the human right. However, reformists argue that Islam and human rights can be reconciled. Also, there is no total rejection of human rights In Islamic countries. To counter argue the colonialists, reformists argue that there is nothing intrinsic against the human rights in Islamic values. Thus, we should address the historical context of human rights in Non- western countries. The human rights discourse entered Islamic countries through colonialist discourse. Human right, however, became consistent with Muslim religious beliefs. Thus, it is traditionalists and functionalists who are strongly opposed to human rights and not the moderate Muslims; there is a gap between the written Shar’iah, it implementation, and its impact on each society. Thus, reformists argue that Quran still seeks clarification and understanding. Another issue about modern life for Islamic individuals is pluralism. Pluralism is nothing new to Muslims. What is new is pluralism’s increasingly dominant theology. The challenge of pluralism poses most urgent set of theological, ethical, and political problem to the contemporary Muslim society. The postmodern challenge of pluralism offers a two way cut. First, Muslims are faced with problem of diversity in their own Muslim community, and how they would approach differences among Muslims and how authority is to be constructed. Second is that contemporary Umma is faced with numerous other faith communities and ideological systems. Another issue about modern life to Islam is the west, and its challenge against Muslims and their beliefs. However, most Islamic societies today are not actually representing the laws of Islam. If they do then Islam is a very peaceful and inspiring religion. Understanding the true meanings and laws of Islam, and the Qur’an would solve all issues. Discuss the reasons why Arabia’s way of life before Islam is called Jahiliyya by explaining a) its main characteristics and b) its significance in Islamic thought. The reasons why Arabia’s ways of life is called Jahiliyya can be explained in terms of political, social, and economic way of life of the pre-Islamic Arabia. First, the political lifestyle of Arabia before Islam was non-governmental. There was no legitimate government. People lived in tribes that were male dominated. The tribes had their leader to decide rules for them. Pre-Islamic Arabia was in a state of 10 war to control various oil resources. The warfare was long established and so had impacted the social life. There was wide femicide, as women were redeemed as assets. However, all this does not mean that the wars were barbaric or lawless because there were rules governing them. Second, the social lifestyle of pre- Islamic Arabia was backward. The people were mainly herders. Their loyalty was determined in their tribes of blood-ties and kinship. They performed femicide because there was great inequality between men and women. There was a lack of tawhid, and so the people were polytheistic. They believed that spirit of gods dwelled in wells, trees, stones, etc. They believed in fatalism, which means that they did not believe in an afterlife or punishments. Thus, there was no sense of cosmic moral responsibility, or individual and communal morality. Due to these reasons, the righteousness depended on a person’s power. The gap between rich and poor was large and still growing. Thus, it was a time of all possible injustices and inequalities. Finally, the economic way of life of Jahiliyya depended largely of herding and agriculture. They traded through sea. They also made idols of gods and sold them for a living, and this was a huge business at the time. Mecca was a business and trading station as it was close to sea, while, Medina was a land of agriculture. The significance of Jahiliyya in Islam is that prophet Muhammad replaced most of these above stated characteristic of Arabia. He put an end to femicide. He brought equality between men and women. He also brought one God, Allah, rejecting the 360 polytheism gods. He introduced tawhid. Thus, group solidarity was replaced with one God. Basically, prophet brought social justice and consciousness of humanity to Arabia with Islam. Discuss the prophet’s life by outlining the three stages of his life: before prophecy, after he became the Prophet (before Hijra) and after Hijra. Make sure to provide examples of the prophet’s life both as the man and as the prophet. Before prophecy, Muhammad (PBUH) was a common man. He was an orphan, who was brought up by his uncle Abu Talib. Muhammad was a very sincere and honest man. He often retired in cave of Hira to meditate. He joined the Mecca trade business, and was known as Al-amin for his honesty. At the age of 25, he married hazrat Khadija, who was 40 at the time. Muhammad was an employee of Khadija. Khadija had an immense influence on Muhammad’s life. She provided Muhammad with moral, financial, and political support 11 throughout her life. She was also the first to convert to Islam after Muhammad. She bore him 4 daughters and two son, but sons died as infants. Muhammad was against the Jahiliyya life style of his society. He was against hypocrisy, fatalism, femicide, and the injustices towards orphans and widows. He knew his society was in a theological crisis,which was polytheism versus Muhammad’s monotheism. He knew his society was in socio-economic crisis, which was social justice versus hierarchy. Finally, he knew that his society was in moral crisis, which was accountability versus fatalism. One day, Muhammad (PBUH) retired to meditate in cave Hira at the age of 40. This is when he received his first prophecy, and angel Gabriel appeared before him. He was asked to recite (iqra) that God created all mankind out of a blood clot and gave mankind all the knowledge it has. Prophet Muhammad was in awe, and eventually, he told of this experience to his wife Khadija. This was when Prophet Muhammad became a prophet. He first lead a quite persuasion, among family and friends. They first people to convert to Islam were hazrat Khadija, Ali ibn Abu Talib, Abu Bakr, and hazrat Zayd. First of all, they followed simple rituals of Islam as prayers, and then progressed to complete Islamic rituals. After 3 years, Prophet Muhammad started an open call to people towards Islam. Many followed, including many elite and even slaves. This grew tension among the elites of Mecca. The first enemy of Prophet Muhammad was his uncle, Abu Lahab, and his wife. He was a tribal leader and also a trustee of Ka’bah. He tried to bribe people. He also carried out persecutions. He then also boycott Muhammad’s tribe of any kind of business, including trade and marriages. Finally, they tried to assassin Muhammad. Consequently, Muhammad realized that in order to survive and for the better future of Islam, he had to flee to Medina. This is called Hijra. However he did not go with his tribe to Medina, as he first waited for a message from God. He eventually also joined his followers in Medina. In Medina all Muslim were under protection of Ansar. In Medina, the Muslim community, the Umma, was formed. This is a very important moment in the history of Islam as it formed the sense of identity of all Muslim. In Medina, Muhammad unified two enemy groups. This was the beginning of Islam’s peaceful approach to the world. Muhammad also acted as the arbitrator of all disputes. Eventually, a constitution of Medina was formed. This constitution 12 unified all Muslims, regardless of tribes, and also included Jews who were not considered a threat to the maintenance of Islam. Shura was also formed, which is the participatory decision making. Thus, Islam is a very peaceful religion. Prophet Muhammad also led the battle of Budr and Uhad. Prophet fought against Mecca to gain sovereignty. However, this eventually resulted in a negotiation, but Muslim gained control over Mecca. Muhammad’s last speech gave rise to the Umma, the Muslim community. Thus, he is considered the last prophet of Allah. Explain the Orientalist view of the Qur’an. Discuss how the major teachings of the Qur’an discredit the Orientalist view. Make sure you cover all the major teachings of the holy book discussed in the lecture and the readings. Orientalist view of the Qur’an criticizes Quran, largely because of Qur’an structure. It claims that Qur’an has no arbitrary structure and organization. It says that Qur’an has no chronological order. It then says that Qu
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