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Midterm

RLG204- Midterm Review.rtf

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Department
Religion
Course
RLG204H5
Professor
Alireza Haghighi
Semester
Winter

Description
Week 1: September 07, 2011 Pre-Islamic Era (Jahiliyya): In this lecture we discuss the sociopolitical and religious modes of living inArabia before the rise of Islam. Further, we will discuss the significance of the concept of “Jahiliyya” for the later development of Islamic thought. In particular, the second article of this week introduces you to the historical development of this concept and the competing, and sometimes differing readings of it, including one offered by Islamic fundamentalism. Required Reading: • ¥ Schimmel, Islam, pp. 1-9 • ¥ William E. Shepard, “Sayyid Qutb’s Doctrine of Jahiliyya” in International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 35, no. iv, pp. 521-545, 2003 (on blackboard) Week 2: September 14, 2011 Mohamamd: the Man and the Prophet Required Reading: • ¥ Schimmel, Islam, 11-17 • ¥ Brown,ANew Introduction to Islam, Second Edition, 49-69 Schimmel, Islam, 11-17 Muhammad (pg 11) Muhammad was born about 570 in Mecca as a member of the Hashim clan of the Quraish. He was brought up by his uncleAbu Talib. He devoted himself to trade and was called al-Amin for his reliability. He married Khadija and did not marry any other woman as long as she was alive; she died when he was roughly fifty years of age. She faithfully supported her husband in the spiritual crises triggered by his experiences.After her death, Muhammad had married several wives (mainly widows); his favorite wife was the young 'A'isha, whose home he eventually died in, and whose fatherAbu Bakr as-Siddiq “the very faithful one,” became his first successor, or “caliph.” Muhammad liked to retire at times to meditate in a cave in Mt. Hira where he was overcome by visions and voices, which turned out to be an angelic voice that was entrusting him with a divine mandate. Sura 96 of the Quran contains the first such address, Iqra' (“Read” or “Recite”). The first proclamations preached by Muhammad are dominated by the nearing Day of Judgement. This was the Day of Reckoning when resurrection will take place and people's fates will be decided. They will be judged by God and the evil sinners will be dragged away by their feet. The Quranic descriptions of Judgement and Hell do not reach the fantastic descriptions of, for example, Christian apocalyptic writing. However, later piety could not get enough detail of chastisement. Muhammad leaned that he was not only sent to threaten and blame, but also to bring good tidings: every pious man who lives according to God's order will enter Paradise where rivers of milk and honey flow in cool, fragrant gardens and virgin beloved's await him. Meccan merchants did not take Muhammad's message seriously; to them a corporeal resurrection seemed ludicrous. The Quran refutes this by bringing forth numerous proofs for such a resurrection. It cannot be difficult for God, who created the world, to reunite particles of the universe.Arevivication of the dead desert after rainfall is a symbol of the quickening of human beings. And human fertility and birth can be taken as signs of God's unlimited creative power. To put it simply, the Creator and the Lord of Doomsday must be one and the same. The belief in one God, without partners and without adjunct deities, forms the centre of the revelation from an early moment. The duty of human beings is to surrender to this omnipotent God, the Merciful, the Compassionate; to surrender from the bottom of one's heart, with one's entire soul and mind. The word “Islam” means this complete surrender to the Divine will; and the one who practices such surrender is a Muslim. This originates from the term salam “peace” and takes place of the term “Muhammedan,” which was frowned upon by Muslims because it was incorrect to parallel to the way Christians call themselves after Christ. The true Muslim that recognizes One God as both Creator and Judge, feels responsible to Him: he believes in His books (the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospels, and the Quran) and in his prophets fromAdam through the patriarchs, Moses, and Jesus up to Muhammad, the last law giving messenger. Further, he believes in God's angels and in the Last Judgement, and that good and evil come equally from God. Fulfillment of cultic duties and the practice of mercy and justice are commanded side by side in the Quran: the ritual prayer, salat, is combined with zakat, the alms tax. Worldlings who are emroiled in caring for wealth are threatened by Divine punishment. The situation did not improve, for the doctrine of the One Supreme God seemed to threaten the main sources of income for the Meccans. With the hostility of the Meccans increasing, a group of the new Muslims emigrated toAbyssinia, a Christian country. In 619 Muhammad lost both his uncle and wife. However, in June 622 Muhammad and his friendAbu Bakr settled in Yathrib, which became known as Madinat an-Nabi, “the city of the prophet” or Medina. Muslims consider their era to have begun with the date of this emigration “hijra,” for at this point a decisive development of Muhammad's activities can be observed. Revelations had now been put into communal practice. Up to this point, the Prophet had considered himself merely as a continuator of the great prophetic religions, Judaism and Christianity. However, Jews refused to accept the revelations connected to their own traditions, for these seemed not to tally with the biblical words and to have many gaps. In reaction, Muhammad outlined that only the version revealed to him contained the true and real text of these stories and that the faith preached by him on the basis of direct revelation was much older than the corruption professed by the Jews and Christians. In keeping the direct connection toAbraham, the direction of prayer, then turned at Jerusalem was changed to Mecca; making necessary its conquest. Eight years after his migration, Muhammad entered his home town in triumph. During these eight years a number of battles were fought; in Badr, for example, in 624, a small Muslim group overcame an overwhelming Meccan army. After victory, Muhammad forgave most of those that worked and plotted against him, but he preferred to stay in Medina. There he eventually died after performing the rites of the pilgrimage in 623. Muhammad's life was permeated by religion, and just as there is no clear separation between the political and religious aspects of communal life, there are no truly profane acts either. Every act has to begin with the words “in the name of God,” bismillah, and must be performed in responsibility to God. The human being stands immediately before God; no mediating priestly caste exists. Brown, A New Introduction to Islam, Second Edition, 49-69 “The Life of Muhammad” Brown, Pgs. 49-69 ByAli Siddiqui • ¥ Ibn Ishaq, a scholar of Medina wrote the first full biography, or sura, of Muhammad called the Sirat RasulAllah, written a century after Muhammad passed away. • ¥ o Ibn Ishaq passed away in 767CE and all other Sura’s revolved upon his work. • ¥ o Ibn Ishaq starts off with two genealogical traces of Muhammad’s ancestry. The first through the line of Qusayy the founder of Mecca, to Ismail, Ibrahim (Abraham), Shem, Noah, and all the way to Adam. The second trace gives a detailed analysis of the tribes that descended from Ismail (theArab tribes) and it also details the kinship of the Egyptians with theArabs through Hagar the mother of Ismail. Therefore we end up finding that Muhammad’s lineage stems from Noah andAbraham. • ¥ o This gives Muhammad a genealogical placement for Muhammad and theArabs in monotheistic history. • ¥ 570CE, Muhammad is thought to have been born during the auspicious Year of the Elephant – WhenAbraham ofAbyssinia sought out to destroy the Ka’ba while riding elephants but was beaten back by divine providence with God sending birds carrying plague bearing stones to destroy the Abyssinian army andAbraham suffered a gruesome death with his fingers falling off one by one. Hence the auspicious name and year Muhammad was born into. • ¥ Muhammad’s fatherAbdAllah died before he was born, his mother Amina died when he was 6 years old leaving him an orphan. He was then taken care of by his grandfatherAbd al-Muttalib, who passed away leaving Muhammad in the care of his uncleAbu Talib. • ¥ Muhammad was seen by many people as being special and even having the “signs” of Prophethood as many Jewish and Christians espoused that a Prophet had been born and some saw it in Muhammad when they met him. (see pages 51-53, Brown) • ¥ Muhammad was known as an honest man, kind, truthful, and reliable and came to have the title of “The Trustworthy” within his own tribe and others. • ¥ He attracted the attention of a widow named Khadijah, a wealthy business-woman, who hired him to run her caravans to Syria. Impressed with his work she proposed marriage to with him and they wed. • ¥ An incident which provided evidence to his people of Muhammad’s character as “The Trustworthy” came when the various tribes of the Quraysh worked together to rebuild the Ka’ba, but a disagreement broke out between the tribes in regards to who would have the honour of placing the black stone (a key piece). Aproposition was brought forth stating that the next man to enter the site would be made the arbitrator. Much to the delight of all Muhammad happened to walk in, who then proposed a solution worthy of Solomon. He ordered the black stone to be put on a cloak and members of each tribe were to lift it together, in the end he put the stone with his own hands. • ¥ Muhammad was known to enjoy his solitude and one month of every year he would spend at Mount Hira practicing “tahannuth” (perhaps meditation? Or prayer?) and then return to circumambulate the Ka’ba 7 times before going home. • ¥ o During one of these trips in his 40 year he was visited by theArchangel Gabriel who commanded him to “read.” Muhammad responded with, “What shall I read?” pressed again three times with Gabriel saying, “Read, ”he finally said, “What then shall I read?” Finally Muhammad was given the first verses of Sura 96 of the Quran: “Recite: In the Name of thy Lord who created, created Man of a blood-clot. Recite:And thy Lord is the Most Generous, who taught by the Pen, taught Man that he knew not.” • ¥ He related all this to his wife Khadija and her Christian cousin Waraqa • ¥ o For three years Muhammad’s message spread quietly and privately, Khadijah was the first to accept his message, the second wasAli son ofAbu Talib, third was Zayd b. Hartha, andAbu Bakr. ThroughAbu Bakr’s influence and missionary action Uthman b.Affan, al-Zubayr b. al- Awwam,Abd al-Rahman b.Awf, S’ad b.Abu Waqqas and Talha b. Ubayd Allah – all prominent names in early Islamic history – became Muslims. • ¥ After the three years of quiet persuasion, God instructed Muhammad to go to the public with his message. However, he came upon much opposition especially from his own tribal kinsmanAbu Lahab who worked and opposed Muhammad at every turn. • ¥ o The Quraysh’s leaders ire was ever growing into more serious opposition when Muhammad began to preach against their idols. • ¥ o The Prophet’s uncle and guardianAbu Talib stood in the way protecting Muhammad from the other leaders – even though he never became a Muslim – he steadfastly stood and protected Muhammad until his death. • ¥ o Muhammad also secured support from the Banu Hashim – his immediate clansmen with the exception ofAbu Lahab. His position was further strengthened by the dramatic conversion of his uncle Hamza who was renowned for his physical strength and prowess as a hunter and warrior. • ¥ When (QUESTION) Hamza converted, Muhammad’s opponents changed their opposition from direct intimidation and bullying to sneakier methods through trying to bribe him with wealth, honour, and power. When they were spurned they demanded he perform miracles for them so they could believe. • ¥ o They couldn’t get to Muhammad personally so they went after his weaker followers, the slaves. One particular slave was Bilal (a black man) who was being tortured by his master for being a Muslim convert;Abu Bakr witnessing this emancipated him by trading him for a pagan slave. Bilal would later become the one who would sound the call to prayer for the Muslims (he also became a symbol of racial tolerance in Islam). • ¥ o Because of the physical attacks and torture a band of Muslims fled to Abyssinia at the Prophet’s urging. 83 men and their families traveled toAbyssinia and were hospitably welcomed by the Negus, theAbyssinian monarch. The Quraysh tried to seek an extradition of these people but were refused this option when the Negus and his bishops were moved to tears after a reading of Sura 19 – which relates the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus. • ¥ o Meanwhile back in Mecca the conversion of Umar b. al- Khattab dealt the Quraysh a further setback as he was a formidable opponent of the Muslims as a polytheist, but he was now a powerful ally of the Muslims. • ¥ Muhammad’s “Night Journey andAscent to Heaven” (MIRAJ) QUESTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! • ¥ o This one night journey was to Jerusalem carried by a winged steed, Buraq, and accompanied by Gabriel. In Jerusalem Muhammad metAbraham, Moses, and Jesus. He was given a tour of heaven and hell. In heaven he met prophets in the 7 heavens:Adam in the first, Jesus and his cousin John on the second, Joseph in the third, Idris in the fourth, Aaron in the fifth, Moses in the sixth, andAbraham in the 7 . th In the 7 heaven God gave Muhammad the order to have the Muslims perform 50 daily prayers, Moses sent Muhammad back to negotiate a lower amount as Moses said, “Prayer is a weight matter and your people are weak.” Finally 5 daily prayers were assigned. • ¥ After his wife Khadija died as well as his uncleAbu Talib passed away. Muhammad had no one to lend him support or to protect him from the opposition so he looked for allies outside of Mecca. First at al-Ta’if where he was rudely rebuffed by the Banu Thaqif. • ¥ o In 621 a delegation of Muslims from the oasis at Yathrib met with Muhammad at al-Aqaba to pledge their support, the next year a larger delegation met him to renew their pledge. By the second time of their meeting, God had ordered a crucial shift in policy: the Muslims were allowed to fight and defend themselves…before the Muslims were ordered by Muhammad to bear the opposition patiently. • ¥ o The Muslims of Yathrib, known as theAnsar (the helpers), became not only religious supporters of Muhammad but they also became military allies. • ¥ After the second pledge, Muhammad ordered his followers in Mecca to relocate to Medina (Yathrib’s new name) where they could come under the protection of theAnsar. • ¥ o The Meccan Muslims left in small groups while Muhammad, Ali, andAbu Bakr stayed behind awaiting God’s permission to leave. • ¥ o After narrowly escaping a murder plot Muhammad and Abu Bakr fled to Medina leavingAli behind to discharge of the Prophet’s remaining obligations. • ¥ The Hijra • ¥ o Once in Medina, Muhammad set out to clarify his political position and those of his community. Medina was torn by tribal and religious differences. The two dominant tribes, theAws and the Khazraj (IN MEDINA) , had been fighting for years. Medina also had three significant Jewish tribes, the Banu Qurayza, the Banu Qaynuqa, and the Banu al-Nadir. The Meccan emigrants brought by Muhammad further complicated the situation of tension. • ¥ o The Constitution of Medina was drafted during this time: Muslims were to act as a single community, or Ummah, regardless of tribe; Jews allied with the Muslims were to be treated as part of this Ummah; and Muhammad was to be accepted as arbitrator of all disputes. • ¥ This new political reality brought new problems: the hypocrites or the munafiqun – who outwardly adhered to Islam but secretly sought to undermine the Prophet’s mission at every opportunity. The munafiqun formed a fifth column of sorts with a loose alliance of Jews, dissatisfied polytheists, and ambitious political opponents jealous of Muhammad’s position. The worst of these was AbdAllah ibn Ubayy, whose ambitions to be ruler of Medina were sidelined by the Prophet’s arrival. • ¥ The Battle of Badr • ¥ o First started as a raid by Muslims on a Meccan caravan but then evolved into a larger pitched battle of larger forces of men. • ¥ o Abattle that the Muslims won and where God laid out a specific and important rule to keep the Muslims from fighting over the spoils of the battle and indeed war: the Prophet is in charge of the division th of booty and 1/5 of the spoils of war goes to God and hisApostle. • ¥ Confrontation with the Jews of Medina • ¥ o After the Battle of Badr the Jews of the Banu Qaynuqa repudiated their agreement with Muhammad, and Muhammad besieged them until they surrendered unconditionally. • ¥ ♣ The hypocriteAbdAllah ibn Ubayy intervened on their behalf. • ¥ o Until this time the Muslims, like the Jews, faced Jerusalem for prayer. After Badr, Muhammad changed the direction of prayer away from Jerusalem to Mecca, thus symbolically creating anArabian sanctuary as the central focus of ritual. It also broke the seal with the Jews of Medina and inaugurated a new, more independent, and moreArab monotheism. • ¥ • The Battle of Thud • ¥ o The Meccans sought revenge over their defeat in Badr. • ¥ o The battle was one that shook the confidence of the Muslims as they suffered great losses; one of the biggest losses was the death of Hamza the Prophet’s stalwart Uncle and supporter. • ¥ o The Battle of BadR taught the Muslims about victory; at Uhud they learned the lessons of losing. Even the idea that Muhammad was a mere human and a Prophet of God was related in a revelation by God when during the battle rumour spread that Muhammad was slain. God said, “Muhammad is naught but a Messenger. Messengers have passed away before him. Why, if he should die or is slain, will you turn about on your heels?” It tested the faith of the believers of the community and those on the battlefield. th • ¥ • In the 4 year after the Hijra, the Jews of the tribe Banu an-Nadir plotted an assassination of Muhammad, God revealed their plot to Muhammad and he fled and raised a force and burned their palm groves, confiscated their property, and expelled them from Medina. • ¥ o The expulsion of the Banu an-Nadir was not the end of the troubles between the Prophet and the Jewish tribes. Agroup of Jews made an alliance with the Meccans against the Muslims. When word got out of this Muhammad ordered the digging of a defensive ditch around the city of Medina. Soon the Quraysh and their allies laid siege to Medina, after a while the alliance broke and the Meccans withdrew. • ¥ o After the withdrawal of the Quraysh, God ordered Muhammad to attack the Banu Qurayza and lay siege upon them. After they surrendered Muhammad appointed Sa’d ibn Mu’adh of theAws, the tribal ally of the Banu Qurayza, to determine their fate. Sa’d ordered the men to be killed, their property confiscated and divided, and the women and children taken into captivity. • ¥ • The Peace of al-Hudaybiyya and the Farewell Pilgrimage (eQUESTION) • ¥ o In the sixth year after entering Medina, Muhammad felt confident enough to attempt a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Quraysh sent a force to stop him, and the Prophet camped outside Mecca at a place called al-Hudaybiyya, where the companions of the Prophet made a solemn pledge of loyalty to him. • ¥ o Negotiations with the Quraysh followed and came to an agreement of a 10-year peace treaty. The terms agreed: • ¥ ♣ Muslims were not to enter Mecca that year but would be allowed to come for 3 nights to perform pilgrimage in future years. • ¥ ♣ Fugitives from Mecca were to be returned by the Muslims. • ¥ ♣ In a manner this was a victory as conversions to Islam occurred quite readily and easily during this time. • ¥ o After the thace of al-Hudaybiyya, the Muslims garnered several victories. In the 7 year after the Hijra, the oasis of Khaybar was taken. • ¥ ♣ In the same year a large party of Muslims who had been exiled inAbyssinia returned. • ¥ ♣ At the end of the year the Prophet entered Mecca for the first time since his flight to perform pilgrimage. • ¥ ♣ Finally two years later some tribal allies of the Quraysh violated the terms of peace and Muhammad moved against Mecca. The Quraysh surrendered and the prophet entered the city as victor less than 8 years after he left it as a fugitive. th • ¥ o 9 year after the Hijra is seen as the year of deputations. Delegations from across theArabian Peninsula offered allegiance to the Prophet. Muhammad also sent out his own representatives and letters to various tribes, groups,Arab and non-Arab nations to join Islam and become Muslims. • ¥ o 10 year after the Hijra, Muhammad performed the pilgrimage for the last time, delivered his most famous and most treasured speech. He gave specific instructions about the Hajj (pilgrimage) and some practical advice and marriage counseling and espoused the need for Muslim unity and brotherhood with, “Know that every Muslim is a Muslim’s brother,” he said, “and that the Muslims are brethren.” [He is laying down the final foundation for the concept of the Ummah and the brotherhood of Islam.] • ¥ • Muhammad died in the house of his wifeAisha following a brief illness. After he passed away Umar was in a state of denial and the community was in shock. However the more realistic and stalwart supporter of Muhammad and of his messageAbu Bark said to the community, “O men, if anyone worships Muhammad, Muhammad is dead: if anyone worships god, God is alive, immortal!” • ¥ • TheAuthor proposes a question about trusting Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad. Can it be trusted? Can Ibn Ishaq be true in his writings after all he wrote it almost a century after the Prophet’s death. The Author says, “Yes, we can trust him!” The main reason being that the main evidence of the Qur’an as a product and unchanged historical, political, and religious culmination of Muhammad’s message. “If the Qur’an comes to us largely unchanged form the time of Muhammad than it will provide the surest and clearest evidence of Muhammad’s religious vision.” (Brown, pg. 67). [Please take a look at the Chronology of Muhammad’s Life at the end of this chapter on pg.67 of Brown’s book for a detailed list of what happened and when.] Week 3: September 21, 2011 The Holy Quran - Basic Doctrines Required Reading: • ¥ • Schimmel, Islam, 29-50 • ¥ • Brown,ANew Introduction to Islam, Second Edition, 69-89 Schimmel, Islam, 29-50 The Quran and Its Teachings (pg 29) The Quran (qur'an, “recitation”) is, for the pious Muslim, the unadulterated word of God, which has become audible through Muhammad in “clearArabic language.” To recite the Koran is the most sublime and edifying occupation for the Muslim, even when he or she does not intellectually understand its words. Muslims consider it inconceivable to “translate” it into any language. Lailat al-qadr was the night when the first revelation of the Koran took place, celeberated on one of the last odd nights in Ramadan, usually on the 27 . th The style of the Koran is inimitable and of superhuman beauty and power. The present order of the text is not chronological. When the sacred texts were put together in the days of the caliph 'Uthman, the chapters (or suras) were arranged in descending length. Thus, the first short revelations are situated at the end of the Koran. Only one brief prayer was chose as a kind of introduction – the Fatiha “the Opening,” which corresponds in use to the Lord's Prayer in Christianity. The 114 suras have brief titles (The Cow, The Star, The Running Ones, etc.), which are not part of the original sura; they are usually based on a prominent expression in the text. Before the recitation of any sura and of even a single verse, one should utter the formula of protection against the accursed Satan and the basmala. The latter formula is bismi'llahi'r-rahmani'r-rahim, “In the name of God, ther Merciful, the Compassionate.” Certain suras are thought to possess special blessing power, baraka; thus, sura 36, Yasin, is usually recited for dying or dead people. Specific verses are used for the decoration of buildings, artistically penned tablets, or talismans. Each single verse of the Koran is called ayat, “sign,” “miracle” because Muhammad brought forth these verses as Divine signs when his adversaries asked him for a miracle attesting to his prophethood. In the Koran, the position of human beings is described several times. On the one hand, man is superior to all spirits and angels, for God breathed intoAdam “from His breath” and ordered the angels to prostrate themselves beforeAdam whom he wanted to place as a vicegerent, Khalifa, on earth. Human beings are good by nature and change to due the influence of their environment. Humans are called to ponder when looking at the signs which God has placed in the world and in themselves. This means to observe history and nature; one's own heart and soul can lead the way to a deeper religious understanding. The Koran contains a number of regulations for worldly affairs, daily life, and political order is the centre and basis of virtually all branches of Islamic learning. The Muslims' desire was to recite the Koran as beautifully as possible, and the art of tilawat, the proper musical recitation, developed into a high art. The hafiz, who “perserves” the Koran, who knows it by heart, is highly respected, and children are sent to the mosque to memorize the Book. In order to make its sacredness visible, the Koran is wrapped and placed above any other book. The Koran is the basis for the entire life, be it the regulation of religious duties or problems of art. Hence it is natural that a vast range of interpretations and commentaries should have developed in the course of the centuries. The first step in the interpretation of the Koran was philological scrutiny of the text. Interpretation was refused by pious Muslims at first, they were afraid lest they be led into dangerous aberrations and speculations by introducing legendary material. However, the possibility of interpreting the Book in the most diverse ways seems to be a strong proof of its supernatural origin. The mystics of Islam have striven to reach a more profound understanding of the Divine word. They knew that a deeper meaning lies behind the words of the text and that one has to penetrate to the true core. Arabic language has been very helpful in this respect with its almost infinite possibilities of developing the roots of words and forming cross relations between expressions. In the Middle ages, a kind of cabalistic interpretation developed (wifq, jafr) and even in our time certain sects and groups amount the Muslims try to find the deeper meaning of the number of letters on each page, their numerical value, and their combinations. However, the work of God visible in nature cannot contradict the word of God revealed in the Koran. The world of of the Koran reveals a new face every day, without end for when God is infinite so is his word as revealed in his book. Five main religious duties are incumbent upon believers. These are the “pillars of Islam.” They include the profession of faith, the ritual prayer, the alms tax, fasting in Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Mecca. Jihad was never made a pillar. 1) Shahada: The first one, the profession of faith, shahada, a saying professing monotheism and accepting Muhammad as God's messenger, is basically the foundation of the others. Whoever confesses in public “I testify that there is no deity save God and that Muhammad is the messenger of God (ashhadu an la ilaha illa Llah Muhammad rasul Allah) has accepted Islam. Muhammad reached, in theology, the status of the Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil, and was considered the meaning and end of creation. 2) Salat: The most important duty in Muslim daily life is the ritual prayer, salat (in Persian and Turkish, namaz). The salat is performed five times in twenty-four hours: the hour before sunrise, noon, afternoon, after sunset, and nightfall. Every prayer begins with the niyya, the formulation of the intention, for instance, to perform the evening prayer with its three cycles or rak'a. During one rak'a the praying person stands upright, uttering the wordsAllahu akbar, “God is greather [than anything else]” and the Fatiha. One bends from the hips, straightens one's posture, prostrates, sits, and then performs another prostration. Each prayer consists of a prescribed number of rak'a (daybreak prayer, two; noon, four; afternoon, four; sunset, three; and night prayer, four). The salat can be extended by reciting long parts of the Koran in the first two rak'a; many people also add a lenghty meditation while using the rosary, tasbih, repeating religious formulas. The call to prayer, adhan, consists of the profession of faith and some additional short phrases and is sung in long cadences. Once the adhan is over, the believer undertakes the ablution. He or she can perform the prayer alone in any clean place or else in the mosque with the community; in both cases absolute ritual purity is the first condition. To perform the salat, a clean spot suffices, a small prayer rug guarantees the cleanliness of the place.After each minor pollution the minor ablution, wudu, is required: feet to the ankles have to be washed in running water that has not been touched by anyone. Each movement must be accompanied by a specific prayer formula.After major pollution's such as sex, menstruation, and childbirth, a full bath, ghusl, is required in which no place in the whole body, including the hair, can remain dry. Only then may the prayer be performed and the Koran touched and recited. In case water cannot be found, one may perform the ablution with sand (tayammum). Friday prayer is a duty of the community; it contains a short sermon, khutba, which consists of two parts. It gives some advice usually based on the Koran or the hadith, and a prayer for the ruler of the government. Daily prayers are explained in the Koran as acts of humility and adoration. At the end of the prayer the Muslim can mention his/her personal requests. The belief in the purifying power of ritual prayer is intense; the Prophet compared it to a stream of water that washes off sins five times a day. The performance of the prayer at the prescribed time constitutes ideally a means of educating Muslims to punctuality, cleanliness, and, since there is no raking the mosque, equal participation in the life of the community. The place of prayer is called a masjid “the great mosque,” where the Friday prayer is held and which was found in each quarter, is called jami', “the gathering.” The architecture of the mosque can be considered the most representative artistic expression of Islamic culture. The most perfect architectural form of the mosque seems to be represented by the Ottoman type with its enormous central dome.Aspecial area for women, either in the background or on a gallery, is usually included in the mosque. Furnishing of the mosque is extremely simple. In the courtyard one finds a well or fountain for the ablutions. The direction to Mecca is indicated by a small niche, mihrab, in the wall. The mihrab consists of any clean material: wood tile work. It is surrounded by artistically written verses from the Koran. Besides the prayer niche stands the minbar, a pulpit which was introduced in the days of the Prophet. It consisted originally of three steps, but later a greater number of steps are found. The minbar can be made of any material.Astand for the Koran is positioned close to the mihrab; glass lamps, illuminate the mosque.Aclock shows the time of prayer. The artistic possibilities of theArabic script are inexhaustible, beginning with large lines that impress the reader by their seeming simplicity. Wall painting is attested from Umayyad times, and figurative elements on ceramics and metalwork from an important part of Islamic art. Yet this art found its best expression in calligraphy and ornaments. (5 PILLARS OF ISLAMAND THE 3 MAIN PREACHING OF ISLAM) 3) Zakat: The Third pillar is zakat, the alms tax. It was meant originally as self- purification and considered as a “loan to God”. The law regulated exactly the payable amount for the poor, the needy, the tax collector; for those whose religious zeal needs to be strengthened; for slaves who want to buy themselves out of slavery; for debtors who have become impoverished due to good works; and finally fi sabilAllah, “in the way of God,” that is, for different purposes such as helping needy travellers, or building useful structures such as public fountains. 4) Siyam: During the whole month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar year, the Muslim is not allowed to eat, drink, smoke, smell perfume, have intercourse, or even have an injection during the daytime. Every morning one has to formulate anew the intention, niyya, to keep the fast. Those unable of fasting need not keep the fast but have to make up for the lost days at some other time or to make compensation for each day by such actions as feeding the poor.After breaking the fast with some water, the ideally an odd number of dates, the evening prayer is performed, and after the fast-breaking dinner, iftar, a series of twenty or thirty-three or more prayer cucles (rak'a) is performed by the pious (called the tarawih prayer).At the 'id ul-fitr, the Feast of Fastbreaking, cities are lavishly decorated, new garments are worn, and gifts are exchanged and distributed. 5) Hajj: In the pilgrimate to Mecca, the hajj, ancientArab rites have been taken over the spiritualized. Performed during the last lunar month, Dhu'l-hijja. People who come to Arabia at other times can perform the lesser pilgrimage, 'umra, which consists mainly of the circumambulation of the Ka'ba and the running between two hillocks called Safa and Marwa. Pilgrimage to a sacred place requires a ritual consecration.At certain distance from Mecca the men, with shaven heads, put on a special garment, ihram, consisting of two white unsewn pieces of cloth that cover their whole body; women put on a covering garment. Pilgrims greet the sacred precincts with the call labbaika “Here I am at Thy Service.” The rites that have to be performed include the sevenfold circumambulation of the Ka'aba and a sevenfold running between Safa and Marwa, which are now connected by covered arcades. The central rite is the “staying” on the hill 'Arafat where sermons are given, and on the way back the 'stoning of Satan' is performed by casting seven pebbles three times at a certain place. On the tenth day of the month, each pilgrim slaughters a sheep or larger animal in Mina. After the feast of Offering the pilgrim can return from the sacred state, ihram, into the normal state where certain acts are again permitted. On their return the pilgrims bring a vessel filled with wholesome water from the well Zamzam. They are recieved by their families and are called Hajji. Those who die during the pilgrimage are regarded as martyrs, shahid, “witness” for their faith.Almost all reform movements in the fringe areas of the Islamic world were triggered off by the pilgrimage. Brown,ANew Introduction to Islam, Second Edition, 69-89 Approaches to the Qur’an (pg 69) • ¥ • Quran- “recitations”, reflects both structure and function of the text • ¥ • Quran thought of as a sort of anthology of discrete recitations and like poetry, best recited aloud • ¥ • In 1972 in a restoration project an ancient mosque in san a, Yemen a laborour foing an extensive deposit of soggy paper and parchment , turned out to be repository of fragments from hundreds of ancient codices of the qur an. Thought to be really std • ¥ • 1 approach: Reason they were preserved is that someone thought the quranic fragments were sacred • ¥ • Had to be a proper burial to preserve them • ¥ • Asecond way of approaching the quean is to view it not as a sacred object but as a historical artefact, it’s a text with history, and the chief interest of the scholat is to ferret out when and where it originated and how it evolved into its present form th • ¥ • Found from the mid 8 century more than a century after the conquests • ¥ • This finding might be our oldest documentary evidence of the text is a testimony to how little really firm evidence we have about how, when, and where the quran ordginated • ¥ • 3 and obvious approach and that is to focus on what it says • ¥ • The majority of muslims through most of history have not had direct access to the cntent of their scriptures, either because they have been illiterate, or because they don’t understandArabic • ¥ • Therefore they expericen the quran as an object of devotion , a thing of beauty, spiritual powerbut not nexessarily for a discursive meaning • ¥ • 3 ways of approaching the quran: as a sacred object, as historical artefact, and as discursive text to be interpreted and understood The history of the text (pg 72) • ¥ • Striking characteristic of the quran is extraordinary uniformity of the arabic text in all extant editions (only consonants not vowels) • ¥ • Has the text always been so unofrm? YES, the text has remained consistent, but only from the time that it was put in its present form by the order of the Cliph “uthman “ in about 650 • ¥ • The scholary tradition can allw up to 200 yrs for the evolution of the quranic text • ¥ • For muslims the process (prehistory-revelation of quran) was simple, short, linear: muhamamd began to receive revelations from God through the angel Jibril—Gabriel—in 610; the prophet recited the revelations in the presence of his followers throughout his career; his followers dutifully memorized or wrote these revelations down on whatever material.After muhamamds death, his companions gathered and organized the revelations in written collection. Finally around 650 UTHMAN arranged the collection of editing of an official version of the Quran from the best sources, both written and oral, and ordered all deviant copies destroyed. (quran compiled within 20 yrs of muhammads death) • ¥ • The quran polemicizes against Christians, jews and idolators. The idolators usually been identified as pagan Arabs, but Hawting (1999) has convincingly argued that polemics against idolatry are more probably directed at jews and christiasn. • ¥ • When mentioning jesus as not gods son- directed towards Christians- therefore, this suggests that the quran emerged from an environment dominated by Christianity. Jesus in the Quran (pg 76) • ¥ • Jesus is a dominant prophetic figure in the quran and arguably its most fully developed character • ¥ • We learn about jesus’miraculous virgin birth, miracles he performed as a child, about his desciples (ONLY a messenger) The Quran in Muslim Piety (pg 78) • ¥ • Aquran should never be carried below the waist, should never be placed beneat other books, and shouldn’t be touched by a ritually impure muslim or by unbeliever • ¥ • “surely a noble quran in a hidden book” • ¥ • Quran is a holy object and must in some way be protected from defilement • ¥ • Use of Qurans, placed by building doors to avoid theft, asa talisman against evil or a source of spiritual power and blessing can be observed through out the Islamic world. • ¥ • Recitation is required in ritual prayers, weddings, funeral, political events, social gatherings, times of national emergency or mourning • ¥ • HAFIZ-AL-QURAN- those who memorize the quran The Eternity of the Quran (pg 79) • ¥ • The quran is the word of god • ¥ • Just as Christians taught of the word –incanate—the Word made flesh—so orthodox Muslim theologists , to use Henri wlfson’s imaginative phrase, came to believe that the quran was the Word—inlibrate—the word made Book--. The Inimitability of the Quran (pg 80) Inimitablity- incapable of being duplicated or imitated; unique • ¥ • The quran itself challenges its critics to produce anything like it • ¥ • It simply could not and would never be qualed in beauty or perfection Interpreting the Quran (pg 81) • ¥ • The best way to get meaning of quran to pick up a translation and read it • ¥ • Need to begin with a thorough knowledge of theArabic vocab and grammer of the passage • ¥ • Quran is a book which cries out for interpretation Central Themes • ¥ • The overall thrust of the quran is very simple and can be summarized in a paragraph: • ¥ • It begins with God, God is Once, the creator of all that is, including humankind. • ¥ • We humans owe god exlusive allegiance and worship, but we tend to allow our attention to wander and to associate created beings with God. Such association, called SHIRK, is the most basic of sins. • ¥ • God is merciful, however, and that mercy is most clearly manifested in the form of prophets and scriptures sent as reminders to call forgetful humans back to exclusice worship of god. • ¥ • Scriptures and pro^phets also give specific guidance for how god wants people who worship him to behave. • ¥ • The quran is the culmination of these `reminders` • ¥ • The stakes are high: thse who reject his words will burn in hell; those who follow will enjoy heaven • ¥ • This msg is consistent throught out quran and is communicated in many different ways • ¥ • Muslims themselves often take the first sura of the quran as a convenienet summary of its msg. Quranic Narratives (pg 83) • ¥ • Quran is fond of stories about prophets, most of them familiar from the Hebrew scriptures and Christian scriptures • ¥ • Read accounts of adam, noah, abraha, joseph, moses, david, soloman, jesus • ¥ • The name and details of the stories differ, but the point is almost always the same: when god sends a prophet, woe to those who reject his message. • ¥ • The significance of the details is often a mystery< • ¥ • Other than prophets, the quran has much to say about other scriptures • ¥ • MOSES- given TORAH, DAVID- given ZABUR, JESUS- given INJIL, • ¥ • All these books contained almost the same msg as the quran Quranic Law and the Problem ofArogation (pg 84) • ¥ • God`s opinion varies according to context • ¥ • God had from the start intended to replace som,e earlier commands with later ones • ¥ • When the followers got to know about the earlier commands being eplaced with the new changed ones.. those commands get abrogated Women and Gender in the Quran (pg 85-86) • ¥ • The quran has a lot to say about women, some of it potentially offensive to modern sensibilities • ¥ • Women assigned half the inheritance share of men • ¥ • The legal testimony of 1 man is quated to that of 2 women • ¥ • Men are permitted to marry up to 4 wives, while women must content themselves with a single husband • ¥ • Men are declared the `maintainers` of women and apparently given permission to beat their wives • ¥ • On the other hand, as modern muslim apologists have vigorously argued, the quran was well ahead of its time in granting independent property rights to women, assigning them legal agency, and generally improving their lot in comparison with both pre-IslamicArabia and pre-Islamic Near Eastern civilization • ¥ • The quran leads to a message of equality • ¥ • Women must be vielded outside the home- prophets wives need to be protected The Problem of Context (pg86) • ¥ • Quran`s narratives are allusive, its instructions devoid of context and much of its vocabulary is opaque • ¥ • Context is something the Quran itself simply cant provide • ¥ • Concerning the life of Muhammad—the sira and hadith literature Week 4: September 28, 2011 Three Principles and Five Pillars of Islam Required Reading: • ¥ • Esposito, Islam, pp. 90-95 • ¥ • Andrew Rippin, Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (London, Routledge: 2001), pp. 97-110 (on blackboard) Week 5: October 05, 2011 The Haddit and Sunna; Shari'a and Fiqh Required Reading: • ¥ • Schimmel, 51-57 • ¥ • Brown,ANew Introduction to Islam, Second Edition, 88-103 & 149-172 Schimmel, 51-57 The Tradition (pg 51) Muslims discovered that the Koran does not insufficiently explain all the details in the individual's or the community's life: many problems are mentioned only in passing; others no mentioned at all. Muhammad's companions and the first generations after him looked for a way to fill the gaps while remaining faithful to the spirit of the revelation. They clung to the prophet's own words and actions, his sunna, “custom.” Believers tried to imitate their beloved Prophet's example in each and every detail. The Prophet's custom became in itself a kind of interpretation of the Koran.Allusions, as well as facts that were not vaguely mentioned or indicated in the Scripture, had to be understood as Muhammad had shown by his words and his actions. His words were collected and his actions told and retold from generation to generation; a single report of what he said or did is a hadith, “saying, tale.” However, a good amount of non-authentic sayings infiltrated the text in the course of the first centuries. The hadith can not be considered an absolutely infallible source for our understanding of Muhammad's original teachings and his actual behaviour. Many political and theological factions came up with hadith that supported their ideals. In the ninth century tens of thousands of hadith were in circulation, and it was the great achievement of Bukhari (d.870) to have selected and classified the most reliable ones in his comprehensive collection. Which contains roughly 7,300 hadith but many appear under different headings so the total number is 3000. Bukhari's contemporary, Muslim (d.874), undertook a similar task. The collection produced by these two scholars are called sahih, “sound, without flaw,” and they are regarded as second only to the Koran. Each Hadith consists of the text, matn, and the isnad, the chain of those who have heard the text in question.Atypical isnad would look like this: “I heard fromAthat he said: 'I heard from B that he was told by C that his father said: 'I heard the Prophet say...'.” The duty of those who study hadith is primarily to test the reliability of the traditionist. One has to find out whether or not a person mentioned in the isnad really knew the one from whom he relates the hadith, or whether time, age, and local distance make their relation improbable if not impossible. Out of this, a whole branch of scholarship developed, that of “the men”, 'il ur-rijal' were then arranged according to classes 'tabaqat', based on temporal distance from the Prophet. If transmitters fulfilled all the conditions then the hadith was considered to be sahih. These sound hadth were either good or weak. Anumber of extra-Koranic words of God quoted by the Prophet, so-called hadith qudsi, “sacred hadith” were transmitted among believers and in particular among Sufis. Contrary to a quotation from the Koran, a hadith begins with the phrase: “He (the Prophet), God bless him and give him peace, said.” This formula is always used when mentioning the Prophet. The hadith itself, as everything connected with the Prophet, is called sharif, “noble.” “Scientific” critique of hadith in the western sense is suspect for most pious Muslims, it is considered irrelevant because Muhammad, being a true Prophet, could have foreseen and foretold many future developments and given much advice which western investigators might see as a foreign import. However, there are some modernist schools in Islam which reject the authenticity of hadith. The Indian Muslim, ChiraghAli (d. 1894), a colleague of the modernist Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, attacked hadith literature even more sharply than Ignaz Goldziher did at the same time in Europe. His attitude is likely to have strengthened the aversion of the traditionalists and especially the ahl-i hadith (a fundamentalist movement.) against Sir Sayyid's reformist tendencies. The traditional style was to strive for a perfect imitatio Muhammadi, to follow the Prophet's example in every detail, be it in the position of one's hands during prayer or the right way to don a pair of trousers or to wind one's turban; everything is derived from the Prophet's example. This has given the Muslim communitry all over the world a remarkable uniformity. The opposite of sunna, “custom,” is bid'a, “innovation,” and it is the introduction of bid'as that was seen as a great danger for the stability of the community, even though “good bid'as” were acceptbale according to still another hadith. The most interesting example of imitation of the Prophet is circumcision, which takes place between the ages of four and seven and known to be celebrated with great joy as the offspring, most often male, is made into a real member of the community. Not in the Koran but in tradition, one finds the basis for sacred days or nights. The Prophet's birthday is celebrated on 12 Rabi' al-awwal, the third lunar month. This is also the anniversary of the Prophet's death and is therefore celebrated as a mourning day in certain areas. Hymnic texts in high-flown prose and simple poetry to be recited on this day were composed in all Islamic languages. One of the most famous works of this genre is Suleyman Chelebi's Mevlud-i sherif from around 1400; it tells in simple Turkish verses the miracles that happened during the Prophet's birth. In modern times the main emphasis has shifted from the miraculous aspects of the Prophet's birth to his role as the leader of his community, the true model of ethical behaviour, the social community, the true model of ethical behavior, the social reformer and just leader. To imitate these noble qualities of his seems to many Muslims more important that to follow meticulously the outward aspects of his sunna. The lailat al-bar'a or shab-i barat on 15 Sha'ban, the night of the full moon preceding the beginning of Ramadan. On this night, it is believed, sins are forgiven and one's fate for the new year is determined. The Shia tradition celebrates the day of Ghadir Khum, on 17 Dh'l-hijja, when the Prophet declared 'Ali to be his successor near the pond Khum. 'Ali's birthday is celebrated as are the birthdays and the death anniversaries of all twelve imams. Husain's death in Kerbela on 10 Muharram is also acknowledged. Numerous saints' anniversaries, depending on local customs, can be added to this list. Brown,ANew Introduction to Islam, Second Edition, 88-103 & 149-172 The Tradition Of Literature: (pg. 88) * Ibn Ishaq is an Islamic scholar who has written Hadith reports in order to observe if the Hadiths are genuine and if they do not conflict with the teachings of the Quran. * The first part of the report which lists the chain of transmitters, is the Isnad( the footnote of Islamic scholarhip) * The second part of the report is the Matn (The subject matter) * Together, the Isnad and the Matn make a Hadith report, and collected Hadith reports are the foundations of historical writing * Ibn Ishaq’s Sira and every traditional biographies of the prophet are essentially a collection of Hadith reports which represents the Prophets Life The Science Of Hadith: (pg. 89) * The Hadith report was the basic unit of Islamic literature and scholarship and the primary means of preserving information from the past * Before Ibn Ishaq came into play, the Hadith was not just about the prophet but it carried several different maters such as the lives of the Hebrew patriarchs, administrative decisions of the Caliphs, or historical reports of any kind * By the time of Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad was the main focus of Hadith collectors * The reason for this central focus is obvious, it’s because Muslims believe Muhammad had a perfect life and his words and actions were one of the foundations of Islamic Law * Hadith par excellence was Hadith traced back to the Prophet Muhammad * To make this clear, scholars gave other historical reports a separate name, it was called Athar so that the term Hadith can be reserved for Prophetic Traditions * Compling a Sira was a method of filing a report about the Prophet * For Example, the Hadith could be used to provide a basis for legal decisions, and one of the earliest collections of Hadith is a digest of legal opinions from the scholar Malik Ibn Anas entitled * Hadith could also be used to provide background to the Quran, forming the sub-genre of Asab-Al-Nuzul(Occasions of Revelation) * Or Hadith collections could simply function as respositories of historical trivia * Collections ofAwail Hadith function as a sort of earlyArab Islamic Guiness Book Of World Records by storing information about famous firsts- From the first Islamic martyr to the first to use the toothpick * Another significant category of the Hadith is the Hadith Qudsi(A direct word from God which was revealed to Muhammad through Gabriel but did not find its way into the Quran) * The whole towering edifice of tradtitional Islamic learing is built upon the building blocka of Hadith, and looming over the whole enterprise is a crucial question: How does one kno if a Hadith is authentic ? * The Muslim specialists of the Hadith had one answer for this, to know if its authentic, one must study the record of its transmission the Isnad( literally support). If each oth the transmitters listed in the Isnad was a trustworth character, and so long as the chain of transmission is complete and continuous, then the report should be deemed reliable * To Hadith specialists of the tenth century and later to make use of hadith in a prophetic biography, a legal manual, or a Quran commentary was useless unless on had first accomplished the more fundamental task of sifting reliable from unreliable traditions * The search for knowledge Talib Al Ilm is glorified in the tradition literature itself, and the heroes of this process are the scholars who travelled ceaselessly in order to collect hadith and to make good the promises enshrined in hadith. “One who travels a road in search of knowledge, God will have him travel one of the roads of paradise” * The signature activity of the great Muhaddithun was not travel, however, but the much more sedentary actifvity of sifting and evaluating traditions * Eventually as time passed, certain Hadiths were referred to as sahi(correct) Hadis such as the Hadith of Abu-Dawud,Al-tirimdhi,Al Nasai and Ibn Maja The Origins Of Hadith: (pg. 91) * Hashim was an important figure who was the first person to institute the two caravan journeys that were made in the summer and the winter by the Quraysh to help poor Muslims * Hashim was also the first to provide a Tharid, a kind of broth in which bread is broken, which according to Ibn Ishaqs sources was a means of providing for hungry Meccans in lean years * This trade that occurred with the Quraysh would be of greatinterest to historians that are exploring early Islamic trade * Ibn Al Kalbi knows a lot more about the Caravan trading than Ibn Ishaq * Hashim was able to get attention of the Byzentaine emperor by cooking tharid in Syria * The agreements between Hashim and the Syrian traders was called Ilaf * Scholars also argue that the Quraysh also travelled to Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, etc. * Sura 106 gves most information about the Quraysh family * Overall, the tales of the Hadith are generally fought over because of different traditions and therefore, it is difficult to arrive to a conclusion as to which tales are accurate and which are not In Quest Of The Historical Muhammad: (pg. 94) * Readers whose prior knowledge of the origins of Islam comes from popular writing and the fact is the history they read was actually not history but exegesis * Scholars such as Crone, Cook, Hawting, and others are the recent fruits of scepticism and they question the reliability of the sources for the life of Muhammad * Ignaz Goldziher was an important figure in the history of Islamic origins and he was a Hungarian Islamicist * Goldziher states “The Hadith will not serve as a document of then infancy of Islam, but rather as a reflection of the tendencies which appeared in the community during the more mature stages of its development” * Hadith reflects historical reality, to be sure but it is the historical reality of the Ummayad and the earlyAbbasid Empires, not seventh-centuryArabia * Johns Wansbrough, a scholar argues that the Hadith literature ir largely exegetical in origin; that is, that the bulk of the tradition literature is closely tied to the interpretation of the Quran * He argues that the Hadith originated not out of actual historical events, but out of the propensity of early Muslims to tell stories related to the Quran * John Burton, a scholar that came after Wansbrough supports Wansbroughs theory of the Hadith and argues tjay the only reality the Hadith reflects, is a literary reality * The origins of Hadith he claims had nothing to do with the real life and everything to do with the problem of interpreting scripture * If these sceptics claims turn out to be right, then the story of Muhammad’s life told in the last chapter cammot confidently be read as history * Four scholars argue for the creation of the Hadith which can be because of Political and theological squabbles Goldziher argues, or out of early legal debates as Schacht claims, or simply out of the need to the Quran as Burton suggested, but it cannot be confidently traced to any real events of the Prophets lifetime The Sira and the Shaping of an Islamic Worldview: (pg. 96) * Although the story of Muhammad can’t be confidently read in the hadith due to the claims of these scholars, it still tells us a great deal about the origins of Islam * Without the Biography of Muhammad, the would be no Islam that we would recognize as such * The assumption is that those who first formulated the story of Muhammad in a coherent way were, in some sense, the originators of Islam * Its further important to understand that the best way to understand how Islam came into being is to understand the class of scholars The “Ulama” who were responsible for the growth of the Hadith literature and the formulation of the story of Muhammad * As we have seen, The Quran is dependent upon the story of Muhammad, the Hadith literature for it’s interpretation, and a large part of Ibn Ishaqs Sira is clearly intended to help us to understand particular pjrases pf the Quran * Much of what Ibn Ishaq passes on, in other words is what Jewish scholars would call Midrash, stories which are meant to help us understand scripture * We have already seen that the Prophetic biography suggested by traditional Muslim scholars functioned as a commentary on the Quran and they used it as such * Their assumption however, was that the story of the Prophet’s life could explain scripture because it described what actually happened * Ibn Ishaq discusses in his Sira that Muhammad was regarded as the “miraculous” being among all Muslims because many miracles occurred with the Prophet * Awhole genre of tradition literature is dedicated to miraculous proofs of the Prophecy known as “DelailAl- Nubuwwa” * For many modern people, miracles are simply a belief of superstition, and for many modern Muslims there are also theological reasons to want miracles to disappear because the Quran strongly implies that Muhammad wrought no miracles * As a matter of dogma, many mdern Muslims and non-Muslims agree that Muhammad could not possibly have performed any mracles * To the contrary, accounts of the miraculous are central to several key themes of the Sira: The uniqueness and purity of the prophet, the recognition of Muhammads prophethood by Christians and jews, and the abundant blessing or Baraka that flowed from his person * Isma- Purity * Masum- Innocent/Impeccable * The Jews and Christians saw many miracles that occurred with the Prophet such as Angels shielding him, etc. * The point to be emphasised from all this is that the Hadith and Sira literature grew up in an environment of powerful stereotypes about what the Holy Man or Prophet should be like, and these stereotypes had a strong shaping effect on the Biography of Muhammad * Amodel behaviour of the Prophet was called Sunnah * The practical result of the idea of Sunna was to place an enormous weight of significance on every aspect of the Prophets life * His every action and words were essentially the law for Muslims Brown: Islamic Law: (pg. 149) The Coffee Debate: (pg. 149) * Arabic accounts of the earliest uses of coffee agree that the first to drink the brew were the late fifteenth century Yemeni Sufis, Muslim mystics, who found the effects of caffeine enlivening to their late-night devotional excercises * Some Sufis even seem to have made coffee-drinking part of their ritual practice of Dhikr which is the remembrance of God * Yeminis carried ther coffee habit with them to major cities of the Middle East * By the end of the first decade of the sixteenth century coffee and coffee houses had become popular enough to spark serious controversy * The main question and debate over coffe by Scholars was that is the drink itself permissible or is it prohibited? * Seciondly, regardless of the permissibility of the drink itself, were the social gatherings amd activities that had come to be associated with the drinking of coffee permissible? * On the scond question, the Meccan jurists quickly agreed; given what they knew of coffee inspired gatherings, such gatherings were unedifying and should be suppressed by the authorities * On the first question however, the legal experts waffled, arguing first that coffee should be considered permissible until proven otherwise, but covering their tracks by suggesting that if coffee could be proven to produce intoxication (or other harmful effects), it might be declared a prohibited substance * On the latter point, the legal scholars deferred to expert medical witnesses and they gave the harmful effects of coffee after which, coffee was banned in Mecca, and stores of coffee were burned and those who were involved in the illicit activity were flogged * The local Meccan decision did not stick, and in the following decades the fortunes of coffee and coffee drinking oscillated * When the question was referred to Cairo, the official Mamluk religious establishment refused to endorse absolute prohibition, and Meccans enthusiastically returned to their coffee drinking ways * Fourteen years later, in 1525, another Jurist known as Ibn al-Arraq once again ordered all of the coffee houses of mecca shut down not because he considered\red coffee prohibited but because of the reprehensible activities associated with coffee establishments * Ibn al-Arraq died the next year and the coffee houses reopened again * In 1534, and anti-coffee actvist in Cairo preached against coffee and instigared a riot in which coffee houses were attacked and rival pro-and anti-coffee mobs had at each other * The conflict was resolved when a leading judge decided in favour or the pro-coffee faction * Finally in 1544, an Ottoman decree reportedly prohibited coffee, but without lasting effects * The jurists of Mecca were faced with the task of determining weather coffee in the eyes of God would be permissible or non-permissible, and they did their best to prove weather it was or not * The drinking of coffee and all other action must fall into one of five catagories: Obligatory (Wajib), Recommended(Mandub), neutral (Mubah), discouraged (Makruh) or prohibited(haram) * The basic task of Islamic jurists was to determine where particular actions fall on this five point scale and this is what the Meccan Ulama set out to do in the case of coffee drinking Revelation and Reason: (pg. 151) * The problem was theoretically a simple question of discovering what God had t say abvout coffee * For this task, the scholars had at their disposal two sources of revelation which was the very word of God, the Quran and the normative example of the Prophet, the Sunna * Both the Sunna and the Quran were Wahi, revealed to Muhammad by Gabriel and they differed only in form, not in authority * Of the two sources, the Sunna was in practice the more useful since the prophet had expressed himself on such a vast array of practical topics * The Sunna was challenging to work with because it could only be mined from the Hadith, and the hadith literature was rather rich in forgeries, contradictions and uncertainties * There were two possibilities to observe weather coffee was permissible or non- permissible * The first one is to consider a substance proven permissible unless it is proven otherwise, and this was believed because the assumption is that if God had forseen coffee as a bad substance, he would
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