REL 2300 Final: relfinal

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11 May 2017
Islam (“There is no god but God”)
Before Islam
Hagar- egyptian slave, concubine to Abraham, and her son, Ismai’il put out into the
desert valley of Mecca
Abraham and Isma’il build the Ka’bah- the holiest sanctuary in Islam
Mecca was a trade post where the Ka’bah was populated by many deities (before the
Prophet) including statues of Jesus and Mary
The Prophet before Islam
Born to Quraysh tribe 570 CE
Family respected in the merchant culture of Mecca with close ties to the Ka’bah
Grew up in poverty, orphaned
Married Khadijah, a wealthy tradeswoman
The revelation of the Qur’an begins (ninth month of the year) when the Prophet is 40 yrs
old (c610 CE)
Ramadan- begins with Hilal (the crescent)l Laylat al-Kadr “the night of power”- most
holy night of the year; ends with Eid al-Fitr “festivity of breaking the fast”
fasting is from dawn to sundown
Suhoor- predawn meal
Iftar- evening meal
Angel Gabriel took a human-like form and commanded the Prophet to recite
Revelations continue
The One God who speaks, calling people to Islam (complete, trusting surrender to God)
First converts: Khadijah, Ali (cousin), Abu Bakr (friend), Zayd (loyal freed slave)
Begins teaching publicly after three years
Persecutions begin
Muezzin- the one who calls the people to prayer from a high place
The first one is the Abyssinian slave Bilal
Story illustrates the Prophet’s disregard for racial and class distinctions
The Night of Ascension
Hijrah- migration, 622 CE from Mecca to Medina, inaugurates The Muslim Era, marks
change from persecution to appreciation of the Prophet’s message
Muhammad’s authority is established, long tradition of Islamic social administration
War between Mecca and Medina, Muhammad and Medina win and Mecca is brought to
conversion- purification of the Ka’bah
Northern Africa and Persia campaign for unification of the global family under God
Death of muhammad
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Unclear who would be the successor
Election of the first caliph (successor of the Prophet) 632 CE- Abu Bakr
Qur’an (Word of God)
Authoritative text established under the third caliph in 650 CE
Must be in original language- arabic
Recited before ever written down
Multiple layers of meaning: 1. Reference to a particular person/situation 2. A spiritual
lesson 3. A deeper mystical significance
Healing properties
Islam is an iconoclastic religion/tradition
Jewish prophets and Jesus carried the message of One God but the message had been
distorted by human beings
Paraclete (advocate)- new testament, Jesus prophesying about the coming of
Allah (the god) in Arabic
Hadith - reports of the Prophet’s sayings and exemplary actions (Sunnah); varying
Central Teachings
The Shahadah- There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God”
Oneness, eternal unity of God and humanity; Allah’s ninety-nine names all refer
to attributes of the One; encompasses all of life and all lives
One religion inclusive of all others, the prophets of other traditions; Muhammad is the
last and final authority
Shirk- associating anything else with divinity except the one God
Kufr- ungratefulness to God, unbelief, atheism
Shirk and kufr are the two primary human sins
Islamic Jurisprudence
Shari’ah- sacred law of Islam based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Muhammad;
details worship and social ethics
Shift to social and political emphasis meant a shift to interpretation and application in
light of changing social/cultural/political circumstances
Figh (human understanding of Shari’ah) Consensus of opinion; ulama (legal scholar);
iitihad (diligence; independent reasoning; interpretation); fatwa (legal opinion)
Four sources
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