POLS 1402 Lecture 12: Ch. 14 Reading Questions

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23 Feb 2021
Chapter 14:
The Expansive Realm of Islam
Chapter 14 Reading Questions:
1. How did Muhammad's background influence his beliefs and
the early development of Islam? The prophet Muhammad came
into this world of nomadic Bedouin herders and merchants. He was
born into a reputable family of merchants in Mecca, but he lost both
of his parents by age 6. He lived with his grandfather and uncle and
had a difficult early life. He worked for a women named Khadija, a
wealthy woman who he ended up marrying. By age 30 Muhammad
had established himself as a merchant. Muhammad had a basic
understanding of both Judaism and Christianity. At about age 40,
Muhammad underwent a profound spiritual experience that
transformed his life and left a deep mark on world history. His
experience left him with convictions that there was only one God.
One of the five pillars is to give relief to the poor, which is especially
meaningful to Muhammad because he was poor as a child.
2. What were the fundamental tenets of Islam? The five pillars of
Islam are Muslims must acknowledge Allah as the only god and
Muhammad as his prophet, they must pray to Allah daily while facing
Mecca, they must observe a fast during the daylight hours of the
month of Ramadan, they must contribute alms for the relief of the
weak and poor, and lastly those who are physically and financially
able must undertake the hajj and make at least one pilgrimage to
3. After Muhammad died, what were the challenges faced by
and how were they resolved within the first century?
Muhammad had made no provision for a successor, and there was
serious division within the umma concerning the selection of a new
leader. Many of the towns and Bedouin clans that had recently
accepted Islam took the opportunity of Muhammad’s death to
renounce faith, reassert their independence, and break free from
Mecca’s control. Shortly after the death, advisors elected Abu Bakr to
serve as a caliph. These caliphs conquered the land back, and within a
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