Islam Book Notes.docx

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McGill University
Religious Studies
RELG 204
Charles Douglas Fletcher

Religion book notes— Timeline: 570 ca: Birth of Muhammad 595: marriage to Khadija 610: muhammad’s call to prophecy by Gabriel at Hijra 610-622: prefoundations of the umma in the meccan phase of prophet Muhammad  Attracting a following  Teaching a Quranic message  Developing political and leadership skills  Growing persecution of Muhammad and followers by Meccan oligarchy o Oligarchy: ruled by the elites: a flawed version of an aristocracy  Seeking a secure base for museums 622: Hijra—to Yathrib (Medina)  Founding of the umma, the Muslim community 624: Muslim victory in the battle of the badr against invading meccan punitive force  Regardless of other battles, the battle badr established a triumphant attitude and provided a firm conviction that would sustain the Muslims  Change of the qibla (prayer direction) from Jerusalem to Mecca 630: Muhammad and the Muslims conquest of mecca and destruction of the idols at the ka’ba  Rededication of the sanctuary to monotheistic worship  Islam triumphant throughout Arabia 632: death of Muhammad  Selection of Abu Bakr to be first caliph (deputy) and founding of the institution 632+: spread of Islamic empire, conquests extending from the Atlantic to India and central East Asia Scripture and tradition: Parallels between Quran and Hebrew Bible  Quran was collected without vowels, fully articulated script o Consonantal Arabic text—unconsonantal Hebrew text of the bible as well  Both shorthand and required fair knowledge of the language to use with facility o Masorah- mesoretic text: voweled Hebrew text o Muqri-on: Quranic textual scholars Monotheism:  Islam: surrender, and thus one who has surrendered to god = muslim  Iman: faith, one who has faith = mu’min (a believer)  Believe in Divine unity o The belief in the absolute unity and sovereignty of god—tawhid  Face value: points directly to the unity with god  Action level: commitment to reflect unity in religious allegiance o Shirk: opposite of tawhid, it is an unforgivable sin—denial of god’s true name. It makes one a “mashruk” -- idolater  Belief in angels o To believe in angels, is to believe in the reality of God’s angels, who are his faithful and unquestioning servants o Made of light o Also must believe in Jinn (made of fire)  Revealed scriptures and prophets o Belief in divinely revealed scriptures entrusted to human prophets chosen by god o Muhammad was the seal of prophets  The last judgment o Belief in a final judgment at the end of time o Yawm el iyama yawm al din  Divine decree and predestination o Belief in god’s ultimate authority over all that occurs (god’s will)  Sufis: mystics o Inward and contemplative expression of islam o Characteristic: renunciation of materialism and seeking a life of spiritual poverty “faqr”  Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy o Doing is more important than knowing o Law is more important than theology o Bias of Islam in favour of law: orthopraxy (right practice) Authority in Islam:  Muhammad’s sunna as a perfect pattern for muslim life o Sunna as a guide for umma o Science of traditions: hadith o Kitba from rihla o Both collections of hadith= sahih (sound) o Isnad: chain of transmitters o Matn: the report itself  The Shari’ia as islam’s supreme authority o Consensus has always been a powerful force in establishing authority o Shari’a: law of islam  God’s ordaining of the law  under the shari’a  Mutual relationship with god o God speaks through Muhammad  Jurisprudence: Usul al Fiqh  the sources of jurisprudence o Quran o Sunna o Ijma (consensus) o Qiyas (arguing by analogies) Worship and ritual in Islam  Jihad: exertion of the way of god o People sometimes misuse this meaning to guide their aggressive actions in regards to “anti-Islam” o “In the name of God” o “Holy war”  Islam life cycle rites o Birth and childhood rites  Father whispers in the ear  life in devotion to god set to motion o Circumcision o Marriage o Death Ethics in Islam  Ethical monotheism: god is the source of all values and norms (a5laq)  5 categories/principles of actions: orthopraxy o Every action is regarded in terms of intention  wajib – obligations  5 pillars of islam for example o rewarded if fulfilled and punished if not and punishment is by god  Mandub -- recommended  Extra prayer  Sunna  Mubah—permissible  Something may be permissible in that it does not entail disobeying god  Eat pork if there is no other food  permissible if it is a life and death situation  Neither rewarded nor punished  Makruh – Reprehensible  Not doing what is recommended is makruh  Divorce: makruh  Not forbidden, but avoidance is rewarded by god  Halal: acts and foods o Makruh= things that fall between haram and halal  Haraam – forbidden  Impure  Abominable, sinful etc o Pork o Alcohol o Murder o Adultery o Irreverence  Both punished for committing, but rewarded for avoidance  Righteousness as true piety o Law and ethics extremely intertwined o Bir: true piety and true piety as righteousness o Righteousness  law = muslim o Not abandoning worship o Severe criticism towards empty formalism and the notion that righteousness/piety is a bribe offered by god o Actions benefit onself and others o Worship is a privilege and a duty o An act is truly moral if I is done for the sake of god first  All about intention  Kant: moral only if done in pure duty, not for self-satisfaction  German enlightenment philosopher  Fear and Friendship o The goodness at the core of god’s being, expressed in mercy and compassion, is the basis of Islam as ethical monotheism o God’s willingness to be in a mutual relationship with thinking, willing, loving beings o God is a friend of the believer, and thus the believer is privileged with the invitation to be god’s friend o Not an easy amiability, as it entails accountability o Allows his creatures to pursue their lives in freedom o Friendship and fear both must be intertwined o Religious vs. nonreligious fear  Religious fear: involves respect, awe, moral awareness and devotion to god  Taqwa: reverential fear (guards against evil and immorality  god’s moral gift to human kind)  Must be developed throughout a life time of devotion and discipline  Non-religious fear: general, ordinary fear of harm and evil o God and humankind are not “friends, but are in a moral relationship with eachother  Muslims think globally but act locally o Enjoining of good and prohibiting of evil  must be carried out at the individual-- personal level, as well as the societal-governmental level as well, or it will not be portrayed in the manner the quran wishes it to be  Devil in details – iblis o Perverse evil that defies rational and responsible awareness o Refused to bow down to adam when god commanded him to o Iblis: jinn  Creatures that had the ability to discern what path they wish to choose, and thus can be either good or evil o Rival and enemy of humankind o Persuasive, not actually strong o “guarding against evil”: being aware of iblis’ presence and temptations at all times evil must be faced with courage, discernment and decision and taqwa enables this o one cannot blame the devil on their actions, as the fitra enables them to choose between right and wrong/justice and injustice and quran discusses the innate human moral compass one is blessed with at birth o fitra: moral equipment present, its use is dependent on the person and their intentions o Personification of evil and is closely entwined in the human condition  Boundary of law
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