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Chapter 6

RLG Chapter 6.doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Kenneth Derry

Chapter 6: Islam Background • Islam: means “the peace that comes when one’s life is surrendered to God,” and people that adhere to Islam are called Muslims. • Islam begins not with Muhammad but with God, similar to Christianity but it differs only in using the word Allah. • Muslims believe to only have one God, like Christianity. The Seal of the Prophets • Muhammad: born in Mecca in 570 AD, he was God’s mouthpiece and the prophet through whom Islam reached its definitive form and called “The Seal of the Prophets.” • When Muhammad was born, the world was ignorant and chaotic; they needed a deliverer. • Muhammad went to Mount Hira frequently to seek solitude. • Allah: the creator, supreme provider and determiner of human destiny. • Hanifs: worshiped Allah exclusively and Muhammad was one of them. • Muhammad’s first convert was his wife, Khadija because of the story he told her about the angel he heard on Mount Hira. • Muhammad only claimed one miracle, the inception of the Koran. • Reason’s for the Hostility of Muslims About Islam: o Its uncompromising monotheism threatened polytheistic beliefs and the considerable revenue that was coming to Mecca from pilgrimages to its 360 shrines. o Its moral teachings demanded an end to the promiscuity that citizens clung to. o Its social content challenged an unjust order because he was insisting that in the sight of his Lord, all people were equal. The Migration That Led To Victory • Muhammad’s teachings had won a firm hold in Yathrib/Medina, a city needing a leader due to its chaotic nature. • Abu Bakr: Muhammad’s close companion. • Hijra: the migration of Muhammad that Muslims regard as the turning point in world history and is the year (622 AD) from which they date their calendar. • On 632 AD, Muhammad dies with virtually all of Arabia under his control. The Standing Miracle • Koran: Islam’s spiritual text; it means recitation (most recited book in the world). • God’s Standing Miracle: only major miracle God worked through him was writing the Koran. • Koran is divided into 114 chapters or surahs, and are arranged in order of decreasing length. • Muslims believe that the Koran is the earthly facsimile of an Uncreated Koran in the same way Christians consider Jesus to be the human incarnation of God. • Muslins regard the Old and New Testaments as sharing two defects from which the Koran is free: o They record only portions of the truth. o The Jewish and Christian Bibles were partially corrupted in transmission, a fact that explains the occasional discrepancies that occur between their accounts and parallel ones in the Koran. • Muslims have preferred to teach others the language in which they believe God spoke finally with incomparable force and directness, Arabic (no translations). • In the Koran, God speaks in the first person and Allah describes himself and makes known his laws while in the Old and New Testaments, these do not take the form of Divine speech and merely report things that happened. Basic Theological Concepts • The basic theological concepts of Islam are virtually identical with those of Judaism and Christianity. • 4 Theological Concepts: o God: Islam centers on its religious Ultimate, God, immaterial and invisible. o Creation: the world was created by a deliberate act of Allah’s will.  The world of matter is both real and important.  Being the handiwork of Allah, the material world must likewise be good. o Human Self: the human’s fundamental nature is unalterably good so they are entitled to self-respect and a healthy self-image (concept of ghaflah or original sin). o Day of Judgment: the individuality of the human soul is everlasting, for once it is created, it never dies.  Muslims consider judgment to be one of the illusions of modernity that we can slip quietly away and not be noticed so long as we live decent and harmless lives and do not draw attention to ourselves.  In the Reckoning, the soul will repair to either the heavens or the hells.  In the heavens, we are treated to fountains, cool shades and chaste houris in gardens beneath which rivers flow.  In the hells, there are burning garments, molten drinks, maces of iron and fire that splits rocks into fragments. • Muslims see monotheism as Islam’s contribution not simply to the Arabs but to the religion. • Muslims do not believe in Jesus as the Son of God. • Obligations of Man: o Gratitude for the life that has been received. o Surrendering or committing wholeheartedly of oneself to a cause, or in friendship and love  to be a slave to Allah is to be freed from other forms of slaver like greed, anxiety or the desire for personal status. • Abraham: the most important figure in the Koran for he passed the ultimate test of willingness to sacrifice his own son if that was required. • Each soul will be held accountable for its actions on earth with its future thereafter dependent upon how well it has observed God’s commands. The Five Pillars • Islam teaches people to talk the straight path, one that is straightforward, direct and explicit. • 4 Great Stages of God’s Revelation to mankind: o God revealed the truth of monotheism, God’s oneness, through Abraham. o God revealed the Ten Commandments through Moses. o God revealed the Golden Rule through Jesus. o God revealed the Koran. • 5 Pillars of Islam: the principles that regulate the private life of Muslims in their dealings with God. o Islam’s Creed or Confession of Faith or Shahadah: there is no god but the God and Muhammad is God’s prophet. o Canonical Prayer: the Koran adjures the faithful to “be constant” in prayer to keep their lives in perspective and to give thanks.  Muslims need to pray 5 times a day; on the arising, when the sun reaches its zenith, its mid-decline, sunset and before retiring.  In Islam, no day of the week is set apart from the others like Sabbath is for the Jews and Sunday for the Christians.  Muslims are expected to pray in mosques when they can and the Friday noon prayer is emphasized.  Muslims pray in the direction of Mecca, even when one prays in solitude.  Standard prayer themes are praise, gratitude and supplication. o Charity: those who have much should help lift the burden of thos
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