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Religions of the Middle East 7th Grade
Transcript of Religions of the Middle East 7th Grade
Prominent Religions in Southwest Asia
Monotheistic Religion (one God)
Judaism traces its roots back to ABRAHAM, a man born in Mesopotamia in about 2000 B.C.
Abraham was one of the first people to say that he believes in only one God. At the time, in his society, people worshipped many different gods.
The Torah, the first five books in the Hebrew scriptures, says that God made an agreement with Abraham, promising to put him at the head of a new nation if he would dedicate himself and the Hebrew nation to the worship of one God.
Abraham left Mesopotamia and came to a land called Canaan (part of present day Israel) which he believed to be the land that God had promised him and his descendants.
Here, the Hebrews lives and worshipped the God (Yahweh) they believed would protect them for their faithfulness.
At an old age, Abraham's wife Sarah had a son named Isaac. Abraham, his son Isaac, and his grandson Jacob, are seen as the founders of the Hebrew nation. Jacob's 12 sons are viewed as the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Hebrews lived in an area surrounded by more powerful nations and around 1300-1200 BC, the Hebrews were forced into slavery in Egypt.
After years of suffering, Moses, who took his people to the sinai desert to escape capture, led the Hebrews out of slavery.
This escape is known as the "exodus" and is remembered each year by the celebration of Passover in the Jewish religious calendar.
While in the desert, God renewed his promise to the Hebrews and gave to them the 10 Commandments
After many years, they returned to Canaan and lived in 12 self-governing tribes. The largest tribe was known as Judea, from which the name Judaism and Jews came from.
David established his capital in the city of Jerusalem, and Saul later built a big temple there and dedicated it to the one true God of the Jewish people.
Around 1000 BC, the Hebrew people united under a series of kings, Saul, David, and Soloman
Struggles with more powerful neighbors continued, and the kingdom was divided with Judea in the south and Israel in the north.
The temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD and only the western wall remains. The Jewish people were forced out of their lands and were scattered to other areas of the world. This is called the "diaspora".
The importance of Jerusalem and of the remaining western wall continued to be important to the Jews. They believe that the ancient lands of Judea and Israel remained part of the promise they had made with God.
A religious movement that grew out of Judaism during the time of Roman rule in Palestine.
The founding figure in Christianity is Jesus, a man who was born in Bethlehem in Judea to a Jewish family in about 4 B.C.
He lived a modest life in Nazareth as a carpenter until he began to attract attention as a teacher and a preacher when he was about 30 years old.
His followers were known as disciples, and their writings are what is known about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
While Jesus followed Jewish law and beliefs, he spoke of a more personal relationship with God, focusing on both the love of God and the generous treatment of neighbors and people you know.
The first four books of the New Testament (in the Bible) are made of these writings. They are known as the Gospels.
Some of Jesus's followers claimed that he was the Messiah, or "savior of men."
Jewish leaders claimed that Jesus encouraged these beliefs and and therefore was guilty against the Jewish teachings.
The Roman ruler at that time found Jesus a threat to Roman authority and sentenced him to death by crucifixion, a form of execution where one is nailed to the cross and left to hang there until dead.
After his death, his followers believed that he was able to rise from the dead and walk among them again before going to heaven.
His followers continued to call him Messiah, or the Greek "Christos," which was shortened to "Christ." They also called him "Son of God."
Jesus' rising from the dead spread quickly, and along with his teachings, became the basis of a new religion called, "Christianity."
His followers emphasized the new religion's emphasis on accepting all those who believe.
They angered the Romans, as they refused to worship the many Roman gods and goddesses.
Many of the early Christians were put to death by Roman authorities, but the religion continued to grow.
By the year 300A.D., Christianity has spread to most parts of the Roman world.
In 313 A.D., the Roman Emperor Constantine officially ended the harsh treatment of Christians and made Christianity a religion approved by the empire.
Islam is a religion that began in the city of Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula in the 600's A.D.
Mecca was a trading center located along the Red Sea coast connecting the Byzantine Empire with the shipping and trading centers coming from the Indian Ocean and the far east.
As a stop on this trade route, many people visited Mecca. In the center of town, stood a rectangular building called Ka'aba, which held several hundred idols inside.
Over hundreds of years statues of many other idols and gods were placed in the building.
People in Mecca believed that this building was built by Abraham and his son, Ishmal to honor God for saving them from dying in the desert.
Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 A.D.
He was orphaned at a young age and his uncle raised him to be a merchant.
He married an older woman and took over her business and became well known in the community.
At the age of 40, while spending an evening in one of the caves surrounding Mecca, Muhammad heard the voice of Gabriel, an angel, calling him to tell the word of God to the people.
After much worry and talking with his wife, Muhammad decided that the voice was real and decided to tell people in Mecca what he heard.
He told people that they needed to rededicate themselves to one God, whom he called Allah. Those who were willing to believe this were called "Muslims," or "ones who submit" to the will of God.
Many in Mecca worried that his teachings would anger some who worshipped idols, and therefore hurt their businesses. So some followers began to face threats and violence,
To escape all the threats, Muhammad moved about 200 miles north of Mecca to a place named Medina, which means, "the city of the prophet."
This move is known as the "Hijrah" adn the date serves as the first year as the Islamic calendar. The people of Medina accepted Muhammad as both a political and religious leader, and many joined the new religion of Islam.
Muhammad returned to Mecca as the head of an army in 630 A.D., and the city surrendered rather than go to war. One of his first acts was to go to the Ka'abba and remove all the idols and restore to the worship of one God.
Mecca and the Ka'aba remained central to Muslim worship
After Muhammad's death, all of his followers gathered the teachings of Gabriel and put them into the book Quran (the holy book of Islam)
Muslim's believe in one God, and his last prophet is Muhammad. Much of the Old and New Testament are in the Quran, so Muslims see the Quran as the final and complete word of God.
All Muslims believe that they must meet five basic obligations called the Five Pillars.
The first is Shahada the belief that "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.
The second is Salet: Praying five times a day facing Mecca.
The third is Zakat: Charity to the poor
The fourth is sawm: no eating or drinking in the daylight hours of Ramaden, the 10th month in the Muslim calendar.
The final is Hajj: to make the pilgrimage to Mecca sometime during their lifetime.
For Muslims, the Quran offers a handbook for leading a respectable life.
Some Muslim countries base their legal code on the law of the Quran.
After Muhummad's death, Islam spread very quickly because their armies were able to defeat empires that had weakened over the years.