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Religions of the Middle East

Middle East Religions: Islam & Judaism
by

Matt Huss

on 25 May 2010

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Transcript of Religions of the Middle East

Religions of the Middle East:
Islam vs. Judaism Islam: Definition "Islam" is an Arabic word which means: "Submission to the will of Allah"

-The religion of Islam teaches that in order to achieve true peace of mind and surety of heart, one must submit to Allah and live according to His Divinely revealed Law.

-"Muslim" means one who submits to the will of God, regardless of their race, nationality or ethnic background. Pre-Islam: History
The Arabian Peninsula was originally the home of nomadic peoples who coped with the desert climate by migrating every season. When some began to establish settlements around the fifth century BC, many chose Mecca.

The religious culture of much of the Middle East was Polytheistic. There were gods for various situations in life. In Mecca, the Kaba (Cube), a large cube shaped building housed 360 idols from all the tribes of Arabia. The Kaba was the center of Arabian religious life. Mohammed
It was in this world Mohammad Ibn Abdallah was born in the year 570 AD in the city of Mecca. His father died before he was born and his mother Amina died when he was 6 years old. Al-Muttalib his grandfather took charge of the youth and died 2 years later. Abu Talib his uncle adopted young Mohammed into his family and raised him as his own son. Mohammed's Vision:
At age 40 Mohammed had his first vision in the year 610 AD. He was in a cave on Mt. Hera and thought he was demon possessed. Mohammed proclaimed Allah as the one true god and rejected the idol worship of Mecca. Khadijah, his wife, was Mohammed first convert to Islam. Few listened to Mohammed’s message and animosity grew against him as he confronted the idol worshippers and preached his religion to Mecca. Religious Conflict:
The monotheistic followers of Islam were in constant conflict with the polytheistic idol worshipers in Mecca. In Mecca the situation became intolerable for the Muslims and in 622 they made what has become known as the Hejira or flight.




In small groups the 150 Muslims of Mecca left for the city of Medina 280 miles to the north. When word reached those of Mecca about the escape to Medina they tried to kill Mohammed.
The Muslim Conversion:
For years the polytheistic tribes waged war against the Muslim followers of Mohammad. The Muslim army finally is victorious. The city submits to Mohammed and his warriors and accepts him as prophet. Mohammed goes to the Kaba and destroys the 360 idols in the structure. From Mecca, the “Muslims” wage Jihad on the surrounding cities forcing them to accept Islam as their religion and Mohammed as their prophet. Religious Devotion:
Lifetime Observance of the Five Pillars of Islam Niyyah- The performing of rituals accompanied by sincere intentions. Failure to demonstrate niyyah is like never actually performing the ritual. Five Pillars of Islam
1.) Shahadah: Bearing Witness
2.) Salat: Daily Prayer
3.) Zakat: Almsgiving (Providing for the poor)
4.) Sawm: Ritual Fasting
5.) Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca SALAT:
- Five prayer obligations during the day.
- adhan: vocal call to prayer
-call to prayer made from the ma'dhana
-mu'adhdhins: individuals who make the call to prayer
-starts with "Allahu akhbar" (God is most great)
-wudu': washing before prayer
- Always pray in the direction of Mecca, Saudi Arabia
-Prayers can be done at a mosque, home or at places designated for prayer
-Women and men never pray together.
-Imam: Prayer leader Prayer is obligatory and must be preformed five times a day
1. Dawn (Fajr)
2. Immediately after noon (Dhuhr)
3. Mid-Afternoon ('Asr)
4. Sunset (Maghrib)
5. Early Night (Isha')

The significance of prayer lies in one's maintaining a continuous link to God five times a day, which helps the worshipper avoid misdeeds if he/she performs the prayers sincerely. In addition it promotes discipline, God-consciousness and placing one's trust in Allah alone. Alms-tax Zakat: Almsgiving (Providing for the poor)

Rationale = Muslims believe that everything belongs to God, and wealth is held by man as a trust. Sawm: Ritual Fasting

-Ramadan: Month long fast- Ninth month of the Islamic calendar year

No eating, drinking, smoking or sexual relations during daylight hours.

Young, sick, military and elderly are exempt

Intended to focus on family, community, less fortunate and devotion
Hajj: To make a pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, at least once in one's lifetime.

Only one of the five pillars that is not a required obligation.
Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca

-Annually in the 12th month of the Islamic calendar
-Last five days
-The 5th pillar is not an obligation.
-ihram: white garment worn by the pilgrims.
-tawaf: walking around the ka'bah at least 7 times.
-wukuf: prayer session on a wide plain outside of Mecca
Dietary Guidelines:
Muslims are allowed to eat what is "good" (Qur'an 2:168) - that is, what is pure, clean, wholesome, nourishing, and pleasing to the taste. In general, everything is allowed (halal) except what has been specifically forbidden.

Only eat when you are hungry.

Stomach should be 1/3 solid, 1/3 liquids & 1/3 Air.

Stomach should be Food is not to be wasted & sharing meals is a obligation.

Guidelines:
1.) No intoxicating beverages or altering substances (caffeine allowed).
2.) No pork products
3.) No flesh that is not slaughtered properly.
4.) No food that is blessed by any other gods name.
5.) No reptiles or rodents, birds of prey, insects (except locusts) or animals with claws or fangs.
6.) Seafood is allowed.
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