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Transcript of Islamic Civilization
The next civilization and world-wide religion we'll discuss is Islam. Islam translates into "peace," and those who follow Islam are called Muslims. Like Judaism, Islam is an Abrahamic religion, as both claim Abraham as their ancestral father (Judaism through Abraham's son Isaac, Islam through his son Ishmael).
According to Muslim tradition, Allah revealed Islam's message to the prophet Muhammad about 1,400 years ago, making Islam the youngest of the three major monotheistic religions. The Muslim's holy book is the Qur'an.
Islam is the world's fastest-growing religion, with an estimated 1.5 billion followers.
History of Islam
Muhammad was born in the town of Mecca around
570 CE. He was orphaned at a young age and raised by an uncle. According to Islamic tradition, when Muhammad was 40, he retreated to a cave in the mountains near his town to mediate. It was here that he received his first revelation from Allah. He began preaching three years later, proclaiming "God is One" and encouraging complete surrender to Him.
Muhammad's message was not well-received, and he and his small group of followers retreated to Medina. Here, Muhammad united the conflicting tribes of the area. After eight years, Muhammad had amassed a following of about 10,000 people, and he conquered Mecca. Muhammad died in 632 C.E. By the time of his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula was Muslim.
Like Judaism, monotheism at the heart of the Islamic system of faith. For a Muslim, there is no God but Allah.
Why no images of Muhammad?
While the Qur'an does not explicitly forbid images of Muhammad, there are a few
(supplemental teachings) which have explicitly prohibited Muslims from creating visual depictions of figures. Most Muslims believe that visual depictions of all the prophets of Islam should be prohibited because they encourage idolatry.
The Prophet's name in Arabic calligraphy.
The Qur'an is composed of verses (
) that make up 114 chapters (
). Muslims believe the Qur'an to be verbally revealed through angel Jibrīl (Gabriel) from Allah to Muhammad gradually over a period of approximately 23 years.
The Qur'an was compiled into a single book shortly after Muhammad's death by order of the first
(successor) Abu Bakr.
(which means tradition) is another important source for Islamic teaching, as they record sayings of Muhammad or stories about him. These sayings and stories were recorded around the ninth century after being passed down orally.
Five Pillars of Islam
The Five Pillars of Islam are the foundation of Muslim life:
- Faith or belief in the Oneness of God and the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad
- Establishment of the daily prayers, performed five times a day
- Concern for and almsgiving to the n
- Self-purification through fasting
- The pilgrimage to Mecca for those who are able
First surah of the Holy Quran
Every year in the month of
, all Muslims fast from dawn until sundown--abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations with their spouses.
Allah states in the Qu'ran, "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn self-restraint." (Quran 2:183)
The ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca goes back to the time of Ibrahim, (Abraham). Hundreds of thousands converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj (during the final month of the lunar Islamic calendar) and perform a series of rituals, one of which includes counter-clockwise seven times around the
the cube-shaped building which acts as the Muslim direction of prayer.
The Kaaba is the most sacred site in Islam. Islamic tradition holds that Ibrahim and his son Ishmael built the Kaaba. All Muslims, despite where they are, face the Kaaba during prayer.
The Sufis - Islamic Mystics
Islam's mystics are the
, or those dedicated to Allah in all ways. Though they emerged around the seventh century, Sufis organized into monastic orders (like Christians) in the twelfth century. Notably, women were seens as equals in this society and could be leaders.
Above all, Sufis yearn to be as close to Allah as possible. To achieve this, the Sufis would chant, recite poems, or dance, hoping to bring about a transcendental, religious experience. The most well-known Sufi is Rumi, whose poetry is still widely read today.
Islam and Women
Though Islam discourages idol worship--and Muslims can pray anywhere without the need of any religious building--Muslims nonetheless began building elaborate structures called
in part to complete with the Byzantines.
One notable feature of the mosque is the minaret,
from which the faithful are called to prayer by a
Mosque of Sultan Suleyman (Istanbul)
Jihad - A Holy Struggle
Sunnis and Shias
are the two major denominations of Islam. Around 85% of the world's Muslims are Sunni.
Sunnis believe that Abu Bakr (Muhammad's father-in-law) was Muhammad's rightful successor. Shiites, however, believe that Muhammad's cousin Ali was divinely appointed, not Abu Bakr. The two groups are still fighting today.
The cave where Muhammad received messages from Allah.
Who is Allah?
Allah is the Arabic word for God. In Islam, there is no Trinity, but Muslims do recognize and revere Jesus as one of Allah's prophets.
Like Yaweh, there are accounts in pre-Islamic Arabia of Allah as just another deity, of Allah having sons and daughters, etc. This all changed with the Prophet Muhammad.
Allah in Arabic
Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him
It is expected for Muslims to add the phrase "peace be upon him" following the use of Muhammad's or any prophet's name. For example, a Muslim would say, "Jesus, peace be upon him, was the son of Mary."
Key Islamic Beliefs
There is No Other God but God
Similar to Judaism, Muslims believe Allah is all-powerful, all-knowing, and above all, an absolute unity.
Angels and Jinn
Some Muslims believe angels play very important roles in the heavenly realm and on earth. Gabriel revealed the words of Allah to Muhammad. Shaitan (Satan) rebelled against Allah and will be condemned to hell. Satan isn't a fallen angel, but rather is a jinn.
Jinn are similar to angels. Allah made them out of fire. They have free will and are mortal creatures who typically remain invisible. They eat, drink, marry, and carry on in similar ways to people.
The third belief is that the Qur'an is sacred. Muslims believe other holy scriptures preceded the Qur'an (the Torah, the Psalms, and the four Gospels) but that the Qur'an is Allah's final revelation and therefore the most important. It's important to note that most Muslims believe the other sacred texts are not the undiluted word of God due to the various changes made to them.
Muslims recognize a host of messengers whom Allah sent at different times to keep humanity on the right track, beginning with Adam and ending with Muhammad. Jesus is a revered prophet in Islam. Further, Muslims believe in the virgin birth and that Jesus ascended into heaven.
The Last Day
Islam portrays the day of judgement similarly
to the Book of Revelation, though it's a great deal more elaborate. The graves will open and all of humanity will be judged by Allah and either condemned to hell for eternity or rewarded with entrance to paradise.
Portrait of Rumi.
Rumi's followers soon formed the Whirling Dervishes, which you may be familiar with.
Compared to Western standards, women in Muslim countries seem to suffer from discrimination, though that is not always the case. Muslim women are speaking up, but in many cases they embrace their traditional roles, especially in terms of dress.
Many people associate Muslim women with their styles of dresses, usually including th
Dress codes vary depending on region and often on personal
choice. Many women choose to wear the hijab in areas where it is not required, in respect to tradition. The burqa (perhaps the most extreme dress style to Western eyes) is worn primarily in strictly-controlled sections of the Middle-East.
Jerusalem - A Conflicted City
Check out this website if you want to see a very different look at American Muslim women:
One of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. The city is Israel's unofficial capital, and Palestinians want it to be their capital if they're granted statehood.
Jerusalem contains some of the world's most important religious site, notably the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, the Temple of the Mount, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock was constructed round 690 CE on the grounds of the second Jewish Temple. Islamic tradition states that it was from this location that Muhammad ascended into heaven. It is also where Muslims believe that Ibrahim (Abraham) was going to sacrifice his son Isaac until an angel stopped him.
The Western Wall
The Western Wall is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple's courtyard. The Jewish faithful gather to pray at the wall. It is also known as the "Wailing Wall" because of the sorrowful prayers offered up in response to the destruction of the Temple.
The Temple Mount
The Temple Mount (located where the Dome of the Rock stands, along with the Al-Aqsa Mosque) is the traditional location of the Jewish temples. Under Muslim control since the twelfth century, people of various faiths are permitted access to the Temple Mount, but only Muslim prayer is allowed.
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Built during Emperor Constantine's reign, the church is located on what many believe is Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified. Tradition also holds he was buried at the same location.
Like with any religion, Islam has its fanatics who take quite literally the charge of j
--a holy war waged in Allah's name against the
in order to spread the true religion of Islam. Moderate Muslims believe they are called to struggle internally and so wage jihad against themselves, while others believe armed jihad is appropriate if a Muslim state is attacked.
A Free Palestine?
The Palestinian people desire an independent state and have so since the 1967 war which resulted in Israeli occupation. Most plans call for the Palestinian state to include the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem (currently controlled by Israel). So far, the plans have not come together, and Israel continues to defy the UN by expanding their settlements into Palestinian territory.
Documentary Trailer- Palestine Blues
Before we go any further.....
Islam is a religion of peace. Does it have its share of fanatics? Of course it does, but every religion has their fanatics.
This Doesn't Represent Christianity
Despite official policies from both Israel and Palestinian leaders, many Israeli and Palestinian people--whether Jew, Muslim, or Christian--believe in peace. Check out the following website for more information: http://www.justvision.org/home
Trailer for the Documentary Budrus
More On Jerusalem
Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Jerusalem was divided into two parts—the western portion, populated primarily by Jews, came under Israeli rule, while the eastern portion, populated mainly by Muslim and Christian Palestinians, came under Jordanian rule.
Following the 1967 Six-Day War, the eastern part of Jerusalem came under Israeli rule, along with the entire West Bank. Shortly after the Israeli takeover, East Jerusalem was annexed, together with several neighboring West Bank villages. In 1980, Israel declared Jerusalem to be its capital. The international community (or at least the United Nations Security Council) does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital).
Israel's Iron Dome is a mobile all-weather air defense system designed to intercept rockets and artillery shells before they strike a populated area. It's extraordinary effective, having intercepted 90% of rockets fired from Gaza in 2012.
More About Jesus in Islam
Belief in Jesus (and all the prophets) is a requirement of Islam. Jesus is mentioned twenty-five times in the Qu'ran, while the prophet Muhammad is only mentioned four.
Muslims believe that Jesus was born from the virgin Mary and given the power to perform miracles for the Jewish people. Even though it seemed that Jesus was crucified, God actually took him into heaven. For Muslims, Jesus was mortal and certainly not the son of God, nor did he die for the sins of humankind.
Muslims further believe that Jesus will return at the end of time to defeat the Masih ad-Dajjal (the "false messiah" or "Antichrist").
Did Jesus Foretell of Muhammad?
While the Qu'ran clearly has Jesus referring to Muhammad, some claim that John 14:16, which describes "the helper" actually refers to Muhammad:
"“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever" - New American Standard Bible
Christians, of course, assume Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit.
Crash Course: Islam
What does "swt" stand for?
When Muslims are talking about Allah, The Exalted, The Majestic and Sublime, they type, "ASWT". This is the transliteration of "Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala" as "ASWT". Some people will type the word "Allah" and then put "SWT."
The Hadith of the Day
More Questions? Why not ask a Muslim?
This year, Hajj is expected to fall between October 2-7. Estimates are based on expected visibility of the hilal (waxing crescent moon following a new moon) and may vary according to location.
How many people went on Hajj in 2013?