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Intro to Islam

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Waleed El-Ansary

on 28 April 2016

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Transcript of Intro to Islam

Ihsan
Virtue

Islam
Surrender

Iman
Faith

Fitra
Quran

Hadīth

right action

addresses body

Shari'ah
(Divine Law)
right thought

addresses mind
(Islamic philosophy,
theology, science)

faith higher than
submission

right intention

addresses heart
(Islamic mysticism)

deepens faith and
practice
Foundations
dīn
= religion
dayn
= debt (to God)

tawhīd
= Unity of God
content of
all
religion
wahada
= to be one, alone,
unique, unparalleled

Names of God:
al-Wāhid, al-Ahad
All other attributes flow
from this attribute
`
Sharī

ah
(Law) = “Five Pillars”

Doctrine

1.
Shahādah

Practice

2.
Salāt

3.
Sawm

4.
Zakāt

5.
Hajj
Time
– cosmic (not conventional)

Space
– nature itself is the sanctuary


Verily, we have placed for thee
the earth as a mosque
.”

mosque = mesquita (Spanish) =
masjid

masjid
= “place of prostration”

sujūd
= “prostration”

sajada
= “to prostrate”



First
Shahādah

(testimony of faith)

Lā ilāha illa’Llāh
– definition of religion

Other religions assert
tawhīd

Role of silence



Second
Shahādah

(testimony of faith)

Muhammadun rasūlu’Llāh
:

particularization of Islam

Muhammad:
hamada
= “to praise”

Rasul
:
risālah
= “message”
Doctrine of Prophecy

Nabī
:
nabba’a
= “to bring news”

124,000 prophets
Every
rasūl
is a
nabī,
but not every
nabī
is a
rasūl

No extra-territoriality to religion

Persona
= “face”

God's Face to world (
sifāt
)
is usually referred to in the masculine

Suprapersonal Essence (
dhāt
)
is often referred to in the feminine

Islam as theocentric, not logocentric

Christianity can be called “Christianity”

Islam should not be called “Muhammadanism”
(“Allahism” more appropriate)



Divine Names =
Asmā’ al-Husna

Names of Beauty (
Jamāl
)

Names of Majesty (
Jalāl
)

Power and Mercy

Lists of “Ninety-Nine Excellent Names” –
in principle infinite

Divine Names as “doors” opening to the understanding of the Divine Nature

Every human being related in a special way to a particular Divine Name




Islamic theology deals with the relation between:

Divine Essence (
al-dhāt
)

Divine Names and Qualities (
al-sifāt
)

Divine Acts (
al-af‘āl
)
Can we contemplate God?

Divine Essence (
al-dhāt
) cannot be “known”

“Meditate upon the Names of God, but not His Essence.” –
hadīth

Allāhu akbar
: “God is greater…”

Formula of
Supreme Transcendence



Divine Names in daily life

All important acts begin by the invocation of two Names

al-Rahmān
– the Infinitely Good

al-Rahīm
– the Ever-Merciful
Muslim names (‘
abd al
-______)

Litanies

Rosary

Islamic formulas in daily life

Bismillāh al-Rahmān al-Rahīm
In the Name of God, the Infinitely Good, Ever-Merciful

al-hamdulillāh
Praise be to God

Inshā’ Allāh
If God wills

mā shā’ Allāh
What God has willed
What is the Purpose of the
“Practical” Pillars?

Islamic anthropology and the Fall (
hubūt
)

Sin as forgetfulness of God (
ghaflah
)

Rites for remembrance of God (
dhikr
)
Place and Conditions of Prayer

House of worship is nature –
mosque created when human beings moved out of nature to sedentary, urban environments

Place of prayers not based on a particular sacred site

Conditions:
permission of owner of land
location ritually clean
directed to Mecca

Priestly function among all Muslims –
no sacerdotal class
Friday congregational prayers

Social cohesion

Other prayers
(eclipse, earthquake, drought)
“Religious tax” or “tithe”

zakkah
= “to purify and make flourish”
2.5% of savings

Anything over this amount is charity (
sadaqa
)

Role of funds in traditional education
“Fasting”

Rite based on lunar (not solar) calendar

Abstention from all food and drink –
moral and spiritual conditions
(no evil thoughts, back-biting, lying, etc…)

End of month – special tax for
charity to the poor
“Pilgrimage”

Pilgrimage in Christianity and Islam

Hajj
to Mecca

Pilgrimage to Medina and other places

Hajj
is not “Muhammadan” but “Abrahamic”

Ka‘bah
originally built by Adam and reconstructed by Abraham

“Invisible” temple before the rise of Islam
Foundation of
Hajj

Prophet of Islam reconstituted
the rite of Abraham

Takes place during
dhu’l hijjah
= “month of
hajj


Rotates throughout the year

Economic conditions:
family is provided for (at least one year)
no extreme poverty in neighborhood
Significance of
Hajj

Unique scale

Social and intellectual consequences

Religious significance – forgiveness of sins

al-‘umrah
= “the smaller
hajj


Ritual dress
Orthography

Allah
= God

lillah
= for God

lahu
= for Him

hu
= He/She

First and last
sounds of life
Jihād

6th pillar of Islam?

Within every pillar
Objects of Faith

1. God

2. His angels

3. His books

4. His messengers

5. the Last Day

6. the measuring out, both its good and its evil
Transcendent

Immanent
Consequences of materialization of cosmos

Functions of angels in cosmos

Functions of angels with respect to people:

Revelation
Angel of death
After death in the grave
kutub

suhuf
Individual

World
(Heaven, Hell, Purgatory)
Ubiquitous in Islamic life –
no more central text

Central theophany in Islam –
Word made Book
(inlibriation)

Inerrantist view of Qur’ān
as verbatim Word of God

Everything about the Qur’ān is
sacred for Muslims –
sound, writing, book that is carried,
teachings

Sonoral Revelation
Background of Revelation

Prophet of Islam was
hanīf
=
“primordial monotheist”

Jabal al-Nūr

(“Mountain of Light”)
cave of Hirā’

Revelation through Gabriel

Prophet as
ummī
=
“unlettered”
Laylat al-Qadr

Night of Authority, Power, or Decree

“Recite: in the Name of thy Lord Who created, created man from a blood-clot. Recite: and your Lord is the Most Generous, Who taught by the pen — taught man what he did not know.”
(Sûrah 96:1-5)

Themes of the creation of man, the generosity of God, the Mercy from which creation comes, and knowledge, which is at the heart of the Islamic message, are all there at the very beginning.
Names of the
Qur’ān

al-Qur’ān
= “the Recitation”

al-Furqān
= “the Discernment”

Umm al-kitāb
= “Mother of the Book”

al-Hidāyah
= “the Guidance”

Dhikru’llāh
= “Remembrance of God”
Qur’ān

Not fully translatable

over 6,000 āyāt = “signs/symbols”
114 sūrah = “chapter”

verses divided into Meccan & Medinan
Meccan deal mostly with ihsān & īmān
Medinan also deal with islām
Three Themes to the First Revelation

Worship of one God alone

Absolute moral purity

Equality of all people
Compilation of the
Qur’ān


Role of oral tradition

Uthmān – the 3rd Caliph

Levels of meaning –
Qur’ān
as poetic, but not just poetry (
shi‘r
)

Qur’ān

Divine Presence

Book of Knowledge

Book of Ethics and Law

Prophet of Islam

Biographies of Muhammad

Two types of prophets:
those who withdraw from the world, and those who participate in and integrate the world

Layers of misunderstanding from conflating the two

Muhammad 570 - 632 A.D.

“Seal of the [124,000] Prophets”

40 as age of prophecy – 610 A.D.

Mecca – commercial and religious center of Arabia

Arab paganism, Abrahamic monotheism
(non-Christian, non-Jewish, Arab followers of monotheism =
hanīf
)

Background

Born into tribe of Quraysh, most powerful of Mecca

Orphan – cared for by Abu Tālib

Trusted as youth –

resolution of the sacred stone

Marriage to Khadījah

First revelation
Growth of Islamic Community in Mecca

Saintly figures (third of night in prayer)

Migration to Abyssinia and conversion of ‘Umar

Bribes and political power offered
Mi‘rāj

model of all Islamic spiritual realization
source of fundamental rite of prayer
body’s participation in final destiny

Hijrah

Foundation of Islamic calendar
al-Ansār
Early battles
Hadīth
literature

Collections and chains of transmission

114,000 saw the Prophet
1,800 narrated a hadīth
900 narrated more than one

sunnah
= “wonts, tradition”
of the Prophet

Hadīth qudsī
Divine Law

Sharī‘ah
= “way, path, road”

The concrete embodiment of the Will of God for Muslims,
i.e. “the path to God”

Fiqh
is our understanding of the
Sharī‘ah
Philosophy of Divine Law

Freedom comes from doing God’s Will, not doing whatever we want
(imprisonment to our egos)

Divine Law protects us from falling into pitfalls we do not see,
a Divine Mercy

Sharī‘ah
is both immutable and growing like a tree –
the branches are always related to the principle,
the structure of the tree
Principles of
Shari'ah

Qur'an

Hadith

Ijtihad
ijma'
qiyas
maslahah



Schools of Law (
Madhahab
)

Ja'fari

Maliki

Hanafi

Shafi'i

Hanbali
Gender and the
Sharī'ah

Hijab

Inheritance

Witness
'Ibadat
and
Mu'amalat

Political

Economic

Social
Islamic Esoterism

Tarīqah
= "narrow path"

To want to have a vision of God here and now

Condition is
"dying of self"
Image of Circle

Sharī'ah
is the circumference

Tarīqah
is the ray

Center symbolizes Divine Truth =
haqīqah
Sufism

<
sûf
= wool,
safa
= purity?

_____________________

founded on the
Shari'ah
Doctrine and Method of Sufism

Shahādatayn
Dhikr

Shaykh
= Master (“old man”)
faqīr
= disciple (“poor one”)

Emphasis on Love and Knowledge
(combined, not separate)
Spiritual Orders

Qadari

Rifa'i

Shadhili

Mawlawi

Naqshbandi

Ni'matullahi

Chisti


Kalam
(theology)

Falsafa
(philosophy)

Mystical thought
Four Phases of Development

1.
Mashsha'i
philosophy

2.
Kalam
critique

3. School of Illumination (
ishraqi
)

4. Synthesis (Mulla Sadra)
Two Schools of Theological Thought and Spectrum of Answers on Theological Questions

Nature of God and Divine Attributes
Created vs. Uncreated Nature of
Qur'an

Who is saved?
Is hell etenal?

Knowledge of good and evil

To what extent is it our business to interfere when we see someone doing something wrong?

Free-will vs. Determinism


Political Philosophy

Spiritual authority and temporal power united

Caliph and 'Ulema

Caliph, Sultan, and 'Ulema

Multiple caliphs

Nation State
Sunni and Shi'ite Differences

Historical Background

Criteria for Caliph

Mahdi
Responses to Colonization

Modernist

Fundamentalist

Messianic

Traditionalist

Full transcript