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  1. Mohammed Faith of Islam Beginnings And Importance to the World Least Predictable of Rome’s heirs

  2. Birth of Mohammed • 570 AD Mohammed Born. • A poor nomadic Bedouin family; (not really) • This Bedouin family will eventually conquer ½ of Byzantium, all of Persia, Egypt and most of North Africa

  3. Nomadic Wandering • This tribal Bedouin clan were called the Himyarits; • Crossed the Red Sea and colonized Abyssinia; • Instituted a Semitic culture and will be the basis for the Semitic bloodline—amalgamated with the indigenous black population.

  4. Semitism • There is no clear definition; • Supposedly from the derivation of peoples who descended from Shem (son of Noah). • In fact most African Arab and Arabian populations are Semitic in the sense that they speak a Semitic dialect.

  5. Desert Religions • Begins in the desert—again the notion is it is somehow from the story of Hagar the slave woman who birthed Ishmael the son of Abraham. • Sarah banishes Hagar and Ishmael to the desert; God protects them; line of Arabs from here. Important for credible genealogy later. • Desert religions were primitive at best—consisted of Heaven, celestial bodies, and was wrought in superstition.

  6. Desert religions Cont’d • Not much thought given to the after life—here and then gone. • Variants of the religion did sometimes stake a camel to one’s grave so he would not have to walk in the after life and also left food and water for the soul to drink in his spectral wanderings. • In Arab/Islamic religions to have to walk is an insult—to be hit with a shoe is the ultimate insult.

  7. Desert Religion cont’d • Some tribal clans also offered a human or animal sacrifice, but not the norm—this was to please some supernatural being or God; • Mostly though, it consisted of iconography and idolatry; • Relics such as sacred religious stones were common to desert religions.

  8. Quraish—Allah • Some Idol worship, such as Quraish—a golden idol. He was the tribal God of the Quraish Bedouins—they called him Allah!! • Important because it paved the way to monotheism by worshipping Allah as the chief deity. • Allah was presented to the Meccans, by the Quraish, as the God and only God of their soil, the desert lands in which they lived and controlled.

  9. Quraish and the Islamic Lineage • As with the Petrine and Papal doctrine establishing legitimacy for Christianity, the Quraish and their genealogy would also give legitimacy to Islam. • Quraish were descendants of Abraham and Ishmael; appointed as Priests and Guardians of the Meccan Shrine of Allah and the Black Stone. • They managed all revenues, offerings and tithes to the shrine of Mecca (taxes, tithes, crops, animals, and even first born males of the herd).

  10. Quraish Practices • Tithe and tax • Pay tribute and offerings to keep in favor with Allah; • Quraish was the aristocracy; also minorities of the tribe • Descendants of Qusay • Controlled the civil government of Mecca

  11. Quraish Practices • Would eventually form into the Aristocratic Sunnis—historically controlled the religious practices, tenets, and the economy around Islam(direct lineage not necessary). Sunnis thought in terms of Hadith—practices and customs of Mohammed. • Shi’ia would be the the more spiritual believers descended from Mohammed— • What we have here is the difference between the acceptance of doctrine between the traditional Old testament Judaic practices and the New testament Christians

  12. Islam an Eclectic Religion • Islam would also synthesize pagan rituals and customs and even pagan relics to attract converts; • Islam would also incorporate Christianity and Judaism. • Islam kept the sacred stone worship of the Quraish Bedouins—the black stone embedded into larger stone at Mecca—probably a meteorite, but treated as sacred from heaven—cannot be defiled by infidel hands.

  13. Arabian Peninsula • Arabian peninsula very turbulent and contested area; • Many loose associated Tribes—many related by blood; • No single unifying political or social structure • Byzantium and Persia traditional enemies

  14. Arabian Peninsula • Much like Europe and the Germanic tribes constant internal strife; • Also, Arabia had never been conquered; Byzantium, Persia, and Alexander the Great all failed to subdue Arabia; • Developed a sense of autonomy, even invincibility; never developed any Romanesque attitude or sense cared about anything Roman.

  15. Mohammed Ancestry • Very distinguished ancestry; • Was left a good inheritance—not a poor boy; • Well connected Meccan Caravan family • Grandfather and Uncle were keepers of the Black stone; • Strong political and military leaders; • Seemed to be wise, responsible, and a very reliable sort of person; very devout and serious.

  16. Mohammed • Mom died when was six; raised by Grandfather and Uncle; • Immersed him in the Desert religion of the tribe; • Most all religious doctrine was passed down orally; doesn’t necessarily make it inaccurate, maybe some interpretation lost • Basic message in tact. • Iliad and Odyssey both passed down orally—some exaggerations, but that is human nature.

  17. Mohammed the Man • He had an arranged marriage to Khadijah; • Very prominent and rich caravan family; she was much older than Mohammed—still seemed to be a very loving and companionate marriage; • As stated he was very devout; many times he would retire to the hills and caves around Mecca for days to receive visitations from Angel Gabriel

  18. Islam • Preparing the most famous and eloquent text of the Glorious Qu’ran, Mohammed used an amanuensis—scribe. • As the Apostle Paul, Charlemagne, and Luther the texts were transcribed in the native tongue—this was the Aramaic and Farsi tongue. • Though many were illiterate, they could understand the reading of their language.

  19. Islam • Mohammed and Islam would be greatly influenced by Judaism and Christian faiths. • Wife’s cousin was Christian; Uncle’s second wife was Jewish; In Mecca (after the Diaspora 90-93 AD) many different nationalities such as Jewish faith peoples lived and worked. • Mohammed very familiar with the Torah (Jewish book) and the Bible (Christian faith)—he could quote scripture out of both books.

  20. Islam • He often visited Medina—His uncle’s immediate family took up residence there— • Medina housed a large Jewish population of merchants and bankers(original investment bankers). • He was influenced early by Jewish and Christian philosophy—there are Muslim scholars who suggested that Mohammed admired the moral tenets of Christianity; the monotheism of the Jews—especially the moral upright life of Christ.

  21. Islam • One wonders how much of the revelation and spiritual messages from God were truly inspirational—how much was his religious influences when so young and impressionable? • The Arabs as the Jewish peoples were mesmerized by Messianic expectations—more military and earthly rule than the hereafter as the Christians (modern day). • Arabs also eagerly awaited a messenger from God to help establish cohesion and heaven on earth.

  22. Islam • Like any successful Preacher and historical events—Mohammed’s timing was impeccable. • He gave voice and form—(human tangibility to a faith based on spiritual necessity and faith) in an otherwise drab existence • As did Christ—this was the human connection for both religions—each had a human founder.

  23. Islam • By age 40, became consumed with religion; • 610 AD alone in cave visited by Angel Gabriel—messenger of God; • Appeared in vision with scriptural writings and said for him to read— • Remember he was illiterate—miracle, true favor with God.

  24. Islam • Spiritual revelation akin to Joseph Smith, Angel Moroni and the Golden Tablets; • Vision would sometimes come during the daylight hours—agitated, moved fitfully, no one cold see angel but Mohammed— • Similar to Joan of D’arc—her voices turn out to be caused by an inner ear infection and a mild form of epilepsy.

  25. Islam • Did Mohammed also suffer from this ailment? Probably no truly knows— • Characteristic of epilepsy and seizures he would hear bells ringing, blurred vision and feel a transcendental consciousness—all common to epilepsy; • Did not seem to possess tongue biting and any loss of memory—remembered visions as he claimed to have seen them—good story teller or true conversion.

  26. Mohammed the Prophet • Once his rule began, it had no scientific or social political system—it was a Theocracy; • Sometimes his revelations would fit a specific need, but essentially he was fair minded; • Sometimes arrogant, often time modest; did not perform miracles; usually dignified and indulgent—however, could be ruthless and cunning

  27. The Prophet Mohammed • Tried hard to be a true man of the common people; • Exacted large amounts of tribute and bounty from caravans (extortion and tribute); still he gave much of what he possessed to charity; he possessed very little personal wealth; • He did however, make Mecca and Medina very wealthy—why they supported him.

  28. Mohammed • He could be very vain; he attended to his looks very delicately; • He painted his eyes, maintained a strict regime of Hygiene; • Wore perfume—cleanliness probably learned from the Jews

  29. Islam • Began preaching a monotheistic form of religion; not a traditional form of the Polytheistic desert religions; • An exclusive faith; only Al-Islam true converts allowed (remember the bigotry of Christianity); • Meccan families, mostly the Quraish elders, were concerned these new revelations would detract from the pilgrimages, costing them money from tithes and offerings to the ka’aba

  30. Islam • Though Mohammed came from good family, the Quraish Priests had a problem with these so-called revelations (they said he was a fanatic and ostensibly suffering from sort of sickness). • The issue was accommodations and open enrollment of converts—welcomed slaves, poor, beggars anyone into the new religion—slightly different than the original Quraish tenets—same issue Christ would have with the Jewish leaders the Pharisees and Sadducees.

  31. Islam • As Christianity, Islam appealed to the poor and the down trodden; • Not so much women, but it did put women in a special place—not to be defiled and to be revered—just no political voice and subservient. • By 615 AD Islam as did Christianity, also attracted some important and powerful political and military adherents.

  32. Islam • Mohammed’s wife Khadijah died in 619 AD; • She was his most ardent supporter and richest benefactor; also his political and military benefactor other than his wife also died; • Islam almost died on the vine; no financial or political backing; • Still he continued with his visions and established a loyal core of followers.

  33. Islam • In 620 AD, Mohammed expanded the teachings beyond the immediate family and clan; he began teaching and proselytizing to the Caravan merchants on pilgrimage to the Black Stone of Mecca; • This did two things; it allowed a vehicle for the spreading of Islam to other parts of the globe; two, it creates a rift with the tribal leaders of the Quraish located around Mecca.

  34. Islam • Important note: Mohammed did not begin the practice of the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca; • The Meccan leaders or priests feared that these new teachings would be bad for business; • Mohammed was informed neither he nor his teachings were any longer welcomed in Mecca; • In 622 AD, he left for Medina; fled for his life more likely—This is the Hijra—the flight of the prophet—beginning of the Islamic calendar. WE count from the birth of Christ—Islam counts from the Hijra.

  35. Islam • Why Medina? The economic leaders of Medina were also facing some issues. • Thought if Mohammed came and preached a unifying message from a great religious leader would coalesce their fragmented city. • Also promised to protect him from the Meccan priests and tribal leaders; also wanted in on the Hajj action of tithes etc … wanted to become the New Holy City—economical or spiritual?

  36. Teachings of Islam • What then are these teachings that are attracting so many people? • We know about his teachings from three (3) sources: The Qu’ran (scriptures of Islam); the hadith (sayings of the prophet); and the Sunna (the good practice—Mohammed’s practice).

  37. Teachings of Islam • However, to understand the Islamic world, the Koran is the most significant—it is divide in Surahs or verses; body of recitations; the word of God given directly to Mohammed; • It begins with peace, conversion and how to live a spiritual Islamic life; • The second and more recent half of the Koran deals with Jihad and putting Infidels to the sword—or they convert.

  38. Teachings of Islam • Mohammed is not the author of the Qu’ran; • It is not a book written by a person about God, it is the actual recited word of God, Mohammed merely translated it; • One must surrender ones soul to Allah; Islam means to surrender.

  39. Teachings of Islam • Islam, as Christianity, is a synthesis of many variants. The Qu’ran, The hadith, and the Sunna collectively equal a faith—A Religion; • They also possess a few basic requirements: • Al-Islam—surrender to Allah; the faith of surrender; this begins the practice of the Five Pillars of Faith: 1 is a conversion(faith); 2-5 is based on law and practices.

  40. Five (5) Pillars of Islam • 1) Faith of surrender (profess the faith—no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet); • 2) Fasting (especially during Ramadan) the idea is emptying oneself for religious discipline; • 3) Prayer—five times a day facing Mecca and if possible in a Mosque on Friday

  41. Five (5) Pillars of Islam • 4) Alms—one must be generous to the poor; building a responsible community faith; • 5) Hajj or pilgrimage. If at all possible a true devout Muslim will make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during one’s life

  42. Five (5) Pillars of Islam • 1) Shahadah—conversion of faith • 2) Salah—ritual prayer • 3) Zakah—alms tax • 4) Sawm—fasting during Ramadan • 5) Hajj—pilgrimage to Mecca

  43. Islam • A faith of orthopraxy(works), not orthodoxy(tenets). • Simply, it is a practice of how one should behave, ones conduct, and what one did rather than an intellectual assent to doctrinal teachings; • Islam had no true theologians or trained academic clergy—much like the rabbis of Old

  44. Islam • Also important to Islam—a critical element; • Umma Muslima—the community of Islam and Allah's teachings transcend all man-made, ethnic or geographical boundaries; • Sound familiar—should, it rings of the concept of Evangelizing. Islam not just for semitic or Arabic peoples, it is for the whole world.

  45. Islam • Mohammed established a civil or theocracy rule in Medina; not based on tradition or politics, but based on the rule of Islamic law as written and understood in the Qu’ran; • No separation of Church and State—all law was based on religious doctrine and subject to religious jurisdiction; • Jews and Christians could maintain their faith, but must pay a religious tax; early on some toleration.

  46. Islam • It is important here to understand that in Islam the hierarchy: There was Allah (GOD); the first patriarch Abraham, Jesus too had been a prophet; religious and revered, but not divine as the Son of God • Mohammed had been the last and most recent Prophet of God, therefore he had the most favor; • No more Prophets until judgment.

  47. Islam • As Mohammed grew in stature and religious power, the teachings began to take on a more militant and less tolerant interpretation; • Usury was outlawed, all infidels were to surrender to Islam or be eradicated (in the beginning, infidels were those who professed no religious belief at all—soon change to include Jews and Christians) • Jews first to rebel—they made their money off the act of Usury—Mohammed was essentially financially emasculating the Jews—Mohammed began casting religious aspersions at the Jews—they murdered a favored prophet of Allah—Jesus.

  48. Islam • It was the Jews who corrupted the scriptures, • Killed prophets of Allah, • Crucified Jesus; • And worshipped usury • Refused to acknowledge Allah or Mohammed

  49. Islam • Jewish faith peoples would counter argue—Mohammed is returning to the ancient Bedouin desert religious practices of idolatry; • There is no scriptural credibility or historical support to this new found—man-made religious practice; • Violence breaks out—still engaged in genocide today.

  50. Islam • Though Mohammed would spend most of his life in Medina, in 620 AD Mecca was proclaimed the Holy City of Islam; • No non-believer should be allowed to step foot on its sacred soil; • This attitude of sacred soil and infidels would lead to Holy wars, Civil Wars and the Crusades—It is still in contention today. (mostly Palestine and Jerusalem).