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Cultural Studies I

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  1. Cultural Studies I The Rise and Spread of Islam – Chapter 11 November 2010

  2. Islamic Civilizations Origins Islam began on the Arab Peninsula – one of the world’s youngest religions Islam was proclaimed by Muhammad in the town of Mecca in 610 CE How is it linked to Judaism and Christianity?

  3. Islamic Civilizations • Muslims believe that Islam is the third and final revelation of God’s truth, the first two being Judaism and Christianity • Muhammad is believed to be the final culmination of the tradition of prophets that extends from Abraham to Moses to Jesus • Muslims believe Muhammad received the word of Allah (God) directly and recorded it in the Koran (Q’uran), or holy book Origins Islam began on the Arab Peninsula – one of the world’s youngest religions Islam was proclaimed by Muhammad in the town of Mecca in 610 CE How is it linked to Judaism and Christianity?

  4. Arabian Peninsula: the context • Mecca, located 50 miles inland from the Red Sea, has a natural spring, making it an important stopping point for nomadic Arabs (Bedouins) who traded along caravan routes across the dry, desert peninsula • People on the Arabian peninsula worshipped more than one god – stored images of these gods in a square black structure at the center of the city of Mecca, known as the Kaaba (literally ‘cube’) • The Kaaba is believed to have been linked to the astronomical year with 360 idols, each associated with seasonal rituals • Also believed to have held a sacred black stone, probably a meteorite, which ‘fell from heaven’ • Legend has it: workers were rebuilding the Kaaba and were ready to place the sacred stone inside when a fight broke out between Arab tribes about who would have the privilege of laying the stone. All agreed that the first passerby would lay the stone – turned out to be the Muslim prophet Muhammad (570-632). He placed the stone on his cloak and gave a corner to each tribal leader. What does this say about how Muhammad is viewed and the position he held?

  5. -The kaaba is a cube-shaped object in the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia and is the most sacred site in Islam. -The building has a mosque around it, the Masjid al-Haram -all Muslims must face the kaaba during prayers no matter where they are in the world -it is now covered with cloth

  6. Why do you think Islam spread so quickly?

  7. Basic tenets of Islam • A single God, or Allah, is all-powerful – he created the universe • Humankind is Allah’s supreme creation and are created in the image of Allah • Men and women possess distinct individual souls which are immortal and can live eternally with Allah, providing they live their life according to Islamic teaching (which, like all religions, can be interpreted in a variety of ways) • To achieve heaven, Muslims must accept belief in Allah as the one and only supreme being and must practice their religion according to the ‘five pillars’ of Islam: • Shahadah: Repetition of the creed • Daily prayer (Daily prayer is recited five times per day and cleanse themselves before praying. During prayer, Muslims must face in the direction of Mecca) • Almsgiving (giving to the poor and needy, 1/40 of one’s income) • Fasting during Ramadan (abstain from food, drink, medicine, tobacco, sex from sunrise to sundown) • Pilgrimage to Mecca once in one’s lifetime if one is able

  8. Islamic art • Forbids of representation of god’s creatures • Islamic design motifs are recognizable and can be divided into three main categories: • Floral design • Geometric designs • Calligraphy, writing in Arabic script

  9. Floral motifs

  10. geometric designs

  11. calligraphy

  12. Muslim Culture • Muslims vary according to local cultures – just like Christians in Korea are different from southern American Baptists and Catholics in Italy, Muslims are different around the world and dress differently depending on local customs • “I am a Muslim”: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQXh20OuhIc&feature=related • Muslim call to prayer: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAvlimEYEpQ

  13. Muslim Culture • Muslims vary according to local cultures – just like Christians in Korea are different from southern American Baptists and Catholics in Italy, Muslims are different around the world and dress differently depending on local customs • “I am a Muslim”: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQXh20OuhIc&feature=related • Muslim call to prayer: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAvlimEYEpQ

  14. Mosques: Muslim places of worship • The five daily prayers are held in mosques as well as Friday congregations, as Friday is the holy day for Muslims • The Imam leads the prayer • Mosques originated on the Arabian Peninsula but are found on all inhabited continents • Many mosques have a minaret, or tall slender tower that is situated at one of the corners of the mosque • Minarets were originally intended to bring mosques on par with Christian churches with their bell towers • Mosque architects borrowed the shape of early bell towers, which were used for essentially the same purpose: calling the faithful to prayer • Worshipers must wash before entering the mosque – washing areas are a key feature in mosques • Mosques have no furniture – worshipers sit on the floor

  15. Mosque design • Extremely flexible – there is no one pattern for mosque design • Mosques must have the following features: • Must face in the direction of Mecca • Must have an open area for worshipers • Mihrab – niche in the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca • Other features include: • A minbar, or stepped feature from which the Imam conducts the service • carpets

  16. Tunisia Tunisia China

  17. Melaka, Malaysia Yogyakarta, Indonesia

  18. Poland Pakistan How is the variation of mosque styles similar to the variation found in Christian houses of worship?

  19. Mosque at Cordova, Spain, started in 786 CE (Islam is said to have begin in 622 CE) Muslims came to dominate trans-Saharan trade routes. Islam became the dominant faith of North and West Africa as well as Spain and Portugal. By the 10th century, Cordoba became the most important center of learning in Europe. Sephardic and Spanish Jews were important contributors to this vibrant and sophisticated Spanish culture.

  20. Like Islamic Africa, Islamic Spain maintained its own indigenous traditions while it absorbed Muslim ones. Religious tolerance was extended to all, although Muslims were exempt from taxes, while Christians and Jews were not. Muslim mathematicians in Spain invented algebra and introduced the concept of zero to the west. What did this system replace?

  21. Mosque of Sultan Sulayman, 1550-57, Istanbul -main mosque of Istanbul, enormous complex that includes tombs, hospitals, and facilities for traveling merchants

  22. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, 532-37 CE How is the Hagia Sophia similar to the Mosque of Sultan Sulayman? Why are they so similar? Mosque of Sultan Sulayman, Istanbul, 1550-57 CE

  23. Alhambra Palace, Granada, Spain – palace fortress one of the masterpieces of Muslim Moorish architecture

  24. The architectural function is obscured – structural features are disguised in light-looking lacy webs, stone ceilings appear to float

  25. -Court of the Lions, Alhambra -Quintessential Moorish style -emphasis on decorative surfaces, all surfaces ornamented

  26. Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, late 680s-692 CE This is a holy site for Jews, Christians and Muslims?

  27. Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, late 680s-692 CE This is a holy site for Jews, Christians and Muslims -site of patriarch Abraham’s aborted sacrifice of his son, Isaac -site of Solomon’s Temple where Jesus debated rabbis and where he preached

  28. Interior views of the Dome of the Rock

  29. Intricate tile work on the exterior of the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem