Islam and Muslims • Islam means “submission” to the will of God. • Muslims are those who submit to the will of God • Believe in same God as Jews and Christians but believe that Jews and Christians have misunderstandings about God
Key Beliefs • “There is one God (Arabic – Allah means God) and His prophet is Muhammad.” • This is called the profession of faith. It is recited every day and is the way someone becomes a Muslim. • Avoid worshipping anything else • Live a life of purity and obedience to Allah
Father Abraham • Abraham and Hagar, his wife Sarah’s concubine, had a son Ishmael • In the Bible, after Sarah and Abraham had Isaac, Sarah pressured Abraham to send away Hagar and Ishmael • Muslims believe that Ishmael not Isaac was the one chosen by God. Jews and Christians believe it was Isaac. • Jews, Christians, and Muslims share a common patriarch in Abraham
The Prophet Muhammad (570-632) • Orphan in Mecca; looked after by uncle • Street smarts and business smarts (becomes financial advisor to older woman Khadija when he’s 25); they had a daughter - Fatima • Interested in religion; liked to go and meditate in the desert and mountains • Began having visions in a cave at age 40; visited by Angel Gabriel, who told him about God • Would have many visions which would become the Quran
Islamic Art • Calligraphy – “beautiful writing” – writing Arabic words of Quran; goal to make the words as pleasing to the eye as possible • Arabesques – intertwining lines, vine-like, to make floral, geometric patterns; eyes follow to consider the omnipotence and infinite qualities of God • Art is abstract so that Muslims could avoid idolatry (making images of people or animals that can be worshipped)
Islamic Art continued • No images of Allah • Images of the Prophet Muhammad must have his face covered • No images of people or animals in holy buildings (avoiding idolatry) • Images in books for narrative purpose allowed (still no images of Allah and rules for depiction of the Prophet)
Kufic • Type of calligraphy that developed in Kufa, Arabia • Earliest type of calligraphy in which the Quran/Koran was written (7th – 9th centuries C.E.) • “When calligraphy was employed in the service of Islam for writing Koran, it entirely got changed and gradually placed in the path of perfection…art and elegance.”
Prayer Five Times a Day • A MUEZZIN (Islamic crier) climbs a minaret of a local mosque five times per day to call out the times to pray • Early in the morning when dawn has become bright but before sunrise • Noon or early afternoon • Late afternoon • Directly after sunset • Night between darkness and dawn usually about two hours after the sunset prayers
Other Islamic Rules • SHARIA – the entirety of Islamic law; some Islamic societies actually have this as their main laws; deals with marriages, relations with non-Muslims, punishment of criminals • A Muslim should marry another Muslim • No stealing, telling the truth • Avoiding the “four deadly sins” • No fornication/adultery (no sexual activity outside before or outside of marriage; thoughts also count) • No eating pork • No gambling • No drinking alcohol/using drugs
Jihad • Holy war to protect the UMMA or community of Islam • Designed to defend Islam and allow its social practice NOT to force individual conversions, which is forbidden by doctrine • Only an absolute pacifist Muslim would not believe in self-defense of some kind • Some Muslims believe jihad is a symbol for spiritual struggle not actually physical conflict
Last Judgment and Afterlife • Belief in heaven and hell for eternity like Christians • Believing in one God and that His Prophet is Muhammad and then living a holy life are the ways to secure a path to heaven • Chances to be forgiven and repent like Christianity • Last Judgment – appear before God and read about all your actions in life and God decides whether you make it into heaven or go to hell • Heaven – verdant, flowing with water, nice weather, peaceful (for men – 40 virgins for their enjoyment) • Hell – hot, burning fires, no water, torment by Satan and demons
Islamic Holy Literature • Quran – visions of the Prophet Muhammad • Hadith – sayings of the Prophet; things which the Prophet did and said, which were believed to be divinely inspired • Quran and Hadith establish orthodox teaching and practice in Islam
Islamic Religious Leaders • Imam – trained Muslim teacher and preacher; in Shi’a Islam, a supernaturally endowed supreme teacher and leader of Islam who is a hereditary successor to the Prophet • Ayatollah – in Shi’ite Islam, a legal and religious teacher regarded as possessing great learning and righteousness
Islamic Holidays • Islamic calendar different from Western calendar • Muharram (1st day of Muharram) – Islamic New Year, begins in the first day of Muharram; began in the year that Muhammad left Mecca for Medina (the Hegira) • Mawlid al-Nabi (12th day of Nabi I) – birth of the Prophet • Ramadan • Eid al-Fitr (last day of Ramadan) breaking the fast, big celebration • Eid al-Adha (10 Dhu’l-Hijjah) – when Abraham was going to sacrifice a Ishmael; also last day of the Hajj – people sacrifice a ram and give meat to poor
Mihrab – Decorative niche in the center of the qibla wall in a mosque; it helps direct believers toward Mecca.
After Muhammad… • The Prophet Muhammad did not designate a successor by the time of his death in 632. • A committee selected his good friend, a devout Muslim named Abu-Bakr. • He took the title CALIPH, which is from the Arabic khalifa meaning “successor” or “representative.” Abu-Bakr was “Khalifa Rasul Allah” or successor to the messenger of God. • Caliph would be the leader of the UMMA, the Islamic community.
The Four Righteous Caliphs • Abu-Bakr (632-634) • Friend and father-in-law of Muhammad; continued expansionist policy • Umar/Omar (634-644) • Appointed by Abu-Bakr on his deathbed • Father-in-law of Muhammad • Assassinated • Uthman (644-656) • Appointed by committee • Married to one of the Prophet’s daughters • Compiled the first official Quran (burned all the others) • Assassinated • Ali (656-661) • Succeeded Uthman after his assassination • Son-in-law of Prophet • Assassinated
What does it mean to be Shiite? • Origins of word: Shi’at Ali – “Followers of Ali; sometimes you will see it or hear it as Shi’a and other times Shi’ite; they are the same • National Public Radio (NPR): Partisans of Ali
What does this map show you about the distribution of Sunni and Shia Muslims?
What does it mean to be Sunni? • It means you follow the “practices or habits” of the Prophet. • It means that you do not believe that the rightful leaders of Islam have to be related to the Prophet. • It means that you believe that any qualified leader, who has a close relationship with God and detailed knowledge of Quran, who is selected by the elders (respected, well-known for piety) is an appropriate leader.