World Religions Islam
Who was Muhammad? • Early life- • Born in the oasis town of Mecca around A.D. 570. • Arabia’s deserts and trade centers shaped Muhammad’s early life. • In his youth, he worked as a shepherd among the Bedouins. • Later he led caravans across the desert and became a merchant. • At 25, he married Khadija, a wealthy widow. He was known for his honesty in business.
Muhammad’s Calling • When he was about 40 he heard the voice of the angel Gabriel calling him to be the messenger of God. • He was scared, but his wife encouraged him to follow the calling. • Muhammad devoted his life to spreading Islam or “to submit to God”.
Post-Calling • At first, few listened to Muhammad’s teachings. • Fearing for his life, he and his followers left Mecca for Yathrib (later renamed Medina “City of the Prophet”). • Eventually Muslims went to war against Mecca. • Muhammad and his followers won and returned to Mecca in 630 A.D. • He destroyed the idols in the Ka’aba, rededicated it to Allah and made it the most holy place in Islam. • Muhammad worked to unite the Arabs under Islam. • He died in 632 A.D. but Islam continued to spread.
How does one learn about Islam? • The Quran • the sacred text of Islam, teaches that God is all-powerful and compassionate teaches Muslims about Islam.
The Five Pillars of Islam • Make a declaration of faith • must declare that there is no God but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God. Other prophets, include Abraham, Moses, and Jesus but Muhammad was the last greatest prophet. • Daily prayer • Muslims must pray 5 times each day. After a ritual washing, they face Mecca and perform specific actions as they pray. • Alms for the poor • Muslims care for others by giving charity to the poor. • Fast during Ramadan • Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. The sick and the very young are not required to fast. • Hajj • Muslims who are physically and financially capable must make a pilgrimage to pray at the Kaaba in Mecca at least once
What is Jihad? • Jihad or struggle in God’s service is a personal duty for Muslims. • At times it has been interpreted as a holy war to defend Islam and the Muslim community.
Conflict within Islam • Political empires in the Middle East develops into theocracies which are governments run by religious leaders. • Over time conflicts develop between the majority of Muslims, called Sunnis and the minority group called Shi’ites.
Sunni and Shi’ites (Shi’a) Muslims • NOT theological but political differences • When Muhammad died, people questioned who would lead the nation of Islam • Sunni Muslims believed they should ELECT someone from those capable of the job • Abu Bakr (Muhammad’s close friend and advisor) became the first Caliph • Majority of Muslims today are Sunni (85%) • Read the hadiths to better understand the Quran • Shi’ites (Shi’a) believed leadership should remain in the Prophet’s own family • Believed leadership should have passed to Muhammad’s cousin/son-in-law Ali • Don’t recognize the authority of elected Muslim leaders • Reject the hadiths