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Comparative Religions. Islam. Background. Islam comes from the word salam which means ‘peace’ and ‘surrender’ So, Islam means there is peace in surrendering oneself to God Muslims are those who follow the teaching of Islam
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Comparative Religions Islam
Islam comes from the word salam which means ‘peace’ and ‘surrender’ • So, Islam means there is peace in surrendering oneself to God • Muslims are those who follow the teaching of Islam • Muslims feel Islam did not begin in the 6th century with Muhammad, but in the beginning of time • Allah literally means ‘the God’
Adam was the first man, his descendants led to Noah, Noah’s descendants led to Abraham. Abraham found Allah • Abraham married Sarah who couldn’t have kids so he took Hagar as a second wife and they had Ishmael. • Sarah then had a son, Isaac, and demanded Hagar and Ishmael be banished from the tribe • This is where the Koran veers off from the Jewish and Christian faiths.
Ishmael ended up in Mecca and his descendants became Muslims Isaac stayed in Palestine and his descendants were the Hebrews or Jews
According to Muslims, Abraham took his son, Ishmael and the boy’s mother, Hagar, to the Valley of Baca to resettle them. This later became Mecca • The Valley of Baca was barren and rocky. They discovered a water well that saved Hagar and Ishmael. • Also, according to tradition, the wells in the area became more abundant, becoming an oasis in the desert which attracted nomads
The Ka’bah, or Cube, the object of the Pilgrimage to Mecca, is believed to have been built by Abraham and Ishmael. • Muhammad got rid of idols and restored it when he took over Mecca and established Islam there • Today, the Ka’bah is covered with a black cloth with verses from the Qur’an embroidered in gold around its circumference. • The covering is replaced each year • The old coverings are cut up and given away as gifts and for charity
Late 6th Century Muhammad is the prophet through whom Islam reached it definitive form. There would be no prophet after Muhammad so he is called The Seal of the Prophets In 6th Century Mecca, there was political chaos which made it a perfect setting for a change
Muhammad was born around 570 ce • His name means ‘highly praised’ • He was soon orphaned at a young age and raised by an uncle • Muslims believe • The angels of God were told to open Muhammad’s heart and fill it with light • He was pure-hearted • Beloved by his friends • Sweet and gentle • Was always ready to help others
As an adult he went into the caravan business for a wealthy widow, 15 years older than him, whom he later married • Muhammad often frequented a cave on the outskirts of Mecca where he • Sought solitude • Delved into the mysteries of good and evil • He was reaching out for God
Through these vigils, Muhammad realized Allah was far greater than his countrymen supposed • He realized Allah was the God • One night, around 610 ce, in the cave, an angel came to Muhammad and said “Proclaim” • Muhammad protested • The angel said, “Proclaim in the name of your Lord who created man from blood coagulated! Proclaim: your Lord is wondrous kind, Who teaches by the pen, Things men knew not, being blind” Koran 96:1-3
Muhammad rushed home, told his wife, and eventually she was converted. Muhammad then began to preach for the next 23 years Muhammad said Allah had not sent him to work wonders. If you wanted to see God’s wonders, look at the wonders of nature!
Muhammad received violent reactions to his preaching for three reasons: • His monotheism threatened current polytheistic beliefs and that threatened the money being made off of all the polytheistic shrines • His moral teachings demanded an end to the licentiousness that many citizens enjoyed • His change to social statuses challenged the unjust order of things.
Meccan leaders • Ridiculed him • Threatened him • Persecuted him • Persecution only made Muhammad and his converts stronger • Slowly and steadily his converts increased which troubled Meccan leaders
Muhammad’s teaching got a firm hold on Mecca • The city was torn so they needed a strong impartial leader • Muhammad seemed to be their man • In 622ce Muhammad had to flee for his life to Yathrib • This migration to Yathrib is called the hijra and Muslims see this as the turning point in their faith. • This is when the Islamic Calendar begins • Yathrib would later have its name changed to Medina
Once in Medina, Muhammad became more of an administrator of Islam than a prophet • Lived in a common clay house • Milked his own goats • Was accessible night and day • Muhammad became a brilliant statesman • The Medinese found him easy to love and easy to obey • Muhammad brought peace to Medina and it became a city people looked to as an example
Meccans did not like the reputation Medina had earned • Meccans wanted to control the minds of all Arabians • Meccans attacked Medina • Many serious battles occurred • Muhammad and the Medinese were the victors • Muhammad would return to Mecca as a conqueror!
He went first to the Ka’bah • Cubical temple • Said to have been built by Abraham • In Mecca, Muhammad • rededicated the temple to Allah • He consecrated it as the center of Islam geographically • He accepted the mass conversion of the Meccans • Muhammad then returned to Medina • He died two years later in 632 ce
Muslims admire and respect Muhammad, but he is not the center of their religion • Western society at one time tried to call Islam Muhammadism. This is VERY incorrect because is means Muslims worship Muhammad which they don’t. • The center of their faith is the Koran. • Literally translated, qur’an means recitation • Muhammad considered the Koran the only miracle God worked through him. • He called it God’s ‘standing miracle’
Muslims tend to read the Koran literally. • They consider it the earthly facsimile of an Uncreated Koran the same way Christians consider Jesus to have been the human incarnation of God. • The words of the Koran came to Muhammad in manageable segments over 23 years through voices that sounded at first like reverberating bells • The sounds gradually condensed into a single voice that identified itself as Gabriel
Muhammad had no control over when Gabriel would speak to him • When he did, Muhammad’s state would visibly change • He said the worlds assaulted him as if they were solid and heavy
The Koran continues God’s revelations to the Jews and Christians • It presents itself as their culmination • It says the Old and New Testaments have two defects • The Hebrew and Christian Bibles record only portions of the Truth • They were partially corrupted in transmission which explains the differences in them and the Koran • They see the Koran as the final and infallible revelation of God’s will.
The Old and New Testaments are directly historical and indirectly doctrinal • The Koran is directly doctrinal and indirectly historical • The Koran’s job is to proclaim the unity, omnipotence, omniscience, and mercy of God • By proclaiming this, historical aspects are not of any real significance
In the Koran, God speaks in the first person • Describing himself • Making known his laws • Muslims consider each individual sentence of the Holy Book as a separate revelation and to experience the words themselves, even their sounds, as a means of grace
The Koran regulates every decision and interprets every event • It is a memorandum for the faithful • A reminder for daily doings • A repository of revealed truth • A manual of definitions and guarantees • A road map for the will • A collection of maxims to meditate on in private
Taking a life • Don’t take a life which Allah has made sacred except by way of justice and law; thus does He command you that you may learn wisdom. (Qur’an 6:151 • About war and fighting • Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight you, but don’t be the aggressors, because Allah doesn’t approve of aggression. Fight them wherever they are found, and drive them out from where they drove you out, because being oppressed is worse than being slaughtered…But if they cease being hostile, remember that Allah is the Forgiving, Source of All Mercy. But if they continue to oppress [people], then battle them until oppression is o more and justice and faith in Allah prevails. If they seek peace, then you seek it as well, but continue to pursue the evil doers (Qur’an 2:191-194) What does the Qur’an say…
Judging others • Every soul draws the results of its actions on none but itself; no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another (Qur’an 6:164) • The end of time • No, but I call your attention to the Day of Resurrection. And no, I call your attention to the accusing voice of every person’s own conscience. Do people think that we can’t resurrect them or knit their bones together again? Without a doubt we can recreate them down to their very fingertips! Even so, people choose to deny what lies ahead of them, asking “when will this resurrection day be?” But on that day when fear overshadows their sight and the moon is darkened and joined together with the sun, on that very day people will cry out “Where can we escape!” But no, there will be no escape. The journey will lead back to your Lord, alone. People will be informed, on that day, of all that they did and left undone. And no, every person will be their own accusing witness, even though they hide themselves in excuses (Qur’an 75:1-15)
With only a few exceptions, the basic theological concepts of Islam are virtually identical with those of Judaism and Christianity. • The four most important concepts are • God • Creation • The Human Self • The Day of Judgment
Everything in Islam centers on its religious Ultimate, God • God is immaterial, invisible • The Koran did not introduce the Arabs to the unseen world or even to monotheism • Hanifs – those already seeking God • Islam wanted to rid the scene of all of Allah’s polytheistic rivals God
Muslims see monotheism as Islam’s contribution to religion in its entirety • They believe the Hindu images prove they have never arrived at the worship of a single God. • Judaism was correctly instructed, but it confined it’s teachings to the people of Israel • Christians compromised their monotheism by deifying Christ • The Koran honors Jesus as a prophet and accepts his virgin birth, but it draws the line at the doctrine of Incarnation and the Trinity – they think this blurs the line between Divine and Human distinction
Koranic depiction of God’s nature, the first thing that strikes us is his awe-inspiring power. • Unlimited power inspires fear • Muslims fear Allah • Not a cringing fear but an awe-struck fear at his power • Good and evil matter • Choices have consequences • Allah’s compassion and mercy are cited 192 times in the Koran, his wrath only 17 times!
Allah deliberately created the world. This is important for two reasons • The world of matter is completely real • Having been made by a Craftsman that is perfect, matter must be – not perfect, for there cannot be two perfections – but overwhelmingly good. • These two points inspire a respect for the material sides of life. • Judaism and Christianity affirm this too. Creation
Muslims believe that God has no beginning and no end and that He exists independently of time or place. • According to the Qur’an, Allah didn’t say, “Let there be light,” he just said “Be” and an object like a ball appeared and then He split it into pieces. The materials from this initial explosion were the building blocks for all things in the universe. • “Don’t the people who hide the truth see that space and the earth were all joined together in one unit of creation and then We split them apart?” Qur’an 21:30
The formation of the planets and stars came next • By the rotation of the stars and the orbit and setting of the planets, by the night as it falls and the morning as it passes, certainly, this is the speech of an honored Messenger.” Qur’an 81:25 • The Qur’an states that Allah created the world in six segments and the seventh was when he mounted the throne to govern the universe.
The human self is the foremost of God’s creations • Human nature is unequivocally good • The closest Islam comes to the Christian doctrine of original sin is in its concept of forgetting. • People do forget their divine origin • Their nature is good Human self
People have two obligations to the Creator since he gave us the gift of life • Gratitude for life received • The Arabic word for infidel is shaded more toward one who lacks thankfulness than one who disbelieves • Surrender to the will of Allah • Surrendering means to be free, free from slavery to • Greed anxiety • Ambition • Etc.
The Koran presents life as a brief but immensely precious opportunity, offering a once-an-for-all choice • Depending on how the soul fares in its Reckoning it will either go to Heaven or Hell • Muslims believe each soul will be held accountable for its actions on earth • Its future thereafter depends on how well it has observed God’s commands Day of judgment
Muslims feel Islam teaches them to ‘walk the straight line’ • Islam is • Straightforward • Direct • Explicit • God’s revelation to mankind went through four stages: • To Abraham God revealed monotheism • To Moses God revealed the Ten Commandments • To Jesus God revealed the Golden Rule • To Muhammad the requirements of the Golden Rule – how to practice it • The guidelines are found in the Five Pillars of Islam and the social teachings of the Koran
In the Koran, the souls judge themselves • Death burns away the self-serving defenses, forcing one to see with total objectivity how one has lived one’s life. • The Koran emphasizes deeds rather than ideas
1. The Shahadah a. “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet” • At least once during the lifetime of a Muslim he/she must say the shahadah correctly, slowly, thoughtfully, aloud, with full understanding, and with heartfelt conviction • The shahadah is the ultimate answer to all questions b. The shahadah is a way for Muslims to slow down each day and remember God and his place in their lives. Five pillars of islam
2. Canonical Prayer a. give voice to the gratitude one feels for life itself b. keep human life in perspective c. Story has it that God told Muhammad they must pray 50 times each day 1. Moses said that was ridiculous and told Muhammad to negotiate 2. Muhammad negotiated with God and got it down to 5 times a day a. when getting up b. at noon c. at mid-afternoon d. at sunset e. when going to bed
Muslims do not have to attend prayers at a Mosque Muslims do not have one specific Holy Day/Sabbath, but all Muslims are strongly encouraged to pray at the noon prayer on Fridays. Muslims used to face Jerusalem when praying but a revelation to Muhammad had them begin facing Mecca
Prayer begins by standing, moves to kneeling, then ends with the subject being in the fetal position with his/her forehead touching the floor.
3. Charity • Those who are comfortable should share with the unfortunate • Annually, 2 ½ percent of one’s holdings should be distributed to the poor. • Recipients should be • People in immediate need • Slaves in the process of buying their freedom • Debtors who are unable to meet their obligations • Strangers & wayfarers • Those who collect and distribute the donations
4. The observance of Ramadan – the holy month in the Islamic calendar • Celebrated because during it the Koranic revelation commenced and Muhammad effected his migration from Mecca • Able-bodied Muslims fast during Ramadan from sunrise to sunset. They fast by not • Eating • Drinking • Smoking • Having sex • The fast makes one reflect • Reminds one of their frailty and dependence • Fosters compassion