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Islam. History of Islam. 570-632 Life of Muhammad Received revelations from God, via angel Gabriel 622 Hijrah (flight) from Mecca to Medina 630 Re-conquest of Mecca 680 Sunni/Shi’ah split 656 Uthman (3rd Caliph) had Koran compiled 2000 CE is 1421 Anno Hijrah. Distinctive Beliefs.

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History of Islam

  • 570-632 Life of Muhammad

  • Received revelations from God, via angel Gabriel

  • 622 Hijrah (flight) from Mecca to Medina

  • 630 Re-conquest of Mecca

  • 680 Sunni/Shi’ah split

  • 656 Uthman (3rd Caliph) had Koran compiled

  • 2000 CE is 1421 Anno Hijrah


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Distinctive Beliefs

  • Koran (Qur’an) is direct revelation of the one God (Allah) and cannot be translated (114 Surahs)

  • Only ritually washed may read the Koran

  • 5 Pillars of Islam Shahadah (confession of faith), Salah (Prayers), Zakat (Charity), Ramadan (Fasting), Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)

  • Ka’bah in Mecca (cubelike building with “black stone) holiest site


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Major Muslim Groups

  • Sunni (Followers of “leaders of the faithful” chosen by the Muslim community, eg. Abu Bakr, the 1st Caliph)

  • Shi’ah (Party of Ali, the 3rd Caliph)

  • Sufis (Mystics eg. Dervishes)


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Other Distinctive Beliefs and Practices

  • Alcohol is totally prohibited to Muslims

  • Pork is prohibited

  • Beef, mutton and poultry must be Halal (killed and prepared by a Muslim according to Islamic Law)

  • Nakedness is strongly discouraged

  • Male authority (typical)

  • No pictorial representations of religious subject matter (religious art focuses on calligraphy and non-representational geometric figures)


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Organization

  • No global leader of faith

  • No priests

  • “Mosque” is the place of worship

  • “Umma” is the name for the entire religious community of Muslims

  • Imam (chief) leads prayers

  • “Muezzin” makes the call for prayers from “Minaret” (tower)

  • No clear distinction between religion and state (religion is a part of all aspects of life)


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Festivals

  • Birthday of Muhammad 12th month

  • Ramadan (9th month, which migrates through solar year) Muslims fast during daylight hours (sick and weak excepted)

  • Eed-ul-Fitr (the breaking of the fast)

  • Eed also commemorates Abraham’s Sacrifice (Abraham’s wife Hagar and son Ishmael are said to be the founders of the Arab people)


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Distinctive Rituals

  • Washing before prayer

  • Prayer 5 times Daily (morning, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, bedtime)

  • Prayer mats

  • Prostration (head touching ground)

  • Facing Mecca (WSW)

  • Ramadan Fast

  • Head covering common for Women (Hijab) and men (older & devout)


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Bioethical Issues

  • Organ donation is not encouraged

  • Like Jews, Muslims frown on non-essential autopsies

  • Circumcision is practiced

  • Birth control is discouraged

  • Abortion can be allowed in cases of threats to mother’s physical or mental health

  • Passive euthanasia is discouraged


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