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Islam Theme: Religion’s impact on society

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  1. IslamTheme: Religion’s impact on society Lesson 15

  2. ID & SIG • Allah, Five Pillars of Islam, jihad, Mecca, Medina, Muhammad, Quran, Ramadan, sharia, Shia, Sufi, Sunni, umma

  3. Islam and Muslim • Islam means “submission” • Signifies obedience to the rule and will of Allah • A Muslim is one who accepts the Islamic faith • Means “one who has submitted”

  4. Muhammad • Born in 570 into a reputable family of merchants in Mecca • Lost both of his parents by the time he was 6 years old • As a young man, Muhammad worked for Khadija, a wealthy widow who he married around 595 • This marriage gained him a position of some prominence in Meccan society • By the age of 30 Muhammad had established himself as a merchant

  5. Muhammad • Muhammad’s status as a merchant undoubtedly brought him in contact with both Jews and Christians and he would have had a basic knowledge of both faiths • About 610, when he was about 40, Muhammad had a spiritual experience that convinced him that there was only one true deity, Allah (“God”)

  6. Allah • Elements of Muhammad’s spiritual transformation • Allah rules the universe • Idolatry and the recognition of other gods amounts to wickedness • Allah would soon bring his judgment on the world • Muhammad received messages or revelations from Gabriel, the archangel, instructing him to explain his faith to others

  7. Quran (Koran) • Muhammad originally just shared the message with his family and close friends, but gradually others became interested • By about 620, a zealous and expanding minority in Mecca had joined Muhammad’s circle • As the Muslim community grew, Muhammad’s followers began writing down his oral recitations into written texts • During the 650s these writings were issued as the Quran (“recitation”)

  8. Medina • The growing popularity of Muhammad’s preaching brought him in conflict with Mecca’s elites • In 622, Muhammad fled to Medina, some 214 miles north of Mecca • The move became known as the hijra (“migration”) and marks the starting point of the official Islamic calendar

  9. Reasons for Muhammad’s Conflict in Mecca • Insistence that Allah was the only true god clashed with many polytheistic Arabs • Muhammad’s denunciation of greed as a moral weakness that Allah would punish threatened Mecca’s wealthy merchants • Muhammad’s attack on idolatry represented an economic threat to those who profited from the many shrines to the various deities • Ka’ba was one such shrine

  10. Umma • In Mecca, Muhammad had lived within an established political framework and therefore concentrated on moral and religious dimensions • In Medina, the society in exile needed guidance in more than just spiritual matters • Muhammad organized his followers into a cohesive community called the umma (“community of the faithful”)

  11. Umma • Muhammad provided a comprehensive legal and social code • He led the community in prayer and in battle • He provided economic support both by organizing commercial ventures and by raiding caravans from Mecca • He provided for the relief of orphans and widows and made almsgiving a prime moral value

  12. Umma • Individuals belong to a community • The positive benefits of all who embrace Islam (social justice, solidarity and purpose, and political stability) are enjoyed by all in areas guided by Islamic law (dar al-Islam means the “house of Islam” and refers to lands under Islamic rule) Mecca Detroit East London

  13. Return to Mecca • In 630, Muhammad attacked Mecca, conquered it, and forced the elites to adopt the faith • Destroyed pagan shrines and replaced them with mosques • Imposed a government dedicated to Allah • Building on the conquest of Mecca, Muhammad launched other military campaigns and by the time of his death in 632, most of Arabia was under his control

  14. Ka’ba • Muhammad spared the Ka’ba from destruction and preserved it as a symbol of Mecca’s greatness • In 632, Muhammad led the first pilgrimage to the Ka’ba • Established the hajj as an example for all devout Muslims

  15. Five Pillars of Islam • Acknowledge Allah as the only god and Muhammad as his prophet (iman) • Pray to Allah daily while facing Mecca (salah) • Observe a fast during daylight hours of the month of Ramadan (sawm) • Contribute alms to the relief of the weak and poor (zakah) • Those who are physically and financially able must make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj)

  16. Translation of the Adan (Call to Prayer) God is Great. God is Great. God is Great. God is Great. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God. I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God. I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God. Come to prayer! Come to prayer! Come to success! Come to success! God is Great! God is Great! There is none worthy of worship except God.

  17. Ramadan • Ninth month of the Islamic calendar • A time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control • Daily period of fasting from dawn to dusk • Observers totally abstain from food, drink, smoking, and sex • Ramadan ends with a joyous celebration called ’Eid-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Fast-Breaking)

  18. Anticipated Days for Ramadan • First Day 2010: Aug 11            Last Day 2010: Sept 9 • First Day 2011:  Aug 1  Last Day 2007: Aug 29 • First Day 2012: July 20             Last Day 2012: Aug 18 • Muslims use the lunar calendar which is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar • Takes about 35 years to go through the entire cycle

  19. Jihad • Sometimes called the sixth pillar • Jihad is more than a “holy war” • It is an exertion or struggle in achieving the ways of Allah • It requires a vigilance “against all that distracts us from God and exertion to do His will within ourselves as well as preserving and reestablishing the order and harmony that He has willed for Islamic society and the world about us.” • Seyyed Nasr in Our Religions, ed. ArvindSharma, 475

  20. Jihad • In the late 20th and early 21st Centuries, extremists began using the concept of jihad to rationalize and legitimize terrorism and revolution • “… in compliance with Allah’s order, we issue the following fatwa [a legal pronouncement issued by a religious law specialist on a specific issue] to all Muslims: • The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, ‘and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,’ and ‘fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah.’” • World Islamic Front Statement, 23 February 1998

  21. Islamic Ethics • Islam values practice over belief • Of the Five Pillars, four concern practice (acts, deeds or endeavors) that adherents must fulfill • Prayer • Fasting • Almsgiving • Pilgrimage • Living correctly takes precedence over creeds and doctrines

  22. Sharia • After the death of Muhammad, the sharia, Islamic holy law, emerged to give detailed guidance on proper behavior in almost every aspect of daily life • Drew its inspiration from the Quran and historical accounts of Muhammad’s life and teachings • Through the sharia, Islam became more than a religious doctrine • It developed into a way of life complete with social and ethical values derived from Islamic religious doctrine.

  23. Expansion of Islam • Muhammad made no provisions for a successor after his death • Serious divisions arose • Within a short time however, the Islamic community launched a series of military campaigns that extended its influence far beyond the boundaries of Arabia

  24. Caliphs • Since Muhammad was “the seal of the prophets,” no one could succeed him as another prophet • Abu Bakr, one of Muhammad’s closest friend’s and disciples followed him as caliph (“deputy”) • Caliphs would lead the umma as lieutenants or substitutes for Muhammad, rather than as prophets

  25. Expansion and Problems • Islamic warriors gained remarkable victories over the Byzantine and Sasanid empires which were exhausted from fighting each other and besieged by internal problems Expansion of Islam to 750

  26. Expansion and Problems • As Islam expanded, it was faced with problems of governance and administration • One problem was selecting the caliphs • Political ambitions, personal differences, and clan loyalties complicated the process • Disagreements over succession led to the emergence of the Shia sect

  27. Shia • Shia (“party”) are the most important alternative to the majority Muslim group, the Sunni (“traditionalists”) • Shiites favored Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son in law, as caliph instead of Abu Bakr • Ali did become the fourth caliph (656-661) but was assassinated and his killers imposed their own caliph • Shiites vigorously resisted and struggled to return the caliphate to the line of Ali

  28. Shia • Shiites strengthened their identity by adopting doctrines and rituals distinct from the Sunnis • Observed holy days in honor of their leaders and martyrs • Taught that the descendants of Ali were infallible, sinless, and divinely appointed to rule

  29. Shiites About 15% of all Muslims Islam’s leader should be a descendant of Mohammad Qualified religious leaders have the authority to interpret the sharia (Islamic law) Sunnis About 85% of all Muslims Leaders should be chosen through ijma, or consensus The sharia was codified and closed by the 10th century Differences Between Shia and Sunni

  30. Iraq • Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq was 60-65% Shia and 32-37% Sunni but Sunnis dominated the government and economy The Sunni Triangle

  31. Sufi • Sufi is a third Muslim group • Encourages a personal, emotional, devotional approach to Islam; has a very mystical and spiritual component • Do not insist on fine points of doctrine or formal religious teachings; instead work to deepen spiritual awareness • Most lead pious and ascetic lives • Very effective as missionaries, brought Islam to India Representation of Sufi theologian al-Ghazali (1058-1111)

  32. Islam in Africa(Review from Lesson 9) • Contact with Muslim merchants encouraged sub-Sahara west Africans and coastal east Africans to adopt Islam • It served as a cultural foundation for business relationships • Yet African ruling elites and merchants did not convert for purely mercenary reasons; they took their new faith seriously

  33. Major World ReligionsSource: About, Inc ReligionMembers Christianity 2 Billion Islam 1.2 Billion  Hinduism 785 Million  Buddhism 360 Million Judaism 17 Million  Sikhism 16 Million Baha‘i 5 Million Confucianism 5 Million Jainism 4 Million Shintoism 3 Million Wicca .7 Million Zoroastrianism .2 Million

  34. Review • What elements of Islam help it build a sense of community among its believers?

  35. Review • What elements of Islam help it build a sense of community among its believers? • Umma • Sharia • Certain of the Five Pillars such as the pilgrimage and giving alms • dar al-Islam and governments dedicated to Islam

  36. Religions Compared

  37. Next • Review and Midterm