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Islam – part 2. Muslim Worlds of Meaning. Monotheism. “ tawhid ” The unity or oneness of God “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God” is the primary confession, called the “ Shahadah ”

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islam part 2

Islam – part 2

Muslim Worlds of Meaning

  • “tawhid” The unity or oneness of God
  • “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God” is the primary confession, called the “Shahadah”
  • Muhammad captured the name of God already known to Arab society but insisted upon excluding all nature deities and rival idols
conflict created by monotheism
Conflict created by Monotheism
  • Polytheism allows everyone to believe in any God or gods they wish.
  • Monotheism results in a demand of exclusive and unitive belief.
  • Polytheism doesn’t start religious wars or conflicts but Monotheism has often done so.
strict monotheism
Strict Monotheism
  • For Muslims, God is alone in divine power so God is responsible for everything that happens… there is no rival god.
  • There is a Devil (ʾIblīs (Arabic: إبليس‎) or Shayṭān (Arabic: شيطان‎) (plural: شياطينShayāṭīn) but he has no power except to cast temptations into human hearts.
transcendence and immanent
Transcendence and Immanent
  • God is not mixed into nature or in the world but is everywhere at all times.
  • All but one sura of the Quran open by describing God as being “Most Merciful and Most Compassionate.
  • Unlike Christianity and Judaism, Islam does not teach that humans are made in the image of God. God is singularly unique.
  • Humans are most special because we can:
    • Discern the difference between what is true and what is false
    • Choose between good and evil
    • Speak, giving us the ability to praise God
the problem of human evil
The Problem of Human Evil
  • Unlike Christians, Muslims do not believe that people are inherently evil.
  • In fact, they believe that it is our nature to live as Muslims, that is, “in total submission to God.” But we forget and stray from God’s ways.
  • One who denies God, a kafir, is an unbeliever.
my jihad
“My Jihad”
  • The primary issue of faithfulness is the internal struggle.
  • Jihad means “struggle”
  • Muhammad said after a battle, “We have returned from the small jihad to the larger jihad.”
understandings of salvation
Understandings of Salvation
  • Modern Christianity thinks of salvation as something God does for humans, generally accepting us into an eternal Kingdom.
  • Originally the word meant to “be made whole”
  • Muslims do not speak of salvation but of living life that is real life, in harmony with God’s will in a life of “felicity”
ritual practices and the good life
Ritual Practices and the Good Life
  • The Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar which is not “reset” by summer or winter soltices, nor by spring and fall equinox.
  • Therefore Muslim holidays are not tied to seasons, harvests or any particular time of year.
7 day a week religion
7 day a week religion
  • Since forgetting God is the greatest of sins, prayer 5 times a day, 7 days a week is the most crucial aspect of the practice of Islam.
  • Prayers are said at early morning, noon, mid afternoon, sunset and evening.
  • Muslims purify themselves prior to prayer, washing their hands, arms, face, nostrils, hair, ears and feet.
friday prayers and sermon from imam
Friday prayers and sermon from imam
  • It is not necessary to go to a mosque to pray at all but it is common to go on Friday.
  • Not all congregations have an imam
  • The imam is not ordained and has not necessarily graduated from a school of religious studies
  • The imam is expected to preach and counsel and teach but has no institutional authority.
the practice of alms giving
The practice of alms-giving
  • Wealth is not considered to be evil nor is it a sin to become wealthy.
  • It is to be given to poor Muslims (not Christians or Jews)
  • It is not used to build a mosque or care for parents or bury the dead.
  • It is like a religious tax
fasting in ramadan
Fasting in Ramadan
  • The fast requires that nothing be taken by mouth during daylight hours, not even water or medicine.
  • Evenings in Ramadan are a time of rejoicing.
  • The annual fast unites the community.
the pilgrimage hajj
The Pilgrimage (Hajj)
  • One may save up for many years to go.
  • It is inclusive of both men and women
  • Men are required to wear a two piece white garment (women may wear whatever they wish)
  • During the Hajj everyone refrains from cutting their hair, uprooting any living thing, arguing or cursing.
rituals of the hajj
Rituals of the Hajj
  • Walk around the Ka’bah 7 times, counter-clockwise, putting it in the center of your life.
  • While walking they touch the black stone in the corner given by Gabriel to Abraham and used by Abraham and Ishmael to build the first Ka’bah.
  • Running 7 times between the two hills to emulate how Hagar and to flee with Ishmael
the hajj
…. The hajj
  • On the 8th day they go to the desert and spend several days there.
  • The Ritual of Standing comes on the 9th day when the whole community stands in submission to God from noon until sunset
  • Ritual of Stoning, representing how Ishmael threw rocks at Satan to make the tempter flee
  • Each household sacrifices an animal and shares part of the meat with the poor.
other practices
Other practices
  • No blessing is required at birth in the Quran but the tradition is to whisper the call to prayer in the baby’s right ear.
  • Boys are circumcised, some at birth and in some places as a ritual passage into manhood at age 11 or 12.
  • Marriage and having children is encouraged though marriage is not, in itself, sacred.
rituals around death
Rituals around death
  • The dying person is turned to face Mecca and the words “There is no God but God” is recited along with sura 36 which deals with death and resurrection.
  • The person is buried facing Mecca in a white garment such as is worn in the hajj.
  • A Muslim must be buried within 24 hours of death.
art in islamic culture
Art in Islamic Culture
  • Muslims repeat the strict Jewish teachings against making images of God or of people, animals, etc..
  • Conversely, they have developed the arts of calligraphy, decoration, architecture, poetry and literature.
  • Possibly responsible for the destruction of a lot of Egyptian and Greek art
shari ah social ethics
Shari’ah – social ethics
  • Some nations merge Islam and government, such as in Iran and Pakistan.
  • Men and women have both lead Muslim nations.
  • There are secular Muslim nations such as Turkey.
examples of shari ah
Examples of Shari’ah
  • Sexuality is considered to be healthy and good but only within marriage.
  • Divorce is allowed.
  • A man can have up to 4 wives but a woman can have only one husband.
  • Homosexuality, prostitution and extra-marital sex is forbidden.
dietary laws
Dietary Laws
  • Muslims are forbidden to eat things that are bad for their health, especially alcohol and drugs.
  • They refrain from eating pork, carrion, blood or anything sacrificed to another god.
  • They must refrain from eating anything that died by any reason other than proper slaughter.
financial observances
Financial Observances
  • A Muslim is to refrain from gambling
  • There should be no lying, cheating, theft, bribery, forgery or any illegal gain.
  • Muslims should never pay interest.
islam and terrorism
Islam and Terrorism
  • 85% of Muslims are Sunni and 15% are Shites
  • The majority of Muslims believe that military action is legitimate only in self defense.
  • Most Muslims believe that suicide is forbidden and that the innocent must never be intentionally killed in battle.