ISLAM Beliefs and Practices
I. Components of the Faith • Islam: Means “submission to God” • Muslim: A follower of Islam • Qur'an: Word of God according to Muslims • Hadith: Collection of the words and example of Muhammad • From testimony of Muhammad’s companions
Five Pillars of Islam • Shahada: main creed in Islam: confess belief in one God • Muhammad is his messenger • Must recite: "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God" • Salat: pray 5 times a day • Listen to the Call to Prayer. Video. Video 2. • Prayer video • Zakat: almsgiving, giving to those in need • 2.5% to the poor • Sawm: fasting • Most common in holy month of Ramadan from dawn until dusk • Hajj: holy pilgrimage to Mecca • Must be made at least once in lifetime. Video. Pictures.
Six Beliefs • Belief in One God • Shirk: worshipping anything or anyone other than God. Essentially idolatry, the one unforgiveable sin • Belief in Angels • God’s messengers to bring his revelation • Belief in Prophets • Humans chosen by God to be his messengers. Includes Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad
Six Beliefs • Belief in Scriptures • The Qur'an, but also parts of Torah, Psalms, and Gospels • Belief in Final Judgment and Resurrection • Only God knows the day of judgment • Will be bodily resurrection and then reside in Paradise • Belief in God’s Predestination • God is in control of everything but free will still exists
Jihad • Jihad: means to “strive or struggle” in the way of God • There are different interpretations of what jihad means: • Could be taken to mean a military struggle against non-Muslims to protect or spread the Ummah (Muslim community) • Or Greater Jihad vs. Lesser Jihad: • Greater Jihad – struggle for spiritual self-perfection • Lesser Jihad – struggle in a military sense • Or some interpret it as “holy war” • There is much controversy over Jihad • Must it have a warfare connection? • Does it refer to defensive or offensive warfare? • Focus on Greater or Lesser?
II. Mosques • Mosque: place of prayer • Translated as “place of prostration” • Doesn’t have to be a building • Minaret: tower where call to prayer takes place • Qibla: niche in wall to orient worshiper toward Mecca • Imam: Religious leader in a mosque (in Sunni Islam) • Sheik: Muslim held in high esteem • Often the leader of a tribe or group.
Women in Mosques • Must be covered when praying • Never pray in front of men • Modesty • Traditionally separated from men by either praying in the back, by a barrier, or in a different room
III. Sharia Law • Sharia: body of Islamic religious law • Governs all aspects of private and public life • Sunnis base law upon Qur’an, Sunnah, and scholarly interpretation • Shi’ites base law upon Qur’an and examples of Muhammad and Imams
Sharia and Human Rights • Women have few rights • Husband or father has legal rights. Story. • Very little freedom of speech • Slavery is condoned, but not encouraged • Better to take slaves in war, than to kill whole tribes • Different perspectives on role of Islamic law: • Traditionalists: believe laws of state should be based upon Islamic traditions • Secularists: believe laws should be based upon secular traditions
IV. Islam and Other Faiths • Dhimmis: “Peoples of the Book” • Mainly Christians and Jews, those from the other Abrahamic religions • Islam historically respected Dhimmis • Allowed to worship in pre-established buildings • Pay tax in lieu of Zakat (alms)
V. Family Life1. Childhood • Naming: • Named after family, prophets, or events • Circumcision: • Traditionally occurs after boy recites Qur’an between 10 and 12 years old • Can happen in infancy, but often as a rite of passage into adulthood
2. Marriage • Encouraged to marry as soon as feasible • Parents often arrange marriage • Love will grow out of marriage • Weddings are gender exclusive • Groom gives a “bride gift”
3. Eating • Halal: permissible food • Haram: anything forbidden • Carrion (carcasses of dead animals), Pork, Blood, and anything dedicated to another god • Alcohol is also Haram Falafel Humus
4. Death • Shahada should be whispered in ear of the dying • Dead should be buried the same day • Body washed and shrouded in white • Placed in grave on right side with head facing Mecca • Female wailing common as form of grieving