Muhammad and Mecca • Muhammad was born in Mecca around 570 • Became a successful trader • Mecca: trading and religious center • Kaaba: cube shaped building in Mecca that housed idols of local dieties. • People would embark on pilgrimages to Mecca to worship at the Kaaba • Because Mecca was a trading center, Muhammad was exposed to many different religions and cultures…including monotheistic religions.
Becoming the Prophet • Muhammad became a respected trader and had a rich spiritual life • According to Islamic teachings, while on a prayer retreat in 610 the angel Gabriel spoke to Muhammad and told him to “recite” • After telling his wife what happened, she told him that he was receiving messages from Allah. • His teachings would later be recorded by his followers and compiled into 1 holy text: The Quran • His followers would be called Muslims: “those who surrender to God” • The teachings/beliefs/religion would be called Islam
Muhammad’s Teachings • Meccans should worship the one true god, Allah • Denounced the worship of idols • All Muslims are equal in the eyes of Allah • Spoke out against the mistreatment of women and neglect of orphans
Mecca’s Reaction • People of Muhammad’s clan as well as the dispossessed of Mecca followed Muhammad’s teaching • Meccan elite disliked Muhammad’s message: • Merchants feared that if Islam spread, people would stop coming to Mecca on a pilgrimage • Merchants were not fans of being told they should share their riches with the poor • Elite called Muhammad a liar, followers were tortured, and businesses stopped associating with Muslims.
The Hijra • Muhammad was invited to Medina to settle a dispute • People in Medina were more receptive to Islam…Muhammad and followers moved to Medina in 622 • Gradually, Islam spread and gained acceptance in Medina and surrounding communities • In 630 Muhammad and his followers peacefully marched to Mecca, threw out the idols, and rededicated the Kaaba to Allah • The journey from Medina to Mecca is called the Hijra • In 632 Muhammad made a pilgrimage to Mecca…this journey would become a cornerstone of Islam
The 5 Pillars of Islam • Faith: Shahadah • Declare that “there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet” • Allah is central in Muslim life • Prayer: Salat • Pray 5x per day facing Mecca • Charity: Zakat • Requirement to share a portion of wealth to those in need • Fasting: Siyam • The 9th month of the Islamic calendar: Ramadan: when Muhammad received Allah’s teachings • Muslims are required to fast during daylight hours during this month • Teach what its like to be hungry and encourage charity • End of Ramadan: Eid al-Fitr: celebration with gifts and feast • Pilgrimage: Hajj • All Muslims who are able are required to travel on a religious journey to Mecca at least once in their life. • Many Muslims travel during Eid al-Adhah: celebration of Abraham’s obedience to God
Divisions in Islam • After the death of Muhammad, disagreements arose as to who should be the next leader of Islam…a descendant of Muhammad or someone who is a popularly elected leader? • Sunni: majority, believe that leader of Islam is elected • Shi’a: minority, believe that the leader of Islam is a descendent of Muhammad
Sharia Law • Islamic Law: guides all aspects of Muslim life including daily routines, family and religious obligations, and financial planning. It is derived primarily from the Quran based on the sayings, practices, and teachings of Muhammed • Scholars collected information on Muhammed’s life and ways into the hadith • Application of Sharia law varies depending on where one lives, local customs, and how the Quran is interpreted • In Muslim countries where Islam is the official religion listed in the constitution, sharia is declared to be a source, or the source, of the laws.
Different Schools of Thought • The different schools of thought surrounding Sharia differ in how the sources that form Sharia should be interpreted and applied • Sources: Quran, hadith, scholars, and consensus of the community • 5 different main schools of thought • Sunni: Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi’I, and Hanafi • Shi’a: Ja’fari • Hanbali: most orthodox (Saudi Arabia) • Hanafi: most liberal
Sharia in Saudi Arabia • One of the strictest interpretations • Women must be under the guardianship of male relatives at all times • Women must be completely covered in public • Based on a strict interpretation of the Quran which discusses the protection of women and modesty of dress
Variations of Sharia law and women’s rights • Saudi Arabia: women must be escorted by male family members at all times • Oman: women need permission from male family member to leave the country • Saudi Arabia: women must have their faces and bodies covered , only eyes showing when out in public • Oman: attire differs by region…long dress to knees, ankle length pants, scarf covering head and/or face depending on region. Varying regions only wear the scarf covering their hair
Radical Islam • A broad term that refers to religious ideologies that push for a return to the fundamentals of Islam. • Fundamentalist groups believe that the Quran is the literal word of Allah and must be strictly adhered to. • Most radical groups think that a true and pure Muslim state is required in order to strictly adhere to their interpretation of the Quran. • Fundamentalist groups are a minority in the Muslim world, and are openly rejected by many Muslims. • Groups that follow these ideas include Hamas, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and others, who use terrorism to fight for their beliefs.
Jihad • Literal meaning: struggle or effort • 3 different kinds of struggle: • Internal struggle to live out the Muslim faith • Struggle to build a good Muslim society • Struggle to defend Islam • Internal Struggle = “greater Jihad” • Since the internal struggle refers to living out the Muslim faith, following the 5 pillars= jihad
Holy War • Islam permits that Jihad can be used for this purpose if the Islamic faith is under attack • Self-defense • Strengthening Islam • Protecting Muslims • Punishing an enemy who breaks an oath • Putting right a wrong • Islamic law sets very specific rules for this type of war • While it is the case that terrorists have used jihad to explain their actions, this type of jihad is not widely accepted among the greater Muslim community