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Understanding Islam A Catholic Perspective
The Direction of Intention My God, give me the grace to perform this action with youand through love for you.In advance, I offer to you all the good that I will do and acceptall the difficulty I may meet therein. St. Ann,Pray for us. St. Francis de Sales, Pray for us.
Overview • Week One • Who was Mohammed? • Islam as a Religious / Political Movement • The Bible and the Quran • Islamic view of Judaism and Christianity • Week Two • The Crusades • Differences between Christianity and Islam • What the Church says about Islam • Understanding Islam from a Catholic perspective
The Basics • CHRISTIANITY • Founder: Jesus Christ • First Century • Monotheistic • 3 billion members • 1 Billion R.C. • Internal Divisions • Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox • Mission: Evangelization • To build the Kingdom of God • Sacred Text: Bible • ISLAM • Founder: Mohammed • 6th Century • Monotheistic • 1.2 members • Internal Divisions • Sunni and Shia • Mission: The Shahdada – There is One True God • Sacred Text: Quran
The Basics • Islam – Is a religion • Muslim is a follower of Islam • Arab is an ethnic designation • All Muslims are part of the Islamic faith but not all Arabs are Muslim • Middle East is a geographic designation • Not everyone in the Middle East is Arab or Muslim • Other groups in the Middle East • Christians, Jews, Hindus, and others
The Basics The Middle East
The Basics The Arab World
The Basics The Islamic World
Who was Mohammed • 570 – 632 • Born in Mecca – Saudi Arabia • Was a merchant – traveler with his uncle • Experienced Judaism and Christianity • Recognized that Arabs lacked a monotheistic belief system • Acutely aware of the unjust distribution of wealth and the plight of the poor In the Sunni tradition (most of the Middle East and North Africa) it is unlawful to reproduce a physical representation of the Prophet Mohammed or of Allah
Who was Mohammed • In 610 he has a vision of the Angel Gabriel • Received first revelation about the One True God – Allah • Would continue over the next 23 years • Was encouraged by his wife and family to speak openly about these revelations • Begins writing Quran over the course of revelations The Shia tradition (Iran and Kuwait) allow pictures of the Prophet Mohammed but never of Allah
Who was Mohammed • Began preaching “Islam” – Submission to the will of God • Persecuted in Mecca and moved to Medina • Begins attracting followers • Second sons of tribal leaders and merchants … • Nomads • Mohammed and early followers face persecution from Arab leaders • A Political / Religious Movement ensued after 623 – followers subjugated much of the Arabian Peninsula A depiction of Muhammad advancing on Mecca
UNITY UNDER THE 5 Pillars of Islam • Shahadah: CREED: Acceptance of Monotheism and Muhammad • Salat: PRAYER: Consists of five daily prayers according to the Quran • Zakat: ALMSGIVING: practice of charitable giving based on accumulated wealth, 2.5% of one's wealth for the benefit of the poor or needy, including slaves, debtors and travelers. • Sawm of Ramadan: FASTING • Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca The Hajj takes place in Mecca. Pilgrims converge on the Kaaba (small building in center) believed to have been build by Abraham and Ishmael. All Muslims pray in the direction of Mecca and the Kaaba
The Kaaba as a holy site predates the rise of Islam. Its existence was mentioned in the ancient Greek world. It was formerly the site of a pagan shrine and believed to be the center of the earth and a gate way to the after-life. At the time of Mohammed it was a pagan shrine and Mecca a city of pilgrimage.
The QuranA Revelation of God • Considered by Muslims as the Word of God • The Quran (the word means “recitation”) was revealed to Mohammad verse by verse over the space of 23 years. • It contains 114 chapters, or suras, which cover a range of topics from reverence for Allah to practical ways of living.
How the Quran Differs from the Bible • Bible is a collection of books. • Compiled over a period of 13 centuries. OT - 90 AD NT - 120? • Arranged chronologically. • Many different authors. • Bible does not as a whole, mention itself. • The Bible does not claim to be literal revelation. • Based extensively on Oral Traditions • Read in translation. Different languages • The Qur’an is one book. • Was compiled over a period of 23 years. • 632 • Not arranged chronologically. • One author. • The Qur’an, as a whole, is mentioned often in the Qur’an. • The Qur’an claims to be literal revelation. • No Oral Tradition • Read in its original language.
The People of the Book • The Qur'an teaches that Islam is the continued faithful religion in the same line as the Prophets who were before Muhammad • The Word of God was enjoined on Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (42:13 AYA). • "We (Muslims) believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you (Jews & Christians); our Allah and your Allah is One" (29:46 AYA).
Islam as a Religious / Political Movement • Islam did not develop in a vacuum • The collapse of the Roman Empire in North Africa • Empire split in two – 386 AD • The Christianization of the Byzantine Empire and The West • Christianity adopted as official state Religion • Religion and nationality one in the same • The emergence of weak City-States and kingdoms in the West
The Mediterranean World in 632 • Mohammed dies in 632 • Arabian Peninsula unified ? • civil wars break out • Powerful Byzantine Empire to the North • Weak city-states across North Africa • Mixture of Christian and pagan cultures • Weak Iberian Peninsula • Christianity primarily an urban religion • Islam primarily a rural religion – carried along trade routes