Religion: Muslim • Majority of Region is Muslim • Majority are Sunni • The Sunni tradition has placed great emphasis on the role of religion in public and political life, with great weight placed on the Shariah (Islamic law) as the standard for a broad range of social issues—marriage, divorce, inheritance, commerce, and so on. (Patheos) • Sunni – Shia Split: The Sunni and Shi'a both trace their differences to the 7th century C.E., when disagreements over the successor to the Prophet Muhammad arose. The Sunni maintain that the Muslim community was to select the Prophet's successor (caliph) to lead, whereas the Shi'a believe the Prophet chose his son-in-law, Ali, to be his successor. (Patheos)
Religion: Judaism & Christianity • Judaism • Primarily concentrated in Israel • Oldest monotheistic religion • Teach observance of God’s Law • Found in the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) • Ten Commandments • Christianity • Came out of the Jewish religion • Jesus • Taught grace over works
Languages • Majority speak Arabic • Other major languages include: • Hebrewin Israel • Berber in southern Morocco and Algeria • Turkish in Turkey • Farsi from Iranians • Pashto from Afghanis • Kurdish from Kurds
Basic Arabic • http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/other/quickfix/arabic.shtml
The Arts: Architecture • Architecture: • Ziggurats • Large step-like temple of mud brick built in ancient Mesopotamia • Believed to have been used for religious ceremony / contain a shrine at the top • Pyramids • Built by Egyptians to serve as royal tombs • Mosques and Palaces • Most prevalent example of Islamic architecture • Islam discourages depicting living figures in religious art; thus, most Muslim artist work using geometric patterns and floral designs.
The Arts: Literature • Shahnameh (King of Kings) • With its 50,000 rhyming couplets the Shahnama, or "Book of Kings," is one of the most voluminous epics of world literature. The poem narrates the history of the ancient kings of Iran from the mythical beginnings to the Arab conquest in 651 A.D. It was completed around 1010 A.D. by Abu'lQasim Firdausi Tusi (935–1020), and was dedicated to the Ghaznavid ruler Mahmud of Ghazna (r. 998–1030), who had succeeded in gaining power over eastern Iran and modern-day Afghanistan by the end of the tenth century. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) • The Knight in the Panther’s Skin • A Georgian epic by writer ShotaRustaveli • Paints a picture of brave warriors and their battles during the reign of Georgia’s Queen Tamara • Today much of the regions poetry become rhythmically westernized.
The Knight of the Panther’s Skin • The Knight In The panther's Skin • PROLOGUE1 He who created the firmament by the omnipotent might of his power, Gave breath to all living creatures and to man spirits celestial, Gave us the world to possess with all its unlimited varieties,And Kings ordained by Him, each in His own image.*2 0 One God, who has created the form of every man's body,Assist us, give us strength, to conquer the wiles of Satan;Fill us with longing for love, endless, enduring to death!Lighten the load of sins we must bear to the world to come!*3 I sing of the lion whom the use of lance, shield and sword adorns,Of Tamar, the Queen of Queens, the ruby-cheeked and jet-haired. How shall I dare pay tribute to her in praiseworthy verses, Whom to look upon is to feast upon the choicest of honey?*Drawing Kobuladze4 Tears of blood flow profusely as I exult our Queen TamarWhose praises I have uttered forth in well-chosen words.For ink I have used a lake of jet and for pen, a pliant reed. My words, like jagged spears, will pierce the heart of the hearer.
Living in Modern NSC • The Family • Overall, families tend to be large and close-knit, with religion being a dominant force in everyday life. • Standards of Living • Living conditions vary widely in the region, and are mostly dependent on the countries ability to produce oil. • Education • Literacy rates in the region have climbed steadily in recent history, with most countries recording at or above 75% • One of the biggest problems the region continues to face is the education of women. While more girls are receiving more education currently, there is still social and often governmental pressure keeping many girls from attending school.
Salat • http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/galleries/salah/