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Islam

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  1. Islam March 2012

  2. Islam • The word “Islam” means “voluntary submission to God” • A follower of Islam is called a Muslim, “one who submits to God” • With over 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, Islam is the second-largest religion in the world • Although the first Muslims were Arabs (a Semitic ethnic group originating from the Arabian peninsula), not all Muslims are Arabs, nor are all Arabs Muslim • Islam is a monotheistic tradition that has much in common with Judaism and Christianity

  3. Islam Demographics

  4. Islam Timeline c. 570 CE: Birth of Muhammad 610: Revelation of Qur’an to Muhammad begins 622: Hijrah to Medina begins (Year 1 Anno Hegirae) 632: Death of Muhammad, Abu Bakr elected caliph 650: Written text of Qur’an established 661-750: Umayyad Dynasty 680: Massacre of Husayn and others 732: Europeans stop Muslim advance at Tours 750-1258: Abbasid Dynasty 980-1037: Life of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) 1058-1111: Life of al-Ghazali 1126-1198: Life of Ibn Rushd (Averroes) 1453: Turks conquer Constantinople (Istanbul) 1918: Fall of Ottoman Empire 1960s-1970s: Muslim states join OPEC 2001: Extremist group al-Qaeda orchestrates New York terror attacks; NATO attacks Afghanistan

  5. Pre-Islamic Arabia • Arabia before the time of Islam was a relatively isolated region populated by mainly nomadic peoples organized by a complex tribal system • The largest city was Mecca, which was situated along routes travelled by trading caravans • At this time, Arabic religion was polytheistic and centred upon the Ka’bah, a sacred shrine in Mecca containing idols of the many tribal deities

  6. The Prophet Muhammad • Muhammad ibn Abdullah (c.570-632 CE) is considered the “Seal of the Prophets” (final prophet) in Islam • He is viewed in Islam as the last of a prophetic lineage that also includes Moses, other Hebrew prophets, and Jesus • While considered the most exemplary of human beings, Muhammad is not worshipped as divine • Details of Muhammad’s life and sayings are preserved in the Muslim tradition of Hadith, which recounts his Sunnah (sayings and actions) • Muhammad belonged to a clan of the Quraysh tribe of Arabia

  7. Life of Muhammad • Muhammad’s father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was a child; afterwards, he was the ward of his uncle and worked as a shepherd • As a young man, Muhammad managed trade caravans for a wealthy widow named Khadijah • Muhammad and Khadijah married when he was 25 and she was 40 • Khadijah was very supportive of Muhammad during the early years of his ministry

  8. Revelation • As was common for people of Muhammad’s lineage, he went on spiritual retreats outside Mecca, at Mount Hira • During one of these retreats when Muhammad was 40, during the month of Ramadan, the angel Jibril (Gabriel) appeared to Muhammad and commanded him to recite the angel’s dictation • Muhammad may or may not have been literate, but memorization and recitation of poetry was commonplace in Arabia at the time • Muhammad protested that he could not, but the angel insisted • Deeply upset about his vision, Muhammad returned to Khadijah and shared his revelation with her and some of their friends • Over the next few years, Muhammad received more revelations, and was commanded to spread his message through the community • This led to ridicule and persecution at the hands of the Quraysh authorities, who were guardians of the Ka’bah

  9. The First Muslims • The first to accept Muhammad’s teaching was his wife, Khadijah, followed by his young cousin Ali, his friend Abu Bakr, and his adopted son Zayd • A small community soon emerged, made up largely of social outcasts • Some of the first Muslims experienced persecution by the Quraysh; Muhammad was protected from them by his uncle, Abu Talib, who was head of Muhammad’s clan • Muhammad’s 50th year was the saddest of his life; both Abu Talib and Khadijah • Without Abu Talib’s protection, Muhammad was not protected by his clan, meaning no one would avenge his death if he was murdered

  10. Night of Ascension • At the height of his persecution, Muhammad had an experience in which he toured the cosmos • Jibril appeared to Muhammad with Al-Buraq, a winged steed • Al-Buraq flew Muhammad to Jerusalem, at which point he met his predecessor prophets, including Adam, Moses, John the Baptist, and Jesus • Muhammad toured heaven and hell and received the blessing of Allah

  11. Hijrah • Facing increased pressure in Mecca from the Quraysh, Muhammad began searching for a new home for his followers • He eventually won some converts from the northern oasis of Yathrib (Medina) • In 622, Muhammad and his followers secretly escaped Mecca and travelled to Medina • This is called the hijrah (migration) by Muslims • Medina had experienced long-standing conflict between the local Arab tribes, and they invited Muhammad to be a neutral adjudicator • Muhammad drew up a constitution for Medina that brought the tribes and local Jewish merchant community into an alliance

  12. War • Hostility continued between Muhammad and the Meccans • War broke out between Mecca and Medina, and Muhammad led a raid against a Meccan caravan • Although outnumbered, the Muslims won a startling victory against the Meccans at Badr • Outraged, the Meccans attacked Medina and routed the Muslims, injuring Muhammad • Then the Meccans returned with a much larger army to besiege Medina, but the Muslims were prepared and had dug trenches around the city to repel enemy cavalry • The siege failed, and Muhammad negotiated a truce between the two cities • When the truce ended, Muhammad returned to Mecca with a huge band of followers, and the Meccans surrendered and converted to Islam • Rather than following the tribal custom of revenge, Muhammad forgave many of his former enemies, and purged the Ka’bah of idols

  13. Muhammad’s Last Years • Muhammad united the Arab tribes into a single community, the Ummah (family) • To solidify these alliances, he took several wives, as was customary in tribal Arabian culture • In the new community, tribal blood feuds were abolished and the equality of all under Islam was affirmed • Muhammad made his final pilgrimage to Mecca in 632, setting the pattern for the annual Muslim Hajj • Muhammad died shortly afterwards

  14. The Qur’an • The Qur’an is the holy book of Islam • Muslims believe that the Qur’an comes directly from God, and was revealed to various prophets throughout history • Muslims believe that Jewish and Christian scripture are a mixture of divine revelation and human additions • Only the Qur’an, as revealed to Muhammad, is thought to remain true to God’s word • It is written in verse (poetry) in Arabic • The Qur’an is shorter than the New Testament, and its verses are arranged in order from longest to shortest, rather than chronologically

  15. Qur’an: the Fatiha (Opener) In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds: Most Gracious, Most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment. Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek. The way of those on whom Thou has bestowed Thy Grace, Those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray. (Sura 1: 1-7)

  16. Allah • Allah is the one god in Islam • The name al-Lah is a generic term meaning “the God” • God is the creator and the judge of the universe • God exists outside of time and is aware of the innermost thoughts of humans, as well as the future • God is both transcendent, existing within the heavenly realm, and immanent, being present within people • Islamic tradition ascribes 99 names to Allah, each describing one of His attributes • E.G. The Merciful; The Compassionate; etc.

  17. The Qur’an: Allah And indeed We created man, and know We whatever thoughts whispereth his self unto him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (Sura 50:16) He is it Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and is moreover firmly established on the Throne (of Authority). He knows what enters within the earth and what comes forth out of it, what comes down from heaven and what mounts up to it. And He is with you wheresoever ye may be. And Allah sees well all that ye do. (Sura 57:4) He is the One Who sends to His Servant Manifest Signs, that He may lead you from the depths of Darkness into the Light and verily Allah is to you most kind and Merciful (Sura 57:9)

  18. The Cosmos in Islam • According to Islam, God created heaven, earth, and hell • God created humans from earth and breathed His spirit into them, giving humans special status • The angel Iblis resented the special status of humankind and turned away from God, becoming known as Satan or the Whispering One • Iblis tempted Adam to disobey God in the Garden; Adam and Eve sinned but were forgiven • Humans may now choose to follow the path of God or the temptations of evil (personified as Iblis) • On the Last Day, God will reward the righteous in Paradise and condemn the wicked to hell

  19. The Qur’an: Paradise In gardens of bliss… a multitude will be seated on couches set close together… Immortal youths will serve them with goblets, pitchers and cups filled with water from a spring which will not upset them or dull their senses; and they may choose fruit of any kind and whatever fowl they desire and chaste companions with eyes of a beauty like pearls hidden in shells… We formed them perfectly and made them spotless virgins, chastely amorous and of the same age. (56:12-37)

  20. Social Changes Brought By Islam • The Muslim Ummah was both a religious and political community • Islamic law (Sharia) differed greatly from Arabian tribal law • The Qur’an condemns exploitation of the socially vulnerable, including widows, orphans, slaves, foreigners, and the poor • Islam de-emphasized traditional tribal values such as honour and muruwwa (manliness) in favour of piety and humility

  21. Social Changes: Women • Equality of men and women is enshrined in the Qur’an (3:195, 33:35) • Different roles, however, are prescribed: • “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard.” (4:34) • Islam set limits on men’s rights to marry and seek divorce • A limit of four wives was set for men • The consent of a woman in front of two witnesses was required for marriage • Men could not divorce at will • Women could own property, including dowry • Husbands and wives had mutual rights and obligations • Women were allowed to own property and administer and receive inheritance • Modesty in dress came to be required of both men and women • Female infanticide was prohibited

  22. Social Changes: Poverty • The Qur’an condemns the practice of usury (lending money with interest) • Muslims are required to pay zakat, or alms, for humanitarian purposes • This money would be collected by the government and used for welfare for the socially vulnerable • Slaves were recognized legally as persons with rights

  23. Caliphate • The Islamic Caliphate (empire) existed from 632-1258 CE • There are three main periods of Islamic Caliphate: • Rashidun Caliphate (Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs) (632-661) • Umayyad Dynasty (661-750) • Abbasid Dynasty (750-1258) • The word “caliph” means “successor” (to Muhammad)

  24. Rashidun Caliphate • The Rashidun Caliphate was led by the “Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs,” who were chosen by consensus of the Muslim community: • Abu Bakr, father-in-law and uncle of Muhammad (632-634) • Umar ibn al-Khattab, an early enemy of Islam who converted to the faith (634-644) • Uthman ibn Affan, a wealthy member of the Quraysh tribe and early convert to Islam (644-656) • Ali ibn Abi Talib, cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad (656-661) • The Rashidun period was marked by a rapid expansion of the Caliphate and by internal turmoil over succession to Muhammad • A long and bitter war had devastated the Persian and Byzantine empires and alienated many of the peoples of the Middle East • Many Jews and Christians preferred Muslim rule to the old empires, as they were guaranteed protection as “people of the book” • Muslim armies generally replaced local rulers and armies in conquered territories, but left local administrative structures in place

  25. The Qur’an: Unity of Humanity And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which God stretches out for you, and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude God’s favor for you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren. (3:103) Those who believe (in the Qur’an) and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians, any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (2:62)

  26. Extent of the Rashidun Caliphate

  27. End of the Rashidun Caliphate • Following Muhammad’s death, tribal rivalries resurfaced, and intrigue surrounded the office of the caliph • Uthman, the third caliph, was assassinated by Egyptian rebels • Ali succeeded Uthman, but soon faced rebellions, including one led by Muhammad’s widow Aisha • A second rebellion would be led by Uthman’s nephew Muawiyah • After negotiating a truce with Muawiyah, some of Ali’s former allies came to see him as weak, and assassinated him in 661 • Muawiyah moved the capital of the caliphate to Damascus and transformed it into an absolute monarchy, founding the Umayyad dynasty

  28. Sunni-Shia Split • Ali’s assassination revealed fractures within the Muslim community • Husayn, Ali’s son and Muhammad’s grandson, did not accept the legitimacy of Muawiyah and the Umayyads • When Muawiyah appointed his son, Yazid, as the next caliph, Husayn and his allies rebelled • Husayn and his relatives and friends were massacred in the desert of Karbala by Yazid’s troops • The Muslim community was split into two factions: the Sunnis, who accepted the elected caliphs, and the Shia, who believed leadership of the community should come from within the family of Muhammad

  29. Sunni Islam • Those who followed the elected caliphs were called Sunnis, or “the people of the Sunnah” (sayings and deeds of the Prophet) • During the caliphate period, Sunnis saw the caliph as both a spiritual and political leader, and administrator of Sharia, or Islamic law • Sharia is based upon the Qur’an and the Sunnah, as recounted in Hadith • Between 75% and 90% of all Muslims worldwide are Sunni

  30. Shia Islam • Shia is a short form of Shiatu Ali (faction of Ali) • Shi’ite Muslims believe that Muhammad designated Ali as his successor shortly before his death • Instead of recognizing the caliphs, Shi’ites recognize the authority of a succession of Imams (leaders) descended from Muhammad • The majority of Shi’ites are “Twelvers” who believe in twelve legitimate Imams, the last of whom exists in a hidden state and will return on the Day of Judgment as the Mahdi • A minority of Shi’ites are “Seveners,” who recognize a different seventh Imam, and believe he is alive but hidden • A minority of Muslims today are Shia • Shi’ite Muslims form majorities in modern-day Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain

  31. Sunni-Shia Distribution

  32. Sufism • Aside from the Sunni and Shi’ite denominations of Islam, the Sufi tradition has existed within Islam since earliest times • Sufism is an esoteric, mystical tradition within Islam • Sufis came to feel that the Islam promoted by the caliphs was excessively legalistic and intellectual, and sought a more spiritual approach to the religion • Sufis believe that each verse of the Qur’an has an “outer,” or literal, meaning, and an “inner,” or esoteric, meaning • Some orthodox Sunnis do not consider Sufis to be true Muslims

  33. Sufism • Some Sufis chose to live as ascetic dervishes • Among the mystical, meditative practices undertaken by dervishes are repetition of prayers and ecstatic dancing • Dervishes owned no possessions and lived by begging • The Sufi tradition is passed from shaykh (spiritual master) to student • Only the most advanced students are taught the highest-level spiritual practices and secrets • It is thought that masters pass on to their students not only knowledge but also barakah, or spiritual power • A number of tariqas (orders or lineages) arose from this tradition • Sufis have existed in tension with orthodox Islam as their descriptions of personal connections with Allah are sometimes seen as blasphemy

  34. Famous Sufis • Rabi’a (c. 713-801): a mystic from modern Iraq. Rabi’a sought fana, mystical annihilation in love with Allah, the Beloved • Mansur al-Hallaj (c. 858-922) studied under Shaykh Junayd of Baghdad • When visiting Junayd, al-Hallaj once introduced himself by saying “ana’l-Haqq” (I am God), indicating that he had achieved fana and unity with Allah • He was put to death for blasphemy • Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058-1111): influential philosopher and theologian who turned to mysticism; brought greater acceptance for Sufism in Islamic society • Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273): Persian poet known for devotional poetry which transcends Islam • The Mevlevi Order of Dervishes (whirling dervishes) was based upon the mysticism of Rumi

  35. Umayyad Dynasty • The Umayyad Caliphate encompassed a larger territory than the Roman Empire at its height • The early Umayyads moved the capital from Medina to Damascus, a more cosmopolitan city in modern Syria • The Umayyads were criticized by devout Muslims for focusing on statecraft and secular matters at the expense of religion, and for living opulent lives • In 747 CE, much of the Umayyad line was massacred by a rival to the caliphate; shortly afterwards, the Abbasid dynasty would come to power • Descendents of the Umayyads would rule al-Andalus (Muslim Spain) for centuries afterwards

  36. Umayyad Caliphate

  37. Abbasid Dynasty • The Abbasids moved the capital of the Caliphate from Damascus to Baghdad, and brought Persian culture to the Muslim mainstream • Among the many cultural achievements of the Abbasid Dynasty are: • Adaptation of Persian art and poetry • A new tradition of literature, including the One Thousand and One Nights • Development of contemporary numerals and algebra • Rediscovery of Aristotle and development of philosophy • Advances in medicine thanks to pioneers such as Ibn Sina • Egypt and Tunisia broke from Abbasid rule to form the Shi’ite Fatimid Caliphate • When Fatimid armies destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and persecuted non-Muslims, Christian Europeans launched the Crusades to retake Jerusalem • The Muslim leader Salah ud-Din (Saladin) retook Jerusalem and treated its inhabitants with leniency • The Abbasid Dynasty came to an end in 1258, when the Mongol armies of Hulagu Khan burned Baghdad to the ground and slaughtered the caliph and most of the other inhabitants of the city

  38. Subsequent Islamic Empires • Other empires succeeded the Abbasid Caliphate: • The Ottoman Empire (1299-1918) was ruled by Muslim Turks from Constantinople • The Mughal Empire (1526-1858), a Muslim empire encompassing much of India • Safavid Empire (1501-1736), dominated by Shi’ite Persians, ruled Persia and Azerbaijan • Significant Muslim populations also existed (and continue to exist) in Indonesia, Southeast Asia, China, Russia and Central Asia, and Africa

  39. The Five Pillars of Islam • The “Five Pillars” are the basic spiritual practices all Muslims are expected to follow as God’s commandments • The five pillars are: • Witness • Prayers • Almsgiving • Fasting • Pilgrimage • An unofficial sixth pillar is jihad, which means “striving” or “struggling”

  40. Shahadah: Witness • The first pillar of Islam is shahadah, the witnessing or professing of Islam • To become a Muslim, an individual must recite the shahadah with sincerity: • لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله • “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God” • Muslims are called to tell others of Islam, so that they may choose to become Muslim; however, coercion is prohibited by the Qur’an

  41. Salaat: Prayer • Muslims are expected to pray five times per day at various times • Prior to prayer, Muslims ritually wash with water • During prayer, Muslims are expected to face Mecca, no matter where they are in the world • Prayers may be individual or in groups • On Fridays at noon, a special group prayer service is held at the masjid (mosque) conducted by an imam (prayer-leader) • The imam may also give a sermon • When praying at a mosque, Muslims line up shoulder-to-shoulder facing Mecca and perform salaat together • Salaat emphasizes the unity and transcending of social distinctions in Islam • In many mosques, men and women are kept separate to avoid distraction

  42. Zakat: Almsgiving • Muslims are expected to share with the less fortunate • At the end of each year, all Muslims who are financially able are expected to donate at least 2.5% of their accumulated wealth to the needy • In addition, Muslims are encouraged to make voluntary charitable donations (sadaqat) • These funds are generally handled by zakat committees, although in some Muslim countries the funds are handled by governments

  43. Sawm: Fasting • During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are expected to refrain from eating, drink, smoking, and sexual intercourse during daylight hours • Pre-pubescent children, women who are menstruating, pregnant, or breastfeeding, the sick, travellers, and the elderly are exempted from the fast • Fasting is linked to spiritual purification, and Muslims are expected to be mindful of other sins during Ramadan

  44. Hajj: Pilgrimage • The hajj is the annual ritual pilgrimage to Mecca • All Muslims are expected to make the hajj at least once during their lifetime, if physically able • There are several stages to the hajj • Circumambulation of the Ka’bah • Prayer at the field of Arafat • Sacrifice of a ram • Symbolic stoning of the devil, represented by pillars • Each year, the hajj draws a larger crowd of Muslims from around the world to Saudi Arabia

  45. The Ka’bah

  46. Jihad • Although not a pillar of Islam, the Qur’an encourages all Muslims to carry out jihad • Jihad is an Arabic word meaning “striving” or “struggling” • It is frequently mistranslated as “holy war” • According to tradition, Muhammad distinguished between two types of jihad: • The Greater Jihad: the struggle within an individual between good and evil, love and hardheartedness, etc • The Lesser Jihad: defence of the Way of God against external evil • One who practices jihad is a mujahid • The Qur’an calls upon Muslims to defend themselves from aggressors, but condemns wars of aggression

  47. Islamic Law • Islamic law is called sharia (Arabic for “path” or “way”) • It is a moral and ritual code that encompasses all aspects of life • There are four sources of sharia: • The Qur’an • The example of Muhammad • Analogical reasoning • Consensus of the community • Sharia divides all human activities into five categories: • Obligatory • Recommended • Permissible • Reprehensible • Forbidden • Sharia law defines a Muslim’s duties to God (such as the Five Pillars) and to other people (family, commercial, and criminal law)

  48. Sources of Sharia • The Qur’an does not include a systematic set of commandments like the Torah, but includes some legal material • The life of the Prophet Muhammad is viewed by Muslims as an example of ethical virtue • Muslim legal scholars use the Hadith in order to derive examples from the life of Muhammad • In order to determine the authenticity of the Hadith, Muslim scholars traced the lines of transmission of the stories to see if they could accurately be attributed to Muhammad or those who knew him • Analogical reasoning is called itjihad, or intellectual striving • In legal situations for which there is no precedent in the Qur’an or sunnah, Muslim scholars seek to draw analogies (qiyas) with established precedents in order to determine the reason for the precedent and apply it to the current situation • Ijma, or consensus of the community, helped develop sharia when the other sources were insufficient • Over time, different Muslim communities developed different schools of Islamic legal thought

  49. Sharia • As there is no central authority in Islam and multiple schools of legal thought, there is no consensus on what sharia law entails and how it is to be applied in society • Muslims may look to professional sharia jurists for authoritative rulings (fatwas) on legal matters • Sharia has existed alongside other legal systems throughout history • Even during the age of caliphate, a supplementary legal system was developed for criminal law, as sharia takes in good faith any oath sworn before God and does not allow for circumstantial evidence or cross-examination of witnesses • Some Muslim countries have revived the caliphate-era institution of muhtasib, or religious/moral police, who enforce sharia