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World Religions Chapter 14. Islam. The Foundations of Islam. The Foundations of Islam. The name Islam means “surrender” or “submission” The name Muslim means “one who submits”. The Qur’an is about 4/5 the size of the New Testament and is divided into 114 chapters, or suras .

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the foundations of islam1
The Foundations of Islam
  • The name Islam means “surrender” or “submission”
    • The name Muslim means “one who submits”.
  • The Qur’an is about 4/5 the size of the New Testament and is divided into 114 chapters, or suras.
  • The literal meaning of the name Qur’an means “reading” or “recitation”.
  • Muhammad was born about AD 570 in the leading tribe of Mecca (a city in the Arabian Peninsula).
  • The “Night of Power and Excellence” marks Muhammad’s career as a prophet. It was the night in which the Angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad and commanded him what to recite.
  • The migration to Yathrib, of utmost significance to the history of Islam, is known as the Hijra. Muslims base their system for assigning dates on this event.
the foundations of islam2
The Foundations of Islam
  • Muhammad is referred to as the seal of the prophets because Muslims believe he is the final prophet, revealing the will of Allah fully and precisely, and for all time.
  • Muhammad’s actions and own teachings (which he distinguished from the divine teachings of the Qur’an) together constitute the Sunna, or “custom”, of the Prophet. It is the second most important authority for Islam.
  • Allah is thought to be genderless because maleness and femaleness seem to be human qualities and would thus limit God’s nature.
  • Islam’s prophets are: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
  • Adam’s son, Ishmael, moved to Mecca and became the ancestor of the Arabs.
the foundations of islam to discuss
The Foundations of IslamTo Discuss
  • What surprises you about the following three facts:
    • Muhammad was illiterate.
    • He was married.
    • He was an able businessman and a brilliant administrator.
the foundations of islam3
The Foundations of Islam
  • Muslims interpret the Fall from perfection in the Garden of Eden in this way: When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they caused a state of forgetfulness to come upon them. When people momentarily forget their basic goodness, their passions can lead them to sin.
  • Muslims expect that before and on the Day of Judgment the Mahdi, a savior figure similar to Judaism’s Messiah, will come to restore Islam and bring order on earth. After this, Jesus Christ will return to Jerusalem and usher in the Day of Judgment, at which time all humans will stand before Allah and be told their destiny.
  • The Muslim view of the natural world: Being Allah’s creation, the natural world is good and worthy of reverence. It is another form of revelation of God’s will and is sometimes referred to as the cosmic Qur’an.
the foundations of islam to discuss1
The Foundations of IslamTo Discuss
  • Muslims embrace science because it fits perfectly with their religious perspective about the natural world. From your perspective, how well do science and religion go together?
  • Many Muslims live in countries governed by the Shari’a, or divine law, of Islam. Imagine what it would be like if your own country came to be ruled by a religion. What would be the most notable changes?
the foundations of islam an activity
The Foundations of IslamAn Activity
  • The Bible and the Qur’an

Several of the familiar stories in the Bible also appear in the Qur’an, although often in a different form. Compare the Bible and Qur’an verses from your handout which are based on the story of Noah and the Flood. We will then fill in the chart below.

basic practices and social teachings1
Basic Practices and Social Teachings
  • The English translation of the Muslim profession of faith is “There is no god except God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.”
  • The Five Pillars of Islam: Confession of Faith, Prayer, Fasting, Wealth Sharing and Pilgrimage
  • All Muslims are required to pray five times each day: early morning, noon, midafternoon, sunset and evening. Muslim prayer requires ritual washing of the hands and face, prostration in the direction of Mecca, and other ritual movements. Usually the prayers are performed on a rug specifically designed for this purpose.
  • Ramadan is the Muslim month in which, from dawn to sunset, Muslims are to avoid eating, drinking, smoking and sex.
  • According to the fourth pillar, Muslims, except those who are poor, must contribute 2.5% of their possessions to a public treasury.
basic practices and social teachings2
Basic Practices and Social Teachings
  • Haji, the fifth pillar, is the pilgrimage to Mecca. It is significant because Allah forgives the sins of those who make the journey with reverence. Any pilgrim who dies on the journey to or from Mecca is a martyr and enters Paradise.
  • Muslim teachings on the body: The body is to be kept clean. The diet is regulated: pork and alcoholic beverages are forbidden. Sexuality is celebrated, but only within marriage.
  • Three controversial issues commonly mentioned by Western critics are divorce, polygamy and the wearing of the veil.
  • Jihad means “exertion” or “struggle”.
    • On a personal level, jihad refers to an individual’s struggle against anything that interrupts reverence for Allah and from living the divine will.
    • Socially, jihad refers to preserving what Allah wills for the world.
    • Jihad can sometimes refer to armed struggle.
basic practices and social teachings to discuss
Basic Practices and Social Teachings To Discuss
  • Compare Islamic teachings on the care of the body with the teachings you have received from your own religion and culture.
  • Very few Muslims practice polygamy, though it is technically allowed by the Qur’an. How do you interpret the Muslim teaching on this issue, as set forth in the passage from the Qur’an:
    • You may marry other women who seem good to you: two, or three, or four of them. But if you fear you cannot maintain equality among them, marry only one. (Qur’an 4:3)
basic practices and social teachings an activity
Basic Practices and Social TeachingsAn Activity
  • Distractions from the spiritual path

The concept of Jihad refers to Muslims’ struggle against anything that distracts them from revering Allah and from following Allah’s will.

    • Get into groups.
    • Create about 15 3-by-5-inch squares of paper.
    • Create about 5 4-by-6-inch squares of paper.
    • Brainstorm potential distractions from the spiritual path.
    • On each of the 15 3-by-5-inch pieces of paper, write one distraction. Underneath the distraction write one “struggle” against that distraction.
    • After writing 15 distractions, pile together the ones that are similar. Then assign a category name to each pile of distractions and write the category name for each pile on the 4-by-6-inch piece of paper.
    • Display and explain your distractions.
    • How do these ways of struggling spiritually correlate to the Five Pillars of Islam?
the expansion of islam1
The Expansion of Islam
  • After Muhammad’s death, Islam expanded to the entire Middle East, Persia, North Africa and almost all of Spain.
  • Currently, the majority of Muslims can be found in northern Africa, all of the Middle East and southwestern Asia (including Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan), South Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • Arabia has been involved in Islam since Islam’s earliest history. Many Muslim sacred sites are in Arabia and Arabic is the language of Islam.
  • Some African Americans choose to follow Islam instead of Christianity because nearly 20% of Africans brought to North America were Muslims, so they have a Muslim heritage. Some also see Christianity as the religion of their white oppressors.
  • Sunnism is the form of Islam practiced by about 87% of Muslims. The word sunni comes from a phrase referring to the people who follow the established custom, or sunna, meaning the Sunna of the Prophet.
the expansion of islam2
The Expansion of Islam
  • The term shi’icomes from shi’at’Ali, which means “partisans of Ali”. Shi’i adherents consider Ali, a cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad’s, the true successor of Muhammad.
  • Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Pakistan have significant Shi’i populations.
  • An Imam is not a prophet, but is believed to have special spiritual insight and is revered as the true earthly authority.
  • Sufism extends the first sentence of Islam’s confession of faith by adding that there is nothing but God.
  • Sufi disciplines include recitation of sacred names and phrases, breathing exercises, chanting of odes, and a dance form best known in the West as the whirling dervish.
the expansion of islam to discuss
The Expansion of IslamTo Discuss
  • What aspects of Islam have you observed in your own nation and community? What have your observations taught you about Muslims and their religion?
  • Why, do you think, do today’s orthodox Muslims tend to frown on Sufism?
the expansion of islam to discuss1
The Expansion of IslamTo Discuss
  • Sufi Wisdom
    • Read the handout of sayings from classical Sufi authors.
    • Discuss your thoughts on the sayings with a partner. Which saying stood out to you the most?
    • Back to large group to share which saying meant the most to you and why.