Means submission to God or to the will of God
This religion was born among the Arab people who had long existed in and around the Arabian Desert and had considerable experience in trade with others around the Mediterranean.
These tribal people shared no common language and many of their traditions were different.
While many of these Arabian people settle down and were agricultural in nature, the Bedouins were still nomadic herders and had tribal organizations under warrior chiefs or sheikhs’.
The Founder of Islam – Muhammad
Life in Mecca:
Since ancient times, Mecca has been a central city on the trade route from Yemen to Syria. Traders from all over the region stopped through to buy and sell goods, and visit religious sites. The local Meccan tribes thus became quite wealthy, particularly the Quraish tribe.
Arabs had been exposed to monotheism, as a tradition passed down from the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). The Ka’aba in Makkah (Mecca), in fact, was originally built by Ibrahim as a symbol of monotheism. However, over generations most of the Arab people had reverted to polytheism and had begun using the Ka’aba to house their stone idols. The society was oppressive and dangerous. They indulged in alcohol, gambling, blood feuds, and trading of women and slaves.
Muhammad Early Life: 570 C.E.
Muhammad was born in Mecca in the year 570 C.E. to a trader named ‘Abdullah and his wife Amina. The family was part of the respected Quraish tribe. Tragically, ‘Abdullah died before his son was born. Amina was left to raise Muhammad with the help of her son’s paternal grandfather.
When Muhammad was only six years old, his mother also passed away. He was thus orphaned at a young age. Only two years after that, his grandfather died, leaving Muhammad at the age of eight in the care of his paternal uncle.
In his early life, Muhammad was known as a calm and sincere boy and young man. As he grew older, people called upon him to arbitrate in disputes, as he was known to be fair and truthful.
First Marriage: 595 C.E.
When he was 25 years old, Muhammad married Khadija, a widow who was fifteen years his senior. Muhammad once described his first wife as follows: “She believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one else to lend me a helping hand.” Muhammad and Khadija were married for 25 years until her death. It was only after her death that Muhammad married again.
Call to Prophethood: 610 C.E.
As a calm and sincere person, Muhammad was disturbed by the immoral behavior he observed around him. He would often retreat to the hills surrounding Mecca in order to contemplate. During one of these retreats, in the year 610 C.E., the angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad and called him to Prophethood.
Gabriel brought to him the tidings that God had chosen him to be His Last Messenger to this world, and had imposed upon him the duty of leading mankind out of the of sin, error and ignorance into the light of Guidance, Truth and Knowledge. Gabriel then bade Muhammad to “read” the following verses: “Read in the name of thy lord and cherisher who created: Created man out of a clot of congealed blood. Read! And thy lord is most bountiful, He who taught the use of pen; Taught man that which he knew not”.
These five verses were the earliest revelation, and they came to Muhammad on the “Night of Power” or the “Blessed Night” in the month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.)
In their respective accounts of the reception by Muhammad of the First Revelation, the Sunni and the Shia Muslims are not in agreement. According to the Sunni tradition, the appearance of Gabriel surprised Muhammad, and when the former ordered him to read, he said, “I cannot read.” This happened thrice, and each time when Muhammad declared his inability to read, the angel pressed him hard to his bosom. Eventually, he was able to repeat the five verses whereupon the angel released him and disappeared.
The revelations made to Mohammad were put down in the Qur’an or Islamic Holy Book.
Later Life (610-632 C.E.)
Spreading the message – resistance by Quraish
Repercussions- followers ignored, avoided
Challenge to the Quraish
Followers go to Ethiopia and to Medina – for safety
Mohammad follows to Medina, where he builds mosque and a following
Will return to Mecca peacefully
Journey to Heaven – Ascension from the Dome of the Rock- Holy Site in Islam, located in Israel
Muhammad told his followers about a strange experience that he once had. ‘One night, the angel Gabriel came to me, bringing a white horse. On this horse, I travelled first to Jerusalem, from where I ascended to the Heavens. At each level, Gabriel introduced me to all the other Prophets, including Adam, Isa (Jesus), Yusuf (Joseph) and Musa (Moses). Musa cried when he met me. When Gabriel asked him the reason for his tears, Musa explained, “I led many of my followers to Paradise. But this young prophet, who came after me, will lead many more than me.”
The Dome of the Rock
From humble roots, the Prophet Muhammad was able to transform a corrupt, tribal land into a well-disciplined state.
Mohammad encouraged military effort in the name of Islam. If one was to die in jihad or holy war in defense of the faith, they will automatically attain an afterlife.
4 types of jihad
Hand, Heart, Sword, Tongue
For most modern scholars the concept of jihad refers to an internal struggle.
Myjihad.org- taking back Islam from Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists alike Add campaign in Chicago
Mohammad wanted a pure focus on Allah, so he forbade idols and all representations of animals or humans in mosques. Mosques are a central meeting place and house of prayer for Muslims. Artists used geometric designs, flowering patterns, and Arabic script to decorate them. Many mosques were covered with tiles or glazed stucco and many also had minarets or towers where Muslims would hear their call to prayer from. Many mosques also had domes and a “Hall of Columns” with horseshoe shaped arches.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque- Turkey
Sultan Ahmed Mosque- Turkey
Sultan Ahmed Mosque- Turkey
Iran, Chechnya, Afghanistan
Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque in Iran
Successor to Muhammad – No clear choice
Abu Bakr- was one of Mohammad’s closest followers and is selected as the caliph, or leader of an Islamic State. His followers are the Sunni.
The Shiites will be the minority group in the Islamic community and they will follow Mohammad’s son in law, Ali who was married to Mohammad’s daughter Fatima.
Creates a division in Islam.
Patterns of Islamic History
Goal- spread empire
635 C.E. –gain Syria and Palestine, gain territories in India, and Egypt
711 C.E. – invade Spain and get control of it and Italy
732 C.E. – are stopped by Charles Martel in France and do not gain Europe
11th and 12th centuries will be fighting the Christians in the Crusades
1492 C.E. – will be expelled from Spain – King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
Islamic conquerors- tolerance – of other religions and customs.
Required loyalty and taxes – which became major support for caliphate.
Caliph – Islamic ruler
Caliphate- Islamic State
Islam does not believe in a separation of Church and State- The state and religious leaders should both be agents of Allah.
Sharia law- (the straight path)
Sharia law is the law of Islam. Sharia (also spelled ‘Shariah’) is cast from the Qur’an, the actions and words of Muhammad, and the collective reasoning and deductions of Muslim imams.
As a legal system, Islam’s Sharia law covers a wide range of subjects
Sharia law covers public behavior, private behavior and private beliefs.
(A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to fitnah (upheaval).
Cultural aspects of Islam
Islam forbids alcohol and the eating of pork.
Embraced literature and poetry.
Early focus on medicine, astronomy, and geography, and math
Women must be pure before marriage. After marriage they are to be faithful, and to run the household, care for their husband and children.
Economy and Society
Main crops – wheat, barley, rice, dates, and olives.
There was a free peasant class that did most of the farming.
Engaged in the slave trade.
Traded with Russians, Scandinavians, the Chinese, and into Africa for gold, salt, and slaves.
Islamic traders moved into Africa and helped develop civilizations and spread their culture.
Sufism, mystical Islamic belief and practice in which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God.
It consists of a variety of mystical paths that are designed to ascertain the nature of humanity and of God and to facilitate the experience of the presence of divine love and wisdom in the world.
The roots of Islamic mysticism seem to have grown out of early Islamic asceticism that developed as a counterweight to the increasing worldliness of the expanding Muslim community.