Preliminary Depth Study 4: Islam
• the origins and history of Islam:
- the significance of the Qur’an as source material for Islam
Definition of Qur’an
The sacred book of Islam; the word of God revealed to the Prophet. It is the foundation of Islamic belief and practice.
← For Muslims, it is the eternal, uncreated, literal word of god sent down from heaven, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad as a guide for humankind.
← The Qur’an contains the essential teachings of the unity and power of God, stories of the prophets, and the consequences of good and evil for life and the hereafter.
- the historical and cultural context in which Islam began
- contact with Judaism and Christianity
← Jewish and Christian communities had been present in Arabia before Muhammad.
← Contact with monotheism resulted from the caravan trade that brought Zoroastrian, Jewish and Christian merchants to Makka.
- the founding of Islam
- the life of Muhammad – his birth, visions, mission, teaching and death
← Born around 570 CE.
← Tradition says he was orphaned at a young age and, as a child, sent to pasture sheep.
← Muhammad became a steward or business manager for the caravans of a wealthy widow, Khadija, whom he married.
← Muhammad was a successful member of Makkan society who was disturbed by changes in Makka’s transition from a semi-Bedouin to a commercial, urban society. He was greatly respected for his judgment and trustworthiness. His thoughtful nature led him to retreat to a cave on Mount Hira, a short distance north of Makka where he would contemplate life and the troubles of his society, seeking greater meaning and insight.
← Muhammad’s ‘call’ to become a prophet was at the age of 40 610 CE. On Mount Hira, during the month of Ramadan (9th month of the Muslim calendar) the angel Gabriel, commanded, ‘Recite.’ Words came to him. These messages were collected and arranged into the Qur’an and Islam’s sacred scripture.
← Muhammad started to preach. First 10 years difficult because; 1. his attack on polytheism threatened the livelihood and prestige of the Makkans. 2. the values he expressed did not agree with the money-making policy of the rich merchants of the city.
← Muhammad serves both as God’s human instrument for his revelation, and as the model or ideal that all believers should emulate.
← Denounced false contracts, usury and the neglect and exploitation of orphans and widows. He defended the rights of the poor and the oppressed, asserting that the rich had an obligation to the poor and dispossessed.
← Muhammad preached belief in Allah and a way of life in conformity with his will. This included rejection of idols, the belief in equality before of all before Allah and sharing one’s wealth with the poor.
← He outlawed idol worship, sexual immorality, drunkenness and gambling he had seen in Makka and announced officially inheritance and marriage laws that were more equitable, especially for women.
← Died in 632 CE.
← His death deprived the infant community of a leader and threatened to destabilize it.
- the early development of Islam
- instituionalisation into the Arab world
← Islam took on political form with the establishment of an Islamic community-state at Madina. Hijra is the term used for the migration of Muhammad from Makka to Madina in 622 CE, where he established rule of a Muslim community-state. The community in Madina who accepted this religion was...