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1. The Qur’an a. Qur’an basics i. Literally means reading or recitation ii. Muslims believe it is a recitation of an eternal Scripture written in heaven and revealed, chapter by chapter, to Muhammad iii. Title may also reflect the words of the first surah or chapter to be revealed which says, “Recite: in the name of the Lord who created….” b. Influence i. Memorized ii. Thought to be actually the word of God 1. Eternal 2. Absolute 3. Irrevocable 4. God’s last word/message to humanity a. Muhammad was only a loudspeaker for Allah b. Qur’an has been transmitted unchanged since Muhammad’s time iii. Recitation of Qur’an important 1. Ritual act 2. Source of Allah’s blessing because it reproduces his divine speech 3. Power of words is in Arabic, not in translations 4. When you might hear/read the Qur’an a. First words a child hears upon birth b. Inscribed on the walls of Muslim homes for decorations c. Often the last words a person hears before death 5. Supreme act of piety is to memorize the entire Qur’an. If you do this, you will be given a special title of hafiz. iv. What is in the Qur’an 1. The exact words of Allah to the Prophet Muhammad, from the time of the first revelation to the end of Muhammad’s life a. Muhammad was illiterate, so he memorized the messages and passed them on to his secretary Zayd who wrote them on leaves, stones, bones or parchment b. The third spiritual leader (caliph) after Muhammad’s death (Uthman) collected all of the writings of the Qur’an and developed an official version 2. Organization a. 114 chapters called surahs b. Organized according to length of the surah, in descending order i. Neither topical nor chronological ii. Can be confusing for the non-Muslim2. The Nature of God
a. One sovereign God of the entire universe b. God expects people to say “There is no God but Allah’ Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” each day c. Allah is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent creator of the universe d. Allah will repay evil with justice and righteousness with mercy e. Names of Allah i. Ninety-nine, including 1. The Holy One 2. The Merciful 3. The Compassionate 4. The Guardian 5. The Creator ii. Muslims repeat the names of God f. Allah is aided by other heavenly figures i. Angels act as messengers ii. Warriors fight at the side of believers against infidels iii. Jinn 1. Creation halfway between humans and angels 2. Created of fire 3. Some are like guardian angels (they are Muslim) 4. Some are like demons (they are unbelievers) 5. Leader of the evil jinn is a fallen angel called Iblis a. Iblis acts like Satan in the book of Job b. Iblis acts as a tempter and prosecuting attorney against mankind3. Eschatology (end of the world) a. Judgment of Allah at the end of the world is a basic belief of Islam b. When a person dies, the body remains on earth and the soul goes into a state of sleep until the judgment day c. On the judgment day, an angel will sound a trumpet, the earth will split, and the bodies will rejoin their souls d. All people will be judged on a record of their deeds i. The faithful will be rewarded ii. The evil will be punished e. Heaven is a beautiful garden with flowing water and shade f. Righteous are fed wine (normally forbidden to Muslims) that does not disturb the senses and does not leave the drinker with a hangover g. Hell is a place with scalding winds, black smoke, and brackish water4. Five pillars a. Repetition of the creed/confession i. There is no God but Allah; Muhammad is the messenger of Allah ii. Known as the Shahadah
b. Daily prayer i. Salaht ii. Pray five times per day 1. Dawn 2. Midday 3. Midafternoon 4. Sunset 5. Nightfall iii. Must wash hands, feet and face before prayer iv. Pray toward Mecca v. Men and women pray separatelyc. Almsgiving i. Zakaht ii. Obligatory – you must do this! iii. Between 2.5 – 10% of your wealth iv. Given to the poor, widows, orphans, or religious institutions, scholars or studentsd. Fasting i. Sawm ii. Ramadan iii. No eating, drinking, smoking, during daylight for the month of Ramadan iv. People who are excused are the old, travelers, nursing mothers and small childrene. Pilgrimage i. Hajj ii. To Mecca iii. Trip must be made once in a lifetime iv. Trip taken during Dhu al-Hijah (special month in the Muslim calendar) v. Visitors go to the Zamzam well (well established by Hagar and Ishmael) vi. Make seven trips around the Ka’ba and kiss the black sacred stone vii. Offer a sacrifice of sheep or goat on the tenth day of Hajj to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his own son viii. One who has completed the Hajj may add the title haji to his name