Brief Introduction to Islam

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A brief introduction to the teachings of Islam and there origin.

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Brief Introduction to Islam

  1. 1. Islam- A Brief Introduction How to better understand Islam and the Rationale of the Extremists By J. Vining
  2. 2. Introduction: <ul><li>This presentation was originally supposed to be mainly about Terrorism, however in my studies I discovered a bias on the part of Americans towards terrorism mainly that it is an act done only by Fundamentalist Muslims. In the minds of many however terrorism and Islam seem to be complimentary to one another. Therefore I felt it necessary to better explain Islam in order to further understanding and dispel myths and bias's. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Islam <ul><li>Islam is the second largest religion in the world with member in almost every country. </li></ul><ul><li>It was founded by the Prophet Muhammad, an Arab who lived in the 7 th century. He received visions from the God of Gods Allah via the Angel Gabriel and professed his visions to followers. </li></ul><ul><li>Religious dogma consists of : </li></ul><ul><li>Qur’an or (Kor’an) </li></ul><ul><li>Ahadith or </li></ul><ul><li>Shari’ah </li></ul><ul><li>Five Pillars </li></ul>
  4. 4. Qu’ran <ul><li>The Qur’an or Kor’an is the compiled accounts of the visions experienced by Muhammad as revealed to him by the angel Gabriel. It consists of two volumes for a total of 114 chapters or sura, placed in order from longest to shortest. The sura are classified as being either Meccan or Median dependent on where the prophet Muhammad was at the time of the vision. The prophet would preach and his companions would record his visions, only after Muhammad’s death were they compiled into the Qur’an. “According to Muslim tradition the first revelation Muhammad received is found in sura 96 which begins with the command ‘Recite!’ This word in Arabic, is etymologically related to the word qur’an or ‘recitation’” (Kaltner 14) The suras culminate in Allah’s revelation to Muhammad. This is accomplished through vivid accounts involving symbols and metaphors, rich with colloquial expressions and complex meanings (in a way similar to the parables of Jesus Christ.) Each sura with the exception of the ninth begins with the Basmala a phrase which translates to “ In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Ahadith <ul><li>Ahadith is the great collection of believes known as hadith. Hadith is similar to Christian dogma or tradition. It is a compilation of traditions which are traced back through sources to the prophet Muhammad. Early scholars compiled these hadith through “chains of authority” which are recorded with each haddith. “Any tradition for which the chain of authorities was unreliable, either because there were worrying gaps or because the authorities had dubious religious reputation, were ruthlessly discarded…” (Armstrong 48) Much of the Ahadith revolves around the direct example of Muhammad in daily life. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Shari’ah <ul><li>Based on several sources: </li></ul><ul><li>1.the Qur’an, </li></ul><ul><li>2. the Sunna (practice) of Muhammad </li></ul><ul><li>3. Consensus (ijma) of the community and/or scholars </li></ul><ul><li>4. and analogy (qiyas) derived from sources 1 and 2. </li></ul><ul><li>Shari’ah is the Holy Islamic Law, which uses as its principal source the Qur’an itself. Similar to the traditions of Christianity or Judaism the Shari’ah provides a directive for daily living. </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Five Pillars <ul><li>Prayer (5 times a day facing Mecca) </li></ul><ul><li>Alms Giving </li></ul><ul><li>Fasting During Ramadan </li></ul><ul><li>Profession of Faith </li></ul><ul><li>Pilgrimage to Mecca known as the Hajj </li></ul><ul><li>These represent the necessary basics for Islam in the daily life, in other words the absolute minimum…fundamental duties. Note the importance of Mecca, the Holy City of Islam. </li></ul>
  8. 8. A Sixth Pillar? <ul><li>Jihad, Holy War of Jihad is defined today as “being from the Arabic root meaning ‘to strive,’ ‘to exert,’ ‘to fight’ with the exact meaning depending on the context. May express a struggle against one’s evil inclinations; an exertion to convert unbelievers, or a struggle for moral betterment of the Islamic community.” (Esposito 159-60) Today it is often used without any religious connotation however it is still the only legal warfare in Islamic culture. The other source that reveals the origin of Jihad, aside from Hadith, is of course the Qur’an which seems to hold four types of verses regarding Jihad. These verses are: non-militant verses, verses outlaying restrictions on fighting, verses describing conflict between Allah’s command and Muslim response and verses advocating war for God’s religion. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Jihad <ul><li>It is important to note that Muhammad in his hadith spoke that the greater jihad is to be loyal to Allah, the lesser is war. </li></ul><ul><li>Based on certain interpretations, and references within the Islamic Law, extremists view jihad as a call to wage war in the name of Islam, a type of spreading of the religion by the sword. </li></ul><ul><li>In many ways Islam is similar to other world religions in that all have spurred some form of extremist response, ex: the IRA and the KKK </li></ul>
  10. 10. Conclusion <ul><li>There exists a western attitude against Islam. This is largely out of ignorance but also due in part to the fact that the West is largely Christian. Even Dante in his work The Inferno places Muhammad in the lower regions of hell where he is tormented by demons. It is important to avoid generalizations. Not all Christians are similar and such is true for Muslims. So when learning about this rich tradition and deep religion we must always approach with an open mind. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Bibliography <ul><li>The Koran Interpreted Trans. A.J. Arberry: Touchstone, NY 1996 </li></ul><ul><li>Armstrong, Karen. Muhammad A Biography of the Prophet . New York: Harper Collins, 1993 </li></ul><ul><li>Esposito, John The Oxford Dictionary of Islam . Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Kaltner, John Ishmael Instructs Is aac: An Intro. To the Qur’an for Bible Readers. Collegeville, The Liturgical Press, 1999 </li></ul>

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