Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Huston Smith Islam Reading Pages 221-231

What is the background of Islam?

1. One of the main reasons that Arabs have become powerful in the world today is because of the multitude of people who follow Islam.

2. In Islam, there is only one God, who is called “Allah” because Allah literally means “The God” in Arabic.

3. Allah and the religion of Islam existed before Muhammad, He spread the word of Allah and the religion but He did not create the religion.

4. Muslims consider themselves to be Semetic, or descendants of Shem; one of the sons of Noah who was a descendant of Abraham, and therefore they are descendants of Abraham.

5. They believe that although they are descendants of Abraham, they are descendants of Ishmail, his first son who was banished along with his mother after Isaac was born. They believe that the descendants of Ishmail became Arabs and the descendants of Isaac became the Hebrews.

Thesis: Islam is a strictly monotheistic religion that stems from the descendants of Abraham, but has millions of diverse followers today.

What is the seal of the prophets?

1. At the time of Muhammad’s birth, the society He lived in was in chaos. The major religion left all morals unchecked, and violence was very prominent in society. These characteristics led Muhammad to be very removed from society and contemplate life’s bigger questions.

2. Although Islam kind of existed before Muhammad, He was the first person to say that Allah was the one and only God, because many people worshipped Allah, but they worshipped other Gods too.

3. Muhammad was different from the other prophets before Him because He was not a miracle worker. He only preached Allah’s word that He received from divine revelations and thought that was enough proof for people to believe him.

4. Muhammad was also different from other prophets because He wanted social change. He preached that everyone is equal and His moral teachings completely opposed the way that society functioned at the time.

5. Muhammad underwent a lot of opposition and dedicated His life to spreading the word of Allah and gained many followers.

Thesis: Although there were prophets before Him, Muhammad was different and revolutionary so he is called “the seal of the prophets” because He is the final prophet who fully understood God’s word and would be successful in spreading it.

What is the migration that led to victory?

1. As Muhammad gained followers, the people in power in Mecca began to persecute Him because His ideas were so revolutionary, and they became scared that their place in society would be threatened if He gained any more power. Muhammad decided to move to a neighboring city called Yathrib to escape persecution.

2. The journey to Yathrib was very dangerous, but Muhammad was sure that they had God on their side and in the end they reached Yathrib safely and He began to establish a life there. This migration is very important and is known as the Hijra.

3. After arriving, Muhammad’s role changed to a leader in the new city, which was re-named Medina. He was well liked and His administration blended justice and mercy together equally. Muhammad became very successful but was still the same kind person.

4. The Meccan army continued to try to persecute Muhammad and His followers, and there was a long struggle between Mecca and Medina. In the end, Medina and Muhammad won control over Mecca, which Muhammad dedicated as the center of Islam.

5. In 632 A.D. Muhammad died after he won control over almost all of the Arabia. Most of this control was due to Islam, which had spread all over Arabia and was very successful. Although He lived a short life, He accomplished more than any other person in the world, and Muslims attribute these accomplishments to God.

Thesis: By migrating to Yathrib, Muhammad was able to gain more followers and acquire political and religious power over almost all of Arabia by the time He died ten years later.

1 comment:

  1. Your summary has saved me!! Had an exam today and two quizzes tomorrow (this topic included), so I am brain dead. Thank you!!!!