Monday, April 12, 2010

Huston Smith Islam Reading Pages 231-242

What is the Standing Miracle?

1. Muslims read the Qur’an literally and consider it to be the exact word of God. There are two essences that make up the Qur’an; the physical copy and the “uncreated Qur’an that is the miracle of the physical Qur’an.

2. The Qur’an is seen as a continuation of the Old and New Testaments, but it is seen as the last scripture, like the way that Muhammad is the last profit. Muslims believe that although the Old and New testaments contain truth, they are flawed and the Qur’an is not.

3. One of the main features of the Qur’an that makes it so powerful is the language that it’s written in and how it sounds when spoken. Many Muslims memorize parts of the Qur’an and recite them when they are praying. When these segments are recited, they do not sound just like words being recited, there is a pattern and a beat to how the words are said.

4. The Christian and Jewish holy texts are historical and therefore lead to the doctrine of the religion, but the Qur’an focuses on doctrine and leads to historical information as an example of the doctrine.

5. The Qur’an is extremely important and central to the Islamic faith because it provides interpretation of every major life event that a person has.

Thesis: the Qur’an is the central building block of the Islamic faith because it is interpreted as God’s direct word, provides an expansion of the religious doctrine, and provides a connection between Muslims and God.

What are the basic theological concepts of Islam?

1. Muslims believe that Islam is the only monotheistic religion in the world, and although some religions have recognized God as the only God, they also worshipped other beings as God such as Jesus Christ in Christianity.

2. In Islam, there is only one God who is unique and awe-inspiring. For Muslims, the greatness of God is never-ending and Muslims fearfully respect Allah for all of His power. Although Allah is powerful, He is also extremely merciful and compassionate too, and there are no barriers that separate Allah from humans, so each person can have a personal relationship with Him.

3. The story of creation in Islam says that the universe was created deliberately by Allah, and was not a random event. Muslims believe that because Allah created, the universe then the physical world is real and important to humans, which is one of the reasons that science has flourished in Islam. Also, Muslims believe that because Allah created this world, the world is good and a representation of Him.

4. Human nature in Islam dictates that humans were created to be good, and although there are temptations that cause humans to sin, there is no such thing as original sin. People forget that they were created from a divine origin, and that is why they sin. Humans have two main obligations that form two of the most important tenants of Islam; one is that humans must have gratitude for the gift of life that Allah has given them and humans must surrender and make a commitment to Allah.

5. Islamic theology on the final judgment of a soul says that although there is no way to know what will happen to a person’s soul when they die, everyone makes choices in their lives and we are all given an opportunity to lead a good life. Muslims consider heaven and hell to be real places, which are vividly depicted in the Qur’an. Muslims believe that each soul will be judged and sent either to heaven or hell.

Thesis: The major concepts of Islam are that there is only one God, who deliberately created the universe and humans who must surrender to God and make good choices in their life so that they can go to heaven when their soul is judged.

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