"I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high
estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion
which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the
changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age."
- Sir George Bernard Shaw
We'll begin by checking in with you on the video clip from last time... Following that, we'll see how far we get in the material for today.
Islam: Empire of Faith
Defining terms: bedouin, jinn, Mecca, Khadijah, Ka'aba, Yathrib (Medina), Qur'an (Koran), Five Pillars, muezzin
Islam: Empire of Faith- This is the web site produced by PBS to accompany the video. It's really good.
DAY #2 - INTRODUCTION: MUHAMMAD, THE QUR'AN AND THE FIVE PILLARS
Ideally, you should begin reading the Islam chapter in Huston Smith's The World's Religions. Please try to make some progress there by the time we next meet.
Islam- Introduction: As with Judaism and
Christianity, we will try to avoid recovering ground with which you are
already familiar. The assumption is that you have studied the subject
in World History and that you have acquired at
least some understanding of the religion. Any topics that we "revisit"
will either be covered in additional depth or from a different
You can take a few minutes to discuss "first impressions" here. We'll definitely come back to these...
* What are the ideas, descriptions, or images that immediately come to mind when the terms "Muslim" or "Islam" are used?
* Are the majority of stereotypes regarding Islam positive or negative? Why do you believe that is the case?
* If you are asked to name Muslims (either contemporary or historical), who comes to mind?
* Is the Western media fair in its coverage of Islam? Explain your position.
Defining terms: Muhammad, (pbuh), Muhammadanism (sic), Islam, Muslim, Allah
"My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential
persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but
he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the
religious and secular level. It is probable that the relative influence
of Muhammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of
Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity. . . . It is this
unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I
feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single
figure in human history."
Michael H. Hart, THE 100: A RANKING OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS IN HISTORY, New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc., 1978, p. 33.
FYI: Here's the complete and updated list of "The 100" from Hart's most recent edition of the book.
Just because it's interesting, here's a different list from a recent book. The
101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived: How Characters of Fiction,
Myth, Legends, Television, and Movies Have Shaped Our Society, Changed
Our Behavior, and Set the Course of History
Sacred Literature of Islam
The Qur'an (sometimes seen as Koran): The Holy Book of Islam
Additional sources of wisdom: Sunnah and Hadith
The Hadith is the collection of sayings, teachings, and traditions of
the Prophet Muhammad. They were recorded by his followers.
The Sunnah is the example of leadership, belief, and guidance
provided by the life and actions of the Prophet Muhammad. For Muslims,
it transforms belief in God into a culture and a civilization, allowing
a way of life.
The Five Pillars of Islam:
Defining terms: shahadah, salat, zakat, sawm, hajj
Beliefnet: The Five Pillars- This is an easy introduction to the Five Pillars and their meanings in Islam.
A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam: This site also provides an introduction to the Five Pillars.
DO THIS: Choose either of the two sources and introduce yourself to
the Five Pillars. You and a partner will be responsible for selecting
one of the pillars to present in class. Look for Internet resources,
check the books I have, etc.HOMEWORK for Islam - Day #3
Remember that the entry at the top of the blog has all of the due dates and links for assignments.