When studying Islam, it is important to understand the essential elements of the faith, how they are practiced, and the distinctions among the three branches: Shiite Islam, Sunni Islam, and Sufism.
Write a 1- to 2-paragraph response for each of the following directives and note where there are differences among the three branches of Islam.
1. Explain the meaning of the name, Islam. Islam is the monotheistic religion articulated by the Quran, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God, and by the teachings and normative example (called the Sunnah and composed of Hadith) of Muhammad, [ considered by them to be the last prophet of God. An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.
2. Explain the basic concepts of Islam. Is an unerringly monotheistic religion. It enjoins the existence of one God, his prophet Muhammad who is the Last Prophet in a long line of prophets sent throughout time and to every civilization, and the Quran as the Word of God revealed to Muhammad through the angel Jibrael. Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and the purpose of life is to worship him and to adhere to his word, as laid down in the Quran, and in Sunnah , as closely as possible. They believe that Islam is the final, completed and universal version of a faith revealed too many prophets before; most notably Abraham, Moses and Jesus, but whose message has now been distorted.
Describe the practices of Islam. They go to church in cathedral mosques (Jami’a), in which sermons are preached and congregational prayers are offered up for the reigning Sultan every Friday. Besides these there are about one hundred and eighty Muslim oratories or chapels (Mesjîd), to many of which schools are attached. Prayers are also frequently said at the grated windows of the little shrines or tomb-houses of celebrated welys, or saints, which are numerous in Damascus. Men of the higher classes rarely go to the mosques except on Fridays, as they can command proper places for ceremonial ablution and prayer in their own houses; but to a Muslim of the lower ranks, a large mosque which is open every day from sunrise to sunset or later, is like a second home.
3. Describe the goals of Islam. The
4. Describe the view of authority in Islam.
philosophy, and the arts in the Muslim world. Write a 1- to 2-paragraph response for each of the following questions. Provide examples to illustrate your thinking.
1. What is the legal ideal in Islamic law? How does the Qur’an inform and guide Muslims in attaining this ideal?
2. What is the relationship between philosophy and theology within Islam? Is it acceptable for Muslims to hold separate philosophical and theological beliefs?
3. What artistic themes are regularly expressed in Islamic art and architecture? How are these themes explored? How has the Qur’an influenced the development of art in the Islamic world?
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