Discussion Group Based on the Book, “Islam in America” by Jane L. Smith Sponsored by Unity of Monterey Bay Provide a brief overview of Islam Learn about Islam in America – From the early days of our nation to the present Discuss areas of tension regarding Islam in America – within the Muslim community and within the non-Muslim community Explore ways each of us can learn more and be a light for peace and tolerance November 11th ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Muslim Faith and Practice Contributors to the Development of Islam Islam Comes to America Islam in the African American Community November 16th ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ The Public Practice of Islam Women and the Muslim American Family Living a Muslim Life in American Society Islam in America Post 9/11 Self Quiz – Check Your Knowledge ◦ Mosques do not have chairs or pews, why? ◦ An Imam in Islam is equivalent to a priest in Catholicism, true or false? ◦ Worldwide, women typically attend services held in a Mosque ◦ Muhammad is to Islam as Jesus is to Christianity, true or false? ◦ What do Muslims believe is the relationship between their holy Qur’an and the old and new testament? Self Quiz – Check Your Knowledge ◦ A series of difficult studies is required to become a Muslim, true or false? ◦ What are the 5 Pillars of Islam? ◦ Are prayer times fixed or flexible for Muslims? ◦ The Zakat is an alms tax that Muslims give to worthy causes – is it a fixed amount or variable? Is it required or optional? ◦ The Qur’an instructs Muslims to visit Mecca on a pilgrimage – can this requirement be accomplished “virtually” by study and prayer? Islam requires submission directly to God. In Islam there are no clergy ◦ no centrally organized religious authority ◦ no priesthood, sacramental system, and almost no liturgy ◦ no intercessors between Man and God ◦ Islam does have scholars, who serve to answer religiously challenging questions. In mainstream Islam, the term Imam means only “somebody who goes in the front;” the leader of the prayer. ◦ The position requires no particular office or religious appointment, and can be fulfilled by any mature male member of the congregation. Because Muslim prayer is a process of standing, bowing, and kneeling chairs would become a hindrance. ◦ Prayer is a mental/spiritual and a full body experience to honor and show vulnerability to God ◦ Most mosques have chairs available upon request for the elderly or infirm. For Muslims, prayer, or “salah: is five periods of the day as measured by the movement of the sun ◦ near dawn - after the sun's noon - in the afternoon after sunset - at nightfall Shia (one of the branches of Islam) may pray their afternoon and evening prayers back to back if the duties of the day make it impossible to pray them at the exact times The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said, "Do not prevent your women from going to the mosque if they ask your permission.“ Although much is often made of the requirement for women to cover their heads and wear modest, loose, garments in fact ALL Muslims are expected to dress modestly Traditionally the place of worship must have a separate area for women Men are not required to pray in the mosque or in congregation, except for Friday juma prayer - Prophet Muhammad said, "The earth is our mosque.“ Traditions vary greatly by culture – in America many women attend prayer in Mosques and many do not. Muslims believe that the Quran is the final word from God and that it is a continuation of messages brought by the previous prophets including Moses and Jesus. Muslims do not believe that the Bible is an accurate Word of God but rather that it is a mixture of manmade stories and parts of God's Word. To become a Muslim one must simply pronounce the Shahaadatayn (Declaration of Faith) with sincerity and conviction. ◦ The Shahadah can be declared as follows: "I bear witness that there is no deity worthy to be worshiped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger." An important principle of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakat means both 'purification' and 'growth'. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need. ◦ Each Muslim calculates his or her own Zakat individually. For most purposes this involves the payment each year of two and a half percent of one's capital. Islam is based on “Five Pillars of Faith”: 1. Shahada - Acknowledge that "There is but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet“ no God 2. Pray a prescribed number of times daily facing Mecca. 3. Pay Zakat as charitable giving, typically 2.5% of capital 4. Fast for the month of Ramadan refraining from eating, drinking, smoking, and sexual relations from dawn until sunset. 5. Every adult Muslim who is physically and financially able to do so must make a pilgrimage to Mecca, a city in Western Saudi Arabia, and the birthplace of Muhammad. Self Quiz – Check Your Knowledge ◦ True or False? Muslims believe that Muhammad is the only true Prophet. ◦ Did Muhammad’s wife, Khadija and his daughters play a role in early Islam? ◦ What are some of the revolutionary ideas Muhammad introduced? Self Quiz – Check Your Knowledge ◦ True or false? Unlike Christianity Islam is quite cohesive with many fewer branches. ◦ The practice and traditions of Islam do, or do not vary from one country and one culture to the other? ◦ True or False? Some Muslim women today look to the time of Muhammad as a time when women fully participated in the private and public practice of Islam. Islam holds that the Quran was revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad and memorized and written down in his lifetime and thus constitutes the latest and final revelations of God. ◦ Islam requires belief in all of the Prophets and Messengers of God including Adam, Jesus, Moses, and Muhammad ◦ Islam holds that the Prophets, or Messengers, are not divine, and that designation is reserved only for God. At the age of 25, Muhammad married Khadijah, a wealthy business woman 15 years his senior. The marriage lasted for 25 years and was a happy one. Reportedly Khadijah was the firsts to believe that Muhammad was the Prophet of God. Khadijah bore Muhammad 4 daughters (and two sons who died in childhood), at least one of whom, Fatimah, was politically active Muhammad's pronouncement that there was only one God, and his call to destroy idols threatened the very livelihood of the rich Meccans who profited from Mecca's role as Arabia's most popular pilgrimage center. Muhammad’s instructions to practice charity to the poor ran contrary to the existing practice of the day Muhammad’s instance that in his sight, and that of the Creator, all men were equal and if they became Muslim would all become brothers. This was an unheard of concept in the Arabia of his day. Self Quiz – Check Your Knowledge ◦ Who was the earliest recorded Muslim in America? ◦ Muslim immigration to America has occurred in several waves, notably at the end of WW1 and after WW2 – name some of the countries from which Muslims immigrated. ◦ What are the two states in America in which most Muslim’s live? ◦ What is the estimated number of Muslims in America in 2010? Istafan, “the Arab”, was a guide in 1539 for the Spanish that wished to settle the area that would later be called Arizona. He was from Morocco and had previously been to the New World in the ill-fated expedition of Panfilo de Narvaez to Florida in 1527. Istafan was one of four to survive a five thousand mile tour of the American Southwest. Muslim Americans are racially diverse, Two-thirds are foreign-born. Although estimates vary there are approximately 7million American Muslims in 2010. ◦ The majority, about three-fifths of Muslim Americans are of South Asian and Arab origin, a quarter of the population are recent converts of whites and indigenous African Americans, while the remaining are other ethnic groups which includes Turks, Iranians, Bosnians, Malays, Indonesians, West Africans, Somalis, Kenyans, with also small but growing numbers of white and Hispanic California and New York have the largest Muslim populations Self Quiz – Check Your Knowledge ◦ Did Muslims come to America as part of the slave trade? ◦ There have been many famous African American converts to Islam, name a few? ◦ What do you think are some of the reasons for the growing African and Hispanic Muslim communities? The diary of Bilail Mahomet, probably taken into slavery around 1725, is written in West African Arabic script and now located in the University of Georgia African Americans make up over 40% of the Muslim community in America ◦ A few well known converts include Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan and Elijah Muhammad of the nation of Islam Islam is believed to be the fastest growing religion in America – what reaction do we see from non-Muslim Americans? Muslims are increasingly visible in America, particularly in urban centers – what are some of the reactions you see? One of the questions before American Muslims is how to participate in American society and still retain their core family values and stability. How is this similar/different than prior immigrant groups? Their growing numbers make American Muslims a political force that the existing political parties increasingly will seek to attract and accommodate. Overtime how do you think this will change the face of America? Some Americans express fear at the growing Muslim presence in America – is this all 9/11 based or are there other reasons?