Who is My Neighbor 11-28


Who is my Neighbor?

A study of world religions

Nov. 28,


First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh

Week 2: What is a Cult? OCT. 10 - Megan

• Scholarly vs. Popular Definition

• Common Traits

• Examples

Week 3: Hinduism Brief History OCT. 17 – Megan (Kittie will contribute TM materials)

• Vedas

• Shaivas, Vaishnavas, Goddess followers

• Beliefs & Practice

Week 4: Buddhism OCT 24 – Megan

• Brief History

• Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana

• 4 Truths, Eight-fold Path

• Mahayana Sects (Zen/Chan, Pure Land, etc.)

• Beliefs & Practice

Week 5: "Minor" Religions OCT. 31 - Megan

• Zoroastrianism

• Sikhism

• Jainism

• Taoism

• Shinto

Week 6: Judaism NOV. 7 – Kittie

• Brief history

• Ancient vs. Modern

• Orthodox vs. Reformed

• Beliefs and Practices

Week 7: Christianity NOV. 14 - Kittie

• Brief History

• Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Other

• Beliefs & Practice


Week 8: Islam NOV. 28 - Kittie

• Brief History

• Four pillars

• Shiite vs. Sunni

• Sufism

Week 9: New Religions (post 1800) DEC. 5 - Kittie

• Mormonism

• Jehovah's Witnesses

• Scientology

• Neo-Paganism/Wicca

• Various New Asian Religions

Week 10: Overview/Summary: What Does All This Mean for Christians?

Continuing….Behind all faiths…..

We invite

• Particular sensitivity to this particular topic….


• Demographics:

– 1.65 billion worldwide

– 69% of Muslims are in Asia

– 27% of Muslims are in Africa

– http://thepulpit.freedomblogging.com/files/2010/05/ist2_5



Demographics, cont’d

• Fastest-growing religion in the world, through conversion and birth rates.

• Fastest-growing religion in

North America.

• Nearly 2000 mosques throughout the continent.

• 3-4 million Muslims in the


– Information from The

Complete Idiot’s Guide to

Understanding Islam; this page shows # of Muslims centers in US (google)


• Youngest of world’s larger religions (start in 600s CE, with Muhammad).

• Took over much of Europe and other sites in the world; expansion strong until 1200s CE.

• Great contributions to science and mathematics.

• http://www.islamaware




areness.net/Maths/Scie nce_and_Math_files/st udhttp://www.islamaw

areness.net/Maths/Scie nce_and_Math_files/st udy


Term “Islam”

• In general sense, is linked to

“ s-l-m ,” referencing concepts of wholeness, completing, and bonding/joining

• In a religious context means

“ voluntary submission to

God (Allah)

– whatisquran.com


Monotheistic religion, tracing origins to Ishmael, son of Abraham and Hagar

• Belief in Qur’an as scripture directly dictated by God to the prophet Mohammed

(through the angel Gabriel,

610-632 CE); “oracle” http://2.bp.blogspot.com/yMsRp_wtmcU/Tr7EK59KN3I/AAAAAAAAAbY/0UvdGjD_c50/s320/Archangel%2BGabriel_Mohammed.jpg

• (Mohammed, age 25, had married wealthy widow)


• Qur’an: In Arabic only; translations are considered


• Each chapter is called a

“Surah” (fence, or a step up in progression).


Other monotheistic religions

• Judaism, Christianity considered valid.

• The Qur’an and Islam is the final “true”

(corrected) religion.

• Jesus was prophet.

• Believe in Jesus’ virgin birth.

Islam (Idiot’s Guide)

• Core beliefs (which each

Muslim learns as part of religious training):

– God is one and incomparable

– Belief in the angels

– Belief in the revealed Books of God

– Belief in God’s many prophets

– Accepting there will be a Last


– Belief in the divine measurement of human affairs

– Belief in a life after death

Allah (Arabic script)

Related Islamic concepts

• God is the only true reality.

• There is nothing permanent other than God.

• Everything exists due to His will; everything depends on him.

• Allah is eternal and uncreated.

• Everything else in the universe is created.

• Created things will pass away and return to Allah for

His review.

Allah has no form (Idiot’s Guide)

• Qur’an is emphatic that God has no form we can comprehend and resembles nothing in creation.

• Representations of God are forbidden.

• God is neither male nor female.

However, Allah has qualities

(99 names), which are the focus

• The Merciful

• The Strong

• The Might

• The Loving

• The Everlasting

• The Beginning

• The Last

• The Acceptor of


• The Caring

• The Bringer of Peace

• The Avenger of Evil

• The Living

• The Faithful

• Etc.

• I.e., we know Allah by

Allah’s qualities and actions

Among most memorized passages

“Allah! There is no god but He, the Living, Who needs no other but Whom all others need. He is never drowsy nor does He rest. Space and the

Earth belong to Him; who can intercede without

His consent? He knows everything people have done and will do, and no one can grasp the least of His knowledge, without His review. His throne extends over the heavens and the Earth and He doesn’t tire in their safekeeping. He alone is the

Most High, the Lord Sovereign Supreme.” (Qur’an


Proof of God’s existence (Qur’an)

• Natural world with its complexity and beauty – sign of intelligence in the universe because only a designing mind could have constructed it.

• Human capacity for thought, belief, invention, creativity, and moral choices.

• Revelation of God’s guidance and existence of religion show there is a right and wrong way to live. Prophets, Holy Books, insight all serve as proof that guidance is real and purposeful.

• Inner feelings, which propel us to seek meaning in things and show we have a soul that seeks harmony with nature, the universe, and a higher power.


• To Wesleyan

Quadrilateral as basis of faith

– Scripture

– Tradition

– Reason

– Experience

• Compare to Aquinas


More (Idiot’s Guide)

• Why would we all want to know the answer to the big question “why” if there is no


• (Remind you of


• The existence of a question necessitates the existence of an answer.

On Allah and free will (Idiot’s Guide)

• God offered the gift of self-awareness and free will to all living and nonliving things in the universe.

• Anyone/thing that accepted those gifts (called “trusts”) will transcend nature and be able to conceive of itself and make decisions using intellect and reason.

• With this gift comes responsibility for actions (thus right and wrong, good and evil emerge).

Human journey (Idiot’s Guide)

• All humans have three levels of self development

– Animal Self (basic instincts and desires)

– Accusing Self (higher-order questioning about our purpose)

– Restful Self (transcending worldliness; person no longer lives only to satisfy self but realizes higher purpose of life; interestingly, Islam has no monasteries or asceticism though)

Stages of life

• Life in the womb.

• Life in the world.

• Life in the grave.

• The next life (Heaven or


Major sins (throughout Qur’an)

• Idolatry

• Stealing from an orphan

• Adultery or fornication

• Disobeying parents

• Collecting interest on investments

• Accusing a chaste woman falsely

• Giving false testimony

• Murder or suicide

• Infanticide

• Enslaving a free person

• Slander and gossip

Major virtues (throughout Qur’an)

• Speaking the truth

• Being kind to family

• Honoring parents

• Giving in charity

• Feeding the poor

• Fighting injustice

• Freeing slaves

• Returning borrowed property

• Studying and learning

• Being kind to animals

To receive God’s forgiveness

(Idiot’s Guide)

• Feel remorse.

• Repent by saying, “My

Lord forgive me.”

• Make restitution if possible.

• Resolve never to do the sin again. God has promised to forgive our sins if we seek His forgiveness sincerely.

Notion of “salvation”

• Don’t need to ask a priest or Son of

God for deliverance.

• Idea is foreign that a person can be

“saved” and automatically go to heaven by asking Jesus into the heart.

• In Islam you save or damn yourself every day through your belief (or lack thereof), your actions, and your

overall record.

• God, in mercy, will forgive much, but this doesn’t absolve us of responsibility to be as virtuous as possible.

• If we don’t repent of our sins, they will be held against us, and good deeds are considered hallmark of true faith.

Notion of “salvation”

• However, we don’t earn our way to heaven; instead salvation is founded on believing in and surrendering will

to God and nothing more.

• Avoiding sin and leading righteous life are merely proofs of faith.


• However, the more good we do, the more rewards we will get from God.

• “Every soul has a goal to work towards. Make your goal doing good and race with others for this purpose” (Qur’an


Original sin

• Doesn’t appear in Islamic teaching.

• Adam and Eve sinned but God forgave them when they asked for His mercy.

• No sin passed on to


• We all have to bear our own

burdens on Judgment Day.

On angels (Idiot’s Guide)

• Angels made of light energy and can materialize into any form in the physical world.

• Without gender.

• No free will; exist to serve


• Intelligent, but without emotional shortcomings.

• God’s “robots.”

Top four angels and their functions

Jibra’il (Gabriel): Brings revelations to the prophets.

Azra’il: Is the Malikul Mawt, i.e., Angel of Death.

Mika’il (Michael): Controls the weather.

Israfil: Will blow the horn signaling the end of the universe.

Angels have many other tasks

• Watch over people and note what they do.

• Look for people who are praising God and join them.


• Qur’an says we have two angels, the Kiraman

Katibeen (Noble


• One on right shoulder

(records good deeds).

• One on left shoulder

(records bad deed).

Five pillars

• Five pillars

– The shahadah (creed)

– Daily prayers

– Almsgiving

– Fasting during Ramadan

– Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime


• Five times daily (for Sunni) facing Mecca

• Seen as personal communication with God expressing gratitude and worship

• Form may be flexible depending on circumstances

• Recited in Arabic, using verses from the Qur’an http://blog.timesunion.com/muslimwomen/files/2011/08/alaqsamosque2.jpg


• Essential holy-days:

Ramadan is the 9 th month of the Islamic calendar (29-30 days, more on calendar later)

– Month of fasting; refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, sex

(during day)

– To teach patience, spirituality, humility, submissiveness to

God (similar to Lent?)

– Good month for God’s revelation to humankind, being the month when first verses of

Qur’an were revealed to



Sunni: Pretty much hold the foregoing beliefs

Shiites: Pretty much hold the foregoing beliefs

(with some twists, seen shortly), and also believe in the “Imamate,” that is the line of infallible spiritual and political leaders starting with

Mohammed’s son-in-law,

Ali, who followed him.


Sunnis make up about

85% of world’s Muslim population (Shi’as the rest).

Sunni-Shi’a break came early on, within lifetime of Prophet

Muhammad’s companions; not about doctrine.


• Just after the Prophet died, the leaders in Medina gathered to elect the first caliph, Abu Bakr, to keep the fledgling nation united

(632 CE).

• There was heated debate about the election.

• Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law (married to

Muhammad’s favorite daughter, Fatimah) was not present at the meeting.


caliph, also spelled calif, Arabic khalīfah (“successor”), ruler of the

Muslim community. When the

Prophet Muhammad died (June 8,

632 ce), Abū Bakr succeeded to his political and administrative functions as khalīfah rasūl Allāh,

“successor of the Messenger of

God,” but it was probably under

ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb, the second caliph, that the term caliph came into use as a title of the civil and religious head of the Muslim state.


• Ali later protested he should have been given a fair shake at being caliph.

• For a few months, Ali refused to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr, but eventually he and his supporters took the oath.


• However, there was bad blood.

• As each new caliph was elected over a short period of time, Ali’s friends were angered as their beloved leader was passed over.


• Finally, in 656 CE Ali was elected fourth caliph, and his group felt vindicated.

• However, his rule was short-lived.

• His followers (the Shi’as), who were just a political faction at the time, felt that the clan of Banu

Umayyah had unfairly snatched away the caliphate through war and deception.


• The die was soon cast for permanent division, as the sons of Mu’awiya and Ali began to vie for the caliphate.

• For the Shi’a, only a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad has the right to rule.

• If anyone says differently, their faith is imperfect.

• Elections are not needed, they say, because birthright is sufficient.


• In general anyone outside the Shi’a sect is a Sunni: a person who follows the tradition and example of

Muhammad and his companions.

• (Idiot’s Guide largely written from the Sunni perspective except where noted.)


• For a Sunni, any righteous

Muslim can be elected caliph.

• By the end of the 8 th century

CE, the Shi’as started to develop doctrines that were distinct and unique.

• They compiled their own books of hadiths and Qur’anic interpretation based on what they considered the correct view of Islam.


A hadith is a saying of Muhammad or a report about something he did. Over time, during the first few centuries of Islam, it became obvious that many so-called hadith were in fact spurious sayings that had been fabricated for various motives, at best to encourage believers to act righteously and at worse to corrupt believers' understanding of Islam and to lead them astray. Since Islamic legal scholars were utilizing hadith as an adjunct to the Qur'an in their development of the Islamic legal system, it became critically important to have reliable collections of hadith. While the early collections of hadith often contained hadith that were of questionable origin, gradually collections of authenticated hadith called sahih (lit. true, correct) were compiled. Such collections were made possible by the development of the science of hadith criticism, a science at the basis of which was a critical analysis of the chain of (oral) transmission (isnad) of the hadith going all the way back to Muhammad.


The two most highly respected collections of hadith are the authenticated collections the Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. (Sahih literally means "correct, true, valid, or sound.") In addition to these, four other collections came to be well-respected, although not to the degree of Bukhari and Muslim's sahih collections. These four other collections are the Sunan of Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, Ibn

Majah, and Abu Da'ud. Together these four and the two sahih collections are called the "six books" (al-kutub al-sitta). Two other important collections, in particular, are the Muwatta of Ibn Malik, the founder of the Maliki school of law, and the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the founder of the Hanbali school of law.

(Hadith, stated differently)

• Hadith are regarded by traditional Islamic schools of jurisprudence as important tools for understanding the

Quran and in matters of jurisprudence .

[4] Hadith were evaluated and gathered into large collections during the 8th and 9th centuries. These works are referred to in matters of Islamic law and history to this day. The two largest denominations of

Islam, Shiʻa and Sunni , have different sets of hadith collections.


• A major text was also produced called the Nahjul

Balagha (Path of Eloquence) with attributed says and sermons of Ali.

• Variations in how the five pillars are practiced also crept in.

– E.g., prayers combined so they pray 3 not 5 times/day.

– Shi’a call to prayer adds lines of praise for Ali.

– Extra holidays commemorating

Ali and his descendents are added.


• Sunnis and Shi’as differ on questions of leadership.

• For Sunnis, the most qualified adult male is selected.

• For Shi’as, Ali and male descendents have a secret, almost prophetic knowledge passed on from father to son.

They are sinless and infallible and are therefore the only choice to rule over the community of believers.


• The first Shi’as gathered around Ali (although he sometimes disapproved of their emphasis on his role).

• Later generations rallied around his descendents, called


Note: Imam

• The Sunni branch of Islam does not have imams in the same sense as the

Shi'a , an important distinction often overlooked by those outside of the

Islamic faith. In every day terms, the imam for Sunni Muslims is the one who leads Islamic formal ( Fard ) prayers, even in locations besides the mosque, whenever prayers are done in a group of two or more with one person leading (imam) and the others follow by copying his ritual actions of worship.

Friday sermon is most often given by an appointed imam. All mosques have an imam to lead the ( congregational ) prayers, even though it may sometimes just be a member from the gathered congregation rather than officially appointed salaried person. Women may not lead prayers other than if it is an all female group (among native Muslims in China, Hui , women have traditionally been trained as, and practice, the role of imam among femaleonly congregations; these are often the wives of imams (see Nusi )). The person that should be chosen according to Hadith is one who has most knowledge of the Qu'ran and of good character, the age is immaterial.

[ citation needed ]

• Over time, the Shi’a developed a new hierarchy of leadership involving an infallible

“popelike” figure as leader.


• This person would rule the masses through a temporal priesthood consisting of men with titles such as Ayatullah,

Mullah, and Hojatulislam.


• The Ayatulla

Khomoeini, who participated in the

Iranian Revolution in

1978, achieved the highest rank in the eyes of the worldwide Shi’a community and was considered infallible.

In sum

• The Shi’a and Sunnis differ on questions of leadership, doctrine, practice, and scriptural selection (Sunnis have no priesthood or identifiable religious structure).

In sum

• Competing Shi’a and Sunni political factions have struggled for power throughout Muslim history.

• With some exceptions,

Muslim history has mostly been Sunni.

• Today only one country is

Shi’a dominated (Iran).

Significant Shi’a minorities are found in Iraq, Lebanon,

Saudi Arabia, and India.


• Sufiism is not really a sect of Islam.

• It is the name of a spiritually oriented trend that is promoted within any sect.

• You can have Sunni or

Shi’a Sufis.


• Implies a very esoteric, spiritual emphasis in one’s practice of Islam


• Sufis seek to bring the experience of faith deep within their hearts to attain a state of inner ecstasy.


• The poet Jalaluddin

Rumi expressed it well in saying, “What God said to the rose and caused it to laugh in full-blown beauty, He said to my heard and made it a hundred times more beautiful.”


• Didn’t start with a single founder.

• Not all Sufis are united in one organization.

• It was the culmination of many social trends first arising in the

Umayyad dynasty.

Umayyad dynasty (661-750 CE)

The Umayyad Caliphate ( Arabic : ةيوملأا ةفلاخلا , trans.

Al-Ḫilāfa al-ʾumawiyya) was the second of the four major Islamic caliphates established after the death of Muhammad .

The caliphate was centred around the Umayyad dynasty ( Arabic : نويوملأا , al-ʾUmawiyyūn, or ةيمأ ونب , Banū ʾUmayya, "Sons of Umayya "), hailing from Mecca . The Umayyad family had first come to power under the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan (r. 644–656), but the

Umayyad regime was founded by Muawiya ibn Abu Sufyan , long-time governor of Syria , after the end of the First Muslim Civil War in 661 CE/41 AH . Syria remained the

Umayyads' main power base thereafter, and Damascus was their capital. The Umayyads continued the Muslim conquests , incorporating the Caucasus , Transoxiana , Sind , the

Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula ( Al-Andalus ) into the Muslim world. At its greatest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate covered more than five million square miles

(13,000,000 km 2 ), making it the largest empire the world had yet seen, [3] and the seventh largest contiguous empire ever to exist.


• With the rapid growth of the empire, wealth began pouring in from all corners of the world.

• A lot of otherwise faithful

Muslims began to indulge in worldly pleasures.

• (Islam is against overindulgence, as seen with Muhammad’s frugality and self-denial).


• In addition, as the legal schools of thought, or

madh-habs, were being formulated by Islamic scholars, some people felt there was too much emphasis on the rules and not enough on the spirit.


• Conscientious people began to see the rise of opulence, legalism, and pageantry among the

Muslim community as a kind of deception.

• The dangerous life of the world was about to engulf the pure message of Islam.


• These spiritually minded people started to renounce the world and live simple lives as an example for others.

• The name sufi comes from the Arabic word for wool, which was their preferred clothing

(shunning silk and other fineries).


• In time, inspiring leaders attracted followers seeking to emulate the Sufi state of self-enlightenment.

• Ultimately there were

Sufi orders with headquarters and missions in many countries.


• A shaykh was a kind of chief abbot with absolute authority over his or her disciples.

• The basic foundation for their power was the life of the Prophet himself.

• They called him the exemplar of the Godoriented lifestyle.

Sufiism: Primary ideas

• Faith in God can be experienced by the devoted believer through a program of meditation, chanting, selfless love for others, and self-denial.

Sufiism: Primary ideas

• Worldly possessions, if not kept to a minimum, can corrupt a person’s soul. Frugality is the key to spiritual wealth.

• The path of Sufiism requires its followers to develop patience, thankfulness to God, and a complete reliance on

God’s knowledge of the future.

Sufiism: Primary ideas

• In addition to the

Qur’an and hadiths, another body of wisdom is contained in the teachings of the great Sufi master.

• These consist of poems and wisdom stories with hidden meaning.

Sufiism history

• Most Sufis stayed within the limits of

Islamic law.

• Others went to extremes during the

Abbasid caliphate

(founded 750 CE; moved to Baghdad 762

CE) and beyond.

Sufiism history

• E.g., sword swallowing, drinking wine, selfflagellation.

• Many Sufis also engaged in music and singing, to the chagrin of mainstream


• They got a bad name with many traditionalists, who may see them in a negative light even today.

Sufiism history

• There were attempts in the Middle Ages to reconcile Sufiism with orthodoxy.

• Gaps were closed and in general, Sufis now enjoy wide acceptance in the

Muslim world.

Benefits of Sufi movement

• Took up teaching of Islam during the centuries of decline (1500-1900 CE).

• Traveled as missionaries, operated charities, provided spiritual guidance in the countryside.

• Organized Muslims to participate in self-defense

(e.g., during Russian expansion into Central Asia, and during invasions of armies in West Africa and


Sufi poetry

• Treats major religious and philosophical questions.

• Is the source of inspiration for millions of Muslims – and now non-Muslims.

Common Sufi practices

• Chanting God’s names and praises in unison while seated in a circle or standing and turning slowly.

• Fasting and meditation in remote, natural places.

• Prolonged prayer at night.

• Sitting at the feet of a shaykh, listening to his or her teachings.

• Pilgrimage to the shrines of past Sufi masters (known as saints).

Phenomenal contributions to academics in general, math, science and medicine in particular


Explore the universe!

• Islam strongly urges humankind to study and

explore the universe. For example, the Noble Quran states:

• "We (Allah) will show you

(mankind) Our signs/patterns in the horizons/universe and in yourselves until you are convinced that the revelation is the truth."

• [Noble Quran 41:53]

Explore the universe!

• This invitation to explore and search made Muslims interested in astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, and the other sciences, and they had a very clear and firm understanding of the correspondences among geometry, mathematics, and astronomy.

Knowledge and academics in general

Seeking knowledge is obligatory in Islam for every

Muslim, man and woman.

• The main sources of Islam, the

Qur’an and the Sunnah

(Prophet Muhammad's traditions), encourage Muslims to seek knowledge and be scholars, since this is the best way for people to know Allah

(God), to appreciate His wondrous creations and be thankful for them.

Knowledge and academics in general

• Muslims have always been eager to seek knowledge, both religious and secular, and within a few years of Muhammad's mission, a great civilization sprang up and flourished.

• The outcome is shown in the spread of Islamic universities; Al-

Zaytunah in Tunis, and Al-Azhar in

Cairo go back more than 1,000 years and are the oldest existing universities in the world.

Knowledge and academics in general

• Indeed, these universities were the models for the first European

universities, such as

Bologna, Heidelberg, and the Sorbonne.

• The familiar academic cap and gown originated at

Al-Azhar University.

Knowledge and academics in general

• Muslims made great advances in many different

fields, such as geography, physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, pharmacology, architecture, linguistics and astronomy.

• Algebra and the Arabic numerals were introduced to the world by Muslim scholars.

Knowledge and academics in general

• The astrolabe, the quadrant, and other navigational devices

and maps were developed by Muslim scholars and played an important role in world progress, most notably in Europe's age of exploration.

Knowledge and academics in general

• Muslim scholars studied the ancient civilizations from Greece and Rome

to China and India.

• The works of Aristotle, Ptolemy,

Euclid and others were translated into Arabic.

• Muslim scholars and scientists then added their own creative ideas, discoveries and inventions, and finally transmitted this new knowledge to Europe, leading directly to the Renaissance.

• Many Muslim scientific and medical treatises, having been translated into

Latin, were standard text and reference books as late as the 17th and 18th centuries.


• Muslims have always had special interest in astronomy.

• Moon and sun are of vital importance in the daily life of


• By the moon, they determine the beginning and end of the months in their lunar calendar

• By the sun they calculate the times for praying and fasting.

• Astronomy is also used to determine the precise direction of the Qiblah, to face the Ka’Bah in Makkah (Mecca) during prayer.


• The Quran contains many references to astronomy:

• "And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all

[heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming."

[Noble Quran 21:33]


• These references, and the injunctions to learn, inspired the early Muslim scholars to study the heavens.

• They integrated the

earlier works of the

Indians, Persians and

Greeks into a new synthesis.


• The most precise solar

calendar is the Jalali, devised under the supervision of Umar

Khayyam (d. 1131).


• The Solar Hijri calendar (SH) ( Persian :

یديشروخ یرجه یرامش هاگ , Pashto : زيرمل

یرتنج يرجه ), or the Jalali calendar, is the official calendar in Iran and

Afghanistan . It begins on the vernal equinox as determined by astronomical calculations for the Iran

Standard Time meridian (52.5°E or

GMT+3.5h). This determination of starting moment is more accurate than the Gregorian calendar as far as predicting the date of the vernal equinox is concerned because it uses astronomical calculation rather than

[1] mathematical rules, but requires consulting an astronomical almanac.

The New Year day always falls on the spring equinox .


• Ptolemy's Almagest (the title as we know it today is actually

Arabic) was translated,

studied and criticized.

• Many new stars were discovered, as we see in their

Arabic names - Algol, Deneb,

Betelgeuse, Rigel, Aldebaran.

Astronomical tables were compiled, among them the

Toledan tables, which were used by Copernicus, Tycho

Brahe and Kepler.

• (Ptolemy: Greek-Roman citizen, lived in Egypt, wrote in

Greek; 90-168 CE)


Ptolemy was the author of several scientific treatises, at least three of which were of continuing importance to later Islamic and European science. The first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest

(in Greek, Ἡ Μεγάλη Σύνταξις, "The Great Treatise", originally

Μαθηματικὴ Σύνταξις, "Mathematical Treatise"). The second is the

Geography , which is a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world. The third is the astrological treatise known sometimes in Greek as the Apotelesmatika (Ἀποτελεσματικά), more commonly in Greek as the Tetrabiblos (Τετράβιβλος "Four books"), and in

Latin as the Quadripartitum (or four books) in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day.


• Also compiled were

almanacs - another

Arabic term.

• Other terms from

Arabic are zenith, nadir,

Aledo, azimuth.


• Muslim astronomers were the first to establish

observatories, like the one built at Mugharah by Hulagu, the son of Genghis Khan, in


• They invented instruments such as the quadrant and

astrolabe, which led to advances not only in astronomy but in oceanic navigation, contributing to the

European age of exploration.


• Muslim scholars paid great attention to geography. In fact, the

Muslims' great concern for geography originated with their religion.

The Qur’an encourages people to

travel throughout the earth to see

God's signs and patterns everywhere.

• Islam also requires each Muslim to have at least enough knowledge of geography to know the direction of the Qiblah (the position of the

Ka'bah in Makkah) in order to pray five times a day.


Qiblah: direction one should face when praying;

Kaʿbah, also spelled Kaaba, is a small shrine located near the centre of the Great Mosque in

Mecca and considered by

Muslims everywhere to be the most sacred spot on Earth.

Muslims orient themselves toward this shrine during the five daily prayers, bury their dead facing its meridian, and cherish the ambition of visiting it on pilgrimage, or hajj , in accord with the command set out in the Qurʾān .


• Muslims were also used to taking long journeys to conduct trade as well as to make the Hajj and spread their religion.

• The far-flung Islamic empire enabled scholar-explorers to compile large amounts of geographical and climatic information from the

Atlantic to the Pacific.


• The Hajj ( Arabic : جح Ḥaǧǧ

" pilgrimage ", also spelled haj) is the largest regularly occurring pilgrimage in the world, and one of the five pillars of Islam , a religious duty that must be carried out by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so at least once in his or her lifetime.

[1] The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God ( Allah in the Arabic language).



• The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-

Hijjah , the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar .

Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar , eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar used in the Western world, the Gregorian date of the Hajj changes from year to year. Ihram is the name given to the special spiritual state in which Muslims live while on the pilgrimage.


• The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Abraham

( Ibrahim ).

• Pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals: Each person walks counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba , the cube-shaped building which acts as the Muslim direction of prayer , runs back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah , drinks from the Zamzam

Well , goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, and throws stones in a ritual.

The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform a ritual of animal sacrifice, and celebrate the three day global festival of Eid al-Adha .



• Among the most famous names in the field of geography, even in the West, are

– Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406


– Ibn Battuta (1304-1368 or 1369 CE)

– Renowned for their written accounts of their

extensive explorations.


• In 1166, Al-Idrisi, the wellknown Muslim scholar who served the Sicilian court, produced very accurate

maps, including a world map with all the continents and their mountains, rivers and famous cities.

• Al-Muqdishi was the first geographer to produce accurate maps in color.


• Spain was ruled by Muslims under the banner of Islam for over 700 years.

• By the 15th century of the

Gregorian calendar, the rulership of Islam had been seated in Spain and

Muslims had established

centers of learning which commanded respect all over the known world at that time.


• There were no "Dark Ages" such as the rest of Europe experienced for the Muslims in Spain, and those who lived there with them.

• In January of 1492 Muslim Spain capitulated to Catholic Rome under King Ferdinand and Queen


• By July of the same year, Muslims were instrumental in helping navigate Christopher Columbus to the Caribbean South of Florida.


• It was, moreover, with the help of Muslim navigators and their inventions that

Magellan was able to traverse the Cape of

Good Hope, and Da

Gamma and Columbus had Muslim navigators on board their ships.


• Muslim mathematicians excelled in geometry, as can be seen in their graphic arts.

• It was the great Al-Biruni (who excelled also in the fields of natural history, geology and mineralogy; d. 1048 CE) who established trigonometry as a distinct branch of mathematics.

• Other Muslim mathematicians made significant progress in number theory.


• The Muslims invented the

symbol for zero (The word

"cipher" comes from Arabic sifr).

• They also organized the numbers into the decimal system - base 10.

• Additionally, they invented the symbol to express an unknown quantity, i.e., variables such as “x.”


• The first great Muslim mathematician, Al-Khawarizmi (~

790-850 CE), invented the subject of algebra (al-Jabr), which was further developed by others, most notably Umar Khayyam.

• Al-Khawarizmi's work, in Latin translation, brought the Arabic numerals along with the mathematics to Europe, through


• The word "algorithm" is derived from his name.

Al'Khwarizmi was an Islamic mathematician who wrote on

Hindu-Arabic numerals and was among the first to use zero as a place holder in positional base notation. The word algorithm derives from his name. His algebra treatise Hisab al-jabr

w'al-muqabala gives us the word

algebra and can be considered as the first book to be written on algebra.


• In Islam, the human body is a source of appreciation, as it is created by Almighty

Allah (God).

• How it functions, how to keep it clean and safe, how to prevent diseases from attacking it or cure those diseases, have been important issues for



• Prophet Muhammad himself urged people to "take medicines for your diseases,” as people at that time were reluctant to do so.

He also said,

• "God created no illness, except that He has established for it a cure, except for old age. When the antidote is applied, the patient will recover with the permission of God."


• Ibn Sina (d. 1037), better known to the West as

Avicenna, was perhaps the greatest physician until the modern era.

• His famous book, Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb, remained a standard textbook even in Europe, for over 700 years.

• Ibn Sina's work is still studied and built upon in the East.


• Since the religion did not forbid it, Muslim scholars used human cadavers to study anatomy and physiology and to help their students understand how the body functions

(prohibited by Roman

Catholicism, even today?).

• This empirical study enabled surgery to develop very quickly.


• Al-Razi, known in the West as Rhazes, the famous physician and scientist,

(d. 932) was one of the greatest physicians in the world in the Middle


• He stressed empirical observation and clinical medicine and was unrivalled as a diagnostician.

• He wrote a treatise on hygiene in hospitals.

• Kahaf Abul-Qasim Al-Sahabi was a very famous surgeon in the eleventh century, known in Europe for his work, Concession (Kitab al-Tasrif).


• Other significant contributions were made in pharmacology, such as Ibn Sina's Kitab al-Shifa' (Book of

Healing), and in public health.


• Every major city in the

Islamic world had a number of excellent hospitals, some of them teaching hospitals, and many of them were specialized for particular diseases, including mental and emotional.

• The Ottomans were particularly noted for their building of hospitals and for the high level of hygiene practiced in them.

So what about the other stuff?

E.g., Jihad


• The literal meaning of

“jihad” is struggle or effort

(it is much more than holy war).

• Muslims use the term to describe 3 kinds of struggle:

– A believer’s internal struggle to live out the Muslim faith as well as possible.

– The struggle to build a good

Muslim society.

– Holy war: the struggle to defend Islam, with force if necessary.


• Many modern writers claim that the main meaning of Jihad is the internal spiritual struggle, and this is accepted by many


• However there are so many references to

Jihad as a military struggle in Islamic writings that it is incorrect to claim that the interpretation of

Jihad as holy war is wrong.


Jihad and the Prophet

• The internal Jihad is the one that Prophet Muhammad is said to have called the

greater Jihad.

• But the quotation in which the Prophet says this is regarded as coming from an unreliable source by some scholars. They regard the use of Jihad to mean holy

war as the more important.

The internal Jihad

• The phrase internal

Jihad or greater Jihad refers to the efforts of a believer to live their

Muslim faith as well as possible.

• All religious people want to live their lives in the way that will please their God.

The internal Jihad

• So Muslims make a great effort to live as

Allah has instructed them; following the rules of the faith, being devoted to Allah, doing everything they can to help other people.

The internal Jihad

• For most people, living

God's way is quite a struggle. God sets high standards, and believers have to fight with their own selfish desires to live up to them, no matter how much they love God.

The five Pillars of Islam as Jihad

• The five Pillars of Islam form an exercise of

Jihad in this sense, since a Muslim gets closer to

Allah by performing them.

Other ways a Muslim can engage in

“greater Jihad” could include:

• Learning the Qur'an by heart, or engage in other religious study.

• Overcoming things such as anger, greed, hatred, pride, or malice.

• Giving up smoking.

• Cleaning the floor of the mosque .

• Taking part in Muslim community activities.

• Working for social justice.

• Forgiving someone who has hurt them.

The Greater Jihad controversy

• The Prophet is said to have called the internal Jihad the

"greater Jihad.”

• On his return from a battle, the Prophet said: "We are finished with the lesser jihad; now we are starting the greater jihad." He explained to his followers that fighting against an outer enemy is the lesser jihad and fighting against one's self is the greater jihad (holy war).

The Greater Jihad controversy

• This quotation is regarded as unreliable by some scholars. They regard the use of jihad as meaning

'holy war' as the more important.

• However the quotation has been very influential among some Muslims, particularly Sufis.

Holy war

• When Muslims, or their faith or territory are under attack, Islam permits (some say directs) the believer to wage military war to protect them.

• However Islamic (shariah) law sets very strict rules for the conduct of such a war.

Holy war

• In recent years the most common meaning of

Jihad has been Holy


• And there is a long tradition of Jihad being used to mean a military struggle to benefit



• Recent events are patent perversions of the basic Islamic notion of holy war.

What can justify Jihad?

• There are a number of reasons, but the Qur'an is clear that self-

defense is always the underlying cause.

Permissible reasons for military Jihad

• Self-defence

• Strengthening Islam

• Protecting the freedom of

Muslims to practise their faith

• Protecting Muslims against oppression, which could include overthrowing a tyrannical ruler

• Punishing an enemy who breaks an oath

• Putting right a wrong

What a Jihad is not:

A war is not a Jihad if the intention is to:

• Force people to convert to Islam

• Conquer other nations to colonize them

• Take territory for economic gain

• Settle disputes

• Demonstrate a leader's power

The Prophet and military Jihad

• Although the Prophet engaged in military action on a number of occasions, these were battles to survive, rather than conquest, and took place at a time when fighting between tribes was common.

The rules of Jihad

• The opponent must always have started the fighting.

• It must not be fought to gain territory.

• It must be launched by a religious leader.

• It must be fought to bring about good - something that Allah will approve of.

• Every other way of solving the problem must be tried before resorting to war.

• Innocent people should not be killed.

• Women, children, or old people should not be killed or hurt.

• Women must not be raped.

• Enemies must be treated with justice.

• Wounded enemy soldiers must be treated in exactly the same way as one's own soldiers.

• The war must stop as soon as the enemy asks for peace.

• Property must not be damaged.

• Poisoning wells is forbidden. The modern analogy would be chemical or biological warfare.

The Qur’an on Jihad

• The Qur'an has many passages about fighting.

• Some of them advocate peace, while some are very warlike.

• The Bible , the Jewish and Christian scripture, shows a similar variety of attitudes to war.

Qur’an on Jihad

• Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors.

• Qur'an 2:190

Qur’an on Jihad

• To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily,

Allah is most powerful for their aid.

• Qur'an 22:39

Qur’an on Jihad

• Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and

(instead) send you

(Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).

• Qur'an 4:90

Qur’an on Jihad

• But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou

(also) incline towards peace, and trust in

Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth

(all things).

• Qur'an 8:61

Links to Judaism and Christianity?