Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The End is Near

The end of Ramadan is quickly approaching and I realize there is so much I haven’t been able to tell you. I want to write all the things I have learned, but I feel like I may lose some of your interest if I drone on and on about Islam. I know I have lost some Volunteers interest with my constant, “Hey! Guess what I learned today?!” comments.

So, here are the cliff notes, but I whole heartedly recommend you go out and learn more about Islam.

Mohammad (peace be upon him) is considered the final prophet of Islam. In 610, while mediating, Jibreel (Gabriel) visited him and told him to begin to recite. This is when Muhammad began to recite the Qur'an and knew they were the words of Allah.

The Qur’an is the holy book of Islam and was given to Mohammad during the holy month of Ramadan. It outlines Allah’s word to his people and was first only verbally transmitted to Arabic people. Later, it was written (first without and then with short vowels) for non-Arabic speaking people to understand how the words should be pronounced.

Sunni vs. Shi’a: The fundamentals of their faith are mostly the same with most major differences stemming from the question: who was the successor of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Sunnis believe Abu Bakr was initially chosen while Shi’as believe it was Mohammad’s cousin Ali. Eventually, Ali pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr.

Sunni Muslims is the larger Islamic sect.

Jihad describes 3 types of struggle within Islam:

  1. A believer’s inner struggle to live a life centered around Islam;
  2. The struggle to build a good Muslim community; and, 
  3. The struggle to defend Islam.

Most scholars agree that the first definition is the main meaning of Jihad and is often called the greater Jihad.

Sufism is Islamic mysticism (like Kabbalah to Judaism). It is not a sect, but an aspect of Islam.

Abraham or Ibrahim is considered the father of Muslims as well as Jewish people. He had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael (or Ismille).