Explain how the Muslim beliefs about the Ummah are expressed in the practices Zakah and Hajj

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Explain how the Muslim beliefs about the Ummah are expressed in the
practices Zakah and Hajj (30marks)
In the era before Muhammad, there was a tribal system known as Muruwah,
with each tribe having their own sense of Muruwah. Muruwah usually
translated by western scholars to mean "manliness", has a deeper meaning of
courage in battle, patience and endurance during suffering, a dedication to
the duties of avenging wrong done to the tribe (no retaliation would mean the
chiefs people would not be respected) and protecting its weaker members.
The tribe was a sacred value "fulfilling many functions of religion, giving the
Arabs ideology and meaning to their perilous existence" ­ Karen Armstrong.
So even before the time of Muhammad there was a sense of unity amongst
one's own tribe but not however outside the tribe as tier was no obligation of
universal natural law. This changed after Muhammad and his followers
completed the Hijra (migration) when he was invited to judge disputes
amongst the tribes of Yathrib (at this time there were countless tribal wars
due to blood feuds or vendettas). The Hijra is a significant event in Islam as
the Muslim calendar is dated from this point. Following the Hijra Muhammad
replaced the Muruwah with the Ummah.
The Ummah is the worldwide community of Muslims or Islam. This
basically means that all Muslims are members of one family with no barriers
to race or status. As all Muslims are equal before Allah this is how they
should be treated according to the Ummah. With egalitarianism as one of its
core beliefs the Ummah was created by Muhammad abolishing all old tribal
bonds of blood, a sacred value to the Arabs, from now on loyalties were to
Islam only. The breaking of old tribal bonds was a revolutionary idea and
meant a theocracy was established in Medina (previously known as Yathrib
but was changed by the prophet). At this time Muhammad's revelations and
Quranic verses changed from being about ethics and spiritual matters to
addressing the question of building and maintaining a community with a common
religious tie. Also at this time Muhammad started to receive revelations
telling him to pray towards Mecca instead of Jerusalem. Important as it
shows the Ummah as a Muslim identity and could not accept the practice of
the Jews living there different to their own. Muhammad was also given the
five pillars of Islam at this point, these are the key principles to the Islamic
faith. Shahada (only one God), Salat (pray five times a day given to
Muhammad during the night journey), Zakah (give to those in need), Sawm
(fasting during the sacred month of Ramadan) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).
Notably there is a unofficial sixth pillar of Islam known as Jihad, meaning
basically to struggle to preserve and progress of Islam.
The third pillar Zakkah literally translates to "purification". As by
giving alms to people who live in poverty, a Muslim can cleanse themselves of
selfishness, as if a person becomes too selfish and thinks only about money
they are putting their love for money before their love for Allah meaning
they are committing Shirk- an unforgiveable sin in Islam. A quote from the

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Hadith says, "He is not a believer who eats while his brother goes hungry"
which again states you cannot be selfish in Islam. It is suggested Zakah
might focus a Muslims thoughts back on other people rather than about their
own situations. Zakah can be placed into four categories into which it can be
paid they are: Gold, Silver, commercial merchandise and profits (a rate of
2.5%), or agricultural produce and livestock (ten percent).…read more

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Ummah and that there is one community of Muslims that everyone
belongs to.
Whilst on Hajj all pilgrims are required to wear Ihram; two pieces of
white sheets which they will be buried in, a reminder that life is only
temporary and that life after is eternal. This means Muslims are reminded
that all humans are Allah's creations and should be humbled by the
experience focusing the mind on spiritual matters such as helping out others
and thinking less about self importance and interests.…read more


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