Islam: Belief and Teachings

Oneness and Supremacy of God's Will

- muslim- one who has submitted to the will of God and has accepted Islam

- Islam- name of religion followed by Muslims; to surrender to the will of God; peace

- Allah- arabic name for God

- Tawhid- oneness and unity of God

- monotheistic- religion that believes there is only one God

- supremacy- supreme power or authority

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Sunni Islam

- Sunni leader called Caliph should be elected

- only the Qur'an and Sunnah have authority to provide religious guidance

- Abu Bakr, Muhammad's advisor, was rightful leader after Muhammad died

1. Tawhid - belief in 1 God

2. Angels - believe they passed on God's message to prophets

3. holy books - respect them, Qur'an which is highest authority in Islam

4. prophets - respect for prophets, particularly Muhammad, who received final revelation of Islam from God

5. Day or Judgement - end of world, everyone judged, sent to paradise or hell

6. supremacy of God's will - nothing happens unless God wants it to happen

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Shi'a Islam

- leader called Imam, descendant of Muhammad and chosen by God

- Qur'an, Sunnah and Shi'a leader have authority to provide religious guidance

- Ali, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law was rightful after Muhammad died

1. Tawhid - only 1 God

2. prophethood - respect for prophets, particularly Muhammad, who received final revelation of Islam from God

3. justice of God (Adalat) - God will judge everyone on day of judgement in a fair and just way, hold them accountable for their actions

4. Imamate - respect for 12 Imams, chosen by God to lead Islam after Muhammad died

5. resurrection - after death, Muslims will be resurrected and judged by God

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Nature of God

- immament : idea that God is present and involved with life on Earth and in the universe

- transcendent : idea that God is beyond and outside life on Earth and universe

- omnipotent : almighty, un-limited power

- beneficent : benevolent, all-loving, all-good

- merciful : shows compassion or forgiveness to humans though has the power to punish them

- fairness : God treats people fairly and impartially without favour or discrimination

- justice (adalat) : God is just and fair, judges human actions, rewarding the good, punishing the bad

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Angels

- are spiritual beings who serve God and pass on his word to people through the prophets

    Jibril : angel of revelation, revealed Qur'an to Muhammad, purified Muhammads heart when he was a child, recited the Qur'an and God's message

    Mika'il : angel of mercy, rewards good deeds and provides nourishment for Earth and human life, responsible for sending rain, thunder and lightning 

- pure and sinless

- created by God from light

- constantly serve and praise God

- able to take on human form, give messages to people

- have no free will, can only do what God wants them to do

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Predestination

- idea that God knows or determines everything that will happen in the universe

- most Muslims believe believe that predestination means God knows everything that will happen but people still have free will and can make their own choices

     believe that they are responsible for their own actions, and will be rewarded or punished for them by God on day of judgement 

- Sunni > written in 'book of decrees', must act according to his will

    Surah 9:51 "Only what God has decreed will happen to us"

- Shi'a > God is the creator of time, not bound to it, 

    Surah 13:11 "God does not change the condition of a people [for the worse] unless they change what is in themselves

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Life After Death

- Akirah : everlasting life after death

- Barzakh : state of waiting unitl day of judgement, means 'barrier', while waiting God sends 2 angels to question the person's faith

- Day of Judgement : when God's purpose for universe is fulfilled, everything will be destroyed, everyone will be resurrected, where they are then given a book of 'deeds', which has a record of everything they have done in their lives

- Heaven : people who keep their faith in God and did good deeds are rewarded to paradise- described as beautiful garden, eternal happiness in the pressence of God (given book of deeds in their right hand)

- Hell : people who rejected God and did bad things will be punished to Hell- place of fire and torment, separated from God (given book if deeds in their left hand)

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Prophethood

- Risalah is the belief in the prophets and their importance as messengers of God

....believe that: 

    prophethood is a gift from God, helps humans understand God's message, believe the prophets remind people of their faith, and help them get on track 

    been around 124,000 prophets, sent to every nation on Earth, Muhammad was last and most important of the prophets

....important because:

    good role models, and help Muslims understand how to follow God,

    convey God's words and set good examples for how to live a life in obidience to God

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Adam (first human, first prophet)

- God created Adam from dust on the ground, breathed his spirit into him

- gave Adam knowledge and understanding, taught him the name of everything, told Angels to bow to Adam and respect his knowledge

- Iblis (Satan) refused to bow to Adam, so God threw him out of paradise, Iblis vowed to always tempt humans to sin against God

- God created Hawwa (Eve) to keep Adam company, lived together in Garden of Bliss, told Adam and Hawwa could eat anything in garden, except for fruit from the forbidden tree

- Iblis deceived Hawwa and Adam into eating fruit from fobidden tree, God expelled Adam and Hawwa from garden and their actions brought sin to the world

- God forgave Adam after he accepted his mistake and he became the first prophet

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Ibrahim (prophet)

- important because:

    he fulfilled all the tests and commands given to him by God

    he showed great faith in God

    he proclaimed belief in only 1 God at a time when people worshipped many different Gods and idols

    Muhammad was one of his descendants, through his son, Ishmael

    he is a good role model for Muslims:

    > refused to worship idols and preached that is only 1 God

    > he rebuilt the Ka'aba (house of God, holiest place in Islam)

    > he was willing to sacrifice his son to God (one of God's tests)

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Muhammad Importance (last prophet)

- revelation of the Qur'an

    > grew up in Makkah (Mecca) would visit a cave in mountains nearby to pray and meditate, in 610ce, he visited the cave and experienced a revelation from angel Jibril, over next 22 years, continued to receive revelations from Jibril, combined to form Qur'an

- conquering Makkah

    > after 1st revelation, he started challenging people to follow God's teachings, Muhammad was persecuted for his preaching and fled with followers to Madinah, he united the warring tribes, with help he conquered Makkah, converted city to Islam, brought harmony to region, firmly established Islam as a religion

- the night journey

    > before Muhammad fled, angel Jibril took him on a journey to Jerusalem and then into Heaven, where he spoke to prophets and saw great signs from God, Muhammad agreed with God that Muslims should pray 5 times a day, Sunni Muslims still follow this practice

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Imamate

- leader of Shi'a Muslims is called the Imam, leadership of the Imams is known as the Imamate

- believe Imam should be a descendant of Muhammad and chosen by God,

- teaches there are 12 imams in total, each related to Muhammad in some way

    12th Imam is kept alive by God, and hidden somewhere on Earth, will return in future to bring equality and justice

- appointed by God, so can interpret the Qur'an and Islamic Law without fault

- believe Imams are necessary because people need divine guidance on how to live correctly, Imams are important to help preserve and explain the final version of God's law

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The Qur'an

- includes a mixture of historical accounts and advice on how to follow God, nearly every chapter starts with the words, 'In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy', contains 114 surahs (chapters) roughly arranged in order of length, written in arabic, the foundation of every believer's faith

- first revealed to Muhammad by Jibril, who directly passed on God's word, so it is considered to be the word of God, the revelations occurred over 22 years 

- Muhammad learned by heart each revelation he received, and recited them to his followers, scribes later wrote them down

- as Islam spread, was danger that the original words would be distorted, the 3rd Caliph asked a team of Muslim scholars to compile an official version of Qur'an that everyone could use, was completed around 650ce

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Other Holy Books

- the Torah : revealed to Moses (Musa), some Muslims think it is the first 5 books of the Bible, but altered from the original text

- the Psalms : revealed to David, many accept the psalsm mentioned in the Qur'an are similar to the ones in the Bible

- the Gospel : revealed to Jesus (Isa), believe the Gospel has been lost but some of its message is still found in the Bible

- the Scrolls of Abraham : revealed to Ibrahim, are considered to be one of the earliest scriptures in Islam, and no longer exist

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