ISLAM, ITS HISTORY, VALUES AND TECHNOLOGY
Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University
of Wisconsin-Green Bay
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The Islamic World is not at all a monolithic entity.
|Sub-Saharan Africa || Many Language Families|
The Nature of Islam
Arabia in Mohammed's time
- Various tribal religions
- Jewish communities
- Christian communities, usually splinter sects
- Born about 570 in Mecca
- About 610, claims to receive visions and messages.
- These written down about 650 as the Koran.
- Flees to Medina, 622 (hegira)
- Return to Mecca, 630
- Unified Arabia by the time of his death in 632
The Pillars of Islam
- 1. Creed
- 2. 5 daily prayers
- 3. Alms
- 4. Fasting during Ramadan
- 5. Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)
The title Haji denotes one who has made the Hajj
- Some authorities add a sixth pillar:
6. Jihad or Holy War in defense of Islam.
Means active opposition to evil and injustice, more than literal warfare.
The spread of Islam
- Rights for Women
- High moral teachings
- Military skill
- Good government
- Tax on "People of the Book"
Originally Christians and Jews, later Hindus and certain other groups as well.
- Forced conversion of pagans
- Trade - how Islam came to Indonesia and sub-Saharan Africa
Schism about 700 A.D.
- Succession to Caliphate (successor of Mohammed)
- Incorporation of non-Koranic elements into Islam
- Shiites (mostly Iran) about 10%
Reject incorporation of non-Koranic elements into Islam; hence the term "fundamentalist" is fairly appropriate.
- Sunnites about 90%
Effects of Islam
- Preserve classical learning
- Innovations in astronomy and mathematics
- Link between East and West
- "Arabic" numbers from India
- Trigonometry also from India
- Sanctuary for Judaism
The Islamic World Today