MI 210 Islamic StudiesLesson 1 - Introduction to Islam, Pre-Islamic Ar

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The situation in Arabia at the time of Muhammad’s birth


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Islamic Studies:

Islamic Studies MI 210 Dr. Robert Patton

Islam Introduction:

Islam Introduction Robert D. Patton Missionary to Suriname The Crown College and Baptist World Mission

Muslims at Prayer:

Muslims at Prayer


Islam R apidly growing religion Dominates in 52 countries Total population of Islam – about 1,000,000,000 – 1/6 world population Only 20% in middle east. The largest Muslim country is Indonesia

Muslim Population Worldwide:

Muslim Population Worldwide


Islam Rapidly growing in Europe – now the second largest religion in Europe However, only a small percentage of missionaries have been working with Muslims


Islam Expanded from Arabia into both eastern and western Europe for centuries Dominated North Africa, the middle east and Central Asia Extended to Indonesia, Philippine Islands

Islam :

Islam It is tied with 7 th century Arabian culture, and is a deification of that culture. You cannot separate the culture and the religion – they are tied together in politics, family structure, food, clothing, religious rites, etc . Ideal – live like Muhammed ; make the whole world Islamic

Islam – submit:

Islam – submit Islam = submission of body and soul to Allah Muslim = those who submit Pre-Arabian – one who submits even knowing that they will die (Fighting in the Alamo). The hero dies Difference – in Christianity, He died for us

Islam – submit:

Islam – submit Terrorists = true Muslim heroes who die for their faith Caliph = successor; but they are also Amirs , or military leaders

Islam – Arabian Culture Before Muhammad:

Islam – Arabian Culture Before Muhammad MI 396 Dr. Robert Patton

Arabia before Muhammad:

Arabia before Muhammad Land area 1/3 size of continental USA Dry, little rain or agriculture Nomadic life – Bedouins Tribe run by head of families – sheik Moved their herds – also plundered caravans

Arabian law:

Arabian law No real government – and no law and order Major restraint is fear of reprisals & vendettas Only protection was from the tribe Thus strong family ties

Arabian law:

Arabian law Tribe would protect their members, even when they had committed a crime Failure to protect was despised ‘ asabyya – tribal spirit – dominated Similar to many primarily oral cultures


Warfare Ceaseless warfare – intertribal warfare controlled the population War was a “dangerous sport”, a chance to show their skill at archery, the sword, riding the horse Heroism & glory for the tribe

Plundering caravans:

Plundering caravans A way of life Often paid off for protection Manslaughter – blood for blood. You paid back with their blood, or occasionally with property…

Code of ethics:

Code of ethics Muru’ah – manly virtue, with duty, devotion to what must be done Sometimes men would join other groups for profit or to avoid restrictions

Code of ethics:

Code of ethics Conflicting statements about women – some said they were free with minimal restrictions; others say that they were virtual slaves

Arab characteristics:

Arab characteristics Arrogant, conceit, boastful, vindictive Love of plunder Lack of political discipline until Islam The leader in a fight was leader only till the end of the fight, and sharing of booty Drunkenness common


Women Sometimes buried female infants alive Women were sex objects If a man died, his son inherited his wives, except for his own mother


Women No limitation to number of wives Many women were prostitutes and flew flags over their dwellings

Desert life:

Desert life Women were a liability financially Infant babies were often buried alive

Marriage – 4 types:

Marriage – 4 types As now – betrothal, dowry and marriage Nikah al- istibda Husband sends a wife to another man, first making sure she is not pregnant, and holds himself from her until she is pregnant from another man. He did that to seek a noble child.

Marriage – 4 types:

Marriage – 4 types Ma Marriage considered raht – woman visited by less than 10 men. She would call the men and name the father; they could not refuse Prostitution – she would call a person to decide who most likely was the father; he could not refuse Muhammed eliminated the last 3 types


Economics Jewish were best off – had the best lands of the Hijaz , and were the best farmers Good businessmen and had control of armament industry Slavery common – both male and female Class power – from businessmen who often asked 100% usury


Population Settled area of Hijaz and South Arabia with small towns, and a few larger ones The rest is Bedouin – pirates of the desert

Tribes in Arabia:

Tribes in Arabia Makkah (Mecca) – Quraysh – considered themselves superior to Bedouin, but the nomads considered them a nation of shopkeepers Yathrib Arabian – Aus & Khazraj Jewish – Naheer , Quynuquaa , Qurayza

Yathrib (Medina):

Yathrib (Medina) Arabs were farmers Jews were businessmen & farmers This area – most important in Arabia


Mecca About 50 miles inland, elevated Two trade routes cross at this oasis Had a deep well – zemzem or zamzam Site of the Kaa’ba – a square temple containing the black stone, probably a meteorite


Mecca Most individuals were invested in the caravans and trade with Egypt, Syria, Persia Success – much skill, experience & ability needed

Quraysh tribe:

Quraysh tribe Dominant tribe in Mecca Many merchants and wealthy businessmen Had many contacts with other areas because of caravans- Persia, Ethiopia Tribe also controlled fair at Ukaz to extend its influence

Religion prior to Islam:

Religion prior to Islam Sabianism – worship of heavenly bodies Moon was male deity Lunar calendar Fasting with the crescent moon “Allah” was generic for “god,” but in the Quraysh tribe, focused on the moon god, represented by the black stone at the Kaa’ba


Kaa’ba Location - Mecca Tradition – built by Abraham & Ishmael Arabian tribes came there for religious pilgrimages, and to offer sacrifices


Kaa’ba Each tribe had its own idols – usually stones which they used as altars 360 stones in the Kaa’ba Much revenue from tribes coming to visit

Travel to the Ka’ba:

Travel to the Ka’ba One month was sacred so that pilgrims could go to the Ka’aba They would go around it seven times and touch the sacred stone

Daughters of Allah:

Daughters of Allah Three idols considered the “daughters of Allah” and worshipped by the Quraysh tribe – opposed by Muhammed . For a brief time, he weakened to worship them – “Satanic verses…”

Religion prior to Islam:

Religion prior to Islam Atheists – pure materialists believing the world was eternal Zindiqs – influenced by Zoroastrianism with two opposing gods of good and evil fighting

Religion prior to Islam:

Religion prior to Islam Jews = especially in Yathrib , Khayber , Fadak , & Umm- ul - Qura Christians – in Najran . They would not be considered orthodox Christians

Religion prior to Islam:

Religion prior to Islam Monotheists – no idol worship, followed prophet Abraham. Banu Hashim clan, the clan of Muhammad Ali ibn Abi Talib

Religion prior to Islam:

Religion prior to Islam Monophysites – believed that Jesus’ human nature was absorbed into his divine nature Nestorians denied the unity of Jesus’ divine personhood Mary as the Mother of God


Education Very few were literate – mostly Jews & Christians Great pride in the Arabian tongue with eloquence and poetry . . They believed that they could attack others using poetry, rich in imagery but limited in scope and profundity. Some were in the Kaa’ba – 7 suspended poems

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