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Chapter Objectives

After reading this chapter, you will be able to do the following:
• Describe Muhammad's life and the major events that shaped Islam.
• Describe the Muslim view of God.
• Describe the Five Pillars of Islam.
• Discuss the significance and content of the Qur'an for Muslims.
• Explain the differences between the Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam.
• Describe the belief and practices of Islam's mystics.
• Discuss Islam's influence on the arts.

Chapter Summary

In a cave near Mecca, amid the mountains and deserts of Arabia, a caravan driver sought religious truth in his solitary meditations. When he was 40, a bright presence came to him in his first revelation. Shaken and questioning his experience, but with encouragement from his wife, Muhammad became convinced that he had experienced a true communication from God. More revelations followed over a period of approximately twenty years. These became the Qur'an, believed by Muslims to be the purest revelation from God.
From a persecuted prophet with a small following, Muhammad became a successful military and political leader. He extended Islam over his former opponents in Mecca and then throughout Arabia. After his death, Islam continued to spread rapidly. Within a hundred years, the Muslims ruled an area between two and three times the size of the Roman Empire.
Muhammad proclaimed a surrender or submission to the one powerful and transcendent God who was also worshiped by the Jews and the Christians. These two religions received the true revelation but had contaminated or misunderstood it in various ways. He therefore saw himself as the last of a long line of prophets, clarifying God's will in a definitive and final way.
Islam stresses the power of a God who controls every detail of life. Religion is viewed as a strongly ethical enterprise and provides patterns for ideal living on both the personal and the sociopolitical level. The Five Pillars of Islam define core religious practices. A simple and straight-forward creed proclaims one God, with Muhammad as his messenger. Prayer is to be performed at five prescribed times a day, facing in the direction of Mecca. Charity to the poor is the third pillar that helps create a compassionate heart in the believer and a more just society. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is the fourth pillar, and pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during one's life is the fifth.
A dispute over Muhammad's successor led to the split between the Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam. The Sunnis comprise nearly eighty-five percent of all Muslims and ruled over the Muslim world during its golden age, which spanned nearly five hundred years. This golden age saw significant developments in law, science, philosophy, and the arts. The Shiites believe that the true hereditary successors of Muhammad possessed a special spiritual power. Most suffered a martyr's death at the hands of the Sunni usurpers.
The Sufis embody Islam's mystical element. They emerged as a reaction to the wealth, luxury, and excesses surrounding the powerful caliphate and sought a return to simplicity. Often in conflict with religious authorities, Sufis seek a direct experience of God in this life. Sufi missionaries helped in the spread of Islam, and Sufi poets created some of the world's greatest poetry.
Islamic architecture produced the great mosques with their tall towers and huge domes. They convey a sense of simplicity and grandeur, of harmony and balance, that echo the values and convictions of Islam. Islamic art has combined elements of both the austere and the ornate, from prayer rugs and gardens inspired by images of paradise to elegantly written and chanted verses of the Qur'an.
Islamic civilization began to be eclipsed nearly 500 years ago by the West, but has experienced resurgence in more recent times. Islam continues to gain converts, and it has also spread through emigration. Traditional Islam is grappling with challenges from secularism, new styles of government and commerce, the roles of women and men, and the onslaught of Western popular culture. Highly varied responses are being attempted by different Muslim societies.
Dissimilar values and social ideals have led to conflicts between Islamic and Western cultures that shape many geopolitical issues today.

caliph

"Successor"; a religious and political leader.

dhikr

A devotional remembrance of Allah through the recitation of his ninety-nine names and other devotional practices.

fana

"Extinction"; the sense of loss of self in mystical experience.

hadith

A "recollection" of a act or saying of Muhammad.

Hajj

Pilgrimage to Mecca.

Hijra

"Flight"; Muhammad's escape from Mecca to Yathrib (Medina).

Id al-Adha

The Day of Sacrifice during the month of the Hajj, when an animal is sacrificed to recall the submission of Abraham.

Id-al-Fitr

A festival at the end of the month of Ramadan, during which people feast and visit friends and often visit graves of ancestors.

Imam

A religious leader; specifically, one of the hereditary successors of Muhammad, venerated in Shiite Islam.

Islam

"Submission"; the Muslim religion and the community of believers who have submitted themselves to Allah.

jihad

"Struggle"; the ideal of spreading Islamic belief and practice.

Kabah

"Cube"; the square shrine at the center of the great mosque in Mecca.

mihrab

The decorated niche inside a mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca.

minaret

A tower from which a chanter calls people to prayer.

mosque

A Muslim place of worship.

muezzin

A chanter who calls people to prayer.

Muslim

A person who submits to Allah.

qiblah

The direction toward Mecca; the direction toward which Muslims pray.

Qur'an

"Recitation"; God's words as revealed to and recited by Muhammad; an authorized edition of written words that appeared after Muhammad's death.

Ramadan

The month of fasting; the ninth month of the Muslim calendar.

Sharia

"Path"; the whole body of Islamic law, which guides a Muslim's life.

Shiite

A minority branch of Islam that holds Muhammad's genuine successors descended from his son-in-law, Ali.

Sufism

A group of devotional movements in Islam.

Sunni

The majority branch of Islam, which holds that the genuine succession from Muhammad did not depend on hereditary descent from his son-in-law Ali.

sura

A chapter of the Qur'an.

Mosque means "path," referring to the whole body of Islamic law, which guides a Muslim's life.

False

Sharia is a festival at the end of the month of Ramadan, during which people feast and visit friends and often visit graves of ancestors.

False

Hadith refers to a "recollection" of an act or saying of Muhammad.

True

Hijra means "flight" and refers to Muhammad's escape from Mecca to Yathrib (Medina).

True

Hadith is the month of fasting, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar.

False

Hajj refers to the pilgrimage to Mecca.

True

A minaret is a tower from which a chanter calls people to prayer.

True

Muezzin refers to the majority branch of Islam, which holds that the genuine succession from Muhammad did not depend on hereditary descent from his son-in-law, Ali.

False

Id al-Adha is the Day of Sacrifice during the month of the Hajj, when an animal is sacrificed to recall the submission of Abraham.

True

Qiblah refers to the direction toward Mecca, toward which Muslims pray.

True

A mosque is a Muslim place of worship.

True

Shiite refers to a minority branch of Islam that holds Muhammad's genuine successors descended from his son-in-law, Ali.

True

Imam means "cube," referring to the square shrine at the center of the great mosque of Mecca.

False

Kabah is a devotional remembrance of Allah through the recitation of his ninety-nine names and other devotional practices.

False

Hijra means "submission" and is the Muslim religion and the community of believers who have submitted themselves to Allah.

False

Jihad means "struggle" and is the ideal of spreading Islamic belief and practice.

True

Sura means "successor" and refers to a religious and political leader.

False

Sufism refers to a group of devotional movements in Islam.

True

Qur'an means "recitation," referring to God's words as revealed to and recited by Muhammad; it is the term for an authorized edition of written words that appeared after Muhammad's death.

True

Sura is a chapter of the Qur'an.

True

Dhikr refers to the decorated niche inside a mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca.

False

A mihrab is a chanter who calls people to prayer.

False

Fana is a religious leader - specifically, one of the hereditary successors of Muhammad venerated in Shiite Islam.

False

Fana means "extinction" and refers to the sense of loss of self in mystical experience.

True

A qiblah is a person who submits to Allah.

False

The Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam split over a dispute about
A) whether or not to have a lunar calendar.
B) how many wives were acceptable.
C) succession after Muhammad.
D) when the pilgrimage should be performed.

C) succession after Muhammad.

The Muslim calendar begins on the date of
A) Muhammad's birthday.
B) Muhammad's flight to Yathrib.
C) the night Muhammad received his revelation.
D) Muhammad's death.

B) Muhammad's flight to Yathrib.

The caliph was
A) a religious and political leader.
B) head of the mystical branch of Islam.
C) the name given to an opponent of Muhammad.
D) the magic horse Muhammad rode on his ascent to heaven.

A) a religious and political leader.

The holy object within the square shrine of the Kabah is
A) a black meteorite.
B) a nail from the cross of Jesus.
C) the tomb of Muhammad.
D) the first Qur'an.

A) a black meteorite.

The word Allah means
A) the Merciful.
B) the Just.
C) the Compassionate.
D) the God.

D) the God.

The Qur'an speaks of the following religious figure(s):
A) Jesus.
B) Buddha.
C) St. Paul.
D) All these answers are correct.

A) Jesus.

The Taj Mahal is located in
A) Spain.
B) Turkey.
C) Iran.
D) India.

D) India.

The branch of Islam that believes the successor to Muhammad should have been a male directly descended from the prophet's immediate family is called
A) Sunni.
B) Shiite.
C) Sufi.
D) Hasidic.

B) Shiite.

In addition to basing rules for daily life on the Qur'an, Muslims appeal to the hadith, the
A) laws of nature.
B) rulings of the successors to Muhammad.
C) sayings of Khadijah, Muhammad's wife.
D) recollections people had of Muhammad's words and actions.

D) recollections people had of Muhammad's words and actions.

Muslims believe in
A) resurrection of the body.
B) a final judgment.
C) neither a resurrection of the body nor a final judgment.
D) both a resurrection of the body and a final judgment.

D) both a resurrection of the body and a final judgment.

Muhammad's job before he became a prophet was a
A) merchant.
B) date grower.
C) caravan driver.
D) camel breeder.

C) caravan driver.

A religious requirement for male Muslims, also necessary for male Jews, is
A) circumcision.
B) drinking wine on special feast days.
C) wearing of the turban.
D) marriage.

A) circumcision.

Along with Judaism, Islam forbids
A) eating unleavened bread.
B) the wearing of the veil by women.
C) eating pork.
D) the wearing of gold jewelry.

C) eating pork.

A ________ is a tower from which a chanter calls people to prayer.
A) muezzin
B) dhikr
C) sura
D) minaret

C) sura

The ________ is the decorated niche inside a mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca.
A) dhikr
B) jihad
C) minaret
D) mihrab

C) minaret

The ________ is the pilgrimage to Mecca.
A) Hajj
B) dhikr
C) hadith
D) sura

A) Hajj

________ is a festival at the end of the month of Ramadan, during which people feast and visit friends and often visit graves of ancestors.
A) Kabah
B) Id al-Fitr
C) Ramadan
D) Hijra

B) Id al-Fitr

A ________ is a Muslim place of worship.
A) mosque
B) qiblah
C) minaret
D) jihad

A) mosque

________ is the Day of Sacrifice during the month of the Hajj, when an animal is sacrificed to recall the submission of Abraham.
A) Id al-Adha
B) Sharia
C) Ramadan
D) Kabah

A) Id al-Adha

________ means "extinction," or the sense of loss of self in the mystical experience.
A) Fana
B) Caliph
C) Jihad
D) Imam

A) Fana

The Qur'an has 114 chapters, or ________.
A) caliphs
B) suras
C) fanas
D) Imams

B) suras

A(n) ________ is a religious leader; specifically, one of the hereditary successors of Muhammad, venerated in Shiite Islam.
A) jihad
B) caliph
C) dhikr
D) Imam

D) Imam

________ means "struggle"; it is the ideal of spreading Islamic belief and practice.
A) Sura
B) Jihad
C) Imam
D) Fana

B) Jihad

________ means "cube"; it is the square shrine at the center of the great mosque in Mecca.
A) Qur'an
B) Kabah
C) Sharia
D) Ramadan

B) Kabah

________ means "submission"; it is the term for the Muslim religion and the community of believers who have submitted themselves to Allah.
A) Hijra
B) Kabah
C) Ramadan
D) Islam

D) Islam

The month of fasting is, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, is
A) Id al-Adha.
B) Kabah.
C) Ramadan.
D) Qur'an.

C) Ramadan.

________ means "path"; it is the whole body of Islamic law, which guides a Muslim's life.
A) Kabah
B) Id al-Adha
C) Sharia
D) Hijra

C) Sharia

The reform movement that argues education should be entirely religious, emphasizes a simplified Islam, and gives great attention to the importance of Muhammad and his early companions is
A) Wahhabis.
B) Sunni.
C) Sharia.
D) Deobandi.

D) Deobandi.

The pilgrimage every Muslim should make to ________ is called the Hajj.
A) Medina
B) Iran
C) Mecca
D) his or her place of birth

C) Mecca

A Muslim place of worship is a ________.
A) mosque
B) synagogue
C) temple
D) Ramadan

A) mosque

Submission to God is the central translation of ________.
A) Jainism
B) Hinduism
C) Christianity
D) Islam

D) Islam

________ represents the devotional movements and mystical elements of Islam.
A) Shiva
B) Sufism
C) mufti
D) Kabala

B) Sufism

God's words as revealed to Muhammad are found in the ________.
A) Torah
B) Old Testament
C) Qur'an
D) New Testament

C) Qur'an

A(n) ________ is a religious leader, specifically one venerated in Shiite Islam that is a hereditary successor of Muhammad.
A) mufti
B) imam
C) Ayatollah
D) rabbi

B) imam

Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina is the ________.
A) Ramadan
B) Exodus
C) Hajj
D) Hijra

D) Hijra

________ literally means "struggle" and refers to the idea of spreading Islamic belief and practice.
A) Ramadan
B) Hajj
C) Hijra
D) Jihad

D) Jihad

The month of fasting is ________.
A) Hijra
B) Hajj
C) Jihad
D) Ramadan

D) Ramadan

A representative sample chapter in Islam's holy book is called a ________.
A) verse
B) capitolo
C) sura
D) song

C) sura

A decorated niche inside a mosque, the ________ indicates the direction of Mecca.
A) imam
B) sura
C) heavenly guide
D) mihrab

D) mihrab

A "recollection" of an act or saying of Muhammad is known as a(n) ________.
A) hadith
B) mihrab
C) sura
D) verse

A) hadith

Translated as "cube," the ________ is the square shrine at the center of the great mosque in Mecca.
A) Mihrab
B) Kabah
C) Sura
D) Wormwood

B) Kabah

A chanter who calls people to prayer is known as a(n) ________.
A) mufti
B) muezzin
C) imam
D) sharia

B) muezzin

Translated as "path," ________ is the whole body of Islamic law, which guides a Muslim's life.
A) Mihrab
B) Kabah
C) Sharia
D) Sura

C) Sharia

A tower from which a chanter calls people to prayer is known as a(n) ________.
A) muezzin
B) minaret
C) imam
D) sharia

B) minaret

Translated as "successor," a(n) ________ is a particular religious and political leader.
A) caliph
B) sharia
C) muezzin
D) hadith

A) caliph

A minority branch of Islam, ________ holds Muhammad's genuine successors descended from his son-in-law Ali.
A) Legalism
B) Jainism
C) Sunni
D) Shiism

D) Shiism

Meaning "extinction," ________ is the sense of loss of self in mystical experience.
A) fana
B) sharia
C) mufti
D) hadith

A) fana

A devotional remembrance of Allah through the recitation of his ninety-nine names and other devotional practices is known as ________.
A) rosary
B) dhikr
C) akbar
D) muezzin

B) dhikr

The ________ reform movement of present-day Saudi Arabia has opposed veneration of the deceased, saying such veneration takes away from the unique worship of one god.
A) Legasist
B) Shiite
C) Sunni
D) Wahhabi

D) Wahhabi

The pilgrimage every Muslim should make to ________ is called the Hajj.

Mecca

A Muslim place of worship is a ________ .

mosque

Submission to God is the central meaning of ________ .

Islam

________ represents the devotional movements and mystical elements of Islam.

Sufism

God's words as revealed to Muhammad are found in the ________ .

Qur'an

A(n) ________ is a religious leader, specifically one venerated in Shiite Islam that is a hereditary successor of Muhammad.

imam

Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina is the ________ .

Hijra

________ literally means "struggle" and refers to the ideal of spreading Islamic belief and practice.

Jihad

The month of fasting is ________ .

Ramadan

A chapter in Islam's holy book is called a ________ .

sura

The decorated niche inside a mosque, a(n) ________ indicates the direction of Mecca.

mihrab

A "recollection" of an act or saying of Muhammad is known as a(n) ________ .

hadith

"Cube"; the ________ is the square shrine at the center of the great mosque in Mecca.

Kabah

A chanter who calls people to prayer is known as a(n) ________ .

muezzin

"Path"; ________ is the whole body of Islamic law, which guides a Muslim's life.

Sharia

A tower from which a chanter calls people to prayer is known as a(n) ________ .

minaret

"Successor"; a(n) ________ is a religious and political leader.

caliph

A minority branch of Islam, ________ holds Muhammad's genuine successors descended from his son-in-law Ali.

Shiism

"Extinction"; ________ is the sense of loss of self in mystical experience.

fana

A devotional remembrance of Allah through the recitation of his ninety-nine names and other devotional practices is known as ________ .

dhikr

The ________ reform movement has opposed veneration of the deceased, saying such veneration takes away from the unique worship of one god.

Wahhabi

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