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"Age of Ignorance"; The age before Islam, very individualistic, NO UNITY; very great divide between rich and poor; mostly 6th century


Dominant tribe in the Arabian peninsula; took advantage of pilgrims coming to Mecca and got rich by controlling trade around the Ka'ba

570 CE

Year of the Elephant; Mohammed is born (maybe not, according to Aslan)

Abu Talib

Member of the Quraysh; Mohammed's uncle; took care of Mohammed after his parents died and taught him how to be a caravan trader


Means "mediator" in Arabic; used to resolve disputes; Mohammed was one

610 CE

Mohammed receives first revelation on Mt. Hira


Means "prophet" in Arabic; there were 124,000 prophets; Mohammed was the last


Means "messenger" in Arabic; there were 4 messengers; Mohammed was the last.


One holy city for Muslims; where the Quraysh lived; where the Ka'ba is; where Mohammed grew up

619 CE

Year of Sorrow; Abu Talib and Khadija die, and Abu Lahab takes over the clan


Renouncing your faith if you have to (e.g. in the face of death); seen in the story of Ammar who renounced his faith while being tortured


The migration of Muslims from Mecca to Yathrib (soon-to-be Medina) in 622 CE; marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar; years after this are marked AH

622 CE

First year of Islamic calander (1 AH, After Hijra); year Mohammed and his followers left Mecca to go to Yathrib/Medina


Means "community" in Arabic; Muslims refer to themselves as this; represents unity because all Muslims are part of the ummah; composed of Muhajirun and Ansaris


Members of the Ummah who traveled with Mohammed on the Hijra from Mecca to Medina


"helpers"; members of the Ummah already living in Medina who helped Mohammed and his group after they arrived


An almsgiving tax imposed on Muslims; if you are too poor to pay it then you receive it; one of the two requirements for conversion to Islam; 2.5% of income


The profession of faith said in order to convert to Islam; "There is no god but God and Mohammed is his messenger"


Tax paid by non-Muslims in order to be included in the ummah

Constitution of Medina

Drafted in 622 (Aslan questions this); declaration of the ideals of Islamic life; it was broad, but is often considered the world's first constitution; its main goal was to establish and maintain peace between the people of the ummah

Battle of Badr

Occurs in 624; the ummah is planning a caravan raid, but the Quraysh are warned and stage a battle against the Muslims; 300 fighters for Ummah, 1000 for Quraysh; Muslims win and prophet is seen as brilliant military strategist

Battle of Uhud

Occurs in 625; Quraysh and ummah fight at ___; 1000 for ummah, 3000 for Quraysh; Some Muslims expect victory, lose discipline, and go after booty, causing the Quraysh to win

Battle of the Trench

Occurs in 627; 3000 for ummah, 10,000 for Quraysh; Ummah digs a moat around the city; battle ends in a draw, but that basically makes it an Ummah win

Treaty of Hudabiyyah

treaty signed by the Ummah and Quraysh which allows Muslims to perform the hajj every year (except the current one), allows people to convert freely

628 CE

Year that Mohammed marched with 1500 people toward Mecca to perform the hajj and march around the Ka'ba;

630 CE

Year Quraysh break Treaty of Hudabiyyah; Mohammed brings the Ummah to Mecca with a force of 10,000 and the Meccans automatically surrender, and the Prophet takes the city


A structure in Mecca that housed idols of all the gods worshipped during the Jahiliyyah; after the ummah defeats the Quraysh in war, Mohammed destroys all the idols and rededicates the Ka'ba to the one god

632 CE

Year in which Mohammed dies, gives Farewell Sermon on Mt. Arafat


Mohammed's first wife and the first convert to Islam; married when he was 25 and she was 40 (year: 595 CE)


Mohammed's third wife; daughter of Abu Bakr, Mohammed's close companion; married around 623 CE


The prophet's example (literally means "traditions"); people looked to the sunnah to answer questions about their lives


The written record of the sayings and actions of the prophet; collected centuries after his death; codified version of the sunnah; there are 6 of them and they vary in legitimacy


The period of the 4 caliphs succeeding Mohammed (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali); 632-661 CE; means "The Rightly Guided Ones"

The Golden Age of Islam

The Prophetic Era + the Rashidun; Muslims were on the straight path; great expansion of Islam


Means "consultation" in Arabic; small group of Ummah and Quraysh used to determine who would be the caliph

Abu Bakr

First caliph after the death of Mohammed; rules 632-634; close friend and companion of the prophet who exemplified Islamic ideals; chose to be called Caliph (means "representative"); Fourth convert to Islam


An oath of allegiance and acceptance of a leader; Abu Bakr asks for this from the ummah when he is chosen as caliph


Second caliph; succeeds Abu Bakr; rules 634-644; close companion of the prophet; chose to be called "Commander of the Faithful" as well as Caliph


Third caliph; succeeds Umar; rules 644-656; known for his nepotism, which made him unpopular; chose the title "Successor to God," which the previous 2 had rejected; created the first written Quran


Loosely translated as "civil war"; this is what occurs after the assassination of Uthman; opposite of unity and oneness


Fourth caliph; succeeds Uthman; rules 656-661; son-in-law and cousin of Mohammed; Second Convert to Islam; chose the title "Commander of the Faithful"; supported by the Kharijites; opposed by Aisha and the Ummayyads (including Muawiyyah)


First Muslim extremists; believe in a literal application of the Qur'an; believe that the most pious person should rule


The clan from which Uthman hails; takes power after the Rashidun; Muawiyyah is from this clan

Battle of the Camel

Battle that Ali fights against Aisha in 656; Aisha rides a camel into battle; Ali wins

Battle of Siffin

Battle that Ali fights against Muawiyyah in 657; Ali is about to win, but Muawiyyah tells his men to put Qur'ans on the ends of the spears, signalling a desire for arbitration; a neutral hakam sides with Muawiyyah


"Partisans of Ali"; minority sect of Islam (10-15% currently); head of the Muslim community should and must be a descendent of the prophet through the line of Ali and Fatima


The daughter of the prophet; married Ali and had two sons: Husayn and Hasan


Can mean "master" or "friend" in Arabic; at Ghadir Khumm, Mohammed said, "Whoever recognizes me as their _____ should recognize Ali as their _____"; the discrepancy in meaning can represent the disagreement between Sunnis and Shi'as

Ghadir Khumm

Place where Shi'a say Mohammed named Ali his successor

March of the Penitents

Occurs in 684; followers of Husayn go back to Karbala; spontaneous display of emotionalism, including grieving, crying, and self-flagellation; every year thereafter, they recreate the story of the Battle of Karbala, culminating in Ashura, the 10th day


Means "tenth" in Arabic; the 10th day of the first month in the Islamic calendar; the day on which Husayn was killed; a day of grieving and remembrance in Shi'a Islam


Means "rejectors of the truth" in Arabic; Shi'a Muslims were known as this by Sunnis


The leader in Shi'a Islam; a perfect and flawless human being; incapable of committing sins; known as god's executor on earth; acts as a mediator between believer and god; Ali was the first imam and there are 12 total

Twelvers (Ithna Asharis)

Shi'a Muslims who believe that there are 12 imams; most common type

Twelfth Imam

Went missing as a child; named Mohammed; Shi'a Muslims believe he went into hiding in 874 and is now ever-present; believed that he never died; believed that he will return at the end of times as the Mahdi (Messiah) and will usher in a period of justice

Zayadis (Fivers)

Shi'a Muslims who believe that there are 5 imams

Ismailis (Seveners)

Shi'a Muslims who believe that there are 7 imams


People of the book aka Jews/Christians; protected under Islamic law; also came to include other religions later, including Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Buddhists


Means "submission" in Arabic


One who submits


Arabic word for god; is described using 99 names or terms; two most popular are "compassionate" and "merciful"


Means "recitation" in Arabic; meant to be recited, not read; considered the literal word of god


"Spiritual aura"; to be in the presence of the Qur'an is to be in the presence of ______


A chapter in the Qur'an; there are 114 _____


A verse in the Qur'an; there are 6000 ____


Every chapter in the Qur'an (excluding one) begins with this; "In the name of God, most compassionate, most merciful"; also used throughout Muslim life, at meetings, at political events, etc.


Means "The Opening" in Arabic; first chapter of the Qur'an; start of the 5 prayers each day; said 17 times throughout each day during prayer

Doctrine of Inimitability

Means that the Qur'an cannot be imitated in any way; the Qur'an is perfect in every way; means that there can be no translation of the Qur'an

Mother of the Books

The idea that there is a heavenly template of the Qur'an that exists with god; every Qur'an on earth is therefore a replica of this template


The core of Islamic theology; unity/oneness of god


The opposite of tawhid; associating anything with god, including idols. Also putting other things before God.


"God consciousness"; being in a state of remembrance of tawhid; staying on the straight path keeps you in a state of taqwa

Rationalists (Mutazilites)

Believe that reason is the supreme guide; believe in historical context of the Qur'an; believe that the Qur'an was created

Traditionalists (Asharites)

Believe that there is no need to historically contextualize the Qur'an; don't ask why the Qur'an and sunnah don't make sense in some cases; Qur'an is uncreated


Religious scholars whose job it is to define Islam; establish 5 schools of Islam, 4 Sunni and 1 Shi'a


believers in the Abrahamic God, just not through Judaism or Christianity


Belief in one God, but with many lesser deities as well

First Revelation

Gabriel appeared to the Prophet on one of his meditations in the mountains and told him either "read" or "recite" three times; "recite" is the one commonly believed among Muslims, because it is believed the Prophet was illiterate

Themes of Revelation

Social Justice: everyone is equal and should be taken care of equally; Unity: unity of God, unity of mankind, most important theme; Staying on the Straight Path: strive for egalitarianism or burn in hell


former slave and adopted son of Mohammed; third convert to Islam


legal caravan raids; had to be sneaky and couldn't use violence


extremists; believe in literal interpretation of the Quran; believe most pious man should lead Ummah

Founding Events of Shi'aism

1. Betrayal and Martyrdom of Ali; 2. Betrayal and Martyrdom of Husayn

political quietism

Shi'a don't get involved in politics, because all rulers are unjust except for the Hidden Iman


Twelfth Iman went into hiding to protect himself, and will come back just before the endtimes

Doctrine of Abagation

Whichever revelation came last is the one God wants Muslims to follow; latest revelation time-wise, not by place in Quran


remembering Allah through the heart


"wool"; mystical aspect of Islam; follow God through direct connection with him; very inclusive, open to any religion


path followed by Sufis; all have direct experience of divine and opening your heart to the divine in common; each path is led by a Shayk


Islamic prayers that must be said 5 times per day; most purify by washing hands and feet, while others believe it to be symbolic; need something to keep you off the ground


month of fasting; breakfast is meager but dinner is very big; done to feel the plight of the poor, reminder of social justice


person who calls everyone to prayer


Islamic holiday; five per year

Eid al-Fite

last day of Ramadan; Muslim Christmas


pilgrimage to Mecca every Muslim should take in their lifetime; all men must dress the same, but women may wear what they want; much celebrating, reenactments of important events in Muslim history


Hajj garment for men; two pieces of white seamless cloth; garment the prophet wore; garment they will wear when they die

Eid al-Adha

last day of Hajj, celebrates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael


chain of transmission from Shayk to Shayk; Mohammed was the first; connection between people who have achieved Fana


"independent reasoning"; preferred reasoning of Sufis; done through experience not through traditional reasoning

Sufi Shahadah

"There is no being but the being of god; there is no reality but the reality of god"


perfect purity of babies; Sufis believe we need to try and return to it


"breath" or "soul"; breath of God which animated humanity; longs to be reunited with God


ego; gets in the way of the Ruh in getting back to God


heart; Ruh and Nats are in constant battle over this


Nirvana-like state


99 beads strung together; used in Sufi prayers; represent 99 names of God


"friend of God"; another term for Shayks; they can emit Baraka


leader of a Sufi Tariqa; followers are said to be in love with them; must be followed very strictly; must have achieved Fana to reach this point

Sufi Quest

struggle between the Ruh and the Nats over the Qalb; if all goes well, in leads to Fana

Determining issues in Islam

1. What the Quran says; 2. What the Sunnah says; 3. What the Ulama have said; 4. What the dissenting Ulama have said; 5. What history can tell us

Treatment of Women in Quran

Should have legal rights (dowry, divorce, marriage, court, etc.), men and women have the same obligations; women should have financial independence

Mothers of the Believers

wives of Mohammed

Modesty Verse

verse in the Quran which establishes modesty for men and women; both should avert their eyes and protect their modesty; women should guard their zinat as well, only showing it to their family


that which gives you beauty; adornments/ornaments


shawl/cloak; should be drawn across chest to preserve modesty

Jilbab Verse

women should wear a Jilbab (outer covering) to stop them from being accosted

Clothing Verse

clothing prevents shame, protects against evil, promotes (modest) beauty

Hijab Verse

only for Mothers of the Believers; male guests should only ask MotBs questions from behind a Hijab (barrier)

Purity Verse

only for Mothers of the Believers; Prophet's wives should be pure, unlike Jahiliyah women; signifies difference between MotBs and other women

Creation Account

Adam and Eve sin together and then ask for forgiveness, unlike in the bible where Eve goes first and they blame others

650 CE

First written, codified version of the Quran; all others are destroyed

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