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HIST351: Islam, The Middle East, and The West

Unit 2: Islamic Society and Faith   Islam became an established religion in the Middle East after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 C.E.  Although Muhammad originally worked as a merchant in Mecca, he soon became disenchanted with society and retreated to a cave for meditation.  It was there, at the age of 40, that Muhammad began to receive his first revelations from God.  These revelations formed the basis of the Qur’an—the main religious text on which the Islamic faith is based.  Muhammad began preaching his revelations to the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula; although he met with initial hostility, many of the tribes had converted to Islam by the time of Muhammad’s death.  His successors—the “four rightly guided caliphs”—continued conversion efforts during the Umayyad dynasty.  Muslims consider Muhammad’s revelations to be the true word of God (Allah).  These revelations form the basis of Islamic law, religious practices, and philosophy.

In this unit, we will consider the historical context surrounding the emergence of Islam in Arabia.  We will also study how Islam became a widely embraced religion that formed the basis of society in the Middle East.  

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 9 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4: 3 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Identify and describe Islamic beliefs and religious practices.
  • Define the terms “Qur’an,” “fiqh,” and “sharia.”

  • Reading: Wikibooks’ History of Islam: “Early Islam” Link: Wikibooks’ History of Islam:Early Islam” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entirety of the webpage, which will give you a brief introduction to Islam’s early history and touch on subsections 2.1.1 through 2.3.1.
     
    Terms of Use: The Wikipedia article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original version of this article here (HTML).

2.1 Belief System   2.1.1 Allah   2.1.2 Muhammad and Other Prophets   2.1.3 The Qur’an   - Reading: Washington State University: Richard Hooker, et al’s World Civilizations: Islam: “The Qur’an” Link: Washington State University: Richard Hooker, et al’s World Civilizations: Islam: “The Qur'an” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage, which will introduce you to Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2 Religious Practices   - Reading: Wikipedia: “Five Pillars of Islam” Link: WikipediaFive Pillars of Islam” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this entry in order to get a better understanding of Pre-Islamic Arabia.  This link addresses subsections 2.2.1 through 2.2.4.
 
Terms of Use: The Wikipedia article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original version of this article here (HTML).

2.2.1 Profession of Faith   2.2.2 Prayer   2.2.3 Fasting   2.2.4 Pilgrimage to Mecca   2.3 Texts and Laws   2.3.1 The Qur’an   - Reading: Washington State University: Richard Hooker, et al’s World Civilizations: Islam: “The Qur’an (Selections)” Link: Washington State University: Richard Hooker, et al’s World Civilizations: Islam: “The Qur’an (Selections)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage, which includes selections from the Qur’an (Islam’s holy book) that touch on a variety of basic concepts in Islam.
 
Note on the Text: The Qur’an—translated to mean “the recitation”—is the central religious text of Islam.  Muslims regard the Qur’an as the main miracle of Mohammed, as proof of his prophethood, and as a series of divine messages.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.2 Fiqh and Sharia   - Reading: Wikipedia: “Fiqh” and “Sharia” Link: WikipediaFiqh” (PDF) and “Sharia” (PDF)

 Sharia also available in:  

[iBook](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST351-2.3.2-Sharia-Wikipedia.epub)  
    
 Instructions: Please read both of these Wikipedia entries to better
comprehend Islamic jurisprudence.  
    
 Terms of Use: The Wikipedia article above is released under a
[Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) (HTML).  You
can find the original version of this article
[here](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiqh) (HTML) and
[here](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia)(HTML).

2.3.3 Sufism   - Lecture: iTunesU: The Open University: Islam in the West, Lecture 9, “What is Sufism?” Link: iTunesU: The Open University: Islam in the West, Lecture 9, “What is Sufism?” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Choose “What is Sufism” from the right hand menu. Please listen to the entire 4:47 minute clip.  Though it is primarily an analysis of contemporary Sufism, this short lecture will introduce you to the various ways in which Sufism is different from “mainstream” Islam.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.4 Society and Culture   - Reading: The University of Calgary: The Applied History Research Group’s The Islamic World to 1600: The Arts, Learning, and Knowledge: “Introduction,” “The Arts,” and “Islam and Knowledge.” Link: The University of Calgary: The Applied History Reaserch Group’s The Islamic World to 1600: The Arts, Learning, and KnowledgeIntroduction,” (HTML) “The Arts,” (HTML) and “Islam and Knowledge.” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage, which explores a variety of Islamic architectural models and places Islamic architectural styles in a broader historical context.  Please click on the various links located in the column on the left-hand side.  This webpage addresses subsections 2.4.1 through 2.4.4.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.4.1 Philosophy and Art   2.4.2 Architecture   2.4.3 Politics   2.4.4 Women and Family