Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion alongside Judaism and Christianity. It is currently the second largest religion in the world today. Its beliefs come from the Qur'an which literally means "the recitation" which is believed to be a literal transcription of the word of God. Its main prophet is named Muhammad who began Islam by speaking with the angel Gabriel in a cave during his meditation and then acting as an instrument of God to help write the Qur’an. Muhammad then spread Islam to the scattered tribes of Arabia by becoming the leader of Yathrib and using his wonderful leadership abilities to then grow his influence over virtually all of Arabia. Muhammad is known by Muslims to be the seal of the profits because no profits after Muhammad should be considered legitimate. Muhammad also left behind the Hadith or “tradition” which is a collection of writings compiled of reports of Muhammad’s actions as leader of Yathrib. These reports are used as a more specific code of ethics in day to day life and from these reports the 5 Pillars of Islam are derived (Smith 160). Although Islam shares many similarities to Judaism and Christianity it is often viewed in the US with hate derived from preconceived notions following the attack on September 11th 2001. This paper seeks to provide an overview of Islam’s history as well as its two major sects and 5 main pillars to remove preconceived notions and provide a glance into the minds of the Islamic people.
Across the world there are countless religions, new and old, each having their own unique traditions and laws that believers abide by. As defined by World History, Sharia, the Arabic word meaning “the path” or “the way”, alludes to traditional Islamic law. (Ellis, Esler, and Beers, 255) Sharia originates within the Koran, the holy book of Islam, which Muslims consider the unaltered word of God. Along with the Koran, Sharia is derived from the teachings and examples set by the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, who Muslims view as the perfect man of faith. Muslims believe that God revealed his true conviction to Muhammad, who in turn was to spread the commands of God through the Koran. Between Muhammad’s death in the seventh century and leading up to the tenth century, many Islamic scholars worked to understand Sharia in its entirety, and apply it to the rapidly expanding Muslim Empire of the time (Dunn, 57). Sharia played a key role in uniting the Islamic Empire by serving as the precedent which dictated laws concerning both private and public behavior.
The recent argument about the compatibility of Sharia and the U.S constitution has sparked a debate that will not be ending any time soon. While both sources of Law are meant for maintenance of law and order in the society, they possess some inherent characteristics that make them different from each on several fronts. From a critical analysis of the two sources, one realizes there are features of the Sharia law that are essentially conflicting with aspects of the U.S constitution. Fundamentally, all the amendments that are contained in the US Constitution demonstrate the differences that exist between the two sources of law especially on the issue of freedom of expression, the right to dissent and the right to a fair trial among other aspects.
Islam today is a prominent religion, with over 600 million followers, delcared and established by it's prophet Muhamad. It is not only a religion, but an entire way of life, which accounts all aspects. Sharia literally translates to, “the path to the water hole,” meaning that muslims have to follow this path to appease Allah and have a virtuous life. It is not prominent in all Islamic countries, but in others it dominates and rules government and society, from daily routine to weighing heavily in personal status law and in criminal law. The female population receives the harsher conditions of Sharia, versus men who utilize it for empowerment. Some elements of Sharia are similar to the common practices of other popular religions such as Christianity or Judaism, in terms of austerity, though other methods employed by fundamentalist Muslims, have cultivated bad judgement from outsiders, and apprehension towards the religion.
The shari’a law has severely affected the way that women are treated. Not only has it affected them in regards to their political, economic, and social rights but it also affects the way they dress and the way they go about getting married.
In this book , Esposito provides a succinct, up-to-date survey of the Islamic experience, an introduction to the faith, belief, and practice of Islam from its origins to its contemporary resurgence. He traces the emergence and development of this dynamic faith and its impact on world history and politics. He discusses the formation of Islamic belief and practice (law, theology, philosophy, and mysticism), chronicling the struggle of Muslims to define and adhere to their Islamic way of life. Equally important is the essential information Esposito provides on the contemporary world of Islam, from Muslim responses to the challenges of colonialism and modernization to the reassertion of Islam in politics and society.
1-Fakhry, Majid. Al-Farabi, founder of Islamic Neoplatonism : his life, works and influence, Oxford: Oneworld,c 2002. Print.
Sayyid Qutb was a prominent Islamic thinker known to the world and fundamentally researched in the West. Many have attempted to understand the ideologies that Qutb followed that lead him to become such a radical Islamic thinker. The radical ideology that Qutb followed has been associated with terrorist organizations that exist today. He spent most of his life developing his ideological way of thinking. He was seen as being radical but when his ideology is put against others within the same category it is easy to see that they are very similar. For Qutb growing up in a small village left a huge impact on his outlook and ideologies for the future, which lead him to his most influential work.
He argues that Islam should consider itself to be not simply a political party, but the only political party, with complete objectives and that does not need to take individuals or cultural data into consideration. As the founder of the Jama’at-i Islami, the ideas and goals of Maududi the organization are inseparable. The Jama’at-i Islami focuses on orthodox ideas, advocating against the separation of Islam from politics, emphasizing the Qur’an and Sunna while fighting for a return to the shari’a and the restoration of original Islam, and enhances the distinctions between sacred and profane and between believers and infidels. Maududi and the Jama’at-i Islami hold the stance that all of mankind should embrace Islam and oppose leaders who do not rule by Islamic moral standards. The organization’s main concern is the return of original Islam in light of modern corruption, referring to itself as a “party of renaissance,” as opposed to a party of reformism. The Jama’at-i Islami was also strongly opposed to Sufism and focused on this-worldly religion. In short, Maududi and the Jama’at worked for an Islamic state and society “based on Islamic ideology, following Islamic policies, and actively striving towards an Islamic