High and Popular Islam Essay

High and Popular Islam Essay

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History of the Middle East and North Africa 600-1258

Unlike India that has a clearly defined caste system to divide classes, other nations have classes that are implied by economic and social differences. The Middle East after the rise of Islam had an implied class system as well, referred to as High Islam and Popular or Low Islam. There is no actual High and Popular Islam that people are officially divided into, but is perceived through historical analysis. They are concepts derived from historical findings that provide a way to compare and contrast the people, religion, and government of Islam. (Frierson) Hopefully this essay will shed some light on these concepts. “Allah is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light.” (Cow 2:257) Jesus Christ would never have expected animated DVD’s, Santa upstaging neither his ‘birthday’, nor the endless sects of Christians all claiming to truly understand his message and scripture. (Unless of course one is Christian and believes he is god and therefore knows all) Whether Muhammad foresaw the possibility of the Muslim community headed for similar disregard of the sacred is debatable. However, the fact that the sin of idolatry was so feared by Muslims has proven substantial power to suppress the same abandonment of the sacred that Christianity has modernized to. Despite the lack of Muhammad dolls and Allah t-shirts, the religion of Islam evolved into a government, empire, and ultimately a vague ideal of holiness interpreted thousands of ways. Having a faceless, mysterious deity not only prevented commercialism of a religion, but served to allow any culture to adopt their unique vision of God. When Muhammad first formed the small...


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... English translation of The Koran. London: Penguin Classics, 2006. Specific Sura The Cow (Referred to as Cow)

Frierson, Elizabeth. In-class lectures, PowerPoint’s, and Portfolio Guidelines University of Cincinnati Course Number 15-HIST-170-001, 20 September- October 2010. (Referred to as Frierson)

Haug, Dr. In-class lectures and PowerPoint’s, University of Cincinnati Course Number 15-HIST-170-001, 20 September- October 2010. (Referred to as Haug)

Lewis, Bernard. Islam: from the Prophet Muhammad to the Capture of Constantinople, Volume 1. Oxford University Press, 1987. (Referred to as Lewis 1)

Lewis, Bernard. Islam: from the Prophet Muhammad to the Capture of Constantinople, Volume 2. Oxford University Press, 1987. (Referred to as Lewis 2)

Ochsenwald, William and Sidney Fisher. The Middle East: A History. McGraw-Hill, 2004. (Referred to as F&O)

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