Introduction to Islam

  • Created by: H_Coveney
  • Created on: 19-12-17 12:04
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  • Introduction to Islam
    • Islam is divided into 2 main traditions - Sunni and Shi'a
      • About 85-90% of Muslims are Sunni Muslims - most of the rest are Shi'a Muslims.
      • Muhammad was the founder of Islam - Allah revealed the Qur'an to him. After he died, Muslims had to choose a new leader (caliph). The next four caliphs were Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali.
      • However, some Muslims had wanted Ali to be the first caliph, and thought the first three caliphs shouldn't have been given the role. Others said Ali shouldn't be the caliph at all.
      • After Ali died, two groups formed - the Sunnis and the Shi'as. Each group followed a different line of descendants.
        • The Sunnis accepted the next caliph after Ali, but he Shi'as (Shi'at Ali of Party of Ali) followed Ali's descendants. Sunnis and Shi'as have been separate ever since.
    • Sunnis and Shi'as have many similar beliefs.
      • Sunnis and Shi'as share many beliefs, but have some different ideas.
        • Their basic beliefs - articles of faith - are slightly different, but they share beliefs in Allah, the holy books, prophets and the day of judgement.
          • These, along with the belief in angels, are mentioned in the Qur'an (4:136) and other teachings, e.g. Sahih Muslim 1:4
          • SIX articles of  faith SUNNI Islam
            • 1.) belief that Allah is the one and only god (Tawhid)
            • 2.) belief in angels (Malaikah)
            • 3.) belief in the holy books
            • 4.) belief in Allah's prophets (Nubuwwah)
            • 5.) belief in the Day of Judgement
            • 6.) belief that Allah knows and decides everything that's going to happen (predestination - al-Qadr)
          • FIVE articles of faith SHI'A Islam
            • 1.) belief that Allah is the one and only god (Tawhid)
            • 2.) belief in divine justice (Adalat)
            • 3.) belief in prophethood (Nubuwwah)
            • 4.) belief in the authority of imams (Imamah)
            • 5.) belief in the Day of Resurrection (Ma'ad)
    • Key Sunni Beliefs
      • No one after Muhammad received knowledge from Allah.
        • Muslims should focus on Muhammad and his way of life (sunnah) rather than paying too much atention to Ali and his sons.
      • Muslims should be guided by the consensus (majority view) of the community.
    • Key Shi'a Beliefs
      • Ali was the first true caliph. Allah gave him knowledge to ensure his teaching and actions were right.
      • There are many branches of Shi'a Islam. They all share a common belief in a line of imams after Ali, who all had the same knowledge from Allah as Ali.
        • Shi'a imams are leaders and figureheads of the religion, they're all descendants of Muhammad. In Sunni Islam, the word 'imam' simply means 'prayer leader'.
      • The different branches of Shi'a Islam split off from each other after disagreements about the line of imams. The Twelvers are the largest branch, but there are many others.
      • Twelver Shi'as believe in the line of 12 imams, the last of whom is in hiding and will eventually return/ The Twelvers are led by religious scholars while they wait for the last imam's return.
      • Isma'ili Shi'as (often called 'Seveners') thought the seventh imam should be Isma'il, the elder brother of the one chosen by the Twelvers.
        • The biggest group of Isma'ilis today, the Nizaris think each imam can select the next and are still led by an imam now, known as the Aga Khan.


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