Moral structure of Islam derived from the Qur’an (Text II, pg. 310/312)
Standards of morality based upon the relationship:
- Between God and humans
- Amongst the believers themselves Spirituality and social responsibility inseparable from the perspective of the believers.
IBADAT : Religious Duty or the “Five Pillars of Islam”
- Creed or Shahda
- Prayer or Salat
- Almsgiving or Zakat
- Fasting during the month of Ramadan
- Pilgrimage or Hajj
- Shahda is the central creed of Islam. It is the primary responsibility of the believer to accept the Shahda and repeat it faithfully
- Salat : Five acts of devotion and prayer each day to help one to align one’s life with the Quar’anic standards : Repetition of the Fatihah or the first sura from the Quar’an (Text I, pg. 385)
Prayers at dawn, midday, midafternoon, sunset, and at night Worship is strictly non-iconic; worshippers face Mecca while praying Friday as the special day for public prayer.
- Zakat: Voluntary offering of the community to those in need (debtors, slaves, wayfarers, beggars etc.) Universally obligatory in Muslim societies in the past. Often levied as a tax on two and half percent of one’s accumulated wealth in many contemporary Muslim countries In non-Muslim countries, collection and distribution of Zakat undertaken by the Islamic community itself.
- Fasting during the month of Ramadan as a religious duty except for travelers and the sick Fast lasts from dawn to dusk.
- Hajj or the pilgrimage to Mecca is an adaptation of the pre-Islamic pilgrimage tradition during the sacred month of Dhu-al-Hijja
Duties required of the pilgrim:
Seven counterclockwise circumambulation of the Ka’ba, and walking back and forth between two hills Safa and Marwa in memory of Hagar as she searched the valley for water to quench the thirst of her son Ishmael Wearing of a white seamless garment and practicing of abstinence of food or drink during the day Prayer and meditation from noon to sunset at the Arafat plain where Muhammad is believed to have delivered his farewell sermon.
Islamic Communities after Muhammad
Muhammad’s death in 632 C.E. Political power struggle within the Islamic community Unity maintained under the first four leaders Abu Bakr as the first Caliph or successor to Muhammad (632-634C.E.) Expansion of the Islamic caliphate beyond Arabia during the reign of Umar/Omar (634-644C.E.) Umar/Omar succeeded by Uthman/Othman (644-656 C.E.) and Ali (656-661C.E.) Uthman/Othman murdered by a group of mutineers from the Arab army in Egypt and Ali finally became the Caliph Ali assassinated by a lone man from a radical religious sect in 661C.E. Caliphate moved to Damascus under the Umayyads in 661C.E. Massacre of Alis son Husayn and his army by the Umayyad forces in 680C.E. at Karbala led to the final division between the Shiahs and the Sunnis: Commemorated by the Muharram Question of succession led to the division between the Shiah or the adherents of Ali and the majority Sunnis
Historically, the Shiahs has been the minority sect
Sunni orthodox Islamic theory maintains that the Caliphate is an elective office while the Shiahs contend that the Caliph as a spiritual guide has broader authority and should be a descendant of Ali, Muhammad’s son in law. It is the religious culture rather than political authority that has brought the Islamic community together through history.