The Judeo-Christian prophetic tradition

The Judeo-Christian prophetic tradition continues through the figure of Muhammad in Islam

Ishmael, son of Abraham and Hagar as the traditional ancestor of Muslims Muhammad as the agent through whom Allah communicated with the community

Quran as the revelation and the central miracle in Islam

The Islamic creed or SHAHDA : Foundation of the faith The Quran as the key theological document: The First Chapter begins by encapsulating the essential principles of Islam.  The Fatiha (Quran 1: 1-7): In the name of God, the Merciful, and the Compassionate. Praise belongs to God, the Lord of all Being, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate, and Master of the Day of Doom. Thee only we serve; to Thee alone we pray for succor. Guide us in the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast blessed, not of those against whom Thou art wrathful, nor of those who are astray. (Tr. from Ruthven. M. Islam)

Few details known about Muhammad’s early life:

Orphaned in childhood and brought up by Abd-al-Muttalib, and Abu Talib Possibly influenced by the meditative practices of the Hanifs First revelatory experience in 610 C.E. : Vision of angel Gabriel and the divine command to “recite” in God’s name (Sura 96:1- 5, Text I, pg.359) Public preaching preceded by initial reluctance

Meccan ministry emphasized:

  •  Unity of God and His final judgment
  •  Importance of individual repentance

Demand for social justice implicit in Muhammad’s position, problematic for the Meccan elite Denunciation of idol worship also threatened the economic health of the ruling class Resentment against Muhammad reflected in the restrictions placed on his immediate family and followers : Possible threats on his life Emigration (HIJRA) to Yathrib as a mediator between two tribes, the Aws and the Khazraj in 622 C.E. : Beginning of the Islamic era Readier acceptance of Muhammad’s prophetic role and the authenticity of his revelatory experience in the new city: Yathrib renamed Medinat an nabi or the City of the Prophet From one man’s personal experience to the beginnings of a community of believers: The Covenant of Medina (Text I, pg. 337) Religious and civil law from the same divine source at the foundation of the Islamic community : Islam both a religion as well as a community Initiation of weekly community services on Friday, taking up of alms for the poor etc. enhanced the social identity of Muhammad’s followers Gradual conversion of Mecca through wars and diplomatic maneuvers : Initiation of monotheistic practices in Kaba and the destruction of the idols within it Foundation of a community united by the faith in the unity of Allah and the brotherhood of all believers : Umma or the community of the faithful governed by the dictates of Divine law.

Muhammad’s death in 632 C.E. Muhammad’s words and personal example as the basis of faith (IMAN) and duty (DIN) of Islam

Islam based on

  1. IMAN (faith)
  2. IHSAN (right conduct)
  3. IBADAT (religious duty)

IMAN based on the SHAHDA: la illaha illa Allah

God as self-subsistent, omnipotent, and omniscient

Creator of the world and the sole arbiter of human souls on the Day of Judgment

Differences in interpretation on the question of predestination and free will

God’s guidance through the Quran, and through his messenger, Muhammad, and through the angels

Muhammad as the last of the prophet’s: Authority derived from God, but essentially human in nature Qu’ran as the central miracle in Islam: Faith in the undistorted and final word of Allah to humankind Allah’s guidance through angels : Resemblance with Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian apocalyptic ideals

IHSAN : Moral conduct flows from Divine guidance

IBADAT : Five Pillars of Islam

  1. Creed or Shahda
  2. Prayer or Salat
  3. Almsgiving or Zakat
  4. Fasting during the month of Ramadan
  5. Pilgrimage or Hajj