Posts tagged ‘Islam’

Muhammad, the founder and most important prophet of Islam, was born in 570 C.E. in the town of Mecca on the Arabian Peninsula.

His father died a few days before Muhammad was born. When he was six, his mother died, and he was given into his grandfather’s care. When Muhammad was eight, his grandfather also died. His uncle then took over raising Muhammad.

How might life experiences like these affect someone?

Muhammad, Islam’s founder, had many roles in life: husband, father, shepherd, merchant, hermit, exile, leader, prophet, soldier.

Think about the kinds of personal traits a person would need to succeed in all these different roles. List as many of them as you can.

When Islam’s founder, Muhammad, was a young man, he became a merchant. He worked for a wealthy businesswoman named Khadijah. Khadijah was impressed with Muhammad’s honesty, generosity, and gentleness. She and Muhammad were married.

Muhammad and Khadijah had four daughters and two sons. After fifteen years of marriage, Muhammad became aware that something was missing in his life, and he began to retreat to a mountain cave.

Have you ever felt something was missing in your life or felt the need to spend time alone? Describe the experience.

Muhammad, Islam’s most important prophet, became an outcast in his home city, because people in Mecca disapproved of Muhammad’s messages and religion. People in another city, Yathrib, asked Muhammad to leave Mecca and become their leader.

Knowing the opposition he faced in Mecca, Muhammad accepted their invitation. Threatened with violence in Mecca, Muhammad and his followers made their way secretly to Yathrib. This emigration is known as the Hegira. The Islamic calendar begins with the Hegira, which was July 16, 622, in the Western calendar.

In Yathrib, Muhammad became a successful politician. Yathrib became known as Medinat al-Nabi, or City of the Prophet, then simply Medina.

Within ten years of his flight to Medina, Mecca surrendered to Muhammad. By the time he died, in June 632 C.E., Muhammad had united the disparate peoples of the Arabian Peninsula into one nation.

Describe what it must be like to be forced to flee your home, like Muhammad.

After eleven years outside Mecca, Muhammad, Islam’s founder, experienced an Ascension, in which he journeyed to heaven.

After praying, Muhammad was approached by the angel Gabriel. They mounted a winged steed called the buraq and traveled to Jerusalem, where the spirits of many prophets appeared. Muhammad led them in prayer. Then he remounted the buraq and ascended with Gabriel to heaven.

Muhammad said that heaven was difficult to describe. He said it was a combination of lights and sounds and flowing energy.

What does the word heaven mean to you? What do you imagine heaven looks like?

In Islam, life is considered a gift from Allah. Accepting this gift leaves us with two obligations.

First, we must show our gratitude for this gift.

Second, in return for this gift, we must give ourselves to Allah by surrendering ourselves to his wishes.

Do you believe that life is a “gift?’ Explain why or why not.

Muslims do not believe that Allah or the prophets should be visually represented. According to Islam, representations are misleading and even disrespectful. If Muhammad is shown in a painting, his face is hidden by a veil. Usually a flame is shown burning around his head; this is the flame of prophethood.

Why might representations of Allah and the prophets actually lead people away from Allah?

About 3,000 years ago, Hinduism began near the Indus River of northwestern India. It spread throughout India and across East Asia. Although many of the countries in this region later adopted Buddhism or Islam as their primary religion, Hindu influence is still seen in the culture and literature of much of Southeast Asia. Today Nepal is the only official Hindu state in the world. (Although many Indians are Hindu, India has no official state religion.)

Find Nepal on a map. Why do you think this country has stayed primarily Hindu while other countries converted to other religions?

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