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Basic information on Islam.

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DukeC View Drop Down
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  Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Basic information on Islam.
    Posted: 15-Dec-2005 at 14:36

I admit to knowing very little about the Islamic faith, and would appreciate some basic information.

1. What is an Imam and how are they selected?

2. Does Islam have a central figure like the Roman Catholic Pope or Anglican Archbishop?

3. How do Sunni and Shi'ite beliefs differ?

Thanks, Doug

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  Quote Mortaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Dec-2005 at 15:28

What is an Imam and how are they selected?

well he is who lead at praying, but He is not a special person, everyone who have basic knowledge and praying may become imams. Infact when we pray at our home together with my family, Mostly my father and sometimes brother becomes imam.

 Does Islam have a central figure like the Roman Catholic Pope or Anglican Archbishop?

Not at Sunni beliefe but I think shiite have someone like him,

How do Sunni and Shi'ite beliefs differ?

It is mainly a historical conflict. Both believe same God, prophet and quran.

 

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  Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Dec-2005 at 16:39

The Islamic faith sounds more informal than the Christian in some ways.

Thanks, Mortaza.

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  Quote ill_teknique Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Dec-2005 at 16:43
it does not center on a clergy for a connection to god - it centers on the individual and the individuals direct relationship to god - very brief summary
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  Quote Mortaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Dec-2005 at 16:48

Infact there is not a clergy class at islam. There were respected men, but not because they were imam. They were respected because of their vast knowledge and their faith.

 

 

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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Dec-2005 at 16:57
So it's comparable to Christian Protestantism where there's also no priesthood but it's supposed that (in theory) every person can exert as such. Am I right?

What is then a mullah, and (in Shia Islam) an ayatollah. Are there some kind of monks (I've never heard about them but what do I know)?

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  Quote Mortaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Dec-2005 at 16:59

I am talking about sunni belief. I have not much idea about shia sect.

 

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  Quote ok ge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Dec-2005 at 21:58

As Mortaza and ill-teknique said, Sunni muslims (85% of Muslims around the globe) do not believe in religious hierarchy or clerical system of their religious leaders.

Not to confuse this with the concept of Caliph. A caliph (in Arabic translated as successor) is a political term rather than a religious term. Musilms in general place unification of their Musilm brothers as one of the prior agendas of a Muslim naiton (at least in theory today). A caliph is the leader of a Muslim nation (called too Ummah). Historically, when divisions appeared in the Musilm empire of the Abbasyd, caliphs wanted to assert themselves as legitmate caliphs of Muslims. One way was to assume too a religious signifacance, such as being too an Imam or name the Custodian of the two holy mosques. Still practiced till today, however religiously speaking, it has no weight in the faith and neither Muslims expect their leaders to be religious clerics.

    Interesting the comparison Maju brought about Protestanism and Sunni Islam. It sort of matches a lot when it comes too to compare Catholism and Shiite, however the difference will be in the process of developing such reform. While Protestanism came out as a reform to Catholism, abondening the clergy system, allowing self interpretation of the bible, abondening the centralization of religious authority (as the Pope), and finally asserting the gap of state authority and religious authority, Shiite came out of the main Sunni groups later and instead estalished those points that Protestants abondened and which also Muslims didn't have before.

    To note that Shiite came out first as a political struggle of the sucessor  of the prophet Muhammed and later with the other caliphs, yet it grown to include religious division from main stream Islam. Most shiites believe today in Centralized religious power as the Pope (ex is Ayatullah Ali Khumainie), restriction of Quran interpretation and law verdicts except by authorized Imams, and finally allowing for the mixture of religious authority and religious authority. This interesting map of depicts the Shiite spread around the globe:

 



Edited by ok ge
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  Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Dec-2005 at 23:55
Very helpful, thank you cok gec.
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  Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2005 at 05:39

Two questions,

What about Sufism?

and is there supposed to be a difference between Sunni and Shia over the issue of Sunni's worshipping only god but Shia acknowledging some kind of prophets or saints as well????

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  Quote Mortaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2005 at 06:54

sufism is only a school nothing more, it is not a new sect, their rules were complately same with sunnis.

But they give more priority to human beings and love.

for them, people should love Allah, It is source of all loves and All loves lead to Allah.(for ex, A known story of Leyla and Mecnun)

Muslim should love muslims, because they are trying to please Allah.

Muslims should love humans and all creature, because all of them created by Allah.

Mevlana, Yunus Emre were main leader of  sufist in Turkey. Both of them are sunni. 

shia dont have other prophet except Muhammed, for saint, I dont know what do you mean with  this?

Both sect respect  different people, but I think, with saint you are meaning more?

 

 

Well, Shia have not another prophet

 

 

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  Quote OSMANLI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2005 at 07:36

2. Does Islam have a central figure like the Roman Catholic Pope or Anglican Archbishop?

Actually in Islam the religious doctrine orders that the must be a central authority, known as the Caliph. The Caliphate however ended in 1924. Due political and not religios changes.

If you want to know about Islam then their is the '5 pillers of Islam' so called because these are the 5 things that make a Muslim.

The 5 pillars are:

1) Shahada- This can be described as the declaration of faith. My signuture below depicts it. "Lailaha illalla Muhammadur Rasullullah" which is Arabic for "There is no God but God (Allah) and Muhammad is his messenger.

2) Salat (a.k.a Namaz)- This is the 5 times daily prayer that Muslims are told to do.

3) Zakat- Giving to Charity

4) Fasting- A Muslim must fast during the holy month of Ramadan

5) Hajj- When one is ready (health and financially) then one is obliged to go to Mecca for Hajj. This is only required once in ones life.

Above: Muslims praying the Salat (Namaz) prayer.

Above: Muslims both male and female, old and young and of all nations unified by their iman (Belief) in Islam. Above depicts the Kaba, in Mecca during the Hajj pilgrimage.

Above: The Qur'an, holy book of the Muslims

Muslims belive the QUr'an to be the word of the lord, Allah. It is still in its original form, with not a single word being changed, thus is why Muslims will read the Qur'an in its original Arabic form. Although translations can be used for research porpuses.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Feel free to PM me if you prefer.

Regards and Salam (Peace),

OSMANLI

 



Edited by OSMANLI
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  Quote ok ge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2005 at 10:34

Actually in Islam the religious doctrine orders that the must be a central authority, known as the Caliph. The Caliphate however ended in 1924. Due political and not religios changes.

I think Osmanli meant here by "central athority" a political and leadership authority but not religious centeralized athority. Caliphs always needed religious figures to approve and re-assert their legitimacy. A famous story is the story of the founder of one of the most accepted school of thoughts, Abu Hanifah. The Abbasid Caliph Abu Ja'far Al Mansur (second Abbasid caliph and the builder of Baghdad city) arrested Abu Hanifah, and had him killed poisoned later. Abu Hanifah's crime was either that he did not legitimize the rule of Al-Mansur or that he permitted dissent against the caliph.



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  Quote arsenka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2005 at 12:31

I've found a site that may be interesting for you, DuceC. Here it is:

http://www.akdn.org/imamat/imamat.html

Quote:

"A variety of viewpoints on the nature of the succession continued to be expressed before being consolidated into systematic doctrine, propounded by legal scholars and theologians, towards the end of the ninth century. From the beginning, however, there was a clear distinction of views on this matter between those, known as shi'at Ali or the "party" of Ali, who believed that the Prophet had designated Ali, his cousin, as his successor, and those groups which followed the political leadership of the caliphs. These latter groups eventually coalesced into the majoritarian, Sunni branch, comprising several different juridical schools.

In essence, the Sunni position was that the Prophet had not nominated a successor, as the revelation, the Quran, was sufficient guidance for the community. Nevertheless, there developed a tacit recognition that the spiritual-moral authority was to be exercised by the ulama, a group of specialists in matters of religious law, the shariah. The task of the ulama came to be understood as that of merely deducing appropriate rules of conduct on the basis of the Quran, the Hadith or the Prophetic tradition and several other subordinate criteria. The role of the caliph, theoretically elected by the community, was to maintain a realm in which the principles and practices of Islam were safeguarded and propagated.

The Shia or "party" of Ali, already in existence during the lifetime of the Prophet, maintained that while the revelation ceased at the Prophet's death, the need for spiritual and moral guidance of the community, through an ongoing interpretation of the Islamic message, continued. They firmly believed that the legacy of Prophet Muhammad could only be entrusted to a member of his own family, in whom the Prophet had invested his authority through designation. That person was Ali, Prophet Muhammad's cousin, the husband of his daughter and only surviving child, Fatima, and his first supporter who had devoutly championed the cause of Islam and had earned the Prophet's trust and admiration. Their espousal of the right of Ali and that of his descendants, through Fatima, to the leadership of the community was rooted, above all, in their understanding of the Quran and its concept of qualified and rightly guided leadership, as reinforced by Prophetic traditions. The most prominent among the latter were part of the Prophet's sermon at a place called Ghadir Khumm, following his farewell pilgrimage, designating Ali as his successor, and his testament that he was leaving behind him "the two weighty things", namely the Quran and his progeny, for the future guidance of his community.

Among the early Shia were the pious Quran readers, several close Companions of the Prophet, tribal chiefs of distinction and other pious Muslims who had rendered great services to Islam. Their foremost teacher and guide was Ali himself who, in his sermons and letters, and in his admonition to the leaders of the tribe of Quraysh, reminded Muslims of his family's right, in heredity, to the leadership for all time "as long as there is among us one who adheres to the religion of truth".

The Shia, therefore, attest that after the Prophet, the authority for the guidance of the community was vested in Ali. The Sunni, on the other hand, revere Ali as the last of the four rightly-guided caliphs, the first three being Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. Just as it was the prerogative of the Prophet to designate his successor, so it is the absolute prerogative of each Imam of the time to designate his successor from among his male progeny. Hence, according to Shia doctrine, the Imamat continues by heredity in the Prophet's progeny through Ali and Fatima."(From the same site).

arsenka
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  Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2005 at 12:43

Thank Osmanli and arsenka, this is a lot of information to take in at once.

One question. Who was the last Caliph and why was the Caliphate ended?

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  Quote arsenka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2005 at 13:02

I've mercylessly copied it From Encyclopedia:

"The Ottomans captured Egypt in 1517 and Selim I assumed the title of caliph by questionable right. The Ottoman sultans, however, kept the title until the last sultan, Muhammad VI, was deposed. He was succeeded briefly by a cousin, but in 1924 the caliphate was abolished by Ataturk. A year later Husayn ibn Ali, king of Arabia, proclaimed himself caliph, but he was forced to abdicate by Ibn Saud. Since then several pan-Islamic congresses have attempted to establish a rightful caliph."

http://www.answers.com/topic/caliphate

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  Quote OSMANLI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 05:13

Its quite a complicated and contraversial issue. So i will be brief and will try to tell to in a non-biased way, for i do not wish to start a debate on the issue on this topic.

Ending of the Caliphate

Towards the end of the Ottoman Empire (Caliphate) nationalistic groups such as the 'Young Turks' movement came about. Ideologies such as nationalistic and secular republic were the aims of such groups. One man who had this view of a 'Turkish' secular nation was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Although the Caliph himself is more a leader of politics in the Muslim world, Mustafa Kemal saw the head of the Muslim world as a threat to the Secular state that he dreamed of, thus in 1924 he ended the Caliphate.

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  Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 16:19
Originally posted by OSMANLI

Its quite a complicated and contraversial issue. So i will be brief and will try to tell to in a non-biased way, for i do not wish to start a debate on the issue on this topic.

Ending of the Caliphate

Towards the end of the Ottoman Empire (Caliphate) nationalistic groups such as the 'Young Turks' movement came about. Ideologies such as nationalistic and secular republic were the aims of such groups. One man who had this view of a 'Turkish' secular nation was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Although the Caliph himself is more a leader of politics in the Muslim world, Mustafa Kemal saw the head of the Muslim world as a threat to the Secular state that he dreamed of, thus in 1924 he ended the Caliphate.

All this information helps me understand better what's going on in some of the other topics, thanks to all for taking the time.

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