Muhammad and the Birth of Islam Muhammad born in Mecca (570 CE) A prophet in the tradition of Moses and Jesus Received revelations from God through angel Gabriel Cast out of Mecca - Hegira (622 CE) Preached in the Qa’aba temple Islam means “submission to God”
John Donne (1572-1631) Holy Sonnets: Batter my heart, three-person'd God Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend; That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new. I, like an usurp'd town to'another due, Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end; Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend, But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue. Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain, But am betroth'd unto your enemy; Divorce me, untie or break that knot again, Take me to you, imprison me, for I, Except you enthrall me, never shall be free, Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
Five Pillars of Islam Recitation: One must recite the Muslim act of faith: “there is one God and Muhammad is his messenger” Prayer: One must pray five times a day facing Mecca Charity: one must donate a portion of one’s wealth Fasting: One must fast during the holy month of Ramadan Pilgrimage: one must make a trip (Haj) to Mecca at least once in a lifetime to worship at the Qa’aba
The Qur’an Central text of Islam –Collation of Muhammad’s oral revelations 114 chapters (sûras); about as long as the New Testament Written in Arabic –Cannot be translated Source of unifications for all Muslims Memorization and recitation
Functions of Islamic Mosques A mosque is “a place for ritual prostration”—ie, Islamic prayer Decorated geometrically in tiles, non-narrative art No furniture, but rugs often on floor for prayer Niche in the wall called the michrab indicates direction of Mecca in which to pray Contains fountains so the devout may ritually cleanse hands, feet, and mouth before prayer Towers next to mosque for announcing call to prayer
[Image 8.8] Maqsura screen of the Córdoba Mosque
Sufi Writers Rumi –Over 300 Persian poems (in rhyming couplets) –Also wrote discourses on mystical experiences –Combined recitation and movement (dervishes)
“Be Lost in the Call” by Rumi Lord, said David, since you do not need us, why did you create these two worlds? Reality replied: O prisoner of time, I was a secret treasure of kindness and generosity, and I wished this treasure to be known, so I created a mirror: its shining face, the heart; its darkened back, the world; The back would please you if you've never seen t he face. Has anyone ever produced a mirror out of mud and straw? Yet clean away the mud and straw, and a mirror might be revealed. Until the juice ferments a while in the cask, it isn't wine. If you wish your heart to be bright, you must do a little work. My King addressed the soul of my flesh: You return just as you left. Where are the traces of my gifts? We know that alchemy transforms copper into gold. This Sun doesn't want a crown or robe from God's grace. He is a hat to a hundred bald men, a covering for ten who were naked. Jesus sat humbly on the back of an ass, my child! How could a zephyr ride an ass? Spirit, find your way, in seeking lowness like a stream. Reason, tread the path of selflessness into eternity. Remember God so much that you are forgotten. Let the caller and the called disappear; be lost in the Call. - "Love is a Stranger", Kabir Helminski Threshold Books, 1993 "Love is a Stranger"