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The Study of Islamic Theology

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1 The Study of Islamic Theology
Oct 2009

2 Purpose of Study Purpose of Study: to provide insight into Muslim beliefs and document the doctrines that underlie their thinking. This is a study to understand, not judge Islam. Study Issues What is Islamic theology, eschatology, soteriology, and anthropology? How did Mohammed think and act? How has Islamic theology shaped thinking? How does this logic predispose Muslims to certain things? How can we use this understanding to our advantage?

3 Introduction This study is an effort to remove our western constraints and anchored thinking. It is an effort to understand through Muslim eyes. The United States military must understand the way that Muslims think, how they view the world, and what underlies their logic. This study provides unique insight into this thinking. Without this understanding, we tend to unknowingly anchor our thinking in western, secular, humanistic logic. To properly understand, we must discard our Western ways of thinking. We must allow Muslims to describe their own logic. We must not attempt to impose our logic on them. We typically describe their logic using western metaphors and descriptions. This is dangerous and leads to unfounded conclusions.

4 Definition of Terms Theology- thinking about God, the nature of God
Eschatology- the nature of the afterlife Soteriology- how to get to heaven Anthropology- the nature of man Transliteration- mapping from one system of writing into another Al-Azhar University Cairo, Egypt

5 Short History Lesson About Mohammed
Mohammed’s death- AD 632 Koran written- AD Hadith recorded- AD 862 950 men Caravan Raids Battle of Badr AD 624 Battle of the Trench, Subdues Allies of Quraysh AD 627 Medina Revelations Battle of Ohad Allah Akbar! AD 625 Allah Medina Angel Gabriel 10,000 men Consolidation of Power Led 27 attacks Military leader Political Leader Triumphal return AD 630 Hijra AD 622 Mohammed Quraysh Tribe AD 610 Kaaba 360 Mecca Prayer Fasting Worship Mecca Revelations Mohammed Rejected Attempted assassination

6 What is Islam? The word Islam means submission.
The word Muslim means one who submits to Allah. To submit to Allah, you must know what Allah wants. What does Allah want? The answer to this question is found in the holy books that define Islam- the Koran and the Hadith. The goal of Islam, as stated in the sacred books of Islam, is to subjugate the world under Islam by reason (Dawah) or by the sword (Harb, Quital). This sacred obligation is mandated by the holy writings of Islam. A vast majority of classical authorities adhere to this belief. Islam defines a Muslim’s nature of existence, not simply his religion as in the Western thinking construct. Islam is predominantly a religion of rules, practices, and observances that enable the faithful to earn their salvation by their own merit.

7 The Koran (Recitations)
Allah’s revelations, not Mohammed's teachings Believed to be the literal word of Allah, not divinely inspired human authors; Mohammed orally revealed the Koran to his followers Less an integrated narrative than a topical reference; organized by size of chapter (sura), not by time Recognized as having many contradictions Contradictions removed by Law of Abrogation- something revealed later replaces and erases something revealed earlier Compiled after Mohammed’s death Mohammed was illiterate Non-linear, not cause and effect 114 Chapters Sura 3:32 "Obey Allah and His Messenger”

8 The Koran and the Law of Abrogation
Sura 16:101- When We substitute one revelation for another, and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages), they say, "Thou art but a forger": but most of them understand not. Sura 2:106- Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allâh is able to do all things? Later revelations in the Koran cancel out or abrogate (nasikh) the earlier text (mansukh) within the Koran. They replace the older revelations and substitute something better. The principle of nasikh is very strong. If a verse is nasikh, or overridden, it is as if that verse does not exist. The Mecca revelations are abrogated by the Medina revelations. Later revelations: Sura 9:5- Fight the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war). Sura 5:33- For those who do not submit to Allah, their punishment is execution or crucifixion, or the cutting off of the hands and feet, from opposite sides, or exile from the land.

9 Example of Abrogation (1 of 2)
THE VERSE OF THE SWORD- Sura 9:5- Fight the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war). Some of the verses abrogated by the verse of the Sword: 1) “Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and the Christians and the Sabians – any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” (Sura 2:62). 2) “Quite a number of the People of the Book wish they could turn you (people) back to infidelity after ye have believed, from selfish envy, after the Truth hath become manifest unto them: but forgive and overlook, till Allah accomplish his purpose” (Sura 2:109). 3) “But because of their breach of their Covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard; they change the words from their (right) places and forget a good part of the Message that was sent them, nor wilt thou cease to find them – barring a few – ever bent on (new) deceits: but forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loveth those who are kind” (Sura 5:13). 4) “Leave alone those who take their religion to be mere play and amusement, and are deceived by the life of this world. But proclaim (to them) this (truth): that every soul delivers itself to ruin by its own acts: it will find for itself no protector or intercessor except Allah: if it offered every ransom, (or reparation), none will be accepted: such is (the end of) those who deliver themselves to ruin by their own acts: they will have for drink (only) boiling water, and for punishment, one most grievous: for they persisted in rejecting Allah” (Sura 6:70).

10 Example of Abrogation (2 of 2)
THE VERSE OF THE SWORD- Sura 9:5- Fight the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war). Some of the verses abrogated by the verse of the Sword: 5) “But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah” (Surah 8:61) 6) “And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury); but say, ‘We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; our God and your God is One; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam)” (Surah 29:46). 7) “And remember We took a covenant from the Children of Israel (to this effect): worship none but Allah” (Surah 2:83). 8) “Say: Will ye dispute with us about Allah, seeing that He is our Lord and your Lord; that we are responsible for our doings and ye for yours; and that we are sincere (in our faith) in Him?” (Surah 2:139) 9) “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors” (Surah 2:190) 10) “But fight them at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there” (Surah 2:191) 11) “But if they cease, Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful” (Surah 2:192). 12) “But there is no compulsion in religion” (Surah 2:256).

11 The Hadith (Traditions)
Contain things attributed to Muhammad, as opposed to the Qur'an which is the word of Allah. Hadith are regarded as the words of Muhammad and not the word of Allah, in most cases. Contain reports about the statements or actions of Mohammed, or about his tacit approval of something said or done in his presence. Muslims believe that they can look at the way of life, or sunnah, of Muhammad and his companions to discover what to imitate and what to avoid. Sahih al-Bukhari recognized as most authentic. Originally oral traditions relating to the words, deeds, and customs of Mohammed. Later, several hundred thousand traditions reduced to about 28,000 traditions. Specify how to do everything in Muslim culture. Sunni hadith completed 230 yrs after Muhammad. Hadith 9:57- Anyone leaving Islam must be killed.

12 Holiest Sites in Islam Mecca Medina Dome of the Rock

13 The Five Pillars of Islam
Statement of Belief (Shahadah): "There is no God but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” Prayer (salat): Pray five times a day while facing the Kabba; ritualistic prayer, not a personal relationship prayer between creature and creator Giving alms (zakat): Similar to taxes, distributed to Muslims in need, and to further jihad; min 2.5% Fasting (sawm): Ramadan fasting Pilgrimage (hajj): Travel to Mecca at least once

14 Core Doctrines- Comparison
Historical Imperatives Islam Christendom Politico-military expansion Fusion of religion and state Theocratic government Persecution and struggle Tension between church and state Secular government Political Imperatives Unitary Kingdom- Political- religious integration Identity based on group Legal code based on Shari’ah Differentiated Kingdom- Politico- religious tension and ultimate separation Identity based on individuation Legal code based on natural law

15 Core Doctrines- Comparison
Founding Prophets / Scriptures and Canon Islam Christendom Mohammed- prophet, soldier, statesman Koran- topical fractionalized Hadith- what Mohammed said or did; defines work requirements Orthopractical- doctrine of works and law Jesus Christ- God’s Son, martyred savior Bible- integrated narrative Orthopractical- doctrine of grace through faith

16 Theological Doctrines Comparison
Islam Christendom Eschatology- the end times, eternity Future Paradise- celebrates man’s rewards Future Heaven- celebrates man’s reunion with God Soteriology- how to secure eternity By Works (and Faith)- enabled by man’s lifetime efforts By Grace through Faith- enabled by Christ’s sacrifice for man Theology- the nature of God Allah- “the essence of all existence” God (trinitarian)- the creator-redeemer of the world Anthropology- the nature of man Fitra- man’s nature is neutral Original sin- man’s nature is fallen and corrupt

17 According to Islam, what must a Muslim do to go to paradise?
Sura 23: To those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy, they will be successful. But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls; in Hell will they abide. Muslims believe that the sum of their good works must outweigh the sum of their bad works. However, the final determination will always be made by Allah. Fate (kismet) in the hands of the all-powerful Allah will decide the outcome. There is no guarantee of entrance into heaven, even for the most righteous, as stated by Mohammed. Islamic tradition argues that the guarantee of heaven is as impossible to find as a chaste virgin and pure speech. Consequently, the devout Muslim makes every effort to please Allah and thereby obtain heaven.

18 Jihad (Struggle) Koran on Jihad
Let those (believers) who sell the life of this world for the hereafter fight in the cause of Allah, and whoso fights in the cause of Allah, and is killed or gets victory, we shall bestow on him a great reward. -Sura 4:74 In reference to jihadists, the Koran also says “For them Allah has got ready gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” -Sura 9:89 Fighting is prescribed for you, and you dislike it. But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows and you know not Sura 2:216

19 Jihad (Struggle) Koran on Jihad
So, when you meet (in fight-Jihad in Allah’s Cause) those who disbelieve, smite (their) necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives). –Sura 47:4 O, you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you; and know that Allah is with those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious). –Sura 9:123 Those who reject Islam must be killed. If they turn back (from Islam), take hold of them and kill them wherever you find them… -Sura 4:89

20 Jihad (Struggle) Koran on Kaffir and Jihad
If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him. –Sura 3:85 For the unbelievers are open enemies to you. –Sura 4:101 For the unbelievers, Allah has prepared a humiliating punishment. –Sura 4:102 For those who do not submit to Allah their punishment is execution or crucifixion, or the cutting off of the hands and feet, from opposite sides, or exile from the land. –Sura 5:33 I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips of them. It is not you who slew them; it was Allah. –Sura 8:13-17 Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the last day –Sura 9:29

21 Jihad (Struggle) Hadith on Jihad
The Hadith also interprets jihad as a “fight, struggle, or battle”. Bukhari’s first volume notes, “Allah’s Apostle was asked, ‘What is the best deed?’ He replied, ‘To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Mohammed).’ The questioner then asked, ‘What is the next (in goodness)?’ He replied, ‘To participate in Jihad in Allah’s cause.’” – Sura 2:25 The title of Book 52 of Bukhari’s Hadith is titled Fighting for the Cause of Allah (jihad). In this volume, Ibn `Abbas relates: Allah’s Apostle said, “There is no Hijra (i.e. migration from Mecca to Medina) after the conquest (of Mecca), but jihad and good intention remain; and if you are called (by the Muslim ruler) for fighting, go forth immediately.” –

22 Jihad (Struggle) Hadith on Jihad Sharia’h on Jihad
Sahl bin Sad as-Sa’idi states, “I saw Marwan bin al-Hakam sitting in the Mosque. So I came forward and sat by his side. He told us that Zaid bin Thabit had told him that Allah’s Apostle had dictated to him the Divine verse: ‘Not equal are those believers who sit [at home] and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and lives.’” Here as-Sa’idi cites the Koran (surah 4:95) to substantiate the teaching of combat as holy fighting. Sharia’h on Jihad Jihad is defined in legal terms by Islamic fiqh as: “Jihad is fighting anybody who stands in the way of spreading Islam. Or, fighting anyone who refuses to enter into Islam.”

23 Conclusions about Jihad
The Koran and the Hadith direct the Muslim to convert or conquer the infidel (kaffir). Muslims who die in the struggle against infidels (jihad) will immediately be sent to the highest level of Paradise and will not go to the grave to await judgment. Islam defines the world as either the House of Islam (dar al-islam) or the House of War (dar al-harb). Jihad means that Muslims must fight the enemies of Allah until the enemies die or the Muslims die. Jihad is combat on the fronts of politics, warfare, and culture. Mohammed exemplified this principle through the death of thousands throughout the Arabian Peninsula in the name of Allah. If jihad is only a personal internal struggle, the Prophet misled the people through his actions and words recorded in the Hadith.

24 Taqiyya or Kithman When dealing with Kaffir, Islam encourages lying, deception, concealing facts if, in the judgment of the individual Muslim, this act will further the cause of Islam. Precedence is taken from Mohammed’s actions when one of his soldiers was captured and forced to renounce Islam and Mohammed. Mohammed stated that all Muslims should follow his example. Mohammed stated that war is deception.

25 Do All Muslims Believe This?
$ Passive Support Active Support Recruits Liberal Conservative “Secular Muslims” “Traditional Muslims” Law of Abrogation “Fundamentalists” Purists / Fundamentalists Reject Law of Abrogation Follow nice parts of Islam. Considered “apostate”. Adhere to Law of Abrogation Same theology. Willingness to act varies. Secular Muslims Believe in the “nice parts” of Islam. Large number of Muslims, but do not represent “true Islam”. Traditional Muslims Know and practice Islam, but have problems with jihad, or Know jihad is fighting non-Muslims, but lack ability to fight or want to live a long life / be with family and children. Fundamentalists Goal is to practice Islam as Mohammed did.

26 Sharia’h (the path) Practical implementation of principles of Islam derived from the Koran and Hadith (and sunna). Comprehensive body of Islamic laws that should regulate the public and private aspects of the lives of the Muslims Legal code designates different rules for Muslims and Kaffir. The Hadith explains that no Muslim who kills an infidel deserves death. Entire compilation of Sharia Law would have to be contained in a library of many books Legal code not based on natural law. Provides rules for all aspects of life. Adherence to these rules is good works.

27 What Does the Koran Say About Jews and Christians?
Jews and Christians are the enemies of Islam according to Sura 8:39, 5:51-57, 4:89, 8:57, 4:47,… Those who disbelieve, among the People of the Book and among the polytheists, will be in hell-fire, to dwell therein. They are the worst of creatures. –Surah 98:6 States that Allah revealed doctrines to the Jews and Christians, but they corrupted them. For example: States that all prophets were Muslim including Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. States that Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Ishmael (not Isaac), ram offered instead, kabba built in thanks to Allah States that Jesus Christ never claimed to be deity To resolve the resurrection of Christ, states that Judas died in the place of Christ on the cross States that there is no Father, Son, Holy Spirit- only Allah States that Islam is Allah’s final revelation

28 Kaffir and Dhimmi Status
In a land taken over by Muslims, the people have three options, as defined by the Prophet Mohammed: become Muslim, live as dhimmis, be killed. All who do not submit to Islam are Kaffir. Dhimmis- someone that has not become a Muslim, living in a Muslim-controlled area Clothing to identify as Kaffir Made to feel subjugated- avert eyes, walk on sides of street Cannot practice religion openly- no symbols, no telling others about their religion, no church bells, no crosses, no Bibles, no music Cannot repair existing churches or build new churches Must pay taxes (jizyah)- in a public place where they are humiliated- normally hair is shaved and forehead is painted

29 Summary of Islam Islam requires submission to Allah. The Koran and Hadith define how a Muslim submits to Allah. Islam is a religion of works (and faith). On judgment day, Allah weighs your good and bad works and decides whether you go to Paradise or hell. There is no guarantee of entrance into heaven, even for the most righteous. Allah stated in the Koran that if you die in jihad, then you are spared judgment and automatically go to Paradise. The Law of Abrogation resolves conflicts in the Koran. Unfortunately, sura 9:5 (verse of the sword) overrides other verses. Islamic legal code is based on sharia’h, not natural law. Islam is a fusion of religion and state. Mohammed is the ideal example for Muslims. He is considered to be a prophet, skilled soldier, and gifted statesman.

30 Why is it important to understand Islam?
Knowing how our allies, partners, or adversaries are thinking is invaluable. Strategy formulation can only be effective in the long run by a depth of understanding of ourselves, our adversaries, and other important actors. Without understanding how the Middle East thinks, any Western strategy generated will only be “looking” from a Western perspective. This presents dangers. This will lead to the formation of a weaker, or perhaps a flawed, strategy. Islam shapes thinking in the Middle East. Therefore this working group sought to learn about Islam, not to judge it, but to understand it. “Proper strategy consists in attacking the enemy in his ‘mind,’…rather than in his physical forces.” Jullien,Francois. A Treatise on Efficacy Between Western and Chinese Thinking. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2004, p. 48.

31 Back up Slides

32 What About the Nice Parts of the Koran?
There are at least 114 verses in the Koran that speak of peace, love, and forgiveness. These are found primarily in the sura titled “The Heifer”. Unfortunately, these verses are abrogated by the “verse of the sword”, sura 9:5.

33 Other Sura Abrogated by Sura 9:5
13) “So if they dispute with thee, say: ‘I have submitted my whole self to Allah and so have those who follow me,’ And say to the People of the Book and so to those who are unlearned: ‘do ye (also) submit yourself? If they do, they are in right guidance, but if they turn back, thy duty is to convey the Message” (Surah 3:20). 14) “Let not the Believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers; if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may guard yourself from them” (Surah 3:28). 15) “Those men – Allah knows what is in their hearts; so keep clear of them, but admonish them, and speak to them a word to reach their souls” (Surah 4:63) . 16) “He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah: but if any turn away, we have not sent thee to watch over their (evil deeds)” (Surah 4:80). 17) “But Allah records their nightly (plots): so keep clear of them, and put thy trust in Allah” (Surah 4:81). 18) “Then fight in Allah’s cause – thou art held responsible only for thyself” (Surah 4:84). 19) “Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: therefore, if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (guarantees of ) peace, then Allah hath opened no way for you (to war against them)” (Surah 4:90). 20) “O ye who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allah, nor of the Sacred Month” (Surah 5:2). Other verses that were abrogated by the verse of the sword: Surah 5: 99;Surah 6: 66, 104, , 112, 135, 158; Surah 7:183, 199; Surah 10: 41, 46, 99, 108, 109; Surah 11: 121; Surah 13: 40; Surah 15: 3, 85, 88, 94; Surah 16: 82, 125, 127; Surah 17: 54; Surah 19: 84; Surah 20: 130, 135; Surah 22: 68; Surah 23: 54, 96; Surah 24: 54; Surah 28: 55; Surah 30: 60; Surah 32: 30; Surah 33:48; Surah 34: 25; Surah 39: 15; Surah 41: 34; Surah 42: 6, 15, 48; Surah 43: 83, 89; Surah 44: 59; Surah 45: 14; Surah 46: 35; Surah 50: 39; Surah 52: 48; Surah 53: 29; Surah 58: 8-9, 11; Surah 73: 10; Surah 76: 8; Surah 86: 17; Surah 88: ; Surah 109: 6

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