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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What About The Beliefs Of: “Islam”, “Sunni’s and Shi’a’s”, and the “Nation of Islam”?

The Religion Of Islam In General
Founder:
          Founded in Mecca, Arabia by Muhammad (AD 570-632), considered the greatest man who ever lived and the last of more than 124,000 messengers sent by Allah (God).  Main types: Sunni (“people of the tradition”), Shi’a (“party of Ali”), Sufi (mystics).
Writings:
            The Holy Qur’an (Koran), revealed to Muhammand by the angel Gabriel.  Essential commentaries are found in the Sunnah (“tradition”), composed of Hadith (“narrative”) and Sirah (“journey”).  The Qur’an affirms the biblical Torah, Psalms, and Gospels, but Jews and Christians have corrupted the original texts.
God:
          Allah is One and absolutely unique.  He cannot be known.  The greatest sin in Islam is shirk, or associating anything with Allah.  Human qualities like fatherhood cannot be attributed to Allah.  Many Muslims think that Christians believe in three gods and are therefore guilty of shirk.
Jesus:
          Jesus (Isa in Arabic) was not God or the Son of God.  His virgin birth is likened to Adam’s creation.  He was sinless, a worker of miracles, and one of the most respected prophets sent by Allah.  He was not crucified or resurrected.  He, not Muhammad, will return to play a special role before the future judgment day, perhaps turning Christians to Islam.
The Holy Spirit:
          “Holy spirit” can refer to Allah, to the angel Gabriel, or to a spirit used by Allah to give life to man and inspire the prophets.
Salvation:
          Humans are basically good, but fallible and need guidance.  The balance between good and bad deeds determines one’s destiny in paradise or hell.  Allah may tip the balances toward heaven.  One should always live with the fear of Allah and judgment day.
Death:
          Belief in bodily resurrection.  One may pray for and seek favor for the dead before judgment day.  Paradise includes a garden populated with houris, maidens designed by Allah to provide sexual pleasure to righteous men.
Beliefs/Others:
         Muslims meet in mosques for prayers, sermons, counsel.  Emphasis on hospitality, developing a sense of community, and maintaining honor (or avoiding shame).  Shari’a (Islamic law) governs all aspects of life in places where it is enforced.  Jihad (“fight”) may be used to refer either to one’s inner struggle to obey God or to literal warfare.  Muslims who convert to Christianity or other religions face persecution and possible death.
Comparing Sunni and Shi’a Islam
Adherents
Sunni:  Over 1 billion worldwide.
Shi’a:  Estimated 170 million, primarily in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain.
Succession
Sunni:  Muhammad’s successors (called caliphs) should ideally be chosen by consensus/election.  The first was Abu Bakr (c. AD 573-634), and over the centuries man others followed.  No new caliphs since 1924.
Shi’a:  Muhammad’s successors (called imans) should be from his family and descendants (Ahl al-Bayt).  The first of these was his cousin and son-in-law, Ali (c. AD 600-661), and thereafter all imans were bloodline descendants from Fatimah (Muhammad’s daughter and Ali’s wife).  No new imans since AD 869.
Authoritative Writings
Sunni:  The Qur’an, plus an emphasis on Hadith and other sayings attributed to companions of Muhammad such as Abu Bakr, Umar, and Aisha.
Shi’a:  The Qur’an, plus an emphasis on Hadith and other sayings attributed to members of Muhammad’s family and their supporters.
Main Teachings and Practices
Sunni:  Five Pillars (or duties): Profession of Faith (shahadah); Prayers (salat); Almsgiving (zakat); Fasting during Ramadan (sawm); Pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj).  Six Beliefs: in Allah, in Prophets and Messengers; in Angels; in Holy Books; in the Day of Judgment and the Resurrection; in the Decree (destiny/fate).
Shi’a:  Ten Central Practices: Profession of Faith (shahadah); Prayers (salat); Almsgiving (zakat); One-Fifth Tax (khums); Fasting during Ramadan (sawm); Pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj); Religious War (jihad); Enjoining to Do Good (amr-bil-ma’ruf); Exhortation to Desist from Evil (nahi-anil-munkarI); Loving the Ahl al-Bayt and their followers (tabarro) Five Principles: Oneness (tawhid); Justice (adl); Prophethood (nubuwwah); Leadership (imamah); Day of Resurrection (yawm al qiyyamah).
Major Divisions
Sunni:  Four “schools of law” (Madh’hab) – Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali, Shafi’i.
Shi’a:  Three branches – majority “Twelvers” (Jafari), who believe in a succession of twelve infallible, divinely ordained imans; “Seveners” (Ismalli); and “Fivers” (Zaidi).
Eschatology
Sunni:  Majority believe that a figure known as the Mahdi (“guided one”), from Muhammad’s family, will appear with Jesus before the final judgment.
Shi’a:  Majority believe in a series of twelve imans serving as Muhammad’s spiritual and political successors.  The final one, Muhammad al-Mahdi (b. AD 869), is alive but hidden (in “occultation”) since AD 874; at the proper time he will appear with Jesus.
The Nation Of Islam And Their Beliefs
Founder:
          Wallace D. Fard (1891-?) in Detroit in 1930, but led by Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975) since 1934.  Current head is Louis Farakhan (1933-).  Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.
Writings:
Louis Farrakhan
          Publicly, the Holy Qur’an is authoritative and the Bible is quoted often, but Message to the Blackman in America, Our Saviour Has Arrived, and other books by Elijah Muhammad supply its distinctive views.  Current teachings are in The Final Call newspaper and speeches of Minister Farrakhan.
God:
          Officially, there is one God, Allah, as described in the Qur’an.  But Elijah Muhammad’s teachings are also true: God is a black man, millions of Allahs have lived and died since creation, collectively the black race is God, and Master Fard is the Supreme Allah and Savior.
Jesus:
          Officially, Jesus is a sinless prophet of Allah.  Privately, Jesus was born from adultery between Mary and Joseph, who was already married to another woman.  Jesus was not crucified, but stabbed in the heart by a police officer. He is still buried in Jerusalem.  Prophecies of Jesus’ return refer to Master Fard, Elijah Muhammad, or to Louis Farrakhan.
The Holy Spirit:
          The Holy Spirit is not significant to this belief, but is generally regarded as the power of God or as the angel Gabriel who spoke to the prophet Muhammad.
Salvation:
          People sin, but are not born sinful; salvation is through submission to Allah and good works.  Older beliefs still held include: Fard is the savior, salvation comes from knowledge of self and realizing that the white race are devils who displaced the black race.
Death:
          There is no consciousness or any spiritual existence after death.  Heaven and hell are symbols.  Statements about the resurrection refer to awakening “mentally dead” people by bringing them true teachings.
Beliefs/Other:
          Farrakhan’s public messages coexist with earlier, esoteric doctrines.  Elijah Muhammad’s older views (such as polytheism, God as the black race, Master Fard as Allah incarnate, whites as devils bred to cause harm) are still themes (one eternal God, non-racial emphasis) with frequent use of the Bible.
Taken from the pamplet: Christianity, Cults, & Religions - By: Rose Publishing - rose-publishing.com


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