ISLAM, Origination and history of Islam - Religious Studies


The emergence and history of Islam

Islam (from the Arab. - submission, surrender of oneself

god) - one of three monotheistic religions. Along with Judaism and Christianity, it is part of the group of Abrahamic religions. Her followers call themselves Muslims ( Muslim - Surrendered to the Will of God ").

Islam as a religious, ideological and social phenomenon arose as a result of a complex evolution of the religious and social situation on the territory of the Arabian Peninsula in the V-VI centuries. Its founder is the prophet Muhammad (about 570-632) from the clan hashem tribal clan (tribe) quraysh.

In analyzing the formation of the doctrine of Islam, different authors emphasize either the "revolutionary" the nature of Muhammad's preaching, or the slow processes of the evolution of the polytheistic beliefs of the inhabitants of this region to monotheism, which paved the way for the intensive development of Islam. Also, the geographical factor is invariably noted: the existence of trade routes (as well as other cultural ties) that provided links to Christianity and Judaism through increased contacts of the population with the bearers of these religions, which was also accompanied by the emergence of a stratum of the population consisting of their adherents. However, the role of Muhammad remains in any case very significant.

The canonical biography of Muhammad, preserved by the Muslim tradition, includes the following key points.

Muhammad was born in Mecca in the family of an impoverished nobility. Left orphaned after the death of his father, and then his mother, the boy was placed under the tutelage of his grandfather Abd al -

Muttalib. When he passed away, his custody passed to his uncle, Abu Talib. Muhammad's childhood was similar to the life of children from poor families, it was held in work, including including in the form of assistance in family trading enterprises (escorting caravans). At the age of 14 he even took part in hostilities because of inter-tribal disputes. In 594, at the age of 25, Muhammad acted as an accompanying caravan in the service of Khadija Bint Huwailid, a wealthy Meccan widow, whom he soon married. In the family, six children were born: two sons who died in infancy, and four daughters: Rukaya, Umm Kulsum, Zainab and Fatima.

Muhammad was well acquainted with the basics of Judaism and Christianity. On the territory of Arabia by this time there already existed monotheists ( Hanifs ). The researchers suggest that the cousin of Muhammad's wife was a Christian. However, it is unlikely that Muhammad perceived an esoteric tradition, when information about monotheistic religions actively and freely spread. There are assumptions about the influence of Nestorianism.

Islamic tradition directly connects Muhammad's message with the revelation received, speaking of his love for solitude and contemplation, including regular monthly retreat. He often went to the cave of Mount Hira and spent ten nights in worship, and sometimes more. In the vision of Muhammad, the angel Jabrail appeared. Thus, the Quran, the holy book of Islam, consists of records of direct revelations from above, recorded from the words of Muhammad. Revelations defined the latter as the role of the prophet ( nabi ) and the messenger ( rasul ) of the god. The truth of the prophecies was accepted and supported by Khadija's wife, and then a comparatively small group of supporters, which included the adoptive son of Muhammad Zaid, Ali's cousin merchant from Mecca Abu Bakr. Prophetic activity was more of a closed nature. The central point of this sermon was monotheism and the proclamation of Muhammad himself as the Prophet of Allah.

As the community of followers grew, an open preaching activity arose, which happened in 610. However, Muhammad's preaching was met with hostility by the adherents of polytheism, including ridicule and attempts at persecution, which even led to the emigration of some of the prophet's followers (they fled to Ethiopia). A great role in supporting Muhammad was played by the position of his uncle, Abu Talib, who prevented the massacre of him, although he did not become adherent to the new teaching. As a result, the boycott announced to all Muslims who remained in Mecca was lifted. But Muhammad did not accept a compromise in the form of recognition of the supreme role of Allah while retaining the cult of some especially revered deities, while maintaining an orientation toward consistent monotheism.

After the death of his wife and uncle, losing the serious support that was in their person, Muhammad begins to expand the audience to which the sermon was addressed. He addresses pilgrims heading to Mecca, and representatives of other tribal clans, looking for supporters outside the city.

This activity was especially successful in Iasrib (Yasriba). In 622 Muhammad moved to this city, formerly an agricultural oasis. The success of the sermon was explained both by its duration and by the social and religious situation in which Judaism, pagan beliefs and Christianity were neighbors. Residents, divided by religion (key positions at that time belonged to those who professed Judaism), were at enmity, and the new doctrine became an additional factor in this struggle. The mission of Muhammad was also a mission of bringing order and establishing consent.

Already at this moment, the formation of y pcs - the community of coreligionists. The role of the latter in Islam will become important. The relocation of Muhammad and the Ummah from Mecca is considered an epoch-making event and serves as a starting point for a new era in the representation of Muslims.

As often happens in religious practice, the change of the role of the city due to the migration of Muhammad influenced the change of its name. It was called Madinat an-nabi ("Prophet's City") or al-Madina (Medina, City ).

The entry of the inhabitants of Yathrib in the Ummah was not only of religious significance (formation of the community), but also political, as it helped to unite the military forces. Characteristically, according to the concluded treaty, the Jews of Yathrib also entered the community, although they retained their religious identity. Thus, Muhammad becomes not only a religious but also a political leader, although the growth of his influence was gradual (for a certain time he was not so much a head as an arbitrator).

Of the Muslims who moved to Yathrib, a kind of estate of the Muhajirs, from the allies, originating from the city's natives - Ansar (defenders), is being formed. These categories constituted the main military and social force that Muhammad could rely on. The presence in Medina of a special opposition ( munafikun ), which included representatives of different religions, did not prevent him from becoming a sovereign ruler and expand his influence outside the city. As the conflict with the opposition increased, it was crushed, the impetus for which was the attempt to assassinate the Prophet. Thus, the use of force became quite possible already during the lifetime of Muhammad.

Then began the struggle against Mecca, which acquired the features of military raids, held with varying success. Together with this, Muhammad expanded his influence and diplomatic methods, which resulted in the conclusion of a number of intertribal treaties. At the same time, the number of Meccans who adopted the new religion grew.

In 628 Muhammad gathered a large army and moved to Mecca. In the place of al-Khudaibiya Muslims agreed to a truce with the Meccans on the conditions of the possibility of committing al-Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca and Muhammad and his companions committed Umra (small pilgrimage). In 630, after the new Muslim invasion of Mecca, a treaty was concluded that allowed Muslims to make pilgrimages there every year; Thus, access to the city was in principle opened. Behind the ancient sanctuary of Kaaba, which was revered by Muhammad even at the beginning of his activity, they retained the status of the temple, but he ceased to be a pagan cult building, and the destruction of idols occurred.

In 632, the last hijjad of al-wada (the farewell pilgrimage) of Muhammad took place in Mecca. In the same year, he dies.

By this time he was the head of a rather large unified state, aimed at achieving a single religious and political goal - the spread of Islam. The life and death of Muhammad made Mecca and Medina the holy cities of Islam, consecrated by the stay of the Prophet of Allah himself. The body of Muhammad was buried in the main mosque of Medina, called the Prophet's Mosque.

The Medina period was of fundamental importance for the history of Islam, because it is then that the doctrine, the organization of the Ummah and the ritual complex are formed. As this happens, Islam separates from other religions, with the representatives of whom the union was first concluded, and the followers of Muhammad form a clearly expressed consciousness of their religious independence and uniqueness. The complication of relations with the bearers of other religions only contributed to this, as a result of which adherents of the other two monotheistic religions fall into the category of erroneous ones, and Islam turns out to be a doctrine that corrects the distortions of these religions and restores the truth.

Clearly the necessary distinctive features are clearly formed, well expressed in ritual features. A special holy day is celebrated on Fridays, al-Kaaba becomes the central sacred place that replaced the Jerusalem temple, which motivated the demand to turn during prayer in his direction. Formed canons of obligatory prayers, cleansing rituals, fasts, donations. Family and household life is normalized, which is also necessary for social stability, and a system of prohibitions (food - pork and alcohol, as well as extending to other areas of everyday life, for example, prohibiting gambling) is formalized. The construction of own religious buildings begins.

The representations of Islam on marriage were sanctified by the Prophet himself, who, after the death of his first wife, made ten more conjugal unions. However, because of the early death of his sons, the descendants of men he did not leave. Muhammad survived his daughter Fatima. Her marriage with Muhammad's cousin, Ali bin Abi Talib, will give rise to a special dynasty that goes back to the sons of Fatima: Tariffs (derived from al-Hasan ) and sainyid (originating from the al-Hu site ).

The death of Muhammad put his followers in difficulty: he did not leave any orders for a possible transfer of power and other actions, and the disappearance of the Prophet meant the interruption of contact with Allah, since he was a unique link between God and the ummah. Political succession could pass both to the Ansar and to the Muhajirs, who had their reasons for this. The situation was complicated by the appearance of the "false prophets" who attempted to appropriate this function in a spontaneous, charismatic manner. The dual nature of Muhammad's leadership made the religious succession inevitable, although the mission of the prophet himself was unique. However, the emergence of a dynasty of his successors was possible.

The victory remained for the Muhajirs, and the ummah elected the successor, who became Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (572-634). It was he who received the title of caliph - successor ( caliph rasul Allah - "deputy messenger of Allah"). Thus, the management of the ummah becomes the lot of the Caliphs, a new period begins in the history of Islam. The Caliphs inherited both political power, leading the state, called the Arab Caliphate, and the religious mission, continuing the realization of the religious program that had passed into their hands.

Abu Bakr continued the policy of expanding the state. The confusion caused by the death of Muhammad also caused such a phenomenon as the falling away from Islam ( ar-rida ), which led to the need to convert to Islam, not only not originally belonging to him, but also fallen away. The first caliph also undertook the fulfillment of this task. An important act of Abu Bakr was the order on the formation of the Koran texts.

After the death of Abu Bakr, the practice of election was resumed. In this way the next caliph was elected, Umar Ben ibn al-Khattab al-Farouk (circa 585-644). Both he and his predecessor gave their daughters in due time for Muhammad and had relatives to the Prophet. Khalif Umar not only continued the wars of conquest (including Iraq, Syria, Libya, Armenia, Antioch among the conquered), but also took measures for internal strengthening of the unity of the state - abolished the practice of dividing the conquered lands between those who participated in the war of conquest . Instead, we introduced ata (salary) and rizk (ration). Such measures were of administrative and economic importance. Also, the taxation system was ordered, a new calendar and chronology were installed. The latest measures pointed to the formation of a new cultural and state identity.

The third caliph, Uthman (Osman) ibn Affan (circa 575-656), also related to the prophet - was married to two daughters of Muhammad. It was with him that the practice of patronage to the relatives of the Caliph began to be openly implemented, which began to turn into a layer of a peculiar nobility, which eventually provoked irritation and protests. The attempt of Usman to deal with the dissatisfied, who filed a complaint against one of his relatives, provoked the coup and the assassination of the caliph. In the reign of Uthman the unification of the Koran texts continued.

The violent death of Uthman led to numerous internal strife, the country was in a state of civil war, so the conditions of the administration of the next caliph, bin Abi Talib (? -661), were particularly complex. A conflict arose between different branches of Muhammad's relatives.

The rule of the first four caliphs called in the Islamic tradition "righteous" ended in 661 between Caliph Ati, the former husband of Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, and Mu'awiyah, the brother of Caliph Uthman (who was of the Umayyad family >), Syrian governor, there was a struggle for power, which turned into an armed conflict. There was also a third force - the Kharijites (released), part of Ati's army, who did not accept the conditions of a compromise truce between the two candidates for power. As a result of the attempt, Ali dies.

The most important consequences were:

- the split of Muslims into two branches with the advent of Shiism and Sunnism;

- the termination of the practice of selecting caliphs, replacing it with inheritance;

- decrease in the growth rate of the Arab state.

However, despite the termination of the initial very intensive expansion of the Islamic state with the absorption of a number of peoples and cultures, by the time of the Caliph Ali's death, the Islamic world had already formed, and Islam was the most important factor in the formation of a new culture. At the same time, there was still no complete Islamization and Arabization of the peoples included in the caliphate. The situation changed in the 13th-14th centuries, when non-Muslims turn into religious minorities. At the same time, there is uniformity in the religious and political destinies of the Islamic world. The split of Islam into the Sunni and Shiite branches coincides with the collapse of the caliphate and the subsequent formation of separate Muslim states.

The above mention of the Prophet's relatives touches on the issue of their status. Relatives received certain benefits, this situation arose even during the lifetime of Muhammad. Equally, the possibility of obtaining privileges also appeared in his descendants, whose lines date back to the marriage of Fatima. But only the third caliph began to openly patronize his relatives, giving them immoderate privileges. There were both supporters and opponents of the special claims of the descendants of the prophet (and men could claim, among other things, power), the attitude towards them became one of the reasons for the quarrels between different dynasties, the struggle of which began after the death of the fourth "righteous caliph". In the VIII century. their rights were officially confirmed and fixed. Kinship attracted both material (exemption from the tax burden) and moral (honorable position) benefits. However, among the descendants themselves, the struggle began, due to a different degree of closeness to Muhammad. Along with the Prophet's own descendants, a special category of people emerged - the descendants of the "righteous caliphs," who formed yet another elite group with inherited membership. However, in view of the possibility of the transfer of kinship in both the male and female lines, the number of descendants of Muhammad has grown so much that they are located at all levels of the social ladder, and the peculiarities of their position have become dependent on the conditions of life in a particular state. In a number of countries, the idea of ​​the right of Muhammad's descendants to power was preserved until the 20th century.

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