After reading Shepard and viewing The Historical Origins of Islam, what insights have you gained about the cultural context of Arabia in Muhammad’s day as well as Muhammad himself? Was the video presentation consistent with the assigned readings, or did there seem to be areas of bias in one or both?
Reply to at least two other classmate’s posts stating why you agree or disagree with their view of the differences between the readings and the video presentation. Each reply should be at least 20 words, and be sure to include at least two citations in your replies.
After reading Shepard and viewing The Historical Origins of Islam, what insights have you gained about the cultural context of Arabia in Muhammad’s day as well as Muhammad himself? Was the video prese
DISCUSSION BOARD REPLY 250 WORDS EACH DISCUSSION BOARD 1 Reply to discussion board below. 250 words minimum B. Sullivan The cultural context of Arabia was unique. During the days that Muhammad walked the earth and for many years that followed his death, the culture of Arabia developed, grew, and even changed for those who made their lives within that region. The time before Muhammad was present within the world, “the land north and east of Arabia was divided between two large empires, the Sasanians and the Byzantines, two regional ‘superpowers.’” The two ‘superpowers’ were continuously at odds with each other, with the Byzantines later shifting to Christianity and the Sasanians official religion being Zoroastrianism. In addition to struggle between the two empires, there was also a region to their south. Within that region known as the Quraysh tribe settled in the area known as Mecca. The Quraysh tribe, the tribe that Muhammad was later born into, had their own understanding of religion that they traced back to Abraham and his son Ishmael. During the time that Muhammad walked the earth, more than 500 years after the death of Christ and the birth of Christianity, Islam was born through Muhammad himself. Later on, in his life, Muhammad was known for things such as honesty and the faithful one, as well as a prophet. Muhammad accumulated followers that carried on his teachings. Looking for support from other areas that were more open to Muhammad’s teaching, many followers, as well as Muhammad himself left Mecca for Yathrib. The event that took Muhammad from Mecca to Yathrib was marked as Hijra and became “Year One of the Muslim calendar.” After the time of Muhammad’s death, a successor took his place as a leader of the community. Over the years that followed the death of Muhammad, the Islam religion spread throughout the region, reaching several parts of the world, including places such as China, Spain, and Africa, spreading that “faith in Muhammad is the measure of one’s faith in God [and] the only way to God is through faith in Muhammad.” After doing the assigned readings and watching the video, a clear understanding began to develop about the history of Islam and how it spread. Both the reading and the video relayed important information; however, the readings gave more details. The video provided a shot overlay of where Islam spread over time, whereas the readings provided a deeper understanding by explaining what actually occurred that lead up to Islam’s journey throughout the world. As time continued from before the birth of Muhammad, to after his death, the culture within that region changed due to Muhammad walking the earth and leading others his teaching that were passed down from generation to generation.  Shepard, William. Introducing Islam. 2nd ed. London, England: Routledge, 2014. 18  Shepard, 35  Parshall, Phillip L. Bridges to Islam: A Christian Perspective on Folk Islam. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2006. 37 DISCUSSION BOARD 2 Reply to discussion board below. 250 words minimum J. Dunwood According to Shepard, until about 750 Islam was predominately an Arab affair, after that it became multiethnic.1 Also, various aspects of religious scholarship and culture began under the Umayyards but reached their first maturity under the Abbasids. This culture combined Arabian, Persian, and later Turkish and other elements in a distinctive cultural mix.2 The Arab view of religion was seen as the Pre-Islamic religion. The Pre-Islamic religion /area practiced polytheistic paganism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity religions. Muhammad was the last of a series of messengers from God. His scripture, the Qur’an, and his Sunna constitute the basic sources of authority for Muslim life.3 In the video presentation, Jay Smith relates that Muhammad was seen as the last and greatest prophet. Islam is the greatest religion and the Qur’an is the greatest book.4 The video presentation notes Muhammad’s Mi’raj revelations of the seven heavens and five prayers. The video presentation details the life of Muhammad and the Golden Periods of Islam.5 Jay Smith relates that the stories that we have heard and read about Muhammad and the Qur’an is not the true stories. There is a lot of details about both Muhammad and the Qur’an that has been left out for public knowledge. There were no Arab sources till 691 and no referenced of Mecca till 741.6 We know detail knowledge about the life of Jesus but little about Muhammad. We have been taught hear say knowledge and not factual knowledge. Jay Smith has a lot of Muslim background knowledge and gave a quick but thorough perspective on Muslims and Muhammad’s background. With this in mind, I preferred the video data on this week’s instruction than the book. I liked the timelines and visuals that Jay Smith presented; thus, making it easier for me to connect to what he was saying even though he moved along rather quickly. Still, overall the book and video presentation together gave me a clearer picture into the Islamic religion and how Muhammad became so important and idolized. My misconceptions from hearsay regarding Muhammad have been clarified through this week’s reading and video presentation. It was interesting to learn of Muhammad’s visions and revelations. In many ways, Muhammad reminds me of Acts 8:4 “Therefore, thy that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” 7 Muhammad was turn away just as Paul, Timothy and others; yet they all continued and preserved. 1. William Shepard. Introducing Islam. 2nd Edition. London, England: Routledge, 2014, 61. 2. Ibid., 61. 3. Ibid., 61. 4. Jay Smith. GLST 525 LUO Week One Video Presentation: Historical Origin of Islam. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid.
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