Name: Jennifer Thomas
Professor’s Name: Dr. Peter Youmans
Class: RS 130 “Intro to Comparative Religion”
Date: October, 19 2012
I grew up in a household that believed in Christianity and we went to church every Sunday. That church was my foundation, my love and honestly, it was all I knew. At that time, in my community anything other than Christianity just wasn’t accepted and I often wondered why. Although I thoroughly love Christianity, I still wanted to explore our other worldly religions. In doing this paper, I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to do just that. In my research, I realized that there is such a vast majority and trying to choose just one was going to be difficult but I prevailed. The one religion that I think is snarled upon, especially in this area and after 9/11 incident, Shia Islam. I wanted to gain a different perspective and a positive one at that. Overwhelmed with all the information I was collecting, I had to narrow it down. The following is what I felt was the highlights and the most important aspects of the Shia Islam religion.
I want to start off with a short summary of what I have learned. Islam is the proper name of a religion; it is not pronounced, Izlam, with a “z”sound. The first syllable is pronounced like the end of the word, “bliss.” The Arabic word “Islam” means submission in peace, and in practice it is understood to mean submission in peace to the will of God Almighty. It is also understood to mean total peace that comes from surrender to the will of God Almighty (Allah). The people who profess the faith of Islam are called “Muslims,” not “Islamics.” The word “Muslim” is not synonymous with the word “Arab.” Islam originated in Arabia and many of the Arabic speaking people (Arabs) are Muslims, however most of the Muslims in the world are not Arabs. Islam is not a racial or ethnic term. There are Asian, European, African, American and Middle Eastern Muslims, just like there are American, Italian, Polish or African Catholics or just like there are Russian, German, Polish or American Jews. Similarly, there are Muslims of all colors and races. Next in my search, I found some very interesting facts about the leaders of Shia Islam. Muslims searched for a prophet that would lead their growing religion. After the death of the Prophet Muhammad, his followers were faced with the decision of who would be the next leader of Islam. At this time, Islam also became a dominant power and was divided into two groups, Sunni and Shi’a. The supporters of Shi’a Islam are either called Shi’ites or Shias and the meaning of a Shia is “follower”. It became very important to the Muslim community that leadership had to be carried out and the rule of Islam continue. So the community appointed successors also known as the four caliphs. Caliphs are also called the “Khulafaa-e-Rashidun” better known as the “Rightly Guided Caliphs”. They are called "Rightly Guided" because they ruled the people of that time exactly according to the Holy Quran. Together, these four Caliphs ruled the Islamic State for about 29 years (Shaykh Al-Mufid). These Caliphs were more known as political figures rather than spiritual leader. The first Caliph was Abu Bakr and the second was Omar Farooq. The third Calpih was Othman or also known as Hadrat Uthman. And the fourth was the Shi’ites, which were the followers of Ali (William Mukir, K.C.S.I). Oddly enough three of the four Caliphs were assassinated. Today the Shias look to Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law and divinely appointed, as the rightful successor to Muhammad, and the first imam. Below is just simply an art form of the name of Muhammad’s son-in-law.
Next I want to speak of the Quran and then follow up with the teachings within it. The Quran are the sacred writings of Islam. Muslims have a belief that the Quran starting in the year 610. According to Muslim belief, while in a cave...
References: Al-Mufid. “Al-Irshad Shaykh” Al-Serat, Vol. 3 (1977) No.3.
Muir, William. K.C.S.I, The Caliphate, “It’s Rise, Decline and Fall”. University of Glascow,
Mottahedeh, R. Mildred. “The Mantle of The Prophet”. Boston, MA. Oneworld Publications,
Glasse, Cyril. “The New Encyclopedia of Islam”. Third Edition. AltaMira Press. 2001.
“Mapping the Global Muslim Population”. Analysis. October 7, 2009.
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