Questions for Section 1
In regards to Mohammed’s call, based on the passage from the Qur’an and the introductory note, describe what happens to Mohammed in this experience. Apply this experience to Otto’s five qualities of the religious experience.
Surah 96 of the Qur’an talks about Muhammad’s call vision in a cave, where an angel confronted him and ordered him to recite some verses concerning Allah. According to the angel, Lord created human being from the “clinging substance” and has men what they do not know because he is the most generous. Muhammad could not resist the angel’s command because he was threatened into submission. In this passage, Muhammad came to understand who Allah was, and as well as his mightiness. Rudolf Otto’s religious experience is based on the numinous or divine power, which incorporates mystery, vigor, fascination, and sensation. According to the Otto’s qualities of the religious experience, Muhammad’ call of vision was unique as compared to other kinds of religious experience.
Read carefully the first passage under the heading “Mission of Mohammed” above and refer back to our discussion of Jewish prophets, particularly to the three stages of the prophetic message. How and in what ways can we see those three stages evident in the above passages?
The three stages of the prophetic message are (i) the revelation, (ii) the application, and (iii) the interpretation. In regards to the revelation, it is expected that Allah does not present anything imperfect or faulty to man. Allah is depicted as all-knowing and wise God. He favors whosoever deserves a favor. Although humans can make mistake in stage two and three of the prophetic message, the passage depicts that whatever Allah offers to men is wisdom to learn from and apply in their day-to-day activities. People who seek support from Allah do not stumble, but gain an assurance of success in their endeavors. God does not prefer people to become arrogant or boastful, as such are traits of evil. The interpretation is always clear, that if a man goes against the will of Allah, consequences would follow.
- List five vices, or negative qualities, referred to in the above passages.
- List five virtues, or positive qualities, referred to in the above passages.
Questions for Section 2
What is/are the main complaint(s) against human nature in the above passages?
Men are thankless, even when Allah showers them with favors. They are quite impatient, as they question the way Allah attend to their needs. People have continued to follow their own greed, even when they are acquainted with the penalties of greediness. They are unappreciative of the life that Allah has granted to them.
What do people need to do?
People should aspire to do the right things, as God’s favor is immeasurable. They should believe in Allah, as well as His messengers, who are sent to protect them. Believers should be patient and should hold on to their faith. Doing good and maintaining faith has a reward from Allah. People should strive to attain their life’s desires and should not cease doing good work.
Belief in God
Based on the passages under the heading “Belief in God,” what could you say about Muslim beliefs in God?
There exists only one Allah, who is incomparable to any human figure. He is the wisest, the mightiest, and sufficient to human needs. He uses His messengers to offer safety to His people, and to pass his messenger through them. He is the Lord of all mercy. God is wise, and understands both visible and invisible worlds.
What do Muslims not believe about God?
The aspect of God’s existence in three persons is unacceptable in Islam, as God only exist as one. Besides, God does not own a specific son, as He does not exist only in transcendent magnificence. He is capable of manifesting Himself both in physical and spiritual worlds through angels, hence does not requires assistance from a son.
Belief in Angels
- How do angels relate to God?
Angels are God’s messengers who undertake God’s command in both physical and unseen worlds. Each angel plays his own role in accordance to God’s preference.
- List five things angels do.
- Revealing God’s prophesy
- Praising and exalting Allah
- iv) Controllers of events
- Grasping souls of the dead
Belief in Messengers
Who are messengers? What is their purpose/function?
Messengers are people who are sent by Allah to spread Allah’s word to nonbelievers. Their purpose is to teach believers about the holy book and encourage them to remain in their faith.
Which messengers are Muslims expected to believe in?
Muslims are expected to believe in prophets and apostles who teach about the Book of Wisdom, and believe in Allah. They should believe in prophets whom God has the privilege to talk to through His angels.
Belief in the Last Day
How do the above passages describe Heaven and Hell? Make a list of five images for each.
Every human will die, and will see the Day of Resurrection. Believers will go to Heaven (paradise) while nonbelievers will proceed to hell. The Paradise will incorporate a spring where the righteous would drink water for Kafur. They would enjoy the goblets of silver, as well as beakers of glass. The Lord would award them a beautiful garden and silk garments. They would lie in couches where there would be neither heat nor coldness. There would be no dying in heaven. The righteous would be given a new virgin body capable of loving and creating friends. Fruits would be in plenty while trees would be thornless. In hell, people will be tied in manacles and carcans. A raging fire will devour them. A shadow of black smoke will encircle the unbelievers. They would be tormented by scorching wind, as well as scalding water. No luxuries in hell, as unrighteous had misused the luxuries on earth to indulge into awful sin.
Questions for Section 3
What does one need when performing prayer?
When performing prayers, every individual should seek assistance with patience and perseverance and humble him/herself in prayers. Every individual should be mindful of what he/she prays. It is advisable to say a prayer at the first hour of the night, as well as at both ends of the day. Every individual should recite what inspires him/her from the Scripture.
What are the results of prayer?
Individuals who are humble in prayers succeed in their endeavors. God rewards those who persevere in prayers and sustain the humble toward good deeds. Prayers help in cultivating good deeds and protect an individual from indecency and iniquities. Prayers also preserve individuals from profanity and wickedness.
Why does one pray?
People pray to Allah to assist them in their daily activities and to succeed in doing the right things. Prayers prevent people from falling into indecency and wickedness, and sustain them to do good to other people. People also pray to exalt Allah for protecting them and maintaining them in good health.
Summarize your understanding of zakat from the passages above.
Zakat involves taking wealth from the rich and giving it to the poor and needy. Zakat and prayers usually go together, as prayer is an offer to God while zakat is an offer to the poor. It is Allah’s commandment to offer good gift as a sign of purity and to continue praying to please Allah. Giving of zakat depicts an act of leadership, obedience, and extending good deeds to the needy.
What are results/benefits of fasting?
Muslims are encouraged to fasting so that they can shield themselves from acts of evil. In addition, fasting assists believers in practicing self-restraint. By obeying the practice of fasting, believers are assured of walking in the right way and can easily avoid pleasures of this world, as well as foul speech, which displeases Allah.
Questions for Section 4
What is the primary theme of the poem?
The theme of the poem ‘Rumi’ is the desire to go back home after experiencing suffering and chaos in the new world. The reed-flute is complaining about the pain of separation from its source.
What is the relationship between the reed-flute and the osier bed?
The connection between the reed-flute and the osier bed is that the reed-flute originates from the reeds, which are harvested from the reed field (osier bed).
What does the reed-flute desire?
The reed-flute desires to go back to where it came from, that is from God, since its original home is heaven. The reed-flute is finding life quite unbearable and tough in the foreign land, hence, has an aspiration of returning to its designer.
Think of the reed-flute and the osier bed as symbols. Who/what do they represent? What, then, is the poem about?
The reed-flute symbolizes the soul while the osier bed represents God, who is the designer of the soul. The soul is missing to go back to its maker, where peace and happiness are plenty and no more manipulation.
Faridud din Attar:
What do you think “so long as we do not die for ourselves” means and what is Faridud din Attar’s perspective on material pleasures?
When Faridud din Attar stated “so long as we do not die for ourselves,” he meant that people dread seeking more knowledge about themselves, thus, failing to prove their worth before others. On material pleasures, Faridud din Attar asserted that people should struggle to understand spiritual needs rather than concentrate on earthly possessions, which are futile in the next world. Material pleasures will end, as they cannot be transferred to the next world.
In what ways does Faridud din Attar’s Poem #2 relate to themes we discussed when we talked about the Gospel of Thomas in our Christianity unit?
In this poem, Faridud din Attar is trying to advise people that they should not cease to seek the truth because the truth will make them marvel. According to the Gospel of Thomas, when and individual knows about him/herself, he/she will be known, and eventually will understand his/her own existence. Seeking spiritual existence will enable individuals discover that they are all equal as God’s children. If people fail to discover about their inner being, they are likely to suffer in the spiritual world.
What do you think Jami means “from the atoms of the world, He created a multitude of mirrors?” What does this suggest about the physical world? What is beauty and how does beauty relate to the physical world?
According to Jami, the above statement means that out of the physical beauty that people see, there numerous reflections of that beauty. This suggests that beauty, or good deeds, can be manifested into smart and intelligent people, who can make a difference in the physical world. The beauty in this case is God’s power, which is manifested as good deeds. The relationship between beauty and the physical world is God’s power is capable of influencing individual’s actions so that individual can reflect it in the physical world.