The Five Pillars of Islam (2)

Professor and classmates,Muhammad is the founder and primary and last prophet for Islam. He was born and lived most of his life in what is today Saudi Arabia, which lent those local cultural norms to the birth of the Muslim religion. Molloy (2013) notes that the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism were active locally at this time, as well as worship of other local gods, with Allah acknowledged as a remote creator god. Islam shares root with Judaism, in that Muslims acknowledge their common ancestry with Abraham, although they came from the lineage of his other son, Ishmael (not Isaac). There are some parallels with Judaism, in that it also shares a one-god teaching, as well as rejection of eating pork and featuring any images in artwork (Molloy, 2013). Both religions, although teaching kind and just treatment of others, also allowed war, when it was felt necessary. The Hebrew scriptures are part of both, although Muhammad disputed their completeness and correctness. So, although there are some commonalities with Judaism, Islam has ended up being in stark opposition to it, and leaving little room for outreach to Jews. Maybe in that regard, it resembles severe sibling rivalry. The Qur’an was based on Muhammad’s personal revelations from God and is believed of divine origin. His disciples memorized his words and wrote down his revelations/recitations. It was recorded in Arabic, and is meant to be communicated by being recited, with Arabic the only fully authoritative one, with that being an essential part of its nature and spiritual power, so it is thought (Molloy, 2013). Therefore, serious followers would have to accept that the Arabic language is superior, which can lead to feelings of inferiority for non-Arabs. This is somewhat mirrored with Judaism, in that Hebrew is the preferred language of worship and Torah. Even non-Jewish (racially) believers can show their devotion by learning Hebrew. I suppose that is also what Islamic converts could do to show their devotion – learn and use that preferred language. This does seem to elevate one culture above another, making a religion less universal in appeal. Therefore, I feel that their insistence on Arabic, plus their strict and non-progressive cultural rules about dress and behavior will make it less attractive to cosmopolitan and modern societies. Their rules seem especially oppressive for females, and I think cultures that are exposed to technology and education will not accept those impositions. Islam might, however, appeal to peoples or cultures with a more severe and restrictive mindset about ideal lifestyles and those that seek a religious fervor of the degree Islam promotes. Molloy, M. (2013). Experiencing the world’s religions (6th ed.). New York City, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Reply

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