Religions of the Mid-East What is religion? Religion isn’t an easy thing to define. For most people, religion is an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and practices. Some religions worship one God, and others revere a number of gods. In addition, millions of people do not belong to any organized religion at all- they practice their own religious beliefs in their own personal way. Most experts agree that the world has 8 major religions. Three of these religions- Hinduism, Taoism, and Shintoism- developed over many centuries and cannot be traced to an individual founder. The othersJudaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Confucianism- were founded by a single man and spread by that man’s followers. All 8 were born in an attempt to answer many of the same questions: How did the world come into existence? What is our purpose on earth? Why do some people suffer more than others? and How can we achieve a more peaceful and fulfilling life? † Christianity Beliefs/Practices: Followers of the Christian religion base their beliefs on the life, teachings, and death of Jesus Christ. Christians believe in one God that created heaven, earth, and the universe. The belief in one God originated with the Jewish religion. Christians believe Jesus Christ is the "Messiah" or savior of the world. They also believe that Christ is the son of God. Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem to Mary, a virgin at the time of conception, and Joseph, her husband. Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel and told she would conceive a son, though she was not yet married and a virgin and he would be the Messiah. Jesus was crucified on a cross. His death made salvation and forgiveness of sins possible for all. On the third day after his crucifixion, Jesus Christ arose from the dead. The resurrection of Christ is celebrated on Easter, which is considered Christianity's most important holiday. After Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, God's presence remained on earth in the form of the Holy Spirit to be a comforter to all. His apostles then spread Jesus’ teachings. Salvation can only be obtained by believing that Jesus was sent by God to forgive the sins of every human, and to confess those sins to him. Interpretations of the Bible and the practices of each church vary by denomination, but the belief in one God and Jesus as the Messiah is central to all Christians. History: *Christian beliefs date back thousands of years before Christ. *Many prophets predicted the coming of Christ, as written in multiple books of the Old Testament, according to Christian belief. *Many theologians believe that Jesus was crucified between 30 and 33 A.D. *The first Christians were Jews who came to believe Jesus was the Messiah. Gentiles (non-Jews) also made up a large majority of its followers, as is the case today. *392 AD - Christianity becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire. *1054 - Disputes about the Pope's role and authority caused a split in Christianity between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The split still exists today. *1517 - Martin Luther, a German monk, started a movement called the Reformation when he criticized certain church practices as well as the supremacy of the pope. This divided Western Christianity into the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism. Note: There are many Christian sects/dominations than any other religion. Therefore there is a more variety of definitions than those listed below. Founder: Scriptures: Date of founding: Total Membership: Major beliefs: 1. Vocabulary Apostles- 2. Gentiles- 3. Clergy- 4. Gospel Holy Days: 1. Sabbath- 2. Christmas 3. Easter- 4. Pentecost/Lent- Dominations/Sects Roman Catholic Greek Orthodox Protestant (Luthern, Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian) Judaism Jewish people are sometimes referred to as God's "chosen people." The first religion to teach monotheism, or the doctrine of one god. The Torah is the first five books of the Bible, and is where the laws and teachings of Judaism can be found. The Torah is also called the "Tree of Life." Denominations sorted by adherence to the Torah and Talmud include Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist. Synagogues are the Jewish place of worship. Rabbis are the Jewish spiritual authorities. Rabbis interpret the Bible and present the meaning of Jewish law. The Ten Commandments are the foundation of Judaism. Shabbat, the Sabbath or day of rest, begins Friday night and lasts until sundown Saturday. Rosh Hashanah means "beginning of the year" in Hebrew. It is a time for reflection and repentance and is referred to as the "day of judgment" or the "day of repentance." Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, falls on the tenth day of the Jewish lunar month of Tishri. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the holiest days of the year, known as the High Holidays. Passover, also called Pesach, is the Jewish festival celebrating the exodus of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery in 1200 B.C. God's Hebrew name is never spoken out loud and is never to be erased or destroyed in print. History: *Judaism was established circa 2000 B.C. as part of a covenant between God and Abraham. Uprisings against the Romans during the first and second centuries A.D. led to the beginning of the Jewish diaspora. Those practicing Judaism were kept marginalized from society and persecuted in many countries. The creation of a Jewish state was discussed at the first Zionist Congress in Switzerland in 1897. Yet, it was not until May 18, 1948, that the state of Israel was formed, after World War II and the genocide of over six million Jewish people. Judaism falls into four major periods: *Biblical Judaism or the Persian Period (approximately 20th-4th century BCE) - This era began with the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and was focused around the areas that were known as Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Canaan or Palestine. *Hellenistic Judaism (4th century BCE-2nd century CE) - A time of Greek and Roman influence in many religions. Jewish people were given more freedoms and Hellenizing Jews controlled the high priesthood. *Rabbinic Judaism (2nd-18th century CE) - Based on the Talmud. The Talmud is composed of formerly unwritten, understood laws and practices of ancient Jewish people. The oral traditions were collected and put into writing at this point. In this era, generations of commentators and interpreters expound on the Talmud and orthodox adherence to the laws becomes popular (though not unanimous.) Orthodox Jews of today still adhere to the tenets developed in this era. *Modern Judaism (approximately 1750-present) - Persecution from most European and Middle Eastern nations. Many Jewish people move to the United States. Less focus on religious rituals and Judaism becomes more of an ethnicity. The rise of American Jewry occurs in this era, with the faith diverging into more liberal branches open to greater religious activity by women and gays, including rabbinical ordination. The branching also leads to less emphasis (rather than focus) on religious rituals. Founder: Scriptures: Date of founding: Total Membership: Major beliefs: 1. Vocabulary Torah- 2. Synagogue- 3. Bar/Bat Mitzvah- 4. Kosher- 5. Rabbi- Holy Days: 1. Sabbath- 2. Passover- 3. Hanukkah- 4. Yom Kippur- Dominations/Sects Orthodox Reform Conservative Islam The word Islam translates as "submission" or "surrender." Surrender to the will of Allah - Arabic for God. Beliefs/Practices: It has a monotheistic (belief in one God) message, and follows some of the same principles as Christianity and Judaism. The followers of Islam, Muslims, believe in one God, Allah, and believe Muhammad was his prophet. They also believe Adam, of the Bible's Old Testament, was the first prophet. Other Prophets include Abraham, Moses, Noah, David, and Jesus. There are five "Pillars of Islam" that Muslims follow, and they are as follows: *The Shahadah - A statement of faith all Muslims recite at least one time in their lives. *The Salat or Salah - A daily ritual prayer of faith done five times a day. *Zakat - a tax paid to benefit the poor or those in need. *Sawm - a fast done during the month of Ramadan. *Hajj - a pilgrimage every Muslim must do at least once in his/her life, if he or she can afford it, to the Holy city of Mecca, in modern-day Saudi Arabia. The pilgrimage begins on the 7th or 8th day of the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and ends on the 12th day of that same month. The Kaaba is the shrine located in Mecca, which is visited during the pilgrimage (or Hajj). It is the most holy place for Muslims. Two other main holy places are the Prophet Muhammad's mosque in the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia, and "Al-Aqsa" mosque in Jerusalem. Muslims believe the Quran is the divine words or revelations on which they base their faith. Muslims believe the Angel Gabriel delivered the ideas in the Quran to Muhammad. There are 114 chapters in the Quran. The Hadith is a collection of the traditions and sayings of Muhammad, also used to frame the Muslim way of life and beliefs. According to Islamic traditions, Jihad is the struggle exerted while following God's commands at both a personal level as well as at a community level. Muslim Denominations: Sunni - The largest branch of Islam (90%). They accept that the first four caliphs (leaders) are the legitimate successors to Muhammad. Wahabi - A Sunni sect comprised of members of the Tameem tribe in Saudi Arabia, following the strict orthodox teachings of Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulawahab. Shiite - Or Shia, the second-largest branch of Islam, believes only the caliph Ali and his descendants are the legitimate successors to Muhammad and reject the first three caliphs. Alawite - Concentrated in Syria, a sect within the Shiite community that maintains similar but different core beliefs about the divinity of Ali and seven of pillars of the faith. They also observe some Christian and Zoroastrian holidays in addition to Islamic holidays. Kharijites - Members of the earliest sect in Islam that left the followers of Ali; their break with the Shiite was over the selection method for new a leader. They were known for uncompromising positions on the observance of the Quran and for radical fundamentalism. Today they are known as the Ibadi or Ibadities. Nation of Islam - Primarily African-American, founded in the 1930s in Detroit, Michigan, a Sunni sect. There are other sects of both Sunni and Shiite in African and Arab nations. Sharia Law: Is derived from the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers. Is a system of morals, religious observance, ethics, and politics that covers both religious and non-religious aspects of life. Many Muslim countries use Sharia law as a basis for their laws. Timeline: *570 A.D - Muhammad is born in Mecca, Arabia (now Saudi Arabia). *610 A.D. - The Angel Gabriel visits Muhammad and tells him "you are the messenger of God." *610-632 A.D. - Muhammad spreads the teachings revealed to him in Mecca and Medina, over a 22-year period, until his death. *632 A.D. - Muhammad dies. *645 A.D. - Muslims become divided into two branches, the Shiite and the Sunni over a disagreement about future leadership. *650-652 A.D. - The sayings/teachings revealed to Muhammad are collected in a book called the Quran. *657 A.D. - The Shiite Muslims are divided further when a portion of its followers break away and starts a third division, the Kharijites. Founder: Scriptures: Date of founding: Total Membership: Major beliefs: Daily Practices: 1. 2. Vocabulary: Islam- 3. Muslim- 4. Shari’ah- 5. AllahJihad- Prophets: 1. , the chosen of Allah 2. , the preacher 3. , the friend 4. , the speaker 5. , the word 6. , the apostle of Allah, the seal, the last and most important of the prophets Five Pillars of Faith: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Islamic Art: Holy Days: 1. 2. 3. Holy Places: 1. 2. 3. Sects: 1. 2. Why was there a division? Mohammed’s Life: Woman in Islam What is the Islamic view of gender? What are the responsibilities for wives? How are men and women expected to dress? Why should women not wear tight clothing & cover their bodies? What is a hijab? What is a burqa? Do all Muslim women dress the same? Why or why not? What have some countries required of women? Describe honor killing & how related to Middle East?