FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Origins of Islam Notes

BONUS LINK:  My entire (so far) grad school notes collection can be found here. 

Origins of Islam Notes

- Koran was written in its entirety during Prophet’s time
- Hadith: statements attributed to the Prophet
- Sura = chapter
- Revelation occurred during 23 year span: 13 years in mecca; last 10 years (medina era) in Hadija? Laws were revealed during this time period.

The distinction between scholar and student looms large in Islam.

- Muhammed born in 570 AD  
- 622 AD defining moment of Islam (Islamic Year 1 AH After Hijra or migration from Mecca (Makka) to Madina—formerly called Yehtrib—inhabitants changed it to the city of the Prophet which was then shortened to just Madina)

* Ethos of region at the time was all tribal (with exception of Makka and Madina) and very warfare-centric/raiding-centric (and placed low value on women)
- Madina had lots of water and was an agricultural society (dominated by two warring tribes: Aws and Khazrag, and Jewish population also coexisted). 
*Arabs were pagans at this point
- Makka is a valley with little water or cultivation and this is where Abraham left Ishmael.  Here there is Kabba as the first place of worship on earth (a rectangle structure) that predated Islam.  It was a ritualistic pilgrammage/tourist site (month of pilgrammage is the last month of the Muslim calendar) where the idols of multiple gods were placed.  City was controlled by two families: Banu Hashim (Muhammed’s family and the custodians of the mosque) and Banu Umayya (his cousins and the merchants of the city). 
*Makka was the market as the halfway point between Yemen and Sham (Levant).
M started out as a shepherd and then shifted to working for merchants in that trade.  Khadjia was a wealthy older woman (40s) who hired people to take her goods to sell—she brokered a deal with M to carry her wares.  After a while they marry (he’s about 20 years younger).  This is the beginning of his rise in society.  In the off-season, when he was 40 (610), he received his first revelation in a different linguistic form of Arabic—which is catchy and unique.   At first this is met with skepticism, but he slowly gains followers—initially these are the weaker parts of society.  Powerful in Makka don’t like what he’s saying since he’s speaking out against prostitution and usury etcthey don’t want there to be just one god because it would cut down on the number of pilgrammages

NOTE:  While most were pagans, some held an Abrahamic sense of religion—Ahnaf (monetheist)—reflective and intellectual—this is what M’s family followed.  However, it did not have a system of rituals and beliefs. 

One of his first followers was someone named Ali (father of Shias)—he was  foster child of M and his cousin.  He did this as a favor to his uncle who was destitute and had helped M out at the beginning (Ali later married M’s daughter Fatima).  Another major follower was Abu Bakr (one of the first caliphs in the future). 

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