Lecture 24 Muhammed and Islam

Information about Lecture 24 Muhammed and Islam

Published on August 17, 2007

Author: Wanderer

Source: authorstream.com

Content

Jesus and Muhammad:  Jesus and Muhammad Two Variants of Universal Spiritual Kinship Outline:  Outline Jesus and Roman Empire (conclusion): Universal Spiritual Kinship Islam on Jesus and other Prophets Historical conditions: Arabic nomads and new merchant wealth Problem of animism Oneness of God and Brother/Sisterhood of humanity Otherworldly Religion? :  Otherworldly Religion? '[Jesus] promised eternal life and happiness to the poor and downtrodden people of colonial Judaea if only they would keep their faith in God.' Spodek, 321 = Kingdom of God is in the next world Edward Gibbon: Christian other-worldliness undermined the Roman empire The Kingdom of God is within:  The Kingdom of God is within 'The Kingdom of God is within you.' Luke 17:21 Not external kingdom of the expected Messiah/ deliverer, like Moses or Cyrus Not primarily otherworldly afterlife But here and now: a growing mustard seed Through inner trust ('faith') In one’s basic filiation with God in common brother/sisterhood with all others Turning which cheek? :  Turning which cheek? 'But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.' Matthew 5:39 Historical context: Roman power How respond to it? Revolution? Abject submission? Affirming your dignity as a human being Political implications:  Political implications Pharisees want a Jewish Kingdom They ask Jesus: is it permissible to pay taxes to the Romans? Dilemma: If he says pay . . . If he says don’t pay . . . God and Caesar:  God and Caesar ‘Jesus says, 'You hypocrites! Why are you trying to catch me out? Show me the coin used for the tax.' They handed him a silver piece. Jesus asked, 'Whose head is this, and whose inscription?' 'Caesar’s,' they replied. He said to them, 'Then pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.' Taken aback by this reply, they left him alone.’ (Matthew, 22:18-22.) Jesus rejects Stoic unworldliness:  Jesus rejects Stoic unworldliness Stoical resignation; two-worldly approach Outer world not in our power Inner world is in our power Universal citizenship of the Mind Jesus: spiritual revolution comes first Begin with the inner revolution of universal spiritual kinship This will gradually transform the outer world Was Jesus a good politician? :  Was Jesus a good politician? Common conception of Messiah (Christ) as liberator from Roman oppression Jesus rejects direct confrontation with Rome Recommends undermining Roman rule from within (mustard seed approach) Jewish military rebellion against Rome fails; temple destroyed in 70 CE; final exile in 135 CE Why did Early Christianity flourish?:  Why did Early Christianity flourish? Gibbon: Christian otherworldliness undermined Roman empire Michael Mann: 'As imperial power became increasingly centralized, remote, insensitive, and later unstable, ‘In many ways Christianity represented how Rome liked to idealize its republican past.’' Spodek 330 I.e., Christianity creates an attractive, democratic community here and now—recalling the Republic Christianity and Roman History:  Christianity and Roman History 1) Early Roman Republic 2) Fall of the Republic and rise of Empire Emptiness of heartless legality 3) Seeds of change: early Christianity returns to spirit of the ancient republic 1) Parable of the Mustard Seed 2) Empowerment through community of loving individuals (spiritual kinship of all people) 3) Spiritual kinship stressed against empty legalism Into the Middle Ages:  Into the Middle Ages 4) Christianity becomes the Religion of Empire (Council of Nicea 325 CE) Spiritual freedom of Gnostics replaced by religious laws (legalism) and obligatory beliefs Church hierarchy imitates that of Roman Empire Christianity now becomes otherworldly (Gibbon) 5) Empire falls (476), but the Roman Church continues Roman legalism into the new feudal Europe giving cultural unity and order to the political diversity of the new feudalism Spiritual Kinship of All Humanity:  Spiritual Kinship of All Humanity Christians believe in universal kinship based on love Appeals to poor, disenfranchised, the excluded artisans Fills void in heartless Roman world =andgt; Kingdom of Heaven here and now in the all-inclusive Christian community All are sons/daughters of the One God Jesus criticizes external religion:  Jesus criticizes external religion 'Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.' Matthew 5:24 Mohammed (Quran) criticizes external religion:  Mohammed (Quran) criticizes external religion 'There is no piety in turning your faces toward the east or the west, but he is pious who believes in God, and the last day, and the angels [Messengers who bring God’s word to humans], and the scriptures, and the prophets; who for love of God disperses his wealth to his kindred, and to the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and those who ask, and for ransoming; and who observe prayer, and pay the legal alms, and who is of those who are faithful to their engagements when they have engaged in them, and patient under ills and hardships, and in time of trouble. These are they who are just, and these are they who fear the Lord.' (Sura 2 'The Cow': 177) Jesus: two fundamental principles:  Jesus: two fundamental principles Jesus: 'You have heard that it has been said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you . . . That you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5: 43-48.) 1) the way we submit to God 2) is by sharing with those in need Quran: Two fundamental principles:  Quran: Two fundamental principles Quran: But as to him who gives alms and fears God, And yields assent to the good, To him will we make easy the path to happiness. = Unity of 1) submission to God 2) sharing with those in need Quran on the equality of the Prophets:  Quran on the equality of the Prophets We believe in God [Allah]. And in what hath been sent down to Abraham, and Ismael, and Issac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and in what was given to Moses, and Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord. We make no difference between them. And to Him are we resigned (Muslims). (Koran, 3:34) Different forms of “Islam”:  Different forms of 'Islam' All monotheistic revelations have the same message: submission ('islam') to the one God. Who wants us to help one another Two Different Historical Contexts:  Two Different Historical Contexts Jesus: Powerful Roman State, Roman Law Jewish law – letter and spirit andgt; Importance of inner spirit, spiritual kingdom Mohammad Nomadic kinship groups: no laws, no State Creates a political State for Arabs Compare with Jesus:  Compare with Jesus '. . . pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.' (Matthew, 22:22.) Time of powerful Roman State Emphasizes spiritual kinship community Long-term strategy of the mustard seed Not only otherworldly happiness after death Teaches presence within each person of Kingdom of God here and now Time of Muhammad: no State:  Time of Muhammad: no State Stateless, feuding nomadic tribes Different strategy: Kingdom of God on Earth now as political reality Historical conditions of Islam:  Historical conditions of Islam 1) Division of the Arabic (Bedouin) tribes Recall general problems of nomadic societies 2) Growing inequality of wealth Special historical conditions of Arabia Wealth destroys the ethic of tribal life: One for all; all for one. Nomadic Herders:  Nomadic Herders 1) they live in kinship groups; 2) they are warriors; 3) there is male dominance; 4) there is a strong sense of freedom, with a strong sense of equality among the men. 5) Animistic religion of nature (many 'gods') War and Religion:  War and Religion Nomadic life leads to warfare Each tribe has its own territory Each tribe has its own 'gods' =andgt; Animism supports tribal warfare Hence: One God versus polytheism Putting an end to holy wars:  Putting an end to holy wars On the early Sumerian city-states: 'The warfare was especially destructive because the kings and soldiers believed that they were upholding the honor of their gods.' (Spodek 60) Goal of Muhammad: putting an end to 'holy wars' among Arabian tribes Hence, opening words of Quran The Opening: Thee only:  The Opening: Thee only In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds! The compassionate, the merciful! King on the day of reckoning! Thee only do we worship, and to Thee do we cry for help. Guide Thou us on the straight path, The path of those to whom Thou has been gracious; —with whom thou are not angry, and who do not go astray. Jews and Arabs:  Jews and Arabs Both Semitic-speaking nomadic peoples Both descend from Abraham Two sons of Abraham: Ishmael and Isaac Both face problems of division Belief in One God overcomes division Unites Hebrews against surrounding peoples Young Muhammad admires unity of Jews, Christians: 'People of the Book' Factors for Unity in Arabia:  Factors for Unity in Arabia Single language of Arabic poetry Worship of sacred stone: Ka’aba Truce between warring tribes Worship of same sky-god overhead: Al-Lah Problem of Poverty:  Problem of Poverty War to north between Christian Byzantine Empire, and the Persian Sassanian Empire Trade routes shift to south, Arabia Merchants of Mecca become wealthy But tribal members who are not merchants remain poor Pluses and Minuses of Kinship:  Pluses and Minuses of Kinship Plus: spirit of unity, sharing among members of kin Need to overcome growing inequality between members of each tribe Minus: difficulty of uniting members of different kin groups (tribes) Need to overcome constant warfare among Arabs Solution: Universal Spiritual Kinship under One God:  Solution: Universal Spiritual Kinship under One God Only one God – Allah is beyond nature, not animistic Sharp condemnation of animism No idols, no images Not just unity of Arabs, but of all believers Follows Christian universalism Expressed in practical aid to needy 'Zakat': One of the Five Pillars

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