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Explain How the Muslim Beliefs About the Ummah Are Expressed in the Practices Zakah and Hajj

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Explain how the Muslim beliefs about the Ummah are expressed in the practices Zakah and Hajj (30marks)

In the era before Muhammad, there was a tribal system known as Muruwah, with each tribe having their own sense of Muruwah. Muruwah usually translated by western scholars to mean "manliness", has a deeper meaning of courage in battle, patience and endurance during suffering, a dedication to the duties of avenging wrong done to the tribe (no retaliation would mean the chiefs people would not be respected) and protecting its weaker members. The tribe was a sacred value "fulfilling many functions of religion, giving the Arabs ideology and meaning to their perilous existence" - Karen Armstrong. So even before the time of Muhammad there was a sense of unity amongst one's own tribe but not however outside the tribe as tier was no obligation of universal natural law. This changed after Muhammad and his followers completed the Hijra (migration) when he was invited to judge disputes amongst the tribes of Yathrib (at this time there were countless tribal wars due to blood feuds or vendettas). The Hijra is a significant event in Islam as the Muslim calendar is dated from this point. Following the Hijra Muhammad replaced the Muruwah with the Ummah.

The Ummah is the worldwide community of Muslims or Islam. This basically means that all Muslims are members of one family with no barriers to race or status. As all Muslims are equal before Allah this is how they should be treated according to the Ummah. With egalitarianism as one of its core beliefs the Ummah was created by Muhammad abolishing all old tribal bonds of blood, a sacred value to the Arabs, from now on loyalties were to Islam only. The breaking of old tribal bonds was a revolutionary idea and meant a theocracy was established in Medina (previously known as Yathrib but was changed by the prophet). At this time Muhammad's revelations and Quranic verses changed from being about ethics and spiritual matters to addressing the question of building and maintaining a community with a common religious tie. Also at this time Muhammad started to receive revelations telling him to pray towards Mecca instead of Jerusalem. Important as it shows the Ummah as a Muslim identity and could not accept the practice of the Jews living there different to their own. Muhammad was also given the five pillars of Islam at this point, these are the key principles to the Islamic faith. Shahada (only one God), Salat (pray five times a day given to Muhammad during the night journey), Zakah (give to those in need), Sawm (fasting during the sacred month of Ramadan) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). Notably there is a unofficial sixth pillar of Islam known as Jihad, meaning basically to struggle to preserve and progress of Islam.

The third pillar Zakkah literally translates to "purification". As by giving alms to people who live in poverty, a Muslim can cleanse themselves of selfishness, as if a person becomes too selfish and thinks only about money they are putting their love for money before their love for Allah meaning they are committing Shirk- an unforgiveable sin in Islam. A quote from the Hadith says, "He is not a believer who eats while his brother goes hungry" which again states you cannot be selfish in Islam. It is suggested Zakah might focus a Muslims thoughts back on other people rather than about their own situations. Zakah can be placed into four categories into which it can be paid they are: Gold, Silver, commercial merchandise and profits (a rate of 2.5%), or agricultural produce and livestock (ten percent). A quote from the Qur'an

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