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Islam Case

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Most people know little or nothing about Islam, they have many misconceptions about Muslim beliefs and rituals. Regardless, Islam has gained a large following and is the second largest religion in the world. Hopefully some of the questions about Islam, Sunni Islam in particular, will be answered through research and a visit to the Islamic Center of the Inland Empire. This paper will cover the history of the religion, the history of Al-Masjid al-Ha ram or "The Holy Mosque", the art, the religious meeting, and personal views of a religious leader.

Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, is a monotheistic religion based on the belief in one God. There are two main divisions in the Islam religion, they are Sunni and Shi'a. The separation of the two major divisions of Islam were caused by the early question of leadership after Muhammad's death .The vast majority of Muslims, perhaps 90 percent are Sunni and the other 10 percent are Shi'a (Mark Dickens). "Sunni" comes from the Arabic word Sunnah, meaning "customary practice." In Sunni Islam, the imam is the man who leads the Friday prayers in a mosque with scriptures from the Qur'an, the text of which is considered to be the direct word from God (Allah).

The Caliphate was the first government system established in Islam; it represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah (nation). As a religious historian, S. A. Nigosian believes that "the critical issue [between the Sunni and the Shi'a] was the designation of a political successor only, since a religious successor to Muhammad, the "seal" of the prophets, was unthinkable" (Nigosian 40). Sunni Muslims believe in the First Four Caliphs that followed the death of Muhammad in 632. According to Sunni Muslims, after Muhammad's death, the confusion that ensued from not having a person to head the community led to the election of Abu Bakr, the Prophet's close friend and father-in-law, as the first Caliph (Arabic for "Successor"). This contrasts with the Shi'a Muslim belief that Muhammad himself appointed his first successor to be Ali ibn Abi Talib as the first Caliph and the first Muslim imam (David Krusch). Abu Bakr survived for about two years, 632-634. Three more caliphs followed 'Umar (634-644), 'Uthman (644-656), and 'Ali (656-662). At first, the power struggles were able to conceal internal disunion, but this only produced a festering schism that persists even now. In the modern era, the country of Iraq is an example of this. Minority Sunnis ruled and persecuted Shiites under the government of Saddam Hussein.

The Sunni division is known for their Schools of jurisprudence. Ibn Hanbal, Ahmad was a leading Sunni Scholar theologian who was the founder of the Hanbali legal school, a popular defender of traditional Islamic Piety against Muslims rationalists and the Abbasid Caliphate. Hanabals believe that God had many names and attributes as mentions in the Koran. Hanbali law is considered to be very conservative and strict and is mainly prevalent in Saudi Arabia. Of the four main Sunni legal schools one of the largest and most widespread, after that of the Hanafis, is the Shafii Legal School. It dates to the ninth century and bears the name of its founder, Muhammad' ibn idris al-shaFii (Campo, Juan Eduardo 617). This school is based off some of the opinions of Muhammad's companions, but mostly from Al-Khulafa ar-Rashidun. The Hanafi School is named after the Iraqi scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu'man whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani. This is the most prominent and oldest among all Sunni Schools. It is known for putting greater emphasis on reason and being more liberal than the other three schools. Lastly, the School of Maliki derives their work from Malik ibn Anas. The two main sources are that of the Muwaṭṭah and the Mudawwanah. The Muwattah is a collection of hadiths, which are regarded as sounds and find their place in al-Bukhari with some commentary from Malik. The Mudawwanah is the collaborator work of Mālik's longtime student, Ibn Qāsimand his mujtahid student, Saḥnūn. The Mudawwanah consists of the notes of Ibn Qāsim from his sessions of learning with Mālik and answers to legal questions.

The two names that are associated with formulating Sunni doctrine are al-Ash"ari and al-Maturidi. Although both of them had certain theological differences, their doctrines merged in the course of time and gained wide currency, particularly in the eleventh century. Meanwhile, several Sunni theologians, between the ninth and twelfth centuries, began provocative explorations of inquiry. Their works came to fruition in the comprehensive system of Ibn Sina (980-1037), popularly known to the West by his Latinized name of Avic enna. Unfortunately, the powerful impact of natural theology these scholars brought to bear on Islamic thought posed a threat to Sunni orthodoxy. Soon these philosophers became the target of suspicion and attack by those who tolerated no argument against revealed theology. A famous Muslim scholar names Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali started to openly attack these philosophers by asserting that the decay of Islamic faith in his lifetime was due to two important factors. These two factors are the respect shown by Muslim thinkers to Greek and other philosophers, and the faulty Arabic translations of original works of philosophy (S. A. Nigosian 45).

Al-Masjid al-Ha ram or "The Holy Mosque" is also known as al-Haram Mosque, Haram al-Sharif, Masjid al-Sharif and the Haram. It is in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. To Muslims it is the holiest mosque in the world and the primary destination of the Hajj pilgrimage taken every year. The mosque covers up to 356,800 square meters and can hold up to 820,000 worshippers during the Hajj. The Holy Mosque is the only mosque that has no qibla direction (the direction that Muslims face when they pray) since Muslims pray facing the Ka'ba in the center of the courtyard. (Hayes)

The Ka'ba literally means the cube; this is considered the most sacred place to Muslims. It is known as the "House of God." It is held so high because of the meteorite that is believed to have



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