Was considered to be a prophet, but not divine. Began to receive revelations in 610 CE.
"Seal of the Prophets"
Considered the last and greatest figure in the long line of prophets.
Was the first believer and later his wife with whom he would have six children, all girls. She had inherited a caravan company from her deceased husband. After her death he remarried several time
Night of Ascent, Muhammad ascended toward the highest heaven, he encountered angels and the great prophets of the past including Abraham and Jesus, and at last entered into the presence of God. Debate ensues whether it was a vision or physical ascension
A central event in Islam. It marks the point at which Muhammad's message was favorably received, and the start of the Islamic cummunity.
The Islamic religious community.
"Recitation"; God's words as revealed to and recited by Muhammad; an authorized edition of the written words that appeared after Muhammad's death.
Is a term used in Sunni Islam to refer to the first four Caliphs who established the Rashidun Caliphate.
"Successor"; A religious and political leader.
The majority branch of Islam, which deems the community should decide who the best leader is.
Muhammad's descendants should lead the community. Predominant in Iran and large minority in Iraq.
Fought against Umayyad control but was killed and beheaded in 680 CE. Is now a Shi'a holy day.
The Five Pillars
The essentials of Muslim belief and practice
Creed or Shahadah
Profession of Faith. "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God" Is recited daily by Muslims Public recitation is the conversion process into Islam.
Prayer or Salat
Ritual Prayer. Pray 5x per day at specified times. Musclims must pray facing the Kabah in Mecca. Involves particular verses and motions. Ablutions are necessary before prayer.
Calls people to prayer through a minaret. Friday is the day of public prayer, on other days people may pray privately, at home or at work, as well as in a mosque.
Charity to the Poor or Zakat
A percentage (2.5%) of one's income is given to the poor. It is only expected from those who can afford it.
Fasting during Ramadan or Sawm
Abstaining from food, drink, and sex from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadan. Special focus on following the teachings of Islam.
Pilgrimage to Mecca or Hajj
Expected to make the pilgrimage to Mecca once. Involves specific dress and rituals. Central Ritual: Walking around the Kabah 7 times. Commemorates events in Abraham's life. Time of spiritual renewal and unity of the Umma.
Black box which Muslims pray towards. Believed to be near the area where Hagar and Ishmael lived.
Festival of Sacrifice. Commemorates Abraham's submission to God, and his willingness to sacrifice his son. Muslims sacrifice an animal and share the meat with friends and the poor.
Fast Breaking Festival. Marks the end of Ramadan.
The 9th month of the Islamic calendar and is considered the first when Muhammad received his first revelation.
Martyrdom of Husayn. Commemorates the assassination of Husayn, the Prophet's grandson. Observed by Shi'a Muslims.
Islamic Mysticism. Focused on achieving direct spiritual connection with God. Poetry and Music are important aspects. Esoteric knowledge is passed from teacher to student. Not exclusively a Muslim movement today.
"Remembrance" of God. Repetition of the 99 names of God.
Islamic Law. A legal system to determine how Muslims should act in their daily lives. 4 Sources which make the basis of it. Distinct legal schools offer different interpretations of the law. In certain countries, there are religious courts that implement Sharia.
Saying/Actions of Muhammad as recorded by those who saw and lived around him.
Consensus of the community.
Umbrella term regerring to Muslim leaders who have undergone training.
A spiritual leader. Often leads a mosque/community in prayer and worship, and fulfills other clergy roles. Term also refers to specific Shi'a leaders.
A Muslim learned in Islamic theology and law; an elder, wise man or scholar.
Crescent and Star
Not an official symbol, but is associated with Islam. A symbol of the Ottoman empire, which contributed to the early spread of Islam. On the flag of several countries within whom the majority of people are Muslim.
Muslim house of worship. Friday prayer service. Often serves as a community center. Typically have a minaret, prayer hall, Mihrab, and dome.
Friday Prayer Service
Day of public prayer. On other days people may pray privately, at home or work, or at a mosque.
The tower from which the muezzin calls people to prayer.
Niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the giblah, or direction toward Mecca.
An Arabic word meaning "to veil" or "to cover" Term refers to a headscarf worn by women and to modesty.
Debate of its meaning:
Physical struggle; defense of Islam and Muslims
Inner struggle of faith
Problems with Studying Indigenous Religions.
The sheer diversity of traditions, peoples, and languages. Religion is not a separate aspect of life. The generalization we use elsewhere do not apply. Existing scholarship is biased. Sources for studying indigenous religions are often impermanent.
There is a life force in all things. The Earth and everything in it is considered to be infused with sacredness. Deep respect or reverence for everything in the natural world. Animals, plants, stones, etc. may be seen as one's relatives. All living beings may be viewed as sources of blessings or harm.
Rootedness in the Land
An indigenous community's identity, language, and traditions may be strongly tied to a particular physical location. Loss of that land means loss of a people's self-understanding, culture, and religious traditions. Many communities are engaged in legal battles for their lands.
No written sacred texts. Traditions are communicated through various verbal and non-verbal means. Storytelling as a sacred art form. Stories communicate important wisdom from one generation to the next, and are used to pass on traditions.
Ancestors are highly revered and sometimes feared. They are considered to have become sacred beings who have the ability to help or harm the living. Well-maintained altars/gravesites and specific rituals serve the purpose of honoring and appeasing the dead.
Importance of Rituals and Ceremonies
Ceremonies are a means of re-telling sacred stories through dance, chants, etc. Rituals maintain and restore balance with the natural world. Often used to mark rites of passage linked to the individual life-cycle (Birth, puberty, marriage, death). May involve a means of enhancing religious experience (Meditation or trance states, Fasting or ingesting/smoking sacred substances).
Serves as the intermediary between the human and larger-than-human worlds; restores balance between these worlds. May be considered to have special powers of divination, healing, and communication with spiritual beings. Has a number of responsibilities to the larger community (Presiding over rituals, providing guidance and wisdom to leaders, helping heal individuals and the community).
A place, person, action, or thing that is forbidden. When one is violated, harm may come to an individual or the whole community. After violation occurs a ritual must be conducted to restore balance.
Is an animal sacred to a group of people usually a kinship group. It is considered taboo for an individual to harm his/her totem animal. The totem system may serve important functions in the indigenous communities (helps maintain biodiversity, aids in community organization, ensures proper relationships).
Navajo, Dine' / Navajo Nation
The people whose homeland spans Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Is the largest land of area assigned to Native jurisdiction in the US.
Four Sacred Mountains
The original boundaries of the Navajo Nation. Marked by sacred objects.
People start out in insect form and travel on a vine through four worlds until emerging in our world, the fifth world. First man and woman are taught traditions and how they should act/behave. People and various animals must work together to accomplish their goals. An individual creates an imbalance with the natural world, leading to tragedy; once the imbalance is corrected, order is restored.
Navajo Healing Ceremonies
Conducted to maintain and restore balance between the human and larger-than-human worlds. Balance is promoted and restored through a number of means, including songs chants, sand-paintings, and dance.
Brings blessing and protection.
Restores balance and harmony.
Visual storytelling; represents respect for and connection with the natural world. By itself is representative of the earth, as well as the natural cycle of life. Dancers create shapes from nature; the transformation demonstrates the interconnectedness of all living beings. Common to a number of different Native American traditions.
A Navajo Shaman
Health/well-being/blessing. Creates balance between chaos and control. Ceremonies seek to destroy this by connecting with the Holy People and receive their blessing. Creation of sand paintings is integral to many healing ceremonies.
Modeled after the permanent paintings of the Holy People; the Dine were given permission to create temporary versions. Depict spiritual beings and natural elements. Traditional colors are symbolically linked to the Four Mountains. The order and symmetry of it symbolize the harmony that the patient wishes to reestablish in his or her life; its accuracy determines its effectiveness.
"Place where the Gods come and go" The paintings act as portals for the spirits.
The Navajo Universe
Is the personification of Earth and the natural order. Associated with both creation and protection. Is able to change with the seasons. Is the mother of all the Navajo people. Gave many gifts to humanity, including the healing ceremonies and other rituals.
Is the son of Changing Woman. Rid the world of harmful monsters. Allowed poverty, illness, and hunger to stay in order to create compassion in humanity.
A coming-of-age ritual held for girls when the begin menstruation. "Puberty Ceremony"; the term refers to both the ritual and the girl. The first one was conducted by Changing Woman; girls are considered to embody her during the ceremony. The ritual involves many regulations and taboos; behavior is very important.
Religion originated in Western Africa, in modern-day Nigeria / Benin Republic. Came to Americas via slavery and is now practiced in many parts of the world.
Ancient Yoruba city.
"Owners of heads" The Yoruba pantheon of spirits or gods. Natural elements are among them. There are hundreds of them but several are especially important. Each person is believed to come into the world accompanied by an Orisha, who is the "owner of their head" and their protector/guide throughout life; an individual's Orisha must be divined.
The Supreme Being. A deity of pure spirit, without gender. The creator of all life. Considered to be too important/busy to interact with humans.
Father of the Orishas. Played an important role in the creation. "owner of all the heads"; connected to all humanity. Wears a white robe; associated with purity.
The Mother Goddess. Loving Moter, associated with the ocean. Sometimes fused with the Virgin Mary.
The Sky Father. Warrior God of thunder and lightning. Associated with male power and sexuality.
The Trickster. The messenger between the human and divine worlds. The god of crossroads and beginnings.
It is the destiny of all to become one with Olodumare, the Supreme Being; to accomplish this, one's spiritual nature must be elevated toward this.
is achieved through harmonious living and sincere veneration of the spirits.
May take numerous lifetimes for one to reach transcendence.
Ancestral spirits who have made the transition to the spiritual realm but may still help or harm humans.
Egungun ceremonies ancestors try to improve the community's behavior.
Rites of Passage
Naming ceremony for newborns. Names are considered to have great significance. Objects/food used to have symbolic importance.
Yoruba divination arts.
Yoruba priests/shamans. "Father of the Secrets" Uses divination to help individuals heal and overcome misfortune.
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