People of the Book

People of the Book/Scripture (Arabic: أهل الكتاب‎ ′Ahl al-Kitāb) is an Islamic term which refers to Jews, Christians and Sabians and is sometimes applied to members of other religions such as Zoroastrians.[1] It is also used in Judaism to refer to the Jewish people and by members of some Christian denominations to refer to themselves.

The Quran uses the term in reference to Jews, Christians and Sabians in a variety of contexts, from religious polemics to passages emphasizing the community of faith between those who possess monotheistic scriptures. The term was later extended to other religious communities that fell under Muslim rule, including polytheistic Indians. Historically, these communities were subject to the dhimma contract in an Islamic state.

In Judaism the term "People of the Book" (Hebrew: עם הספר, Am HaSefer)[2] has come to refer to both the Jewish people and the Torah.[3]

Members of some Christian denominations, such as the Baptists, Methodists, Seventh-day Adventist Church,[4][5] as well as Puritans and Shakers, have embraced the term "People of the Book" in reference to themselves.[6][7]

In the Quran

In the Quran the term "people of the book" refers to Jews, Christians, and Sabians.[8] The scriptures referred to in the Quran are the Torah (at-tawraat), the Psalms (al-zabur) and the Gospel (al-injiil).[8]

The Quran emphasizes the community of faith between possessors of monotheistic scriptures, and occasionally pays tribute to the religious and moral virtues of communities that have received earlier revelations, calling on Muhammad to ask them for information.[8] More often, reflecting the refusal of Jews and Christians in Muhammad's environment to accept his message, the Quran stresses their inability to comprehend the message they possess but do not put into practice and to appreciate that Muhammad's teaching fulfills that message.[8] The People of the Book are also referenced in the jizya verse (9:29),[8] which has received varied interpretations.

Later Islamic usage

The use of the term was later extended to Zoroastrians, Samaritans, Mandeans, and even polytheistic Indians.[1][8]

Islamic scholars differ on whether Hindus are People of the Book.[9] The Islamic conquest of India necessitated that the definition be revised, as most India's inhabitants were followers of the Indian religions. Many of the Muslim clergy of India considered Hindus as people of the book,[9] and from Muhammad bin Qasim to Aurangzeb, Muslim rulers were willing to consider Hindus as people of the book.[10] Many Muslims did not treat Hindus as pagans or idol-worshipers,[9] although Hinduism does not include Adam, Eve, nor the various prophets of Abrahamic religions.

Buddhism does not explicitly recognize a monotheistic God or the concept of prophet-hood. Muslims however had at one point accorded them the status of "people of the Book", and Al-Biruni wrote of Buddha as the prophet "Burxan".[11]

Dhimmi

Dhimmi is a historical[12] term referring to the status accorded to People of the Book living in an Islamic state.[12] The word literally means "protected person."[13] According to scholars, dhimmis had their rights fully protected in their communities, but as citizens in the Islamic state, had certain restrictions,[14] and it was obligatory for them to pay the jizya tax, which complemented the zakat, or alms, paid by the Muslim subjects.[15] Dhimmis were excluded from specific duties assigned to Muslims, and did not enjoy certain political rights reserved for Muslims, but were otherwise equal under the laws of property, contract, and obligation.[16][17][18]

Under sharia, the dhimmi communities were usually subjected to their own special laws, rather than some of the laws which were applicable only to the Muslim community. For example, the Jewish community in Medina was allowed to have its own Halakhic courts,[19] and the Ottoman millet system allowed its various dhimmi communities to rule themselves under separate legal courts. These courts did not cover cases that involved religious groups outside of their own community, or capital offences. Dhimmi communities were also allowed to engage in certain practices that were usually forbidden for the Muslim community, such as the consumption of alcohol and pork.[20][21][22]

Historically, dhimmi status was originally applied to Jews, Christians, and Sabians. This status later also came to be applied to Zoroastrians, Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.[23][24][25] Moderate Muslims generally reject the dhimma system as inappropriate for the age of nation-states and democracies.[26]

Judaism

Thirty-one times in the Quran Jews are referred to as "people of the book."[27] However before the rise of Islam, during Biblical times, Levitical scribes redacted and canonized the book of books.[28] In the transition from what has been called "text to tradition," Efforts are made to try to reconstruct the archival repositories for these ancient textual collections in addition to sifrei Yichusin (genealogical texts).[29] The Babylonian Talmud Baba Batra 14b-14b describes the order of biblical books. Indeed Rashi himself comments on the mishnaic statement, "Moses received the Torah from Sinai" by noting since the text does not say "ha-torah" (the written torah) but Torah (in general) this refers to both the written torah (24 books of the Old Testament) and the oral torah, which in Rabbinic theology are co-terminous[30], as suggested by Soloveitchik who notes a recent trend in the Artscroll generation to eclipse oral transmission with written translations. Scholars of antiquity and the early middle ages do know about the canonization process of the Tanakh[31] (the Hebrew Bible) and the redaction processes of the Talmudim and Midrashim.[32] Thus the interplay between written text and orality is essential in trying to reconstruct the textual collections of Jewish texts in the middle ages[33] and modernity.[34]

Rabbinic tradition has demonstrated a reverence, respect, and love for sacred divinely revealed "text," both written and oral in the process of the chain of transmission (the masorah). Indeed the metaphor of the book is marshaled in Talmudic Tractate Rosh Hashanah, that on Rosh Hashanah the fate of each person for the year is written, on Yom Kippur sealed, and on Hoshanah Rabbah the angels of the heavenly court deliver the verdict to God's archive.

The Hai Gaon in 998 in Pumbeditah comments, "Three possessions should you prize- a field, a friend, and a book." However the Hai Gaon mentions that a book is more reliable than even friends for sacred books span across time, indeed can express external ideas, that transcend time itself.

The Spanish philosopher, physician, and poet Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi writes of the importance of books by commenting, "My pen is my harp and my lyre, my library is my garden and orchard."[35]

The Provencal scholar Rabbi Yehudah ibn Tibbon (Adler recension) further elaborates on the importance of his library by commenting, "Make books your companions; let your bookshelves be your gardens: bask in their beauty, gather their fruit, pluck their roses, take their spices and myrrh. And when your soul be wary, change form one garden to garden, and from one prospect to prospect."[36]

The Spanish statesman Rabbi Shmuel ha-Nagid writes, "the wise of heart will abandon ease and pleasures for in his library he will find treasures."[37] Rabbi Abraham ibn Daud writes in his sefer ha-qabbala about rabbi Shmuel ha-Nagid that he had sofrim who copied Mishnah and Talmudim, and he used to donated these commissioned core texts to students who could not afford to purchase them."[38]

Rabbi Yitzchak ben Yosef of Corbeil (ca 1280, France) in his Sefer Mitzvot Qatan composed in 1276 outlines a detailed strategy for the dissemination of his texts by asserting that every community should finance a copy of his halkhic code and keep it for public consultation.[39]

Rabbi Shimon ben Zemach Duran (Tashbaz) in his introduction to his halakhic code, Zohar HaRakiah, writes, "When the wise man lies down with his fathers he leaves behind him a treasured and organized blessing: books that enlighten like the brilliance of the firmament (Daniel 12:3) and that extend peace like an eternal flowing river (ISa 66:12)."[40]

The love and reverence for Jewish books is seen in Jewish law. It is not permissible for a sacred Jewish text to lie on the ground and if by accident a book is dropped to the floor it should be picked up and given a kiss. A Jewish book is not to be left open unless it is being read, nor is it to be held upside down.[41] It is not permitted to place a book of lesser sanctity on top of a book of higher holiness, so for example one must never place any book on top of the Tanakh. If one says to someone, "Please hand me this book," the book should be given with the right hand and not with the left hand."[42] If two men are walking and one who is carrying a sacred books should be given the courtesy of entering and leaving the room first, as the second is enjoined to pursue knowledge."[43] Rabbi David ibn Zimra of the 16th century comments that "if one buys a new book he should recite the benediction of the She-Heheyanu."[44]

Christian usage

In the early Christian experience the New Testament was added to the whole Old Testament, which after Jerome's translation tended more and more to be bound up as a single volume, and was accepted as a unified locus of authority: "the Book", as some contemporary authors refer to it.[7] Many Christian missionaries in Africa, Asia and in the New World, developed writing systems for indigenous people and then provided them with a written translation of the Bible.[45][46] As a result of this work, "People of the Book" became the usual vernacular locution to refer to Christians among many African, Asian, and Native American people of both hemispheres.[46] The work of organizations such as the Wycliffe Bible Translators and the United Bible Societies has resulted in Bibles being available in 2,100 languages. This fact has further promoted an identification with the phrase among Christians themselves.[7] Christian converts among evangelized cultures, in particular, have the strongest identification with the term "People of the Book". This arises because the first written text produced in their native language, as with the English-speaking peoples, has often been the Bible.[46] Many denominations, such as Baptists and the Methodist Church, which are notable for their mission work,[47] have therefore embraced the term "People of the Book".[6][7]

As stated on its official world website, the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) also embraces the term People of the Book.[48] As also noted in its official flagship publication Adventist World (February 2010 edition), it is claimed that prominent Islamic leaders have endorsed Seventh-day Adventists as the Quran's true People of the Book.[4]

The Catholic church teaches that the Bible is "one book" in a dual sense: the Old and New Testaments are the word of God,[49] and Jesus Christ is the word of God incarnate.[50] Hence the church teaches that Christianity "is not a 'religion of the book.'...[but] the religion of the 'Word' of God," and that this Word is Christ himself.[51]

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ a b John L. Esposito, ed. (2014). "Ahl al-Kitab". The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195125580.001.0001. ISBN 9780195125580. Archived from the original on 3 January 2017.
  2. ^ Kerry M. Olitzky, Ronald H. Isaacs (1992). A Glossary of Jewish Life. Jason Aronson. p. 217. ISBN 9780876685471.
  3. ^ David Lyle Jeffrey (1996). People of the Book: Christian Identity and Literary Culture. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 9780802841773. Retrieved 2007-10-18. Though first intended pejoratively, "People of the Book" in Jewish tradition came to be accepted with pride as a legitimate reference to a culture and religious identity rooted fundamentally in Torah, the original book of the Law.
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 June 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b Dr. Andrea C. Paterson (2009-05-21). Three Monotheistic Faiths - Judaism, Christianity, Islam: An Analysis And Brief History. ISBN 9781452030494. Retrieved 2007-10-18. Baptists are "people of the Book". The Bible serves as a guide for faith and practice, instructing local churches and individual believers on faith, conduct, and polity. Scripture is also the final authority in determining faith and practice, and is the Word of God which is revealed to the Church in order that God's people may know God's will.
  7. ^ a b c d David Lyle Jeffrey (1996). People of the Book: Christian Identity and Literary Culture. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 9780802841773. Retrieved 2007-10-18. Nor is it unusual that the badge should be worn proudly as one means of resisting further denigration: one need only think of Puritans, Methodists, Quakers, and Shakers. In fact, the first of these groups are foremost in the Christian tradition who claimed the term in question, proud themselves to be in their own way identified as "a People of the Book". In the early Christian experience the New Testament was added to the whole Jewish "Tanakh" (an acronym from Torah, the Law, Nebi'im, the prophets, and Kethubim, the other canonical writings). This larger anthology, which after St. Jerome's translation tended more and more to be bound up as a single volume, had for those to whom the Christian missionaries came bearing it all the import of a unified locus of authority: "the Book".
  8. ^ a b c d e f Vajda, G (2012). "Ahl al-Kitāb". In P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Encyclopaedia of Islam. 1 (2nd ed.). Brill. p. 264. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_0383.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  9. ^ a b c Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (1973). Sufi Essays. State University of New York Press. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-87395-233-0.
  10. ^ Desika Char, S. V. (1997). Hinduism and Islam in India: Caste, Religion, and Society from Antiquity to Early Modern Times. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 127. ISBN 978-1-55876-151-3.
  11. ^ Alexander Berzin (2006). "The Historical Interaction between the Buddhist and Islamic Cultures before the Mongol Empire". Archived from the original on 29 June 2016.
  12. ^ a b Juan Eduardo Campo, ed. (2010-05-12). "dhimmi". Encyclopedia of Islam. Infobase Publishing. pp. 194–195. Dhimmis are non-Muslims who live within Islamdom and have a regulated and protected status. ... In the modern period, this term has generally has occasionally been resuscitated, but it is generally obsolete.
  13. ^ "Definition of DHIMMI". www.merriam-webster.com. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015.
  14. ^ Clinton Bennett (2005). Muslims and Modernity: An Introduction to the Issues and Debates. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 163. ISBN 978-0826454812. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  15. ^ Glenn, H. Patrick (2007). Legal Traditions of the World. Oxford University Press. pp. 218–219. A Dhimmi is a non-Muslim subject of a state governed in accordance to sharia law. The term connotes an obligation of the state to protect the individual, including the individual's life, property, and freedom of religion and worship, and required loyalty to the empire, and a poll tax known as the jizya, which complemented the Islamic tax paid by the Muslim subjects, called Zakat.
  16. ^ H. Patrick Glenn, Legal Traditions of the World. Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 219.
  17. ^ The French scholar Gustave Le Bon (the author of La civilisation des Arabes) writes "that despite the fact that the incidence of taxation fell more heavily on a Muslim than a non-Muslim, the non-Muslim was free to enjoy equally well with every Muslim all the privileges afforded to the citizens of the state. The only privilege that was reserved for the Muslims was the seat of the caliphate, and this, because of certain religious functions attached to it, which could not naturally be discharged y a non-Muslim." Mun'im Sirry (2014), Scriptural Polemics: The Qur'an and Other Religions, p.179. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199359363.
  18. ^ Abou El Fadl, Khaled (2007). The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. HarperOne. p. 204. ISBN 978-0061189036. According to the dhimma status system, non-Muslims must pay a poll tax in return for Muslim protection and the privilege of living in Muslim territory. Per this system, non-Muslims are exempt from military service, but they are excluded from occupying high positions that involve dealing with high state interests, like being the president or prime minister of the country. In Islamic history, non-Muslims did occupy high positions, especially in matters that related to fiscal policies or tax collection.
  19. ^ Cohen, Mark R. (1995). Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages. Princeton University Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-691-01082-3. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  20. ^ Al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveler (edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller), p. 608. Amana Publications, 1994.
  21. ^ Al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveler (ed. and trans. Nuh Ha Mim Keller), pp. 977, 986. Amana Publications, 1994.
  22. ^ Ghazi, Kalin & Kamali 2013, pp. 240–1.
  23. ^ Wael B. Hallaq (2009). Sharī'a: Theory, Practice, Transformations. Cambridge University Press (Kindle edition). p. 327.
  24. ^ Annemarie Schimmel (2004). The Empire of the Great Mughals: History, Art and Culture. p. 107. ISBN 978-1861891853. The conqueror Muhammad Ibn Al Qasem gave both Hindus and Buddhists the same status as the Christians, Jews and Sabaeans the Middle East. They were all "dhimmi" ('protected people')
  25. ^ Michael Bonner (2008). Jihad in Islamic History. Princeton University Press (Kindle edition). p. 89.
  26. ^ "[…] the overwhelming majority of moderate Muslims reject the dhimma system as ahistorical, in the sense that it is inappropriate for the age of nation-states and democracies." Abou El Fadl, Khaled (January 23, 2007). The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. HarperOne. p. 214. ISBN 978-0061189036.
  27. ^ Albayrak, Ishmael (2008). "The People of the Book in the Qur'an". Islamic Studies. 47:3: 301–325.
  28. ^ Halbertal, Moshe (1997). People of the book: canon, meaning, and authority. Harvard University Press.
  29. ^ Levy, David B (2001). "Ancient to Modern Jewish Classification Systems: A Historical Overview" (PDF).
  30. ^ Soloveitchik, Haym (1994). "Rupture and Reconstruction:The Transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy". Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought. 28:4: 64–130.
  31. ^ Lundberg, Marilyn J (2013). "The Hebrew Bible Canon" in The Book of Books. pp. 20–25.
  32. ^ Schiffman, Lawrence (2013). "The Bible in the Talmud and Midrash" in The Book of Books. pp. 36–39.
  33. ^ Levy, David (2013). "Jewish Archives and Libraries in the Middle Ages and the Medieval Educational Curriculum". Archived from the original on 11 September 2017.
  34. ^ Levy, David (2016). "19th and 20th Century Scholarly Judaica Research Librarians, and Judaica Collections". Archived from the original on 10 September 2017.
  35. ^ Brodi, Hayim (1896–1930). Diyan: ve-hu sefer kolel kol shirei Yehudah ha-Levi.. im hagahot u-ve'urim ve-'im mavo me-et Hayim Brodi. Berlin: bi-derus Tsevi Hirsch b.R. Yitshak Ittskovski. pp. 166, line 37–8.
  36. ^ Steinschneider, Moritz (1852). Ermahnungsschreiben des Jehudah ibn Tibbon. Berlin. pp. 6–12.
  37. ^ Abraham, Israel (1926). Hebrew Ethical Wills. JPS. p. 64.
  38. ^ Assaf, Simcha (1930–1954). Meḳorot le-toldot ha-ḥinukh be-Yiśraʼel. Tel-Aviv, Dvir. pp. vol 4, p. 17.
  39. ^ Asaf, Simcha (1943). Be-ohole Yaʻaḳov : peraḳim me-ḥaye ha-tarbut shel ha-Yehudim bi-yeme ha-benayim. Yerushalayim : Mosad ha-Rav Ḳuḳ.
  40. ^ Duran, Shimon. "Hebrewbooks.org Sefer Zohar Ha-Rakiah". Archived from the original on 4 June 2017.
  41. ^ Karo, Yosef. Shulchan Arukh:Yoreah Deah 277.
  42. ^ Babylonian Talmud: Maseket Sofrim 83.
  43. ^ Likutei Mahril 118.
  44. ^ Goldman, Israel (1970). The Life and Times of Rabbi David ibn Zimra. New York : Jewish Theological Seminary of America. p. 32.
  45. ^ Perry, Marvin; Chase, Myrna; Jacob, Margaret; Jacob, James; Daly, Jonathan W.; Von Laue, Theodore H. (2014). Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics, and Society. Volume II: Since 1600 (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning. p. 635. ISBN 978-1-305-09142-9. LCCN 2014943347. OCLC 898154349. Retrieved 2016-02-01. In the nineteenth century, in contrast to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Europeans, except for missionaries, rarely adopted the customs or learned the languages of local people. They had little sense that other cultures and other peoples deserved respect. Many Westerners believed that it was their Christian duty to set an example and to educate others. Missionaries were the first to meet and learn about many peoples and the first to develop writing for those without a written language. Christian missionaries were ardently opposed to slavery....
  46. ^ a b c David Lyle Jeffrey (1996). People of the Book: Christian Identity and Literary Culture. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 9780802841773. Retrieved 2007-10-18. "People of the Book" unsurprisingly translates many an early vernacular name for Christian missionaries among African, Asian, and Native American people of both hemispheres. The fact that these missionaries put enormous effort into reducing the language of these people to writing so as to provide a written translation of the Bible - an activity which, under such organizations as the Wycliffe Bible Translators and the United Bible Societies, has resulted in at least part of the Christian Bible now being available in 2,100 languages - has lent an identification with the phrase among evangelical Christians in particular as strong as pertains among Jews. This identity comprises the Christian converts among evangelized cultures, the more recently evangelized the more natural so, since for many of them, just as for the English-speaking people, the first written texts ever produced in their language have been a portion of the Bible.
  47. ^ American Methodism. S.S. Scranton & Co. 1867. Retrieved 2007-10-18. But the most noticeable feature of British Methodism is its missionary spirit, and its organized, effective missionary work. It takes the lead of all other churches in missionary movements. From its origin, Methodism has been characterized for its zeal in propagandism. It has always been missionary.
  48. ^ "Bible Study". www.adventist.org. 8 December 2016. Archived from the original on 30 July 2011.
  49. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 128 Archived 15 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine The Church, as early as apostolic times, and then constantly in her Tradition, has illuminated the unity of the divine plan in the two Testaments through typology, which discerns in God's works of the Old Covenant prefigurations of what he accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of his incarnate Son.
  50. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 134 Archived 15 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine All Sacred Scripture is but one book, and this one book is Christ, "because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ" (Hugh of St. Victor, De arca Noe 2,8:PL 176,642: cf. ibid. 2,9:PL 176,642-643).
  51. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 108 Archived 15 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine Still, the Christian faith is not a "religion of the book." Christianity is the religion of the "Word" of God, a word which is "not a written and mute word, but the Word is incarnate and living". If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, "open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures."

Further reading

  • Boekhoff-van der Voort, Nicolet, "Ahl al-Kitab (People of the Book)", in Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), Edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014, Vol I, pp. 9–11.
  • Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Non-Muslims in Muslim societies, American Trust Publications, 1985 details many issues including what a dhimmi is, jizyah, rights, responsibilities, and more.

External links

Al-Mutawakkil

Abu’l-Faḍl Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad al-Muʿtaṣim bi’llāh (Arabic: جعفر بن محمد المعتصم بالله‎; March 822 – 11 December 861), better known by his regnal name al-Mutawakkil ʿAlā ’llāh (المتوكل على الله, "He who relies on God") was an Abbasid caliph who reigned in Samarra from 847 until 861. He succeeded his brother al-Wathiq. His assassination on 11 December 861 by the Turkish guard with the support of his son, al-Muntasir, began the troubled period of civil strife known as "Anarchy at Samarra".

Geraldine Brooks (writer)

Geraldine Brooks (born 14 September 1955) is an Australian American journalist and novelist whose 2005 novel, March, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. While retaining her Australian citizenship, she became a United States citizen in 2002.

God

In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith. The conceptions of God, as described by theologians, commonly include the attributes of omniscience (all-knowing), omnipotence (all-powerful), omnipresence (all-present), and as having an eternal and necessary existence. Depending on one's kind of theism, these attributes are used either in way of analogy, or in a literal sense as distinct properties. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial). Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence (being outside nature) and immanence (being in nature) of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence". Psychoanalyst Carl Jung equated religious ideas of God with transcendental aspects of consciousness in his interpretation.Some religions describe God without reference to gender, while others or their translations use sex-specific terminology. Judaism attributes only a grammatical gender to God, using terms such as "Him" or "Father" for convenience.God has been conceived as either personal or impersonal. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe. In pantheism, God is the universe itself. In atheism, there is an absence of belief in God. In agnosticism, the existence of God is deemed unknown or unknowable. God has also been conceived as the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent". Many notable philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.Monotheists refer to their gods using names prescribed by their respective religions, with some of these names referring to certain cultural ideas about their god's identity and attributes. In the ancient Egyptian era of Atenism, possibly the earliest recorded monotheistic religion, this deity was called Aten, premised on being the one "true" Supreme Being and creator of the universe. In the Hebrew Bible and Judaism, Elohim, Adonai, YHWH (Hebrew: יהוה‎) and other names are used as the names of God. Yahweh and Jehovah, possible vocalizations of YHWH, are used in Christianity. In the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, God, coexisting in three "persons", is called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Islam, the name Allah is used, while Muslims also have a multitude of titular names for God. In Hinduism, Brahman is often considered a monistic concept of God. In Chinese religion, Shangdi is conceived as the progenitor (first ancestor) of the universe, intrinsic to it and constantly bringing order to it. Other religions have names for the concept, for instance, Baha in the Bahá'í Faith, Waheguru in Sikhism, Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in Balinese Hinduism, and Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism.The many different conceptions of God, and competing claims as to God's characteristics, aims, and actions, have led to the development of ideas of omnitheism, pandeism, or a perennial philosophy, which postulates that there is one underlying theological truth, of which all religions express a partial understanding, and as to which "the devout in the various great world religions are in fact worshipping that one God, but through different, overlapping concepts".

God in Islam

In Islam, God (Arabic: الله‎, translit. Allāh, contraction of الْإِلٰه al-ilāh, lit. "the God") is the God, the absolute one, the all-powerful and all-knowing ruler of the universe, and the creator of everything in existence. Islam emphasizes that God is strictly singular (tawḥīd ): unique (wāḥid ), inherently One (aḥad ), also all-merciful and omnipotent. God is neither a material nor a spiritual being. According to Islamic teachings, beyond the Throne and according to the Quran, "No vision can grasp him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things."Chapter 112 of the Quran, titled Al-'Ikhlās (The Sincerity) reads:

"He is God, [who is] One.

God, the Eternal Refuge.

He neither begets nor is born,

Nor is there to Him any equivalent."In Islam, there are 99 known names of God (al-asmāʼ al-ḥusná lit. meaning: "The best names"), each of which evokes a distinct attribute of God. All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive god. Among the 99 names of God, the most familiar and frequent are "the Compassionate" (Ar-Raḥmān) and "the Merciful" (Ar-Raḥīm). Creation and ordering of the universe is seen as an act of prime mercy for which all creatures praise God's attributes and bear witness to God's unity.

Gospel in Islam

Injil (Arabic: إنجيل‎, translit. ʾInjīl, alternative spellings: Ingil or Injeel) is the Arabic name for the Gospel of Jesus (Isa). This Injil is described by the Qur'an as one of the four Islamic holy books which was revealed by God, the others being the Zabur (possibly the Psalms), the Tawrat (the Torah), and the Qur'an itself. The word Injil is also used in the Quran, the Hadith and early Muslim documents to refer to both a book and revelations made by God to Jesus.

Islam and other religions

Over the centuries of Islamic history, Muslim rulers, Islamic scholars, and ordinary Muslims have held many different attitudes towards other religions. Attitudes have varied according to time, place and circumstance.

Islamic dietary laws

Islamic jurisprudence specifies which foods are halāl (حَلَال "lawful") and which are harām (حَرَامْ "unlawful"). This is derived from commandments found in the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, as well as the Hadith and Sunnah, libraries cataloging things the Islamic prophet Muhammad is reported to have said and done. Extensions of these rulings are issued, as fatwas, by mujtahids, with varying degrees of strictness, but they are not always widely held to be authoritative.

According to the Quran, the only foods explicitly forbidden are meat from animals that die of themselves, blood, the meat of pigs, and any food dedicated to other than God.

However, a person would not be guilty of sin in a situation where the lack of any alternative creates an undesired necessity to consume that which is otherwise unlawful. (Quran 2:173) This is the "law of necessity" in Islamic jurisprudence: "That which is necessary makes the forbidden permissible."

Jewish education

Jewish education (Hebrew: חינוך‬, Chinukh) is the transmission of the tenets, principles and religious laws of Judaism. Known as "People of the Book", Jews value education. The emphasis and value of education is strongly embedded in Jewish culture. Judaism places a heavy emphasis on Torah study. Throughout Jewish history, the tradition of Jewish education began with the Old Testament during biblical times. The bible describes the purpose of Jewish education. The main purpose in the bible is to know how to worship God. Therefore, Jewish parents needed to teach their children about some basic prayers and what the Torah forbids at their young ages. Parents should have transmitted Jewish morals, faith, and values to their children. The bible’s teachings have important impact on Jewish education. Because of this, Jewish education is rooted in the Torah. Nathan H. Winter wrote, “Torah has also been described as that dealing with the whole existence of the human being; that which touches life at every point. Torah also connotes learning, instruction, and guidance. Jewish education was concerned with the transmission of this cultural heritage to the individual Jew.”

Jizya

Jizya or jizyah (Arabic: جزية‎ jizya IPA: [d͡ʒɪzjæ]) is a per capita yearly tax historically levied on non-Muslim subjects, called the dhimma, permanently residing in Muslim lands governed by Islamic law. Muslim jurists required adult, free, sane males among the dhimma community to pay the jizya, while exempting women, children, elders, handicapped, the ill, the insane, monks, hermits, slaves, and musta'mins—non-Muslim foreigners who only temporarily reside in Muslim lands. Dhimmis who chose to join military service were also exempted from payment, as were those who could not afford to pay.The Quran and hadiths mention jizya without specifying its rate or amount. However, scholars largely agree that early Muslim rulers adapted existing systems of taxation and tribute that were established under previous rulers of the conquered lands, such as those of the Byzantine and Sasanian empires.The application of jizya varied in the course of Islamic history. Together with kharāj, a term that was sometimes used interchangeably with jizya, taxes levied on non-Muslim subjects were among the main sources of revenues collected by some Islamic polities, such as the Ottoman Empire. Jizya rate was usually a fixed annual amount depending on the financial capability of the payer. Sources comparing taxes levied on Muslims and jizya differ as to their relative burden depending on time, place, specific taxes under consideration, and other factors.Historically, the jizya tax has been understood in Islam as a fee for protection provided by the Muslim ruler to non-Muslims, for the exemption from military service for non-Muslims, for the permission to practice a non-Muslim faith with some communal autonomy in a Muslim state, and as material proof of the non-Muslims' submission to the Muslim state and its laws. Jizya has also been understood by some as a ritual humiliation of the non-Muslims in a Muslim state for not converting to Islam, while others argue that if it were meant to be a punishment for the dhimmis' unbelief then monks and the clergy wouldn't have been exempted.The term appears in the Quran referring to a tax or tribute from People of the Book specifically Jews and Christians.

Followers of other religions like Zoroastrians and Hindus too were later integrated into the category of dhimmis and required to pay jizya. In the Indian Subcontinent the practice was eradicated by the 18th century. It almost vanished during the 20th century with disappearance of Islamic states and spread of religious tolerance. The tax is no longer imposed by nation states in the Islamic world, although there are reported cases of organizations such as the Pakistani Taliban and ISIS attempting to revive the practice.Some modern Islamic scholars have argued that jizya should be paid by non-Muslim subjects of an Islamic state, offering different rationales. For example, Sayyid Qutb saw it as punishment for "polytheism", while Abdul Rahman Doi viewed it as a counterpart of the zakat tax paid by Muslims. According to Khaled Abou El Fadl, moderate Muslims reject the dhimma system, which encompasses jizya, as inappropriate for the age of nation-states and democracies.

Kafir

Kafir (Arabic: كافر‎ kāfir; plural كَافِرُونَ kāfirūna, كفّار kuffār or كَفَرَة kafarah; feminine كافرة kāfirah; feminine plural كافرات kāfirāt or كوافر kawāfir) is an Arabic term (from the root K-F-R "to cover") meaning "infidel", "rejector", "disbeliever", "unbeliever", "nonbeliever". The term refers to a person who rejects or disbelieves in God or the tenets of Islam, denying the dominion and authority of God, and is thus often translated as "infidel".

The term is used in different ways in the Quran, with the most fundamental sense being "ingratitude" (toward God). Historically, while Islamic scholars agreed that a polytheist is a kafir, they sometimes disagreed on the propriety of applying the term to Muslims who committed a grave sin and to the People of the Book. In modern times, kafir is sometimes used as a derogatory term, particularly by members of Islamist movements. Unbelief is called kufr. Kafir is sometimes used interchangeably with mushrik (مشرك, those who commit polytheism), another type of religious wrongdoer mentioned frequently in the Quran and other Islamic works. The act of declaring another self-professed Muslim a kafir is known as takfir, a practice that has been condemned but also employed in theological and political polemics over the centuries. The person who denies the existence of a creator is called dahriya.

Mandaeans

Mandaeans (Arabic: الصابئة المندائيون‎, translit. aṣ-Ṣābi'a al-Mandā'iyūn) are an ethnoreligious group indigenous to the alluvial plain of southern Mesopotamia and are followers of Mandaeism, a Gnostic religion. The Mandaeans were originally native speakers of Mandaic, a Semitic language that evolved from Eastern Middle Aramaic, before many switched to colloquial Iraqi Arabic and Modern Persian. Mandaic is mainly preserved as a liturgical language. In the aftermath of the Iraq War of 2003, the indigenous Mandaic community of Iraq, which used to number 60,000–70,000 persons, collapsed; most of the community relocated to nearby Iran, Syria and Jordan, or formed diaspora communities beyond the Middle East. The other indigenous community of Iranian Mandaeans has also been dwindling as a result of religious persecution over that decade.

Mandaeism

Mandaeism or Mandaeanism (Arabic: مندائية‎ Mandāʼīyah) is a gnostic religion with a strongly dualistic cosmology. Its adherents, the Mandaeans, revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enos, Noah, Shem, Aram, and especially John the Baptist. The Mandaeans are Semites and speak a dialect of Eastern Aramaic known as Mandaic. The name 'Mandaean' is said to come from the Aramaic manda meaning "knowledge", as does Greek gnosis. Within the Middle East, but outside of their community, the Mandaeans are more commonly known as the Ṣubba (singular: Ṣubbī) or Sabians. The term Ṣubba is derived from the Aramaic root related to baptism, the neo-Mandaic is Ṣabi. In Islam, the "Sabians" (Arabic: الصابئون‎ al-Ṣābiʾūn) are described several times in the Qur'an as People of the Book, alongside Jews and Christians. Occasionally, Mandaeans are called "Christians of Saint John".According to most scholars, Mandaeaism originated sometime in the first three centuries AD, in either southwestern Mesopotamia or the Syro-Palestinian area. However, some scholars take the view that Mandaeanism is older and dates from pre-Christian times.The religion has been practised primarily around the lower Karun, Euphrates and Tigris and the rivers that surround the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, part of southern Iraq and Khuzestan Province in Iran. There are thought to be between 60,000 and 70,000 Mandaeans worldwide. Until the 2003 Iraq war, almost all of them lived in Iraq. Many Mandaean Iraqis have since fled their country because of the turmoil created by the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation by U.S. armed forces, and the related rise in sectarian violence by Muslim extremists. By 2007, the population of Mandaeans in Iraq had fallen to approximately 5,000.The Mandaeans have remained separate and intensely private. Reports of them and of their religion have come primarily from outsiders: particularly from Julius Heinrich Petermann, a scholar in Iranian studies, as well as from Nicolas Siouffi, a Syrian Christian who was the French vice-consul in Mosul in 1887, and British cultural anthropologist Lady E. S. Drower. There is an early if highly prejudiced account by the French traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier from the 1650s.

Medinan surah

The Madaniy Surahs (Surah Madaniyyah) or Madaniy chapters of the Quran are the latest 24 Surahs that, according to Islamic tradition, were revealed at Medina after Muhammad's hijra from Mecca. These surahs were revealed by Allah when the Muslim community was larger and more developed, as opposed to their minority position in Mecca.The Medinan Surahs occur mostly at the beginning and in the middle of the Qur'an (but are said to be the last revealed suras chronologically), and typically have more and longer ayat (verses). Due to the new circumstances of the early Muslim community in Medina, these surahs more often deal with details of moral principles, legislation, warfare (as in Surah 2, al-Baqara), and principles for constituting and ordering the community. They also refer more often to the community with "O people!" and at times directly address Muhammad or speak of him as "an agent acting in combination with the divine persona: 'God and his messenger' (Q 33:22)."The division of surahs into 'Meccan surahs' and 'Medinan surahs' is primarily a consequence of stylistic and thematic considerations, which Theodor Noldeke used to develop his famous chronology of the Qur'anic suras. Classification of the surahs into these periods is based upon factors such as the length of the verse and the presence or absence of certain key concepts or word (e.g. al-Rahman as name of God).The 30 Surahs of the Medinan period, according to Noldeke (chronologically 91-114):

2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 22, 24, 33, 47, 48, 49, 55, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 76, 98, 110

Characteristics of Medinan surahsFollowing are some of the stylistic and subject characteristics of Medinan Surahs:

Mention of 'Jihad' and detailing on its rulings.

Details of Islamic jurisprudence and legal system as well as laws governing family, money transaction, international law and acts of worship

Mention of 'hypocrisy' and dealing with hypocrites.

Any verse that starts with يا أيها للذين آمنوا O you who believe

Long verses

Easy vocabulary

Discussion in regards to the People of the Book

Muslims

Muslims (Arabic: مُسلِم‎) are people who follow or practice Islam, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion. Muslims consider the Quran, their holy book, to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet and messenger Muhammad. The majority of Muslims also follow the teachings and practices of Muhammad (sunnah) as recorded in traditional accounts (hadith). "Muslim" is an Arabic word meaning "submitter" (to God).The beliefs of Muslims include: that God (Arabic: الله‎ Allāh) is eternal, transcendent and absolutely one (tawhid); that God is incomparable, self-sustaining and neither begets nor was begotten; that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that has been revealed before through many prophets including Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, and Jesus; that these previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time (tahrif) and that the Qur'an is the final unaltered revelation from God (Final Testament).

Religious pluralism

Religious pluralism is an attitude or policy regarding the diversity of religious belief systems co-existing in society. It can indicate one or more of the following:

As the name of the worldview according to which one's own religion is not held to be the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus the acknowledgement that at least some truths and true values exist in other religions.

As acceptance of the concept that two or more religions with mutually exclusive truth claims are equally valid, this may be considered a form of either toleration (a concept that arose as a result of the European wars of religion) or moral relativism.

The understanding that the exclusive claims of different religions turn out, upon closer examination, to be variations of universal truths that have been taught since time immemorial. This is called Perennialism (based on the concept of philosophia perennis) or Traditionalism.

Sometimes as a synonym for ecumenism, i.e., the promotion of some level of unity, co-operation, and improved understanding between different religions or different denominations within a single religion.

As a term for the condition of harmonious co-existence between adherents of different religions or religious denominations.

As a social norm and not merely a synonym for religious diversity.

Sabians

The Sabians (; Arabic: الصابئة‎ al-Ṣābiʼah or الصابئون‎ al-Ṣābiʼūn) of Middle Eastern tradition were a religious group mentioned three times in the Quran as a People of the Book, along with the Jews and the Christians. In the hadith, they were described simply as converts to Islam. Interest in the identity and history of the group increased over time. Discussions and investigations of the Sabians began to appear in later Islamic literature. The Sabians were identified by early writers with the ancient Jewish Christian group the Elcesaites, and with gnostic groups such as the Hermeticists and the Mandaeans. Today, the Mandaeans are still widely identified as Sabians.

Social class in the Ottoman Empire

There is considerable controversy regarding social status in the Ottoman Empire. Social scientists have developed class models on the socio-economic stratification of Ottoman society which feature more or less congruent theories. We see the Ottoman Empire being described as a bureaucratic state, holding different regions within a single administrative and fiscal system.The Ottoman Empire lasted for over six hundred years (1299–1923) and encompassed what is modern-day Turkey, the Balkans and the Fertile Crescent. Thus the Ottoman Empire would be home to an extremely diverse population ranging from the Muslim majority to the minority population, specifically Christians and Jews who were referred to as the People of the Book.

Ummah

Ummah (Arabic: أمة‎ [ˈʊm.mæ]) is an Arabic word meaning "community". It is distinguished from Shaʻb (شعب [ʃæʕb]) which means a nation with common ancestry or geography. Thus, it can be said to be a supra-national community with a common history.

It is a synonym for ummat al-Islām (أمة الإسلام, 'the Islamic community'), and it is commonly used to mean the collective community of Islamic people. In the Quran the ummah typically refers to a single group that shares common religious beliefs, specifically those that are the objects of a divine plan of salvation. In the context of pan-Islamism and politics, the word ummah can be used to mean the concept of a Commonwealth of the Believers (أمة المؤمنين ummat al-muʼminīn).

Universalism

Universalism is a philosophical and theological concept that some ideas have universal application or applicability. A community that calls itself universalist may emphasize the universal principles of most religions, and accept others in an inclusive manner. It is centered on the belief in a universal reconciliation between humanity and the divine. For example, some forms of Abrahamic religions claim the universal value of their doctrine and moral principles, and "feel inclusive"Christian Universalism is focused on the idea of universal reconciliation. Also known as universal salvation, it is a doctrine stating that every human soul will ultimately be reconciled to God because of divine love and mercy.A belief in one fundamental truth is another important tenet in Universalism. The living truth is seen as more far-reaching than the national, cultural, or religious boundaries or interpretations of that one truth. As the Rig Veda states, "Truth is one; sages call it by various names."Universalism has had an influence on modern day Hinduism, in turn influencing western modern spirituality.Unitarian Universalism emphasizes that religion is a universal human quality, and also focuses on the universal principles of most religions. It accepts all religions in an inclusive manner.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.