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Introduction
Contents:
  1. Spread of Islam
  2. Sunni and Shi'a
  3. 3.2 Component 2: Study of religion and dialogues
  4. What is Salafism and where did it come from

They are then usually absorbed, often intentionally, into the new religious traditions that arrive and settle into an area. Inside the stone circle Stonehenge. Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Paulo in Brazil. The Wailing Wall , a sacred Jewish site in Jerusalem. Syncretism is the process by which elements of one religion are assimilated into another religion, resulting in a change in the fundamental beliefs of those religions.

This change does not always result in a total fusion of the religions but bits and pieces that one religion has adopted from another. In some cases, deities or influential figures are blended and called by one name but retain attributes, images, symbols and sometimes holy sites from the original religions.

Spread of Islam

This was the site of the temple or the Aztec mother goddess Tohantizin. Mary requested a church be built on that site. Juan Diego returned to the hill where Mary told him to collect roses and bring them to the Bishop. When he returned to the bishop with roses in his timla, he dropped the roses at the feet of the Bishop, and on the tilma appeared the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

This merged the pre-Christian goddess Tohantizin with the Catholic saint the Virgin of Guadalupe, creating a way through which the local people could practice their faith through a Catholic conduit. Exclusivism is the view that one's own religion is inerrant and all others are in error. Exclusivism may also relate to practice, as in the way the gods, dietys, etc.

An example of exclusivism is the Ancient Greek Religion, which combined many local deities, such as nymphs and other divinities connected to nature, into the myth system of the Greek Pantheon. The Decree of Diopithes of BCE forbade the worship or introduction of and the belief in deities other than the Greek Pantheon and made it an offense punishable by death. Another form of exclusivity can be seen through Christianity, by way that they do not promote syncretism, but instead contextualization.

Christians discourage syncretism because Christians are supposed to live out their beliefs and lead a life that confirms their belief. Contextualization is when Christians associate with non-believers yet exhibit their beliefs, which is encouraged in place of syncretism. In its more extreme form, religious exclusivism teaches that only the members of one religion or sect will reach Heaven, while others will be doomed to eternal damnation.

Sunni and Shi'a

In the past there was the saying in relation to the belief in God that was often used saying 'if you don't believe in God you will go to hell'. The opposite of religious exclusivism is universalism, the teaching that all will eventually share in the eternal blessings of God or the heavenly realm. A shaman is a part-time religious practitioner who acts as a medium between the human and spirit world. A shaman is believed to have the power to communicate with supernatural forces to intercede on the behalf of individuals or groups.

The term shaman, as defined in Schultz and Lavenda,"comes from the Tungus of eastern Siberia, where it refers to a religious specialist who has the ability to enter a trance through which he or she is believed to enter into direct contact with spiritual beings and guardian spirits for the purposes of healing, fertility, protection, and aggression, in a ritual setting [10].

Although having the power to converse with spirits may make them subject to suspicion, shamans are usually considered to be powerful, influential and valuable members of their society. There are even some tales among the peoples of North America about shamans succeeding in bringing the souls of the dead back to earth.

A shaman must typically endure intense training which may take over a decade and involve the use of psychotropic drugs to attain an altered state of consciousness. Shamanic activity is said to take place while the shaman is in a trance. Typical methods for inducing a trance involve:. Shamans have been an integral part of hunter-gatherer societies for thousands of years. In prehistoric North America, for example, evidence of shamanic activity has been discovered in the form of rock art.

Archaeologist David Whitley explains that"shamans would often record their spiritual journeys symbolically by carving or painting rock surfaces in a sacred place. For instance, among the Numic people and in south-central California, rock art was created by shamans the morning after a vision was received, in order to preserve it for posterity. This was necessary because forgetting the details of a vision would result in the shaman's death or serious illness [12].

Shamanic activity is still practiced among North American tribes today, although it has drastically declined since European colonization only around of the 2, tribes remain that were present in the 17th century. A priest or priestess , male and female respectively, is a person within a religion that has special authority to perform religious rituals.

Different religions have different rules about men or women being excluded from the priesthood or to what degree. Priests and Priestesses differ from shamans in that it is often a full-time occupation. Being a priest is an institutional result through social aspiration and belief. Priests generally hold a higher position and status in society over those they preside over.

A priest's power comes from the recognized influence of their religious organization and the hierarchy. A form of priesthood exists in many religions such as Judaism , Christianity , Shintoism , and Hinduism. For many religions being a priest or priestess is a life-long commitment and can be left only either voluntarily or by excommunication. Priest's main duties consist of-of guiding other believers in worship, knowledge of the religion, and spiritual guidance. They spread a word of their religious beliefs and mediate contact between individuals and their deity.

These rites are carried out for the benefit of the believers such as with healing or absolution granted by the higher powers. The priests are connected to the deity of their beliefs through numerous different systems based upon the religion. Some believe there are oracles or prophets while others achieve a connection to higher forces through direct contact.

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Other societies in ancient history were affiliated with priests and priestesses. Ancient Egypt was among one of the first cultures to use priests to carry out sacred rituals rather than having a shaman. Becoming a Priest was often passed down from father and son rather than being appointed like many other cultures. Duties of Egyptian priest were to care for the gods and goddesses as well as attend to the needs of them. Unlike how the priest is seen today, as only being close to the gods and having the rapport with them, the job was more like an everyday job.

The duties of the priest were more than just preaching and religious practices. They taught in schools, assisted artists and their works, and guided people through their problems. Egyptian priest believed in many ritual taboos, some of these were that the priest must be circumcised. Pastors also known as Ministers or Reverends are generally known as ordained leaders within the Christian church. Not only do pastors help people develop a deep relationship with Jesus, but they also help with marriage counseling and other types of counseling for everybody and anybody in the church.

Churches may look more closely at other qualifications of the pastor, in order to find a leader who will have the same core beliefs, values, and goals that the church has already set in place. Qualifications to be a good pastor: Love for their people, A positive attitude and approach, people skills, an intimate relationship with god, priority on teaching, leadership and focus. The basic definition of the word " prophet " is someone who has encountered the supernatural or divine. However, the word "prophet" is extremely subjective, depending on which religious context it is being used in.

To some, an individual may be considered an "authentic prophet", while to others that same individual may be considered a "false prophet" regardless of their religious background. In regards to the non-religious use of the word in the late 20th century, "prophet" refers to either people who are successful in analyzing the field of economics the "prophets of greed" or to those who are social commentators that suggest there may be an escalating crisis within their environment and society due to others' lack of compassion "prophets of doom".

In more modern times, however, the concept of "prophets" as a whole has come under scrutiny, passing off the visions that the prophets have as cases of Schizophrenia. Prophets are heavily intertwined with Judaism. In this religion, a prophet is an individual who is selected by God to act as a representation.

The prophets intend their messages to cause social changes among people, in order to conform to God's desires for humanity. Currently, the Talmud recognizes 48 male prophets and 7 women prophets. Non-Jewish prophets have a much lower status than Jewish prophets in the eyes of those who adhere to the Jewish traditions.

Judaism is not only about being religious and reading the Talmud, there are many cultural aspects of Judaism. For example, Jewish principles consist around G-d and how you act to benefit others as yourself. Islam was founded in A. D and is a major world religion promulgated by the Prophet Mohammed. His people were worshipping multiple gods. The religion taught by Mohammed to a small group of followers spread rapidly through the Middle East to Africa, Europe, the Indian subcontinent, the Malay Peninsula, and China. By the early 21st century there were more than 1.

Although many sectarian movements have arisen within Islam, all Muslims are bound by a common faith and a sense of belonging to a single community. Worship Him. The term "monk" is used to describe a religious specialist who conditions the mind and body in favor of the spirit. This conditioning often includes seclusion from those who do not follow the same beliefs, abstinence, silence, and prayer. Monks were originally present solely in Christianity, but through a looser definition created by modern Westerners, the term has been applied to more religions ex. Monks are often confused with friars.

Although they are very similar, the main difference between the two terms is the inclusion of friars in community development and aid to the poor. While two of the more known types of monks are Orthodox and Roman Catholic, a recently created sect of monasteries is Anglican. Centuries later during the s, a Catholic revitalization movement began in England, prompting Anglicans to believe that a monastic life should become not only part of England again, but also part of the Anglican Church.

The also celebrate the Eucharist daily, and like Roman Catholic monks, take a vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience. However, during the past century and especially the past few decades, Anglican monasteries have lost support and are becoming extinct. Saints are individuals who have died but, in Catholicism, have lead virtuous lives and have gone through the process of canonization.

Islam, the Quran, and the Five Pillars All Without a Flamewar: Crash Course World History #13

Christian saints are most commonly individuals of excessive holiness who had done amazing things in their lifetime and after. Commonly have followed in the teachings of Christ, though not all were Christian. The lives and teachings of saints has been used to further the examples of the a persons faith. They are essentially experts on the ways of holiness and their lives are to be used as examples making them in a way a religious expert.

Some defining characteristics of saints are as follows:. There are currently over 10, saints. Many saints also have an associated item they are recognized for or something which they protect. Many saints also have a day associated for a feast in their honor. For the Catholic Church a saint is "recognized" by them, usually through the pope, as a saint and therefore is guaranteed passage into heaven. A saint is known for doing a task that is for the better of others. Saints wants to be a good person and want to help others, as they do so in the name of a religion.

These four categories are:. Rituals often have its roots in myth and religion, tying itself to ancient practices between the divine and humans. However, a ritual does not have to be religious in nature; graduation ceremonies and birthday parties are rituals as well. These practices hypothesize reality beyond that which is instantly available to the senses. Religion is a type of worldview, a collective picture of reality created by members of a society, and exists in many forms.

As time passes and cultures change, religions evolve and change as well. In many cultures, religion is practiced through rituals. Every society has their own rituals; an action performed as a common practice. Some of these practices can be a result of religion beliefs, or society ideas or expectations. For example, in the United States, when a person dies, family members and friends of the person attend a funeral; a ceremony in which they honor the dead person right before they are buried or cremated. Rituals can vary by geography, culture or personality and are practiced just as varied.

Ancestor Worship is defined as a religious or spiritual practice which revolves around the belief that the deceased continue to have a presence after they die, and contribute to the spiritual quality of their living relatives. Most religions have some form of ancestor worship, and consider the connection they have to their ancestors a significant component of their belief systems.

This type of worship can often be confused with the worshiping of gods and deities, but it is an entirely separate practice. Many cultures see ancestor worship as non-religious; something that simply strengthens bonds with family and offers the proper respect for deceased loved ones. Other rituals that can sometimes accompany this type of worship include: sacrifice, elaborate burial ceremonies and the preparation of specific food dishes. Many different religions or cultures have varying rituals following the death of a person.

Burial and mourning rituals may differ even among the same religion. The following are commonly accepted burial and mourning practices in Judaism :. After people have died, their eyes and mouths are closed. They are then placed on the floor and covered with a sheet, while a lit candle is placed by their head. The body is not to be left alone until burial, and it is seen as a good deed to sit with the body and to read psalms.

Before burial the body is cleansed and clothed in a simple white shroud. The coffin is traditionally a simple cedar casket constructed without the use of metal due to the belief that people should decompose back into the earth, returning to dust after death. The mourning process is divided into three sections, each increasing in time and lessening in intensity. The first period of mourning is called "Shiva. This mourning period applies to the immediate family of the decease. It involves mourners rending their clothes in an outward sign of mourning. This is often the time when friends prepare meals for the family of the deceased and sit with them to comfort them.

A second period of mourning is called "Sheloshim" and takes place from the 7th day after the burial till the 30th day. During this time the immediate family of the deceased should not cut their hair, shave or attend parties. The third mourning period lasts until the anniversary of the death. During this time mourners do not attend public parties or celebrations, but can cut their hair.

However, mourning may be suspended during important Jewish holidays in order to take place in the celebration and prayer. Rites of passage are rituals in themselves. Rituals that mark a person's transition from one social state to another. So, the following components help in the ritual of passing from one state in life to another. In the film Whale Rider , a story of modern day rite of passage in a traditional Maori village and into the Whangara culture of modern day New Zealand.

Since then, the chiefly leadership role has been passed down to the firstborn male of the first born male, establishing a patriarchal society. The grandfather ignores her at home and further alienates Pai by forbidding her from participating in the warrior rituals with the rest of the male initiates. The canoe stands above land on blocks. This is where Pai seeks refuge and calls out to her ancestors. The second sacred place is the beach, where she has her sacred encounter with the whale.

Trials and tribulations: Pai sets out to seek the ways of the warrior by sneaking onto the training compound, only to be caught by her grandfather, and to be humiliated in front of her male initiates. In one very important scene, Pai is being honored at school and dedicates as a gesture, a traditional tribal performance to her grandfather. Her heart is broken when he fails to show up. Revelation: A truth is revealed to her Uncle Rawiri one afternoon, as Pai retrieves the lost sacred artifact the whale tooth of her grandfather. Symbolic death: Near the end of the film, Pai has her sacred encounter with the beached whale.

She climbs up onto the back of the lead whale, in an attempt to get the whale to re-enter the water. The whale responds and off she goes with the whale into deeper waters. She almost drowns and is hospitalized for a few days. It is during this time that her family is remorseful, especially her grandfather and reconsiders his point of view on who should be chief. Resurrection and rebirth: The film fades from a lonely scene of Pai in her hospital bed to a vibrant ceremony of Pai in the finished canoe of her father. With her grandfather by her side, the fully crewed canoe is ocean bound.

It is safe to assume Pai will fulfill her duties as the new chief. A pilgrimage is a journey on behalf of ritual and religious belief. Often pilgrims try to obtain salvation of their soul through this physical journey. Most times the journey is to a shrine or a sacred place of importance to a person's faith.

The institution of pilgrimage is evident in all world religions and was also important in the pagan religions of ancient Greece and Rome. Pilgrimages attract visitors from widely dispersed cultural backgrounds and physical locations, offering them the opportunity to be brought together because of the origins of their faith. Relevant to so many different cultural contexts, there is no single definition to describe to the act of pilgrimage. However, similarities are noticeable.

Pilgrimage usually requires separation from the common everyday world, and in displaying that separation pilgrims may mark their new identity by wearing special clothes or abstaining from familiar comforts. Frequently, pilgrimages link sacred place with sacred time i. The hajj always occurs on the 8th, 9th, and 10th days of the last month of the Muslim year.

The location of sacred sites and shrines often represent some great miracle or divine appearance, they may also appropriate the places that are holy to older or rival faiths. A factor that unites pilgrimage locations across different religions is the sense, variously expressed, that a given place can provide privileged access to a divine or transcendent state. The hajj is the fifth pillar of faith in the Islamic faith. It occurs on the 8th to 12th day of Dhul-Hijah, which is the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

Members of the Islamic faith are encouraged to perform the hajj , a pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in their lifetime. However, religious law allow exclusions on grounds of hardship. Mecca is known by Muslims as the dwelling place of Adam after his expulsion from paradise and as the birthplace of Muhammad — , the prophet of Islam.

The Huichol are an indigenous group of maize corn farmers who reside in Sierra Madre of northern Mexico. Maize, along with deer and peyote-which the Huichol have linked together-are key ingredients for their way of life. Peyote is a rare cactus found in Mexico containing the chemical mescaline which induces hallucinogenic experiences if ingested properly. However, a pilgrimage must be first undertaken to find the peyote; beginning an approximate mile trek. The location the pilgrims of Huichol are destined to find the peyote is a representation of "Wirikuta, the original homeland where the First People, both deities and ancestors, once lived.

The pilgrim then chews the peyote button to ingest the mescaline. The group then begins to gather peyote for the rest of the community. The pilgrimage for peyote is an example of a culture actively holding onto their past. Instead of allowing their traditions to fall through the cracks, the Huichol use a holistic experience to preserve their religion and culture. Two examples include Carnival and Halloween.

Carnival The Carnival celebration occurs as a way to let loose before the strict rules of religion are set in place for lent. Typically, during Carnival everyday customs, rules, and habits of the community are inverted. Kings become servants, servants become kings, women dress as men and vice versa.

The normal rules are overturned and indulgence becomes the rule. The body is granted freedom and obscenity are expected. Work and diets are omitted as people take to the streets to eat and party the days away. Carnival is a festival traditionally held in Roman Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox societies. Regardless, many people participate in the carnival tradition today.

The Brazilian Carnaval is one of the best-known celebrations today, but many cities and regions worldwide celebrate with large, popular, and days-long events. Festivities are held in hundreds of different countries worldwide. Mardi Gras occurs in February right before the season of Lent. Ever since its introduction Mardi Gras has been celebrated in that area of the United States for many years.

It's common to see people wearing minimal clothing, flashing for beaded necklaces, and partying in the streets. Much of this behavior is overlooked by police who only react when it is taken to the extreme or is in the more "family friendly" areas. Traditionally, large bonfires were built and people gathered to offer food and animals as sacrifice to the many deities.

The Celts, pronounced Kelts, were polytheistic and offered gifts to specific Pagan Gods throughout the year. After the celebration had ended, people would relight the hearth in their homes with fire from the communal and sacred bonfire. This fire was thought to protect the people especially on the night of October 31, when the ghosts of the dead and otherworldly spirits were believed to return to earth.

These church-sanctioned holidays were similarly celebrated with bonfires, parades, and costumes consisting of saints, angels, and devils. The idea of Satan is a Christian concept that did not exist in pagan beliefs. In order to believe in one idea of ultimate evil the Devil the Celts would have had to believe in one concrete idea of ultimate good God , but they worshiped several Gods.

These traditions went under further construction as further generations began to relocate away from ancestral grounds. A sacrifice is an offering of something of value to an invisible force, and is done in many cultures and religions. Sacrifices are also made out of selfless good deeds.

The word "sacrifice" in Latin means "to make sacred. In pre-Columbian Mexico, the Aztecs sacrificed hundreds of humans in accordance with their ritual calendar in what is referred to as a human sacrifice. The most common sacrifice was for the sun God, Huitzilopochtli, in which a knife is used to cut under the ribs to get to the human heart, which was then forcibly removed. During the Bronze period of ancient China, sacrifices were very common in the worship of ancestors. It was believed that when a person died their fate was decided by spirits. In order to invoke these spirits a beautiful bronze vessel was filled with wine and water as an offering.

It was to be placed outside of the city during a time of need as a offering to the Heavens. This is an example of a goods sacrifice. In the Hmong Shamanism tradition, shamans would sacrifice animals to try and retrieve lost souls from the clutches of evil spirits. This was because animal souls were thought to be linked with human souls. In their tradition, evil spirits, known as dabs, would steal a persons soul and make them ill.

When this happens, a chicken, pig, goat, or cow would be sacrificed and the animal's soul would be given to the evil spirits in exchange for the human soul, and this would make the person well again. This form of ritual and healing practice is typically not embraced by mainstream North American cultures as a part of typical, everyday life meaning altered states are not institutionalized.

Trance States or Behaviors are more difficult to characterize. Other than an altered state an often inward oriented states of thought, there is most times a change in body image, emotional expression, rejuvenating feelings, and increased sense of self. Trance states involve both amplification of certain internal cognitive processes as well as a decoupling of sensory processing. All cultures have developed practices to heal the ill.

In many cultures, when home remedies fail people often turn to a specialist of some sort. Many cultures including those exposed to Western medicine resort to "magico-religious" healers such as Shamans or spirit guides. Trances and various altered states of consciousness are mainly associated with shamanistic healing practices.

Trance states can be induced by a variety of activities such as singing, drumming, dancing, chanting, fasting, sleep or sleep deprivation, and psychoactive drugs. After a person is in a trance state, they may collapse and have intense visual experiences and hallucinations while unconscious. There are two major divisions within Hinduism: Vaishnavaism and Shivaism.

Hindus believe in the repetitious Transmigration of the Soul. This is the transfer of one's soul after death into another body. This produces a continuing cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth through their many lifetimes that's called Samsara. Karma is the accumulated sum of ones good and bad deeds.

Karma determines how you will live your next life. Through pure acts, thoughts and devotion, one can be reborn at a higher level. Eventually, one can escape samsara and achieve enlightenment. Bad deeds can cause a person to be reborn as a lower level, or even as an animal. Hindus body of scriptures is divided into Sruti and Smriti.

Hindus organize their lives around certain activities Purusharthas. These are called the Four aims of Hinduism or "The doctrine of the fourfold end of life. Hinduism is unique due to the fact that there is no real distinction between beings divine and human. In Hinduism humans can appear divine, and gods human. Also, unlike most religions such as Christianity, there are two supreme gods Vishnu and Shiva, who are equal in power.

Hinduism also has other gods such as Lakshmi and Parvati, who are wives to Vishnu and Shiva. A staple of Hinduism is greetings. In most pictorials of the deities, the divine are often showing this same way of greeting, showing that the divine must show respect. Hinduism today is seen and argued as being polytheistic or monotheistic.

In fact they would both be right. They do worship many deities, but they believe that each one is part of a whole unity. This is the panentheistic principle of Brahman: that all reality is a unity. The entire universe is one divine entity that is at one with the universe. Strictly speaking, most forms of Hinduism are henotheistic, meaning they recognize a single deity, and recognizes other gods and goddesses as facets, forms, manifestations, or aspects of that God.

Viashnavism is a tradition of Hinduism distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu or his manifestations, principally as Rama and Krishna, as the original and supreme God. Viashnavism is seen as monotheistic, since adherents to this form of Hinduism believe in one Supreme God.

They believe that the living entity or soul is eternal, and that the purpose of life is to be free from reincarnation through spiritual practices. Bhakti Yoga the spiritual practice of fostering loving devotion to God is seen as the most direct method to achieve this. Desire is seen as the root of all evil, and thus a great deal of importance is assigned to the control of the senses, mainly through meditation and yoga practice. Material nature is seen as temporary, and is said to contain 3 modes: Goodness, Passion, and Ignorance. Desire, or lust, is said to be the result of material contact with the mode of passion, which is inevitably transformed into ignorance.

He is male, and eternal. He is the Creator and the Destroyer. It is said that He created the material world by impregnating it with His eyes. The Material Universe is said to last trillion 40 billion years and then die. At this point the devastation takes place, which means that the energy manifested by the Lord is again would up in Himself. Then Creation follows, and material energy is let loose once again.

This cycle repeats infinitely The monotheistic worship of Vishnu was already well developed in the period of the Itihasas.

Hopkins says "Vishnuism, in a word, is the only cultivated native sectarian native religion of India. Vaishnavism is expounded in a part of the Mahabharata known as the Bhagavad Gita, which contains the words of Krishna, one the avatars of Vishnu. Vaishnavism flourished in predominantly Shaivite South India during the seventh to tenth centuries CE, and is still commonplace, especially in Tamil Nadu, as a result of the twelve Alvars, saints who spread the sect to the common people with their devotional hymns. The temples which the Alvars visited or founded are now known as Divya Desams.

In later years Vaishnava practices increased in popularity due to the influence of sages like Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, Manavala Mamunigal, Vedanta Desika, Surdas, Tulsidas, Tyagaraja, and many others. Large Vaishnava communities now exist throughout India, and particularly in Western Indian states, such as Rajasthan and Gujarat and north eastern state Assam.

Since the s Vaishnavism has spread from within India and is now practiced in many places around the globe, including America, Europe, Africa, Russia and South America. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in C Bhaktivadanta Swami Prabhupada. Sikhism is a religion based in Punjab, India. It is the fifth-largest world religion. Guru Nanak founded the religion in CE. It means "wonderful teacher" in the Punjabi language.

Sikhism promotes the idea of salvation through disciplined and personal meditation on the name and message of God. The concept of God in Sikhism is oneness with the entire universe and its spirit. Sikhs must eliminate ego to be able to find God. Sikhs do not believe in heaven or hell. The suffering and pain caused by ego is seen as "hell" on earth. They believe that upon death, one merges back into universal nature. Sikhs view men and women as equal in the world. Women are expected to participate in the same religious life as men are.

In Sikhism, every person is fully responsible for leading a moral life. Sikhs have no priestly class. Therefore, those who are educated in the ways of the religion are free to teach others about Sikhism, however, they cannot claim to have access to God. Sikhs believe they have no right to impose their beliefs on others or to cajole members of other religions to convert. All individuals, regardless of race, gender, or nationality, are eligible to become Sikhs. Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest recorded monotheistic religions. It originated from Persia and is based on the teachings of Zoroaster , a prophet of the early 5th century BCE.

Many present day theologians point to Zoroastrianism as the influence for many of today's monotheistic world religions like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism etc. Zoroaster preached the following of Ahura Mazda which equates to God. Ahura Mazda is the supreme being of good whose enemy is represented by "druj" which is the power of evil. Zoroastrianism asks its followers simply to do good and to go through life with good thoughts, good words, and good deeds as these are necessary to create happiness and to keep the "druj" at bay. Pre-Islam Iranian governments promoted the teaching of Zoroastrianism during that time.

Zoroastrianism was extremely popular to the Iranian people and was considered a state religion until it was marginalized by other religions in the 7th century. However it is still significant due to its history, the possible influence it had on other religions, and its followers who still are around today. Currently there are approximately , Zoroastrians in the world. Buddhism is a religion based on personal spiritual development with some atheistic characteristics formed by a man named Siddhartha Gautama , who is commonly called "the Buddha " which is actually a title that means "the Enlightened One".

He was believed to be born in Nepal around BCE. Buddhism was formed after Siddhartha came to disagree with the practices and beliefs of asceticism. Born into a royal family, he became aware of suffering after taking a trip outside of the palace. Here, he encountered people suffering from disease, old age, and death. At the age of 29, having witnessed such sufferings, he decided to leave his life of comfort and become an ascetic in an attempt to find the solution to end suffering. Summer exams Subjects Qualifications Professional development Exams administration. They should develop a knowledge and critical understanding of: the specified material how the texts specified for study are interpreted and applied the influence of beliefs and teachings on individuals, communities and societies the causes, meanings and significance of similarities and differences in religious thought belief and practice within Buddhism.

Questions may be set that span more than one topic. Students should be able to use specialist language and terminology appropriately. Ultimate reality The key differences between the Theravada and Mahayana concepts of Buddha; the key features of the Trikaya doctrine in Mahayana Buddhism. Anicca: the meaning and importance of the concept of Anicca; the development of that idea in the Mahayana doctrine of emptiness.

Nirvana: Nirvana in this life and after death; Nirvana as indescribable and beyond understanding; attempts in scripture to describe it and their strengths and weaknesses with reference to the 80 th dilemma of the Questions of King Milinda. Self, death and afterlife The meaning and purpose of life: better rebirth and Nirvana as goals of life and their relative importance; the ideal of the arhat and bodhisattva in Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. Anatta no-self : the concept of anatta; the five aggregates and the analogy of the chariot in the Questions of King Milinda, Book II chapter 1.

Samsara: the cycle of birth, death and rebirth; the nature of karma and its role on the wheel of becoming; the realms of becoming and their significance including literal, metaphorical and psychological interpretations; Tibetan Buddhist beliefs about the 14 th Dalai Lama as an expression of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

Good conduct and key moral principles Good conduct: the importance of good moral conduct in the Buddhist way of life; the importance of intention; actions as kusala healthy or akusala unhealthy ; the extent of human free will and moral responsibility. The nature of the five precepts and the distinctive features of the six perfections of the Mahayana Buddhism. Ahimsa: the concept of ahimsa and its application to issues concerning the embryo and the unborn child, treatment of animals and war, including the use of weapons of mass destruction; different Buddhist views.

Expressions of religious identity The Sangha: the monastic Sangha and its changing roles in Thailand; the traditional lifestyle and role of the Sangha in Thailand including its relationship with the lay community; the Sangha in the 21 st century; the main features of the Wat Phra Dhammakaya movement. Devotion and its purposes: acts of devotion in Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism; the nature and role of Buddha images and the importance of making and sharing merit; the different perspectives of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism about the significance of worship.

Meditation: the nature and purpose of meditation on the eightfold path; modern usage of Buddhist meditation as a form of therapy and how Buddhists have responded to this. Buddhism, gender and sexuality Historical and social factors that have influenced developments in Buddhist thinking about these issues with particular reference to Thailand, including: encounter with western lifestyles and values with the development of tourism after the s; the changing roles of men and women in society outside of religion; the rights given to women by secular Thai governments.

Developments in Buddhist thought including feminist approaches: The debate leading to the revival of the Theravada order of nuns in the late s. Continuing debates about female ordination and the role of women in Theravada Buddhism with reference to the work of Dhammananda and the Sakyadhita organisation. Different Buddhist views about celibacy, marriage and homosexuality and transgender issues. Buddhism and science How and why science has influenced Buddhism and how Buddhism has responded, with particular reference to: emphasis on evidence and reason in science; specific scientific discoveries; science as a stimulus to Buddhist ethical thinking.

Developments in Buddhist thought: How scientific explanation has challenged belief in karma and in miracles and Buddhist responses to that challenge. Different Buddhist responses to ethical issues raised by science: genetic engineering. Buddhism and the challenge of secularisation This topic may be studied with exclusive reference to the British context.

Buddhism, migration and religious pluralism How migration has created multicultural societies which include Buddhism, with particular reference to the development of Buddhism in Britain; diversity within the Buddhist community in Britain; freedom of religion as a human right in European law and religious pluralism as a feature of modern secular states. Developments in Buddhist thought: How far Buddhism should be seen as a collection of different traditions with little in common, with reference to two contrasting forms of Buddhism.

Edict 12 of Ashoka on attitudes to other faiths; Buddhist attitudes to religious pluralism with reference both to diversity within Buddhism and diversity between religions, including the views of Nichiren Buddhism. Buddhist responses to issues of freedom of religious expression in society. Section B: Dialogues This section of the specification is focused on the connections between various elements of the course and requires students to develop breadth and depth in their understanding of the connections between the knowledge, understanding and skills set out in the specification.

The dialogue between Buddhism and philosophy Beliefs and teachings about: ultimate reality self, death and afterlife sources of wisdom and authority religious experience the relationship between scientific and religious discourses the truth claims of other religions miracles. How meaningful the statements of faith are, and for whom. How coherent the beliefs are, and how consistent with other beliefs within the belief system. Two unstructured questions will be set. Students must answer one.

The dialogue between Buddhism and ethics Buddhist responses to the following approaches to moral decision-making in the light of key Buddhist moral principles: deontological, with reference to Kant teleological and consequential, with reference to Bentham character based, with reference to virtue ethics. How far Buddhist ethics can be considered to be deontological, teleological, consequential, or character based.

Buddhist responses to: the issues of human life and death and issues of animal life and death prescribed for study; theft and lying; marriage; homosexuality and transgender issues; genetic engineering. Buddhist responses to issues surrounding wealth, tolerance and freedom of religious expression. Buddhist understandings of free will and moral responsibility, and the value of conscience in Buddhist moral decision-making.

They should develop a knowledge and critical understanding of: the specified material how the texts specified for study are interpreted and applied the influence of beliefs and teachings on individuals, communities and societies the causes, meanings and significance of similarities and differences in religious thought belief and practice within Christianity approaches to the study of religion and belief.

Section A: Christianity Sources of wisdom and authority The Bible: different Christian beliefs about the nature and authority of the Bible and their impact on its use as a source of beliefs and teachings, including the Bible as inspired by God but written by humans beings. The Church: the different perspectives of the Protestant and Catholic traditions on the relative authority of the Bible and the Church. God Christian Monotheism: one God, omnipotent creator and controller of all things; transcendent and unknowable; the doctrine of the Trinity and its importance; the meaning and significance of the belief that Jesus is the son of God; the significance of John ; 1 Corinthians God as Personal, God as Father and God as Love: the challenge of understanding anthropomorphic and gender specific language about God: God as Father and King, including Christian feminist perspectives.

The concept of God in process theology: God as neither omnipotent nor creator. Resurrection: the concept of soul; resurrection of the flesh as expressed in the writings of Augustine; spiritual resurrection; the significance of 1 Corinthians and Different interpretations of judgement, heaven, hell and purgatory as physical, spiritual or psychological realities; objective immortality in process thought.

Good conduct and key moral principles Good conduct: the importance of good moral conduct in the Christian way of life, including reference to teaching about justification by works, justification by faith and predestination. Sanctity of life: the concept of sanctity of life; different views about its application to issues concerning the embryo and the unborn child; the just war theory and its application to the use of weapons of mass destruction. Dominion and stewardship: the belief that Christians have dominion over animals; beliefs about the role of Christians as stewards of animals and the natural environment and how changing understandings of the effects of human activities on the environment have affected that role.

Expressions of religious identity Baptism: the significance of infant baptism in Christianity with particular reference to the Catholic and Baptist traditions; arguments in favour of and against infant baptism. Christianity, gender and sexuality Historical and social factors that have influenced developments in Christian thinking about these issues including: the development of Biblical criticism, especially in the 19th century, and the resulting freedom to challenge traditional readings of passages such as 1 Tim ; the changing roles of men and women in society outside of religion; the rights given to women by secular governments.

Developments in Christian thought, including feminist approaches: Debates about female ordination in the Church of England up to and after , the continuing debate today. Different Christian views about celibacy, marriage, homosexuality and transgender issues. Christianity and science How and why science has influenced Christianity and how Christianity has responded, with particular reference to: emphasis on evidence and reason in science; specific scientific discoveries; science as a stimulus to Christian ethical thinking. The belief that science is compatible with Christianity with reference to the views John Polkinghorne.

Different Christian responses to issues raised by science: genetic engineering.

3.2 Component 2: Study of religion and dialogues

Christianity and the challenge of secularisation This topic may be studied with exclusive reference to the British context. Developments in Christian thought: Responses to materialistic secular values: the value of wealth and possessions. Emergence of new forms of expression, such as Fresh Expressions and the House Church movement.

Emphasis on the social relevance of Christianity including liberationist approaches as supporting the poor and defending the oppressed. Christianity, migration and religious pluralism How migration has created multicultural societies which include Christianity, with particular reference to the diversity of faiths in Britain today; freedom of religion as a human right in European law and religious pluralism as a feature of modern secular states.

Pluralism with reference to John Hick; its implications for interfaith and interdenominational relations. Christian responses to issues of freedom of religious expression in society. The dialogue between Christianity and philosophy Beliefs and teachings about: God self, death and the afterlife sources of wisdom and authority religious experience the relationship between scientific and religious discourses the truth claims of other religions miracles. How coherent the beliefs are, and how consistent they are with other beliefs in the belief system. The dialogue between Christianity and ethics Christian responses to the following approaches to moral decision-making in the light of key Christian moral principles: deontological, with reference to Kant.

How far Christian ethics can be considered to be deontological, teleological, consequential, or character based. Christian responses to: the issues of human life and death and issues of animal life and death prescribed for study; theft and lying; marriage; homosexuality and transgender issues; genetic engineering. Christian responses to issues surrounding wealth, tolerance and freedom of religious expression. What do Muslims believe about angels? Unlike humans, angels are described as not possessing free will but as being by nature assigned to specific duties. Gabriel is the angel of revelation and Michael is the angel of compassion.

SATAN 9. What does Islam say about Satan? How do the stories of the prophets in Islam compare with those in Christianity and Judaism? That depends on which prophet we are talking about. Some examples include:. Were there female prophets? Some Muslim scholars hold the view that there were female prophets.

Three of the women regarded by these scholars as prophets are Eve, the wife of Adam, Asiyah, the wife of Pharaoh who in the Quran is the one who adopts Moses as her son, as opposed to the daughter who does so in the Bible , and Mary the mother of Jesus, because they all received revelation from God. Why do Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad is the final prophet? There is no specific teaching in traditional Islamic sources forbidding images of the Prophet Muhammad, and in fact one can find representations of Muhammad and other prophets in different periods of Islamic history.

What scholars warn against is the worship of such images, which in more recent times has led some groups to promote the idea that it is forbidden to represent the Prophet Muhammad. Why did some Muslims respond with protest and violence against portrayals of Muhammad in cartoons and film? This question refers to protests, sometimes erupting into lethal violence, as in the recent attack in Paris, against cartoons published in a French satirical weekly and against the film The Innocence of Muslims.

These protests raise the question of freedom of expression, and the instances of violence clearly violated the principle of respect for life. The great majority of American Muslims and many Muslims elsewhere affirm freedom of expression even for material that is offensive. Muslim leaders and organizations worldwide, even in countries that restrict the publication of such offensive material, vigorously condemned the instances of violence.

Violent reaction to these images was almost certainly fueled by political issues rather than purely by anger at the offensive images. Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf insisted that the Benghazi attack, claimed to be a spontaneous response to caricatures of Muhammad published in Denmark, was in fact long planned by militants, while the Paris atrocities were the work of militants who may well have been striving to recruit French Muslims to al-Qaeda by creating an incident that would isolate them from other French people. In either case, the images served only as a pretext.

Jesus was a non-violent reformer while Muhammad fought in wars. Why is there a difference between Jesus and Muhammad in terms of their approach? In his book Jesus through the Centuries , church historian Jaroslav Pelikan depicts and analyzes the varied views of Jesus at different times and in different cultures. The representations of Muhammad are likewise multiple. Even when one considers Jesus and Muhammad as historical figures, it is important to keep in mind a significant difference between their positions.

Jesus founded a community of believers that was politically powerless and had to function in the shadow of the overwhelming power of the Roman Empire. Muhammad, on the other hand, eventually found himself at the head of a new political community in Medina and was therefore called upon to function as a political and even military leader. Whatever differences one may find between Muhammad and Jesus should not obscure the fact that, in our vision of Islam, both Christianity and Islam uphold the principle of respect for life.

Why did the Prophet Muhammad marry so many women? Polygamy was common in 7th-century Arabia, as it has been in many other cultures, especially for a political leader; for instance, the patriarchs in the Hebrew Bible are shown as having multiple wives, and the kings of Israel are described as having harems numbering in some cases into the hundreds.

In light of the time and place, there was nothing unique or unusual about Muhammad marrying several women. Why did the Prophet Muhammad marry a nine-year old? If she was not nine, how old was she? The actual age of Aisha at the time of her marriage to Muhammad is disputed, but, the marriage could not have been consummated until she reached puberty. In many cultures, women are or were married years before a marriage is consummated.

The custom of early betrothal and marriage continued until the late 19th and early 20th century in much of the world, including Europe and North America, where there are still many states that allow for underage marriage. What do Muslims believe about Jesus? Muslims overwhelmingly revere Jesus and believe that he was born to the Virgin Mary through an act of God, just as Adam is believed to have been created by God without a father or mother.

What do Muslims believe about Mary? Muslims generally believe that she is the Virgin Mother of the Prophet Jesus. Why is it that Muslims do not celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas? While Muslims greatly revere Jesus, Christmas is generally considered a Christian holiday and not a part of Muslim cultures except where there are Christian minorities. However, some Muslims celebrate Christmas as part of an American cultural observance like Thanksgiving or Independence Day. What are the different kinds of prayer that Muslims practice?

Prayer among Muslims can take many forms. Salat take? How long does each prayer Salat take? In large groups women pray behind men. Why is that? The separation of men and women in prayer is not universal among Muslims. In some mosques women pray in balconies above the prayer hall for men, and in some American mosques women pray parallel to men while in others they pray behind the men. The reason usually adduced for this practice involves notions of modesty.

The Muslim ritual prayer is very physical in nature, involving standing, bowing, and prostrating oneself. While in congregational prayers, Muslims are supposed to stand side by side and shoulder to shoulder with those next to them. Many Muslim cultures have considered it distracting or immodest to have men and women praying side by side or to have women prostrate themselves in front of men.

How do very busy students or professionals e. Depending on their schedules, Muslims probably will not need to perform all five prayers while on the job since the prayers are spread throughout the day. In addition, each of the five prayers has a window of time during which each prayer can be performed. This time frame extends from about one hour to as long as four hours depending on the specific prayer and the time of year, since the times shift depending on the season and length of day.

Throughout most of the year, the prayer time for the noon prayer does not end while students are at school, so they can perform it when they return home. During the time of year when the prayer time ends while students are still in school, they can take a few minutes during recess or lunch to pray. Students can ask their teachers if they can pray in the classroom or library. In the case of Muslim firefighters, if they are in the midst of fighting a fire and are unable to take a break to pray, they will perform the missed prayer as soon as they are able to, along with the next prayer.

How will God determine who goes to heaven and hell? We also believe that God will judge human beings according to His complete justice on the Day of Judgment based on both their beliefs and actions, taking into account the opportunities and abilities that He gave them.

We believe that God rewards whoever behaves righteously in this life and that God knows the innermost secrets of human hearts and will judge everyone with absolute justice. Therefore, whatever actions people commit are based on their free will, for which they are held accountable. How does Islam view other religions? Moreover, we believe that the salvation of all people, Muslims included, lies with God alone. We strongly believe that people of other faiths should be treated with love and respect, affirming the Islamic principle respect for freedom of religion and conscience.

According to recent polls by Pew Research, strong majorities of Muslims in every country support the right of non-Muslims to practice their religion freely. Is that not equivalent to anti-Semitism? These passages speak to the specific historical circumstances in which they were revealed. They are not condemnations of Jews and Christians in general but of the behaviors of specific people— including, as noted, some Muslims. We hold that respect for freedom of religion and conscience is basic to our vision of Islam. Does the Qur'an teach the hatred or subjugation of non-Muslims?

The existence of old churches, temples, and synagogues throughout the Muslim world in places like Egypt, Turkey, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, India, and Bosnia and the presence of minority religious populations in those areas demonstrates that this command was historically followed by many Muslim societies. Do Muslims believe in the Bible and Torah? The completed transcript was then copied and distributed across the growing Islamic empire. The same may have been true of founders or major figures in other religious traditions.

What is the difference between the Nation of Islam and the religion of Islam? The Nation of Islam is a nationalistic movement that began in the early 20th century, whereas Islam is a religion that was revealed in the 7th century. The original Nation of Islam was also a single, hierarchical organization. Muhammad disbanded the organization and moved his followers towards traditional Islam.

The Nation of Islam was revived within a few years by various individuals, with the organization headed by Louis Farrakhan being the most prominent of these. Today, followers of his organization number less than , people, far fewer than the number of African-Americans who follow Islam. In ideology the Nation of Islam differs from the beliefs of the majority of Muslims in two major ways: the founder of the movement, W.

Fard, is considered God incarnate, and Elijah Muhammad is considered a prophet. How did Islam spread throughout the world? It varied depending on the location and period of time. Islam in its early years unified the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, and this new unity led to conflict with the nearest major powers, the Byzantine and Persian empires. The result was a major spread of Muslim rule and the establishment of a Muslim empire; but Muslim rulers in this empire did not force, and often did not even encourage, conversion to Islam. Conversion to Islam, even in areas under the control of Muslims, was a gradual process fostered through interaction, intermarriage, and missionary efforts emphasizing spirituality Sufism.

In areas like Indonesia now the largest Muslim-majority country and other parts of Southeast Asia, Islam spread mostly through traveling merchants and Sufis. In sub-Saharan Africa mostly West Africa, but also parts of Ethiopia , Islam spread mostly through trade and commercial relations. Rulers would sometimes adopt Islam while much of the population continued to practice their traditional religions. In many areas currently or formerly ruled by Muslims, large segments of the population have maintained their ancestral religions. For example, Christians are a significant minority in largely Muslim Lebanon, and Hinduism remained a majority faith through centuries of Muslim rule in South Asia.

Today we believe that forced conversions or violating the religious rights of people of other faiths are as much a violation of Islamic principles as the forced conversion of the Germanic tribes under Charlemagne or the forced conversions of some Native Americans or African slaves under colonial rule are seen as violations of Christian principles in the eyes of most modern Christians. The main differences between them today are their sources of knowledge and religious leadership. Historically, the difference originated from the question of succession after the death of the Prophet Muhammad and is related to differing views about appropriate leadership for the Muslim community.

Sunnis believe that the Muslim community was free to choose the most qualified person as ruler. In contrast, Sunnis believe that Muhammad did not appoint any particular person as his spiritual or political successor. The people of Iraq regretted their failure to support Hussein that resulted in his death. Subsequently they began a political movement to overthrow the Umayyads, who were not only responsible for his death but had also become corrupt and dynastic rulers.

Attempts to overthrow the Umayyads were unsuccessful until the Abbasid revolution in C. After the Abbasids came to power, however, the people who supported rule by the descendants of Hussein were increasingly suppressed. Does the conflict impact American Muslims? In three Arab Spring countries Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain , the sectarian divide has also been among the many factors playing a role in the conflicts, but the conflicts began for the same political and social reasons that they erupted in other Arab Spring nations. So while the two sides appear to be divided along sectarian lines, the conflict there is more a fight between an oppressive dictator and his historic allies than a specifically religious conflict.

HIJAB How do Muslims define modesty? For some Muslims, modesty also includes humility towards God and other people.

What is Salafism and where did it come from

Modesty is described by the Prophet Muhammad as an important virtue. What is hijab? Some Muslim women wear hijab while others do not and expressions of hijab vary greatly by culture, individual taste, and conviction. Do Muslim women have to wear hijab cover their hair? The wearing of hijab is, however, a matter of free choice by women in most Muslim-majority countries.

Women who choose to wear it do so for a variety of reasons: as a sign of identity, as an act of devotion to their faith, or to indicate that they do not want to be judged by their physical characteristics. Why do some Muslim women cover their faces? Women in some Muslim cultures understand modesty to require covering not only their whole body and head but also their faces. Therefore, when in public, they wear a burqa a loose garment which covers the body and face or niqab a covering for the face that leaves the eyes exposed. Why are standards of modest dress different for men and women?

The answer again depends on whom you are talking to. One understanding of modest dress for men in some Muslim traditions requires them to cover from the navel to knee and to dress modestly in loose-fitting clothing. The traditional clothing worn by Muslim men in such places as South Asia, where they wear a loose shirt and pants, or in some Arab countries, where men wear what looks like a long dress jalaba and a headscarf kuffiyah , differs little in the extent of covering from the traditional dress of Muslim women.

While it is not as common to see this type of male dress in America, many Muslim men grow a beard and wear a head covering that resembles a skull cap, as do observant practitioners in some other religious traditions. WOMEN Are men and women equal in Islam? Many Muslims, in America and elsewhere, advocate and demand complete equality between men and women. Women hold and have held many positions of authority and leadership in the American Muslim community.


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In Muslim-majority countries women today work as physicians, businesswomen, engineers, and lawyers and have served as heads of state. In other Muslim communities, depending on social, historical, and cultural conditions, the position of women is very different and is not equal either in theory or practice. They include the following:. You are from each other. How are women treated in Muslim countries?

There are some 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world. So, for example, in many Muslim-majority countries women are involved at the highest levels of education, employment, and politics, with many female physicians, engineers, lawyers, and other professionals. Do Muslim women have to stay at home or can they work? In fact, in most Muslim communities, Muslim women work outside the home. Increasing numbers of Muslim women throughout the world are employed in various highlevel professions, including those that are male dominated, such as medicine and engineering. This is true even in countries known to have a conservative understanding of Islam, such as Saudi Arabia.

How does Islam view domestic violence? Domestic violence and spousal abuse violate the Islamic principle of respect for human dignity; if severe enough, they may even violate the principle of respect for life. According to classical Islamic law, spousal abuse is grounds for a Muslim woman to initiate divorce.

The extant biographies of Muhammad record him as never having hit a woman or even a child and as condemning those who did. Are there any examples of Muslim women rulers or leaders? In recent decades women have been heads of state in several Muslim-majority nations:. While most rulers in Muslim history have been male, as in most societies, there have been a few female Muslim rulers in past centuries and in modern times. This is a misconception concerning Islamic history.

According to historians, there have been thousands of female Muslim scholars throughout Islamic history, many of whom were teachers of renowned male scholars. Some notable examples include:. There are many hadith prophetic sayings encouraging the seeking of knowledge that have led numerous Muslim women in history to become scholars, writers, and teachers of both men and women, as noted in the previous question.

Individual Muslims follow differing guidelines in this matter. Are Muslims allowed to marry people of other faiths? Today there is great diversity in both thinking and practice on this question.