Section 1- Believing in God
Section 2- Matters of Life & Death
Section 3- Marriage & the Family
Section 4- Social Harmony
Section 5- Religion & the Media OR Religion, Wealth & Poverty
Believing in God
The nature of Allah
What is Allah like?
Surah 1, 2:115, 6:95, 30:20, 40:68
Ar Rahman, Ar Rahim, Al Aziz
1:1 بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم
Bismillāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm
In the name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful:
1:2 الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين
Al ḥamdu lillāhi rabbi l-'ālamīn
Praise be to God, the Lord of the Universe.
1:3 الرَّحْمـنِ الرَّحِيم
Ar raḥmāni r-raḥīm
The Most Merciful, the Ever Merciful.
1:4 مَـالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّين
Māliki yawmi d-dīn
King of the Day of Judgment.
1:5 إِيَّاك نَعْبُدُ وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِين
Iyyāka na'budu wa iyyāka nasta'īn
You alone we worship, and You alone we ask for help
1:6 اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيمَ
Ihdinā ṣ-ṣirāṭ al mustaqīm
Guide us to the straight path;
1:7 صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّين
Ṣirāṭ al-laḏīna an'amta 'alayhim ġayril maġḍūbi 'alayhim walāḍ ḍāllīn
The path of those whom you have blessed, not of those who have deserved anger, nor of those who stray.
How does the way you are brought up affect your beliefs?
- Teaching young children how to pray. Through this learning they can become familiar with God.
- Naming/head shaving ceremony – this is a sign of their commitment in teaching their children about God.
- Religious Education: e.g. Madrasah – where they have the opportunity to learn about God and worship.
- Fathers take children to Mosque, so that from an early age they become familiar with this form of worship and beliefs about God. From this, most children would presume that God exists.
- Primary and secondary schools also influence beliefs, e.g. assemblies, prayers, RE lessons…
- Religious stories, pictures, prayer aids, all help children because they allow them to build up concrete images in their minds whilst at the same time learn about God.
A religious experience is when somebody believes they have communicated with God in any way. It could be that they have spoken to or seen God, or it could be a feeling that they get in a religious building or event. It could be experienced whilst praying, and may result in the person feeling closer to God.
In Islam this particularly relates to the Night of Power, Hajj, Salaat, Zakaat & Sawm
The feeling you get when you enter a religious building, or a beautiful place : awe and wonder, a feeling that there is something greater than you which you can only call God: NUMINOUS. E.G. Moses and the Burning Bush
A belief that a MIRACLE has happened.
E.G. Cures at Lourdes and the Prophet receiving the Qur’an.
An experience whereby you feel that you have been in contact with God in a special way MYSTICAL
E.G. Having an experience, dream or vision that you cannot explain
The feeling that there is something within you wanting you to change your life and become more committed to your religion: CONVERSION.
E.G. Saint Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts)
A belief that your PRAYERS have been answered
If you found a watch, even if you had no idea what it was, you would realise from the intricate design of the mechanism that it must have been designed by someone, to tell the time.
The world is far more intricate. When we look around and see the complex eco systems and the different mechanisms like the human DNA- we see that it must have been designed. Like the watch, but much greater and more fantastic! Only God could design something so intricate and complex as the universe so there must be a God.
Everything has a cause
Nothing can cause itself
Therefore everything is caused by something else.
An infinite regress of causes is impossible, because something must have started it all. Therefore there must be an Uncaused Cause, or First Cause, which is eternal and has no cause. This Uncaused Cause is therefore God.
Search for meaning
Life: Birth, growing up, education, career, marriage, children, happiness, sorrow, love…
Many people wonder why we are here, what is the point? The answer is that life does hold purpose and meaning. This for some people leads to belief in God: He has some divine plan for each of us. Death: Why? Where do we go? What is it? Is it permanent? What possible explanation is there? For some people this leads to a belief in God, who has a divine plan.
What may lead to agnosticism or atheism?
- The big bang
- Unanswered prayers
- Evil & Suffering
- Lack of empirical evidence
Evil & Suffering
- The problem is that Muslims believe that Allah is:
- OMNIPOTENT- all powerful- yet He does not stop evil from happening
- OMNISCIENT- all knowing- so why did He not know that the world would be like this before He create it?
- BENEVOLENT- kind and loving- so how can He allow the pain and suffering?
- Preparation for Judgement
- Muslims point out that this world is not a paradise, but that God created this world as a preparation for paradise. In this world, we have to improve our souls and become good enough to enter paradise. Any suffering in this life will be put right.
- God has a reason
- Some Muslims believe that because we cannot understand God’s reasons, there is no point worrying about it. God must have a reason for allowing evil and suffering. What might seem wrong to us could have some purpose for God that we cannot see.
- Muslims believe that the devil is at work in the work trying to tempt people away from God.
Matters of Life & Death
There are 3 main areas to this topic
- Life after death- what do Muslim believe happens when you die? Why do some non-religious people believe in life after death? Why do some people think there is no life after death?
- Abortion- The law in the UK. Non religious views. Different Islamic views on abortion.
- Euthanasia- what is it? What does the law say? Non-religious arguments. Islamic views on euthanasia.
- In addition to this there is the overriding concept of the Sanctity of Life.
- Judgement & resurrection
- Body stays in ground until last day. God will end the world then everything will be raised to a new life. Everyone will be judged by God & go to heaven or hell.
- The Qur'an teaches it & is the word of God
- The Prophet Muhammed taught it & he is the ultimate example to Muslims.
- This life is a test & depends on judgement for it to make sense. Otherwise there would be no reason to be good.
Sanctity of Life
This overrides all teachings on life & death because it is the idea that life is holy & comes from God. It is because of this that religious people adopt their attitudes towards life.
- What it is
- The law
- Non-religious views
- Firstly… the Qur’an does not mention abortion! As with many other issues, scholars have interpreted the teachings of the Qur’an & applied them to the idea of abortion.
- There are 3 Islamic views.
- What? Abortion is always wrong.
- Why? Life begins at conception therefore it is taking a life which is murder & the Qur’an prohibits this.
- What? Abortion is wrong unless the mother’s life is at risk.
- Why? They believe the Qur’an bans abortion but the Shari’ah has laws saying the mother’s life takes priority.
- What? Abortion should be discouraged but is acceptable up to 120 days in certain circumstances.
- Why? There are Hadith saying that ensoulment happens at 120 days. The quality of life of existing family members should be considered.
- What? Abortion is always wrong.
- What it is
- Non-religious arguments
- There are no Muslim teaching supporting euthanasia.
- It is viewed as wrong because the Qur’an bans suicide & helping someone to end their life is viewed the same. It would also been seen as murder which the Qur’an forbids. In addition it is cheating the test & would result in going to hell.
- Some Muslim would accept turning off a life support machine because some Muslim lawyers have supported this. If the person is brain dead then God has already taken them.
- Some Muslims believe that the use of contraception is acceptable under the following conditions:
- Contraception should never be used to encourage promiscuity.
- Forms of contraception such as the pill and the condom are considered OK. Difficult to reverse forms of contraception (e.g. a vasectomy) are considered less acceptable.
- Contraception should not however be used to prevent a family as children are a gift from God & sex is meant for procreation.
Marriage & the Family
- Changing trends & attitudes towards relationships in the UK particularly:
- Cohabitation More people live together before or instead of marriage
- Divorce More common resulting in single parent & reconstituted families
Marriage in Islam
- Very important for having a family & following the example of the Prophet.
Main features of a Muslim wedding:
- A dowry is arranged. This is a sum of money paid to the bride. The money belongs to the wife and is hers to keep should the couple ever divorce.
- The marriage ceremony (nikah) can take place at home or in a mosque. The ceremony will include:
- Reading of Surahs, khutbah & prayers
- Agreement to the dowry in front of witnesses.
- Exchange of vows.
- Signing of the contract
- There will then be a party with family & friends.
- A last resort, The Prophet Muhammad said “Of all the things that are permissible, divorce is the most hated by Allah.” (It also makes the throne of Allah shake when a couple have a divorce)
- To have a divorce the following procedure must be followed:
- The family should try to help the couple to stay together.
- The husband must state that the marriage is over in front of witnesses on three separate occasions.
- Iddah – A period of three months when the couple will stay in the same house but not sleep together..
- If the couple finally decide to divorce then the wife will receive the final part of her dowry.
- Talaq- a divorce only one partner wants
- Kuhl- a divorce both partners agree to
- The Qur’an permits divorce, but it is one of the most hated Halal's (things that are permitted) to Allah.
- The Shari’ah permits divorce
The Prophet disapproved
- It destroys families
- Most Muslim’s are against homosexuality as it does not follow God’s plan for the procreation of humanity.
- Some Muslim homosexual support groups exist as people struggle to fit in within a culture that sees their lifestyle as wrong.
You need to be aware of:
- the different types of family
- Islamic teachings on family
- How Islam can help with bringing up children
Family in Islam
- Children should be brought up by a mother & father that are married to each other
- Parents should make sure the home is halal
- Children should look after their parents in old age
- Parent should send their children to madrasah & show them how to practice the Five Pillars
- Children are a gift from God & Muslims will be judged on how well they raised their family
- The Prophet was married & raised a family
- Children learn morals & are introduced to faith which makes the religion continue & the world a better place
You need to know:
- The changes in women’s rights
- Islamic attitudes to men & women (inc sexism & equality)
- UK as a multi ethnic society (inc prejudice, discrimination & racism)
- Islam & racial harmony (inc Hajj & Ummah)
- UK as a multi faith society (inc religious freedom & religious pluralism)
- Muslim attitudes to other religions
Women’s Rights in the UK
- Today by law women in the UK have equal rights to men, although they are still not always treated as equal.
- From around 1850 married women more often stayed home to raise the family.
- 1882 Married Women’s Property Act
- 1918 women of 31 could vote, in 1928 this was lowered to 21
- 1970 Equal Pay Rights
- 1975 Sex Discrimination Act
Men & Women in Islam
- Women raise family in halal home
- Men financial provide & make sure the children are good Muslims
- Qur’an- men have stronger physique to work, women created to bear children
- Equal roles where women can work but priority is to raise the family
- Qur’an- men & women equal in religion & education
- Prophet encouraged men & women to worship together
- Equal roles where women can work but priority is to raise the family
Multi Ethnic UK
- Mixed society right back to Romans, Vikings etc
- Some black communities came here as slaves
- Jews came to escape persecution
- People from India, Pakistan, & Caribbean came to lessen labour shortage post war
- Immigration continues, particularly within the EU
- Ethnic minorities tend to be concentrated in certain areas
Prejudice & Discrimination
- In order for the UK to be a multi ethnic society it must promote racial harmony. There are therefore things in place to encourage harmony (inc lessons in schools) & laws (Race Relations Act 1976, CRE). The government also oppose discrimination & promote equal opportunities.
Benefits of Multi Ethnic Society
- Less chance of war, people get to know each other
- New people bring new ideas which stimulates change
- Greater variety in clothes, food, music etc
- Helps people to see how we are all similar
Islam & Racial Harmony
- Islam promotes racial harmony as there are Muslims from many racial backgrounds who form the Ummah, so Muslims should treat them as brothers.
Islam also promotes this through the example of Hajj and Ummrah where Muslims from all over the world come to the house of Allah to worship, regardless of their colour, ethnicity or background. All different backgrounds stand next to each other in prayer and all wear the same clothes. There is no differentiation between poor or rich or slave or free. Muslims believe that we are all equals in the sight of Allah, so this shows that there is no discrimination in Islam.
- The Qur’an teaches that all races are equal.
- The Prophet promoted racial harmony in his last sermon.
- The Prophets first prayer caller was black whereas the Prophet was middle eastern.
UK as a Multi Faith Society
- For a long time there were Christians of different denomination.
- In the 17th C Jews were also given political rights.
- In the 20th C many immigrants brought new faiths to the UK
Benefits of Multi Faith Society
- People learn from others
- People think more about their own religion
- Stops conflicts
- Encourages understanding & religious freedom
Islam & Other Religions
- Islam is the only true religion but others have the right to exist & some will lead to God (Christianity & Judaism)
- No compulsion in religion
- Qur’an mentions people of the book
- Islam only true religion, others have the right to exist but will not go to heaven so Muslims should try to convert them.
- Prophet Muhammed was seal of the Prophets
- Only Muslims will go to heaven according to the Qur’an
- Truth in all religions, different paths to God.
- Qur’an teaches God is merciful & won’t let good religious people suffer in hell.
Religion Wealth & Poverty
- The need for world development- causes, extent & effects of poverty
- Detailed knowledge of a Muslim agency that works to relieve poverty in the UK & abroad
- Islamic teachings on: possessions, use of wealth, stewardship, compassion, charity, justice, relationship between rich & poor.
Causes of Poverty
- Natural Disasters
- Unfair trade
- Lack of education
The Need for World Development
- As technology, particularly travel & media, improves we are more aware of the problems other face & are becoming increasingly dependent on each other.
- Why should we help?
- The UN Declaration of Human Rights outlines basic rights that all people are entitled to. This includes a certain standard of living, the right to education & freedom.
- We need things from less developed countries so need to support them.
- The imbalance between countries could lead to violence towards rich countries.
- Respond to emergencies
- Ongoing projects to improve quality of life including education, healthcare, housing & water
- Work in the UK to improve quality of life for the many ethnic minorities living in poverty & projects to overcome education problems such as under-achieving in Pakistani boys.
Islam & Wealth
- Wealth is given by God & should be shared
- Muslims have a duty to support family financially but only through moral ways.
- Alcohol, gambling, sex industry & interest are not appropriate ways of making money
- God made Adam as his khalifah & we all take on this responsibility
- We have a duty to look after all of God creation, the environment & the people.
- This involves promoting justice & ensuring everyone is treated fairly
- Muslims will be judged on how well they performed as khalifah.
- GCSE RE
- Edexcel Exam board
- Unit D