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Muslim Culture - Essay Example

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This paper seeks to discuss Muslim culture by relating information from a text with the film, Islam: Empire of Faith, produced by Robert Gardner…
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Muslim Culture
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Muslim Culture Introduction Muslim culture refers to the many diverse Islamic religious groups across the world and their variations on customs and traditions. This paper seeks to discuss Muslim culture by relating information from a text with the film, Islam: Empire of Faith, produced by Robert Gardner for PBS.
Birthplace of Islam
Mecca, a city in Arabia, was the birthplace of Islam. It first became a settlement located on a shrine called the Ka’bah. The Ka’bah housed a huge stone that was believed to have been brought to earth by Archangel Gabriel. This stone was given to Abraham and his son Ishmael. From this, Muslims believed that Abraham was the first Muslim. Mecca had grown into a huge city by the time prophet Muhammad was born in the 6th century.
The Prophet Muhammad
Although the exact date of birth of Prophet Muhammad is not known, it is believed that he was born in A.D 570. Muhammad worked as a caravan trader and later worked for a wealthy widow as her business agent. He managed to alleviate the divisions in Mecca that had been caused by large influx of foreigners. Muhammad set to subjugate Mecca. Under the leadership of Muhammad, Islamized Arabs conquered many parts of Arab.
Islam after Muhammad
The fact that Muhammad was God’s prophet on earth made it hard for anyone to succeed him. Some Muslims proposed that Islamic leadership should be passed within Muhammad’s family. However, most Muslims were opposed to this opting for tribal traditions where inheritance was based on prestige and power of one’s family as well as its position in the tribal system.
Muhammad’s Early Successors
Abu Bakr, believed to be the first convert to Islam outside Muhammad’s family, became the first caliph. His successor as caliph was Umar bin Al-Khattab. Muslims regard Umar as the second founder of Islam. He was later succeeded by Uthman bin Affan.
Islam: Empire of Faith
Islam: Empire of Faith is a documentary film produced by Robert Gardner for PBS. There are several similarities as well as differences between the information from the above discussed text and the film;
Birthplace of Islam
While the film does not provide much information on the birthplace of Islam, it acknowledges that Islam could have originated from Mecca. According to the film, the city enjoyed great economic success as a centre for trade. This impacted heavily on the origin and growth of Islam. The film, however, does not indicate whether Abraham was the first Islam.
The Prophet Muhammad
The film differs from the information provided in the text by claiming that Prophet Muhammad was born in the 7th century (Islam: Empire of Faith). It, however, asserts that Muhammad conquered Mecca and its neighboring. The film shows that although men were killed during wars and women and children sold to slavery, Muhammad refused to exact bloody revenge. He used violence only against the idols at Ka’bah.
Islam after Muhammad
After the death of Muhammad, the film points out unity as the key factor that led to the fast spread of Islam through conquest. Similar to information from the text, the film points out that Muhammad did not live to see much of the success achieved by his followers.
Muhammad’s Early Successors
The film mentions on the first four caliphs that succeeded Prophet Muhammad. However, there is no mention that three of these first four caliphs were assassinated. This is neither mentioned in the text. The film, however, talks of the immense work done by these caliphs in spreading Islam beyond the confines of Arabia (Islam: Empire of Faith).
Conclusion
Islamic culture continues to interest scholars across the world. The origin, growth and culture of Islam are among the most researched topics on this religion. There is need, however, for scholars to look for more information on this religion in order to shed more light on contentious issues.
Works Cited
Islam: Empire of Faith. Dir. Robert Gardner. Perf. John Travolta and Halle Berry. Public Broadcasting Service, 2001. Film. Read More
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