When studying the different religions of the world we tend of focus on the distinctions between these religions and understanding what makes them unique, however it is important to note that although these religions are distinct and unique in their own way, there are common themes and structures that can be applied to them. Some of the common elements present in the different religions that we will be studying this semester are:
• Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Writings
o Divinely inspired writings that contain origins of the religion, essential beliefs, and major teachings. Some religions also revere writings of prominent figures throughout their history who have contributed to expounding the theology of the religion (ex: writings of the Islamic saints)
• Beliefs and Practices
o Tenets of the religion that unify its community of believers on a variety of topics ranging from their relationship with the divine, soteriology, creation, eschatology, anthropology, etc.
• Prayer and Worship
o Liturgical practices that believers of the faith participate in throughout their daily lives. Some liturgical practices and rituals of prayer are performed in conjunction with the celebration of religious festivals at particular times of the week (ex: Sabbath) or times of the year (ex: Christmas)
• Morality – Code of Ethics
o Guiding principles that adherents of the faith abide by throughout their lives informed by the theology of the religion
o Understanding how the religion was established and the advances of the religion throughout human history that shape the global image of the religion today while also recognizing changes in theology that have occurred throughout history due to major historical events
In your reading of Chapter 12 – Encountering Islam: The Straight Path of the One God you have gained a better understanding of what the religion of Islam is all about from the context of its history, sacred scriptures, beliefs and practices, code of ethics, etc. You will now use the information gleaned in the chapter to expand upon particular elements of Islam enumerated below:
- Islamic Symbols and Names (.5 pages)
A. Identify a common Islamic symbol and explain its significance
I. Consider the following:
- History/Origins of the symbol
- Important religious figure(s) associated with the symbol and their involvement with it
- How is the symbol utilized by Muslims today?
A. Is it used during prayer/worship?
B. Is it worm as an outward sign of faith?