History UsefulNotes / Islam

11th Apr '16 8:27:23 PM Doug86
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* Specifically, Islam was spread not by the sword alone but also by tax policy: Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians, being monotheists, are considered to be in the same boat as Muslims, and have protected status in Muslim law- that is, they have the option of not converting if they pay an extra "jizya" (humility) tax and thus receive Dhimmi status (protected by Muslims but with less rights in society). At the time the Sassanid and Eastern Roman empire had expended most of their treasuries and military fighting each other ([[ThreeHundred itself an extension of the]] [[AlexanderTheGreat ongoing Greek Persian conflict]]) on top of Bubonic plague in Rome, which not only allowed the newly risen Caliphate to run over them but also meant the Jizya was actually less than the poll tax at the current time. But taxes rose, people started to convert to Islam to get out of paying the ''jizyah'' and this caused the collapse of the first Caliphate dynasty as they could not figure out an alternate tax structure. Note that being Muslim did not mean getting out of paying - they still have to pay ''zakat'' or alms. Unlike Jizya, however, zakat is a fixed amount (2.5% of capital assets owned for over one lunar year for those who can afford to pay, as a rule of thumb, although different--but still fixed!--rules apply to certain types of agricultural and mineral property and [[{{plunder}} spoils of war]]), and unlike jizya there is a minimum threshold amount of wealth one must have before one is required to pay ''zakat'', so if the jizya did happen to rise to more than the zakat it would still explain why people would convert.

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* Specifically, Islam was spread not by the sword alone but also by tax policy: Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians, being monotheists, are considered to be in the same boat as Muslims, and have protected status in Muslim law- that is, they have the option of not converting if they pay an extra "jizya" (humility) tax and thus receive Dhimmi status (protected by Muslims but with less rights in society). At the time the Sassanid and Eastern Roman empire had expended most of their treasuries and military fighting each other ([[ThreeHundred itself an extension of the]] [[AlexanderTheGreat [[UsefulNotes/AlexanderTheGreat ongoing Greek Persian conflict]]) on top of Bubonic plague in Rome, which not only allowed the newly risen Caliphate to run over them but also meant the Jizya was actually less than the poll tax at the current time. But taxes rose, people started to convert to Islam to get out of paying the ''jizyah'' and this caused the collapse of the first Caliphate dynasty as they could not figure out an alternate tax structure. Note that being Muslim did not mean getting out of paying - they still have to pay ''zakat'' or alms. Unlike Jizya, however, zakat is a fixed amount (2.5% of capital assets owned for over one lunar year for those who can afford to pay, as a rule of thumb, although different--but still fixed!--rules apply to certain types of agricultural and mineral property and [[{{plunder}} spoils of war]]), and unlike jizya there is a minimum threshold amount of wealth one must have before one is required to pay ''zakat'', so if the jizya did happen to rise to more than the zakat it would still explain why people would convert.
28th Mar '16 3:41:40 PM AlleyOop
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** One of his marriages, that to Aisha bint Abu Bakr, is particularly [[ValuesDissonance controversial]], due to the fact that he was legally wed to her when she was [[OldManMarryingAChild six]]. The Sahih Bukhari, considered the most authoritative text on the matter, indicates that he later consummated his marriage with her when she was nine. Although, to what extent that hadith is authentic can be debated, and other sources of varying repute indicate that she was ten, twelve[[note]]or around the time she would begin menstruating and thus reach the age of majority at the time, according to the concept of ''baligh'', and therefore a JailBaitWait by contemporary standards[[/note]] at the time of the consummation.

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** One of his marriages, that to Aisha bint Abu Bakr, is particularly [[ValuesDissonance controversial]], due to the fact that he was legally wed to her when she was [[OldManMarryingAChild six]]. The Sahih Bukhari, considered the most authoritative text on the matter, indicates that he later consummated his marriage with her when she was nine. Although, to what extent that hadith is authentic can be debated, and other sources of varying repute indicate that she was ten, ten or twelve[[note]]or around the time she would begin menstruating and thus reach the age of majority at the time, according to the concept of ''baligh'', and therefore a JailBaitWait by contemporary standards[[/note]] at the time of the consummation.
28th Mar '16 3:41:14 PM AlleyOop
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** One of his marriages, that to Aisha bint Abu Bakr, is particularly [[ValuesDissonance controversial]], due to the fact that he was legally wed to her when she was [[OldManMarryingAChild six]]. The Sahih Bukhari, considered the most authoritative text on the matter, indicates that he later consummated his marriage with her when she was nine. Although, to what extent that hadith is authentic can be debated, and other sources of varying repute indicate that she was ten, twelve[[note]]or around the time she would begin menstruating and thus reach the age of majority at the time, according to the concept of ''baligh'', and therefore a JailBaitWait by contemporary standards[[/note]], or as old as nineteen (when Mohammed died) at the time of the consummation.

to:

** One of his marriages, that to Aisha bint Abu Bakr, is particularly [[ValuesDissonance controversial]], due to the fact that he was legally wed to her when she was [[OldManMarryingAChild six]]. The Sahih Bukhari, considered the most authoritative text on the matter, indicates that he later consummated his marriage with her when she was nine. Although, to what extent that hadith is authentic can be debated, and other sources of varying repute indicate that she was ten, twelve[[note]]or around the time she would begin menstruating and thus reach the age of majority at the time, according to the concept of ''baligh'', and therefore a JailBaitWait by contemporary standards[[/note]], or as old as nineteen (when Mohammed died) standards[[/note]] at the time of the consummation.
6th Mar '16 12:48:14 AM Dimas28
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* "Sunni" derives from ''sunnah'', which means 'example, precedent', because they believe that the ''Ummah'' or the community of Muslims correctly chosen the Rashidun, the four rightly guided caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman ibn Affan and Ali--the same Ali that the Shiites follow, it's complicated) by popular election. Sunnis believe the example of the original Muslim community and Muhammad to best guide. They are further divided into different ''madhhab'', schools of law, Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi'i and Maliki schools, each of which has specific prohibitions and allowances, but are considered equally valid by most (except when Muslims follow a different ''maddhab'' than their conqueror does). It's more like the difference between Methodist and Lutheran than Protestant and Catholic.
** Islam has its own entire school of psycho fundamentalists, the Wahhabi (who call themselves Salafi), if you've heard of it, is a particularly unique and radical school of Hanbalism strong in Saudi Arabia that Al-Qaeda follows. The Wahhabis are considered to be fucking insane by ALL islamic sects and schools other than themselves. Their founder was particularly fond of going out and killing people who refused to convert to his exact take on Islam, which, by the way, is expressly ''forbidden'' by God.
* Note also that the Muslim ''maddhahib'' (plural of ''maddhab'') are schools of ''law'': their job is interpreting the Islamic laws, or Shari'ah. In this respect, they're more like court systems. Indeed, like courts in [[TheCommonLaw the common-law tradition]] (i.e. derived from English law), they are bound by precedent and do not regard themselves of makers of new law but clarifiers of existing law, even though they do in fact make law this way. Some scholars even think the English got the idea of binding precedent (as well as trusts and some other legal concepts) from Muslims during UsefulNotes/TheCrusades, but that's [[FlameBait a rather contentious subject]], to say the least.
* Most Muslims (somewhere in the range of 80%) are Sunni, including most of the Muslim population of North Africa, Arabia, Jordan, Israel-Palestine, Turkey and some others.
* 'Shi'a' means 'party, following', and they are the party of Ali specifically. Unlike the Sunni, they believe Muhammad declared before his death that his son-in-law Ali, who married his daughter Fatima and was the first male convert to Islam, was invested with the ability to interpret the Koran without error. Shiah don't rate the early community as highly as Sunni because they believe they mistakenly chose Abu Bakr and instead that Ali is the true first Caliph and Imam. In any case, Sunnis agree he was elected the fourth Caliph; however, he was martyred during the serious warfare of these early divisions. His sons Hassan and Hussein continued his line, and were martyred too. Shiah then divide themselves further depending on how many legitimate successors of Muhammad and Ali they recognize, the major groups are the Twelvers, Fivers (aka Zaidis), Seveners (aka Ismailis) and Ismaili Nizaris (who believe that the legitimate line of Imams has continued to this day--they are currently on the 49th Imam). Twelvers form the vast majority of Shiah and the vast majority of them live in Iran, another reason not to confuse Iranians with Arabs. However, the first great Shi'a state was the Fatamid caliphate in Egypt, which was Ismaili. That's as in Fatimah, Ali's wife. Sunnis tend to find the whole idea of a hereditary Caliphate un-Islamic, hence the bitter divide between the sects...despite the fact that many Sunni kingdoms have been hereditary as well. The Shiite version of the Shahada appends the phrase ''...wa 'aliyyun waliyyu-llah'' (...and Ali is the Vicegerent of God) to the end.
* Shi'a Muslims are a smaller proportion of the Muslim population (about 10 to 20%), but are the majority in Iraq, Iran, and Azerbaijan, among others; they form a plurality in Lebanon (the majority of Lebanese Muslims are Shi'a, but only about 55-60% of Lebanese are Muslim, the remainder being Christian) and Yemen is split about 50-50 between Sunnis and Zaidi Shiites. Substantial minorities of Shia in a majority-Sunni country are quite common. Because of this lineage, the concept of the Imam and the guidance of clerics is much more important to Shi'as than Sunnis. The fact the Iran is what Westerners would call a theocracy is an example of this.

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* "Sunni" derives from ''sunnah'', which means 'example, precedent', because they believe that the ''Ummah'' or the community of Muslims correctly chosen chose the Rashidun, the four rightly guided caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman ibn Affan and Ali--the same Ali that the Shiites follow, it's complicated) by popular election. Sunnis believe the example of the original Muslim community and Muhammad to be the best guide. They are further divided into different ''madhhab'', schools of law, law: Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi'i and Maliki schools, each of which has specific prohibitions and allowances, but are considered equally valid by most (except when Muslims follow a different ''maddhab'' than their conqueror does). It's more like the difference between Methodist and Lutheran than Protestant and Catholic.
** Islam has its own entire school of psycho fundamentalists, the Wahhabi (who call themselves Salafi), if you've heard of it, is a particularly unique and radical school of Hanbalism strong in Saudi Arabia that Al-Qaeda follows. The Wahhabis are considered to be fucking insane by ALL islamic sects and schools other than themselves. Their founder was particularly fond of going out and killing people who refused to convert to his exact take on Islam, which, by the way, is expressly ''forbidden'' by God.
*
Note also that the Muslim ''maddhahib'' (plural of ''maddhab'') are schools of ''law'': their job is interpreting the Islamic laws, or Shari'ah. In this respect, they're more like court systems. Indeed, like courts in [[TheCommonLaw the common-law tradition]] (i.e. derived from English law), they are bound by precedent and do not regard themselves of makers of new law but clarifiers of existing law, even though they do in fact make law this way. Some scholars even think the English got the idea of binding precedent (as well as trusts and some other legal concepts) from Muslims during UsefulNotes/TheCrusades, but that's [[FlameBait a rather contentious subject]], to say the least.
* ** Most Muslims (somewhere in the range of 80%) are Sunni, including so their dispersion can be listed as "everywhere, except for the Shi'a-majority ones". The ''maddhab'' followed, however, varies between regions. The breakdown is as follows:
*** Hanafi: Historically the largest and oldest school, it is now followed in Central Asia, South Asia, the Balkans, Egypt (sedentary Egyptians only), Turkey (and by extension its large diaspora in Europe), Iraq, and the Levant (for the latter three, the Kurds are the exception).
*** Hanbali: Mainly followed in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
*** Maliki: Followed in
most of Africa except for the sedentary Egyptians and the nomadic Bedouins, as well as the Persian Gulf states not named Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE.
*** Shafi'i: Followed by the nomadic Bedouins of Egypt, the Kurds, the Horn of Africa states, and Southeast Asia.
** Islam has its own entire school of psycho fundamentalists, the Wahhabi (who call themselves Salafi), if you've heard of it, is a particularly unique and radical school of Hanbalism. It has its origins in the Najd region of UsefulNotes/SaudiArabia (that big desert in the center of the Arabian Peninsula housing the capital city, Riyadh), and, through complex political issues, was spread as a condition for the state to be approved by the ''ulema''[[note]]And we mean, really, ''really'' complex. The state is the only one in
the Muslim population world to be created by a ''jihad'' through the cooperation of North Africa, the monarchy and the ''ulema''. This means that, for the monarchy to be legitimate, they have to allow the ''ulema'' to do whatever they want, including spreading the Wahhabi school into traditionally non-Wahhabi regions like Hejaz, which houses the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.[[/note]]. This of course means that the movement is strong in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel-Palestine, Turkey and some others.
the country being [[ArabOilSheikh a rich oil-exporter as it is]], the movement is exported through aid given by the country to more impoverished countries and in turn provide the basis for many Sunni fundamentalist groups such as Taliban and Al-Qaeda[[note]]Hence, many dub Saudi Arabia as the "national capital of radicalism", and yet, the country is staunchly pro-Western, pro-US, and actually has a rather cool relationship with UsefulNotes/{{Israel}} than many other Arab countries; [[GreyAndGreyMorality gone cross-eyed yet]]?[[/note]]. The Wahhabis are considered to be fucking insane by ALL other Islamic denominations and schools other than themselves. Their founder was particularly fond of going out and killing people who refused to convert to his exact take on Islam, which, by the way, is expressly ''forbidden'' by God.
* 'Shi'a' means 'party, following', and they are the party of Ali specifically. Unlike the Sunni, they believe Muhammad declared before his death that his son-in-law Ali, who married his daughter Fatima and was the first male convert to Islam, was invested with the ability to interpret the Koran without error. Shiah The Shi'as don't rate the early community as highly as the Sunni because they believe they mistakenly chose Abu Bakr and instead insists that Ali is the true first Caliph and Imam. In any case, Sunnis agree he was elected the fourth Caliph; however, he was martyred during the serious warfare of these early divisions. His sons Hassan and Hussein continued his line, and were martyred too. Shiah The Shia's then divide themselves further depending on how many legitimate successors of Muhammad and Ali they recognize, the major groups are the Twelvers, Fivers (aka Zaidis), Seveners (aka Ismailis) and Ismaili Nizaris (who believe that the legitimate line of Imams has continued to this day--they are currently on the 49th Imam). Twelvers form the vast majority of Shiah Shia's and the vast majority of them live in Iran, UsefulNotes/{{Iran}}, another reason not to confuse Iranians with Arabs. However, the first great Shi'a state was the Fatamid caliphate Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt, which was Ismaili. That's as in Fatimah, Ali's wife. Sunnis tend to find the whole idea of a hereditary Caliphate un-Islamic, hence the bitter divide between the sects...despite the fact that many Sunni kingdoms have been hereditary as well. The Shiite version of the Shahada appends the phrase ''...wa 'aliyyun waliyyu-llah'' (...and Ali is the Vicegerent of God) to the end.
* ** Shi'a Muslims are a smaller proportion of the Muslim population (about 10 to 20%), but are the majority in Iraq, Iran, and Azerbaijan, among others; they form a plurality in Lebanon (the majority of Lebanese Muslims are Shi'a, but only about 55-60% of Lebanese are Muslim, the remainder being Christian) and Yemen is split about 50-50 between Sunnis and Zaidi Shiites. Substantial minorities of Shia in a majority-Sunni country are quite common. Because of this lineage, the concept of the Imam and the guidance of clerics is much more important to Shi'as than Sunnis. The fact the Iran is what Westerners would call a theocracy is an example of this.



** Twelvers believe that the Twelfth Imam is [[MessiahArchetype the Messiah]] (or rather the second one, in keeping with the Sunni Muslim belief that Jesus is the Messiah predicted in Literature/TheBible); he (the Mahdi) [[HesJustHiding went into hiding]] (or "occultation" if you want to be technical) and will return at the End of Days (hence Creator/StephenColbert's T-shirt that read "Welcome Jesus" on one side and "[[TheQuisling Welcome Twelfth Imam]]" on the other...though Twelvers actually believe the Twelfth Imam will return ''with'' Jesus).

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** Twelvers believe that the Twelfth Imam is [[MessiahArchetype [[MessianicArchetype the Messiah]] (or rather the second one, in keeping with the Sunni Muslim belief that Jesus is the Messiah predicted in Literature/TheBible); he (the Mahdi) [[HesJustHiding went into hiding]] (or "occultation" if you want to be technical) and will return at the End of Days (hence Creator/StephenColbert's T-shirt that read "Welcome Jesus" on one side and "[[TheQuisling Welcome Twelfth Imam]]" on the other...though Twelvers actually believe the Twelfth Imam will return ''with'' Jesus).



Sufis are a notable, esoteric, mystical orientation, who are a minority nowadays, at least compared to their historical role in the Muslim world. They are however, extremely prevalent in multiple areas of the Muslim world and Muslim communities worldwide. And were very important in spreading Islam, particularly in India, Turkey, Africa and Indonesia.
* Sufis are divided into many different subgroups, or Tariqa, each with their own distinct traditions, method of interpretation, saintly figures and mythos. Some include the Mevlevi, who primarily revere (among others) the poet Rumi as a saint and are famous for their "Whirling Dervishes" a method of worship involving meditative spinning. The Naqshbandi, who revere (among other saints) the teachings of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari and Sheikh Nazim-Haqqani and several forms of communal chanting/meditation as prayer. And The Bektashi. Who form a syncretic doctrine with Traditional Shamanism, and believe in a concept of Muhammad and Ali being "radiations" of Allah. Forming an almost Triune aspect similar to the Alawi concept.
* Sufism has also been particularly strong in Chechnya and the neighboring regions of the northern Caucasus. It was quite convenient during the Soviet times, since Sufis do not need mosques for their practices, and going to any house of worship could get one ostracized in the USSR. However, during the wars with Russia more radical forms of Islam, such as the aforementioned Wahhabi school, became quite widespread. Still, some sources state that about half of all Chechens belong to Sufi brotherhoods. Sufism is also somewhat more common in Turkey and The Eastern European Muslim countries (Bosnia, Albania) for similar reasons, and Sufi brotherhoods have been at the center of much political activism and controversy.
* Sufism (the Naqshbandi branch in particular) is also quite popular and the traditional orientation of Chinese Muslims. As well as in the general Central Asian region.
* The Tradition also has deep connections in African countries. Which has the most murids (devotees) of Sufism than any other region in the world. Many African Muslim communities typically follow the Naqshbandi and Qadiri Tariqa. Similar to Chechnya, The region has undergone massive Wahhabi reactionary movements that seek to "cleanse Islam" of Sufism, which they find hedonistic and pagan. Some of whom, like Boko Haram, going so far as to go out and exterminate Sufi communities in Africa.
There is also a myriad of more minor sects, such as the Kharijite sect, which, among other things, claimed that most Muslims had become ''kuffar'' (unbelievers), and the Ibadi sect--who form a majority in Oman--which is essentially Kharijism-lite. Another movement very prevalent among some Modernist Muslims and several Reform advocates is Qur'anism. Which rejects all or most Hadith and histories, basically "extra-Qur'anic sources". On their account of them being historically biased, illegitimate and/or questionable for a number of different reasons. It's still a minority and heavily criticized by most other Muslim groups.

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** Then there's also the Alevism, a yet another Shi'a movement which primarily concentrates itself in Turkey and mainly in the Kurd-majority southeastern region, where they originally arose. It is ''not'' the same as the Alawism in neighboring Syria, despite the similarity of the names, but most leaders of the country, who have bad relations with both the Kurds and the Assad dynasty, get the chance to lump them together and thus demonize them easily, hence why Alevism gets an ''extremely'' bad reputation among the Turks of Turkey.
*
Sufis are a notable, esoteric, mystical orientation, who are a minority nowadays, at least compared to their historical role in the Muslim world. They are however, extremely prevalent in multiple areas of the Muslim world and Muslim communities worldwide. And were very important in spreading Islam, particularly in India, Turkey, Africa and Indonesia.
* ** Sufis are divided into many different subgroups, or Tariqa, each with their own distinct traditions, method of interpretation, saintly figures and mythos. Some include the Mevlevi, who primarily revere (among others) the poet Rumi as a saint and are famous for their "Whirling Dervishes" a method of worship involving meditative spinning. The Naqshbandi, who revere (among other saints) the teachings of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari and Sheikh Nazim-Haqqani and several forms of communal chanting/meditation as prayer. And The Bektashi. Who then there's the Bektashi who form a syncretic doctrine with Traditional Shamanism, traditional shamanism, and believe in a concept of Muhammad and Ali being "radiations" of Allah. Forming Allah, thus forming an almost Triune aspect similar to the Alawi concept.
* ** Sufism has also been particularly strong in Chechnya and the neighboring regions of the northern Caucasus. It was quite convenient during the Soviet times, since Sufis do not need mosques for their practices, and going to any house of worship could get one ostracized in the USSR. However, during the wars with Russia more radical forms of Islam, such as the aforementioned Wahhabi school, became quite widespread. Still, some sources state that about half of all Chechens belong to Sufi brotherhoods. Sufism is also somewhat more common in Turkey and The the Eastern European Muslim countries (Bosnia, Albania) for similar reasons, and Sufi brotherhoods have been at the center of much political activism and controversy.
* ** Sufism (the Naqshbandi branch in particular) is also quite popular and the traditional orientation of Chinese Muslims. As Muslims as well as in the general Central Asian region.
* ** The Tradition tradition also has deep connections in African countries. Which countries, which has the most murids (devotees) of Sufism than any other region in the world. Many African Muslim communities typically follow the Naqshbandi and Qadiri Tariqa. Similar to Chechnya, The the region has undergone massive Wahhabi reactionary movements that seek to "cleanse Islam" of Sufism, which they find hedonistic and pagan. Some of whom, like Boko Haram, going goes so far as to go out and exterminate Sufi communities in Africa.
* There is also a myriad of more minor sects, such as the Kharijite sect, which, among other things, claimed that most Muslims had become ''kuffar'' (unbelievers), and the Ibadi sect--who form a majority in Oman--which is essentially Kharijism-lite. Another movement very prevalent among some Modernist Muslims and several Reform advocates is Qur'anism. Which Qur'anism, which rejects all or most Hadith hadith and histories, basically "extra-Qur'anic sources". On their account of them being historically biased, illegitimate and/or questionable for a number of different reasons. It's reasons, it's still a minority and heavily criticized by most other Muslim groups.




Historically, many Muslim dynasties were named for how they claimed to be related to Muhammad. The Abbasid Caliphate claimed descent from Abbas, his youngest uncle. The Hashimites from his great grandfather, and the Umayyad Caliphate from Hashim's brother. The Fatamid caliphate claimed Fatima, the Prophet's daughter and Ali's wife, and their branch of Shiism was called Ismailism after Ismail ibn Jafar, a descendent of Ali. This is more than a spiritual point: these were all major political ruling dynasties.

Ironically, when the Turkish republic abolished the Ottoman throne, that ended the last Sunni authority claiming the caliphate in 1924, so the original point of contention is now moot. The Hashemites are still kings of Jordan, briefly of Iraq and were custodians of Mecca until the 1920s. The King of Morocco, because he claims descent from the Caliphate of Cordoba, who claimed descent from an Umayyad prince who fled to Spain the rise of the Abbasids , still calls himself Commander of the Faithful.

Although Arabic culture is very important in Islam (since it's the liturgical language, the heartland and foundation, and Mecca and Medina are in Arabia), "Arab" and "Muslim" are by no means mutually inclusive. "Arab" is an ethnicity or group of ethnicities, largely defined by the Arabic language; thus there are [[UsefulNotes/{{Judaism}} Arabic Jews]],[[note]]Although their numbers are much diminished today, they do still exist; their numbers were far more numerous in the early 20th century, not because of a Holocaust or anything, but because anti-Jewish action caused them to move to Israel and elsewhere and disavow their Arab identity--which had previously been quite strong in many communities.[[/note]] [[UsefulNotes/{{Christianity}} Arabic Christians]], [[UsefulNotes/{{Atheism}} Arabic atheists]], etc. On the flipside, a great proportion of Muslims are non-Arab: the three most populous Muslim countries are in fact Indonesia, India (which isn't majority-Muslim but has such a gigantic overall population that its Muslim portion is substantial) and Pakistan. Having said that, in 1970, East Pakistan split from West Pakistan because the former felt that the latter was discriminating against them, at least partly because East Pakistan's dominant language, Bengali, was written with a native Indian script while the languages of West Pakistan were all written in Arabic script. Now it's Bangladesh--the fourth-largest Muslim country--and Pakistan respectively. Persia was also one of the most important early Muslim nations and influenced much of both Muslim and Arab culture. A semi-detailed breakdown of Muslim population by cultural grouping goes something like this:

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\n* Oh, one more thing. People might have heard about the Druze, who is an ethnoreligious group living in the Levant, specifically in and around the Golan Heights (a territory currently contested by Syria and Israel). The group has its origins from a Shi'a sect which developed independently, with more mythology added, to such an extent that most people, even non-Muslims, wouldn't consider them Muslims anymore. Syria doesn't consider them Muslims, but Israel does, though "specialized Muslims" might be a preferable term, since, unlike the Palestinian Arabs, the Druze are subject to the obligatory conscription as the Jews are. They are also fully committed to supporting Israel, another point of contention that the other Arabs are rather itchy about (the Bedouins also support Israel, but they are [[BornInTheSaddle too much nomadic]] to be a visible component).

Historically, many Muslim dynasties were named for how they claimed to be related to Muhammad. The Abbasid Caliphate claimed descent from Abbas, his youngest uncle. The Hashimites uncle, the Hashemites from his great grandfather, and the Umayyad Caliphate from Hashim's brother. The Fatamid Fatimid caliphate claimed Fatima, Fatimah, the Prophet's daughter and Ali's wife, and their branch of Shiism was called Ismailism after Ismail ibn Jafar, a descendent of Ali. This is more than a spiritual point: these were all major political ruling dynasties.

Ironically, when the Turkish republic abolished the Ottoman throne, that ended the last Sunni authority claiming the caliphate in 1924, so the original point of contention is now moot. The Hashemites are still kings of Jordan, briefly of Iraq and were custodians of Mecca until the 1920s. The King of Morocco, because he claims descent from the Caliphate of Cordoba, who claimed descent from an Umayyad prince who fled to Spain due to the rise of the Abbasids , Abbasids, still calls himself Commander of the Faithful.

Although Arabic culture is very important in Islam (since it's the liturgical language, the heartland and foundation, and Mecca and Medina are in Arabia), "Arab" and "Muslim" are by no means mutually inclusive. "Arab" is an ethnicity or group of ethnicities, largely defined by the Arabic language; thus there are [[UsefulNotes/{{Judaism}} Arabic Arab Jews]],[[note]]Although their numbers are much diminished today, they do still exist; their numbers were far more numerous in the early 20th century, not because of a Holocaust or anything, but because anti-Jewish action caused of anti-Zionism, which forced them to move to Israel and elsewhere and disavow their Arab identity--which had previously been quite strong in many communities.[[/note]] [[UsefulNotes/{{Christianity}} Arabic Arab Christians]], [[UsefulNotes/{{Atheism}} Arabic Arab atheists]], etc. On the flipside, a great proportion of Muslims are non-Arab: the three most populous Muslim countries are in fact Indonesia, India (which isn't majority-Muslim but has such a gigantic overall population that its Muslim portion is substantial) and Pakistan. Having said that, in 1970, East Pakistan split from West Pakistan because the former felt that the latter was discriminating against them, at least partly because East Pakistan's dominant language, Bengali, was is written with a native Indian script while the languages of West Pakistan were all written in the Arabic script. Now it's Bangladesh--the fourth-largest Muslim country--and Pakistan respectively. Persia was also one of the most important early Muslim nations and influenced much of both Muslim and Arab culture. A semi-detailed breakdown of Muslim population by cultural grouping goes something like this:



The infamous association of Islam with female circumcision stems from the local traditions of some parts of the Muslim world, which themselves come from East African tribal tradition rather than Islam itself.

In fact much of the general image of Islam as misogynistic stems from such "local traditions"; scriptural and institutionally, only some of this reputation is deserved, and in practice the varied, heterogeneous Muslim world has at many points been arguably more "pro-woman" than contemporary Christians or Jews (though given the historical periods in question you'd be forgiven for thinking [[FairForItsDay that isn't saying much]]). Particularly, if you're not sure whether the word for dress code is ''hijab'', ''burqa'' or ''chador'', that shows how much of it is down to local custom rather than scripture. ''Hijab'' is the idea of (male and female) modesty: women should cover themselves in public or at prayer, but not necessarily at home. For this many wear a full ''burqa'', which covers all but the eyes; some just wear a ''chador'', a single wrapped sheet. A simple headscarf is a ''khimar''. In Turkey, such clothing is forbidden in government/public areas like universities: one President's wife was criticised for wearing it at his swearing-in. In other countries, it's fully enforced by the police. In case you were wondering, designing modest swimsuits you can actually swim in is kind of a challenge, but they exists in real life and can be bought in stores specializing in ''hijab'' clothing. After all, a nun's habit and wimple might be important to Christian modesty, but it's not a fundamental belief. (For more, see UsefulNotes/IslamicDress.)

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The infamous association of Islam with female circumcision stems from the local traditions of some parts of the Muslim world, which themselves come from East African tribal tradition rather than Islam itself.

itself. It is by no means exclusive to those East African Muslims; East African Christians also practice them (to an even larger extent, in the case of Ethiopia), but it somehow manages to avoid much press...

In fact much of the general image of Islam as misogynistic stems from such "local traditions"; scriptural and institutionally, only some of this reputation is deserved, and in practice the varied, heterogeneous Muslim world has at many points been arguably more "pro-woman" than contemporary Christians or Jews (though given the historical periods in question you'd be forgiven for thinking [[FairForItsDay that isn't saying much]]). Particularly, if you're not sure whether the word for dress code is ''hijab'', ''burqa'' or ''chador'', that shows how much of it is down to local custom rather than scripture. ''Hijab'' is the idea of (male and female) modesty: women should cover themselves in public or at prayer, but not necessarily at home. For this many wear a full ''burqa'', which covers all but the eyes; some just wear a ''chador'', a single wrapped sheet. A simple headscarf is a ''khimar''. In Turkey, such clothing is forbidden in government/public areas like universities: one President's wife was criticised for wearing it at his swearing-in. In other countries, it's fully enforced by the police. In case you were are wondering, designing modest swimsuits you can actually swim in is kind of a challenge, but they exists in real life and can be bought in stores specializing in ''hijab'' clothing. After all, a nun's habit and wimple might be important to Christian modesty, but it's not a fundamental belief. (For more, see UsefulNotes/IslamicDress.)



Many Islamic countries do have an enforced death penalty for those who renounce Islam. [[AnArmAndALeg Amputation of the hand for theft]] is in the Koran (though ItMakesSenseInContext: depending on where you were, thieves often got off scot-free or paid a fine, which a poor thief could not afford and which a rich thief could laugh off; a hand was something everyone would hate to lose. Not to mention, losing a hand made it a lot harder for the thief to re-offend. There were also various rules on the seriousness of the crime meaning that the only way you should, in theory, get this penalty is if you were rich and stole for kicks). Another thing to note is that the lines in the Quran that are talking about this can also be interpretated as cutting off the thief's support [[http://www.misconceptions-about-islam.com/cut-off-hands-theft.htm]].

Islam has a complex relationship with homosexuality. Many Islamic countries, accordingly, have laws against homosexuality. In most extreme cases, it is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Sudan and Iran. Muslim majority countries that have no laws against homosexuality include Turkey and Indonesia, but it bears mentioning that these are both secular states. However, in 2002 Indonesia's Aceh province was granted permission to introduce sharia law, and homosexual acts between adults have been banned. However, there are long-standing traditions of relationships between adult men and young boys in many Muslim areas, though the buggery has to stop before the boy is old enough to start enjoying it (because he'll get addicted). In Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, homosexuals acts will get you labeled as mentally handicapped, which has wide ranging effects on your legal status in society. In Iraqn, it's mandated by law that homosexual men get sex change operations.

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Many Islamic countries do have an enforced death penalty for those who renounce Islam. [[AnArmAndALeg Amputation of the hand for theft]] is in the Koran (though ItMakesSenseInContext: depending on where you were, thieves often got off scot-free or paid a fine, which a poor thief could not afford and which a rich thief could laugh off; a hand was something everyone would hate to lose. Not to mention, losing a hand made it a lot harder for the thief to re-offend. There were also various rules on the seriousness of the crime meaning that the only way you should, in theory, get this penalty is if you were rich and stole for kicks). Another thing to note is that the lines in the Quran that are talking about this can also be interpretated interpreted as cutting off the thief's support [[http://www.misconceptions-about-islam.com/cut-off-hands-theft.htm]].

Islam has a complex relationship with homosexuality. Many Islamic Muslim-majority countries, accordingly, have laws against homosexuality. In most extreme cases, it is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Sudan and Iran. Muslim majority countries that have no laws against homosexuality include Turkey and Indonesia, Indonesia[[note]]Except for the Aceh province, which was granted permission to apply ''sharia'' laws and in the process banned homosexuality between adult men[[/note]], but it bears mentioning that these are both secular states. However, in 2002 Indonesia's Aceh province was granted permission to introduce sharia law, and homosexual acts between adults have been banned.states. However, there are long-standing traditions of relationships between adult men and young boys in many Muslim areas, though the buggery has to stop before the boy is old enough to start enjoying it (because he'll get addicted). In Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, homosexuals acts will get you labeled as mentally handicapped, which has wide ranging effects on your legal status in society. In Iraqn, Iraq, it's mandated by law that homosexual men get sex change operations.



About the hadiths, there's one in which the Seal of the Prophets seems to ban any and all images of living things, which is why the Taliban went to so much trouble to keep television out of Afghanistan. [[note]]Actually this is only a theory and there is no very solid evidence it was not allowed.[[/note]] Most Muslims don't quite subscribe to this, but most dislike the practice of depicting Muhammad himself, which was famously part of the whole Danish cartoons affair (those opposed to the cartoons claim that the real issue was the marginalization of Danish Muslims, while those supporting them claim that the central issue is Muslims trying to use violence to force their norms on everyone else, a view supported by the violent response to the cartoons by Muslims; and of course certain Imams touring various Muslim countries with false reports on the Danish incident, claiming that much more offensive cartoons had been published etc.).

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About the hadiths, there's one in which the Seal of the Prophets seems to ban any and all images of living things, which is why the Taliban went to so much trouble to keep television out of Afghanistan. [[note]]Actually this is only a theory and there is no very solid evidence it was not allowed.[[/note]] Most Muslims don't quite subscribe to this, but most dislike the practice of depicting Muhammad himself, which was famously part of the whole Danish cartoons affair (those opposed to the cartoons claim that the real issue was the marginalization of Danish Muslims, while those supporting them claim that the central issue is Muslims trying to use violence to force their norms on everyone else, a view supported by else). Actually, most Muslims dislike the violent response idea of having to the cartoons by Muslims; and depict any religious figures ''at all'', hence why there is no such thing as icons or paintings of course certain Imams touring various Muslim countries with false reports on the Danish incident, claiming Koranic scenes, for example. The idea behind this is that much more offensive cartoons had been published etc.).
there is a fear that those very same figures would eventually be venerated, as ''saints'' (yes, there is no saint in orthodox Islam. There are many in Sufism, but it's nonstandard), thus making the believers forget about what the religion is about: worshiping God.


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** Which completely ignores the fact that most of the terrorist actions actually claim the lives of ''fellow Muslims''. Being Muslim today = Damned if you did, damned if you didn't.


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** Though that doesn't mean every Muslims are Arabic ''conversational'' speakers, no, not at all. In fact, a quite widespread joke is about foreign pilgrims who come to Mecca only to get lost along the way, and, not knowing conversational Arabic in the slightest, begin speaking random Quranic phrases in a desperate attempt to get directions from locals. HilarityEnsues.
21st Feb '16 9:47:59 AM sonicsuns3
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Just like Christianity, Islam is divided into denominations, the most important of which is the difference between Sunni and Shi'a. You might not have heard of the names because the vast majority of Muslims (80 to 19%) are Sunni, however, the sectarian disputes in Iraq, which is majority-Shi'a like Iran, have brought this to the news. Although they have come to differ in their interpretation of many aspects of Islam, it all started over who deserved to lead the Islamic world after Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets.

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Just like Christianity, Islam is divided into denominations, the most important of which is the difference between Sunni and Shi'a. You might not have heard of the names because the vast majority of Muslims (80 to 19%) 90%) are Sunni, however, the sectarian disputes in Iraq, which is majority-Shi'a like Iran, have brought this to the news. Although they have come to differ in their interpretation of many aspects of Islam, it all started over who deserved to lead the Islamic world after Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets.
21st Feb '16 9:31:32 AM sonicsuns3
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** There have been some discussion about in which way a direction a man in space would pray to, the usual answer is generally "if the exercise in geography is taking time away from prayer, you are doing it wrong."

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** There have been some discussion about in which way a direction a man in outer space would pray to, towards, and the usual answer is generally "if the exercise in geography is taking time away from prayer, you are doing it wrong."
7th Feb '16 10:21:02 AM nombretomado
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* Note also that the Muslim ''maddhahib'' (plural of ''maddhab'') are schools of ''law'': their job is interpreting the Islamic laws, or Shari'ah. In this respect, they're more like court systems. Indeed, like courts in [[TheCommonLaw the common-law tradition]] (i.e. derived from English law), they are bound by precedent and do not regard themselves of makers of new law but clarifiers of existing law, even though they do in fact make law this way. Some scholars even think the English got the idea of binding precedent (as well as trusts and some other legal concepts) from Muslims during TheCrusades, but that's [[FlameBait a rather contentious subject]], to say the least.

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* Note also that the Muslim ''maddhahib'' (plural of ''maddhab'') are schools of ''law'': their job is interpreting the Islamic laws, or Shari'ah. In this respect, they're more like court systems. Indeed, like courts in [[TheCommonLaw the common-law tradition]] (i.e. derived from English law), they are bound by precedent and do not regard themselves of makers of new law but clarifiers of existing law, even though they do in fact make law this way. Some scholars even think the English got the idea of binding precedent (as well as trusts and some other legal concepts) from Muslims during TheCrusades, UsefulNotes/TheCrusades, but that's [[FlameBait a rather contentious subject]], to say the least.
1st Feb '16 11:40:52 PM SSJMagus
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** WordOfDante: Sunni theologians question the existence of the Mahdi since he's not mentioned in the Qur'an or the hadith.

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** WordOfDante: Sunni theologians question the existence of the Mahdi since he's not mentioned in the Qur'an or the hadith. There is indication in the hadith that a Mahdi ''will'' exist, but Sunni interpretation is that it describes merely a future leader (possibly but not necessarily a caliph) rather than a messiah, and he hasn't been born yet. The latter is also believed by some minority Shiah sects
28th Jan '16 7:22:03 PM karstovich2
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* "Syariah" (or sharia) is not limited to religious law, it also covers personal and daily matters including worship and morals. It is such an intrinsic part of being a Muslim that one cannot function as a practising Muslim without syariah. Worshipping God is not limited to the Five Pillars of Islam but also covers doing what God orders in God's name. Thus doing good deeds in God's name is worshipping God. In other words, doing good deeds is one of the many ways of practising syariah.

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* "Syariah" ''Sharī`ah'' (or sharia) is not limited to religious law, it also covers personal and daily matters including worship and morals. It is such an intrinsic part of being a Muslim that one cannot function as a practising Muslim without syariah.''sharī`ah''. Worshipping God is not limited to the Five Pillars of Islam but also covers doing what God orders in God's name. Thus doing good deeds in God's name is worshipping worshiping God. In other words, doing good deeds is one of the many ways of practising syariah.
''sharī`ah''.
** We should note here that "''sharī`ah''" roughly means "the Way" (it's very closely related to the word ''shāri`'', which is the Arabic word for "street"), and essentially refers to "the way God says we should do things in all aspects of life." What the ignorant term "sharia law" is actually more properly considered a subset of ''fiqh''. "''Fiqh''" refers to the body of rules and regulations that constitute the considered opinion of generations of scholars on what God thinks the ''sharī`ah'' (that is, the Way) should be; although widely accepted, it is not based solely on the Qur'an but also incorporates a great deal of oral tradition (particularly the ''Hadith''--sayings of the Prophet--and ''Sunnah''--reported acts/habits of the Prophet), some of which has been questioned by modern scholars. Only part of the ''fiqh'' deals directly with what Western societies would consider legal matters, and to the extent it does, it mostly deals with them as matters of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_law private law]]--that is, as disputes between individuals, rather than as any kind of official law for the state to follow. (For instance, ''yes'' it is true that the Qur'an prescribes death as the penalty for murder--but it also states that the decision to impose the death penalty lies with the family of the victim, who may--and are encouraged to--accept blood-money in lieu of death. In other words, the ''fiqh'', as accepted by nearly all mainstream scholars, does not actually define ''murder'' but rather a tort of wrongful death--the state has nothing to do with it.) To the extent that ''fiqh'' prescribes any action by the state, the state is, in traditional Islamic jurisprudence, free to ignore ''fiqh'' so long as it serves the public interest; what modern legal scholars term [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_law public law]] is in Islamic jurisprudence called ''siyasah'' (literally "politics" or "policy"), and may under proper circumstances override official prescriptions (most famously, during one year with difficult harvests, the Caliph Umar suspended the ''fiqh'' sentence for theft--cutting off of the hand--because doing so would both impede the ability to harvest what grain there was and unnecessarily make unproductive citizens out of people who would not have stolen but for the exceedingly difficult year).
28th Jan '16 7:01:11 PM karstovich2
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** Variations of "Allah" appear, also meaning "God" in other Semitic (or Arabic-influenced languages), including Aramaic (preceding both Islam and Christianity) and Maltese (the language of arguably the most Catholic country in the world.)

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** Variations of "Allah" appear, also meaning "God" in other Semitic (or Arabic-influenced languages), including Aramaic (preceding both Islam and Christianity) and Maltese (the bastard child of Tunisian Arabic and Sicilian and the language of arguably the most Catholic country in the world.)
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