Islam as Providing a Common Connection Between People

In this essay, I will be talking about how Islam provides a common bond that unites people by religion. First, I will be starting off the essay with a brief history of Islam and Muhammad, then I will be getting into more details by using primary sources that were provided in class. Islam is universal, which means that religion is for everyone. It is said to be the final revelation from God to the Prophet Muhammad. The spread of Islam was impactful because it provided a common language which is Arabic, a dominant legal system, and better records. It tells us to do to good in the face of evil and our soul will live you.

Islam was founded by the Prophet Muhammad who was born in Mecca. He was very religious and would spend most of his life as a long-distance merchant. He was raised by his uncle because both parents died when he was very young. After his encounter with the divine voice on Mount Hira, Muhammad would spend most of his time on Mount Hira finishing the Quran, which is the sacred book for Islam. The Muslims believe that the Quran was the word of God, spoken to Muhammad. This book talks about the five pillars of Islam and “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet”. The five pillars of Islam are fasting during Ramadan, hajj to Mecca, faith, praying five times a day, and almsgiving. The hajj is a religious pilgrimage and it unites Muslim beliefs. They should do the hajj at least once in their lifetime and it usually takes a couple of days to complete it. This pilgrimage not only unites Muslims but also their beliefs. Ramadan is when the Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for one month every year. Many would spend their day sleeping and preparing a large number of foods, the night before. The month of Ramadan usually varies because it depends on the Islamic cycle. The first followers of Islam were Khadija, who was Muhammad’s wife. She was a very intelligent and successful businesswoman. She was also an important female figure to Islam. The second person to follow Muhammad was he is cousin Ali. Even after Muhammad's death, Islam was still spreading through Muslim travelers and silk roads which are a multiplicity of routes and good routes.

Well, known Muslim travelers include Ibn Battuta, Ibn Fadlan, and Ibn Jubayr. Ibn Battuta was a well-educated scholar who traveled across much of the Indian Ocean. He visited most of the Islamic world and many of the non-Muslim lands. His travels were unpleasant because the condition of the sea was awful for Ibn Battuta and he ate rations of dried food. He also witnessed a violent storm at sea and was attacked by pirates, who took all of his belonging including the pearls and rubies that were given to him by the king of Ceylon. Ibn Battuta also experiences Zeila, which was one of the dirtiest towns in existence. Their people would slaughter animals such as pigs and camels every day on the streets. The smell was so bad, that he decided to sleep on the boat, which smelled way worse. When he was in Mogadishu, Ibn Battuta went and saw the shaikh who is also known as the sultan. He claimed to be a descendant of Muhammad and it is custom according to non-Muslims to the see the sultan when someone claims to be the descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. He was treated well during his stay and was fed three times a day. Questions of the religious law are decided by the Qadi and other cases are decided by the Wazirs and amirs.

Ibn Fadlan traveled among the Turks and Khazars. During his stay with the Oghuz, which is a Turkish tribe, he learned that they don’t have a religious bond with God and never pray. Praying is very important to Islam because it is one of the five pillars and they pray five times a day facing Mecca. When a Turk's male child is born, the grandfather not the father raises the boy until he matures. Ibn Fadlan claimed that this custom is unlawful he believed that the son should be raised by the father. “He explained the principles of inheritance according to Muslim law until he understood them”. Ibn Fadlan was worried a lot during his journey and didn’t like the Oghuz’s customs. They don’t have a lot of storage, so they have to put their food on the ground. The food would go bad after a couple of days if the food stayed in the ground. If a man wants to get married, he must ask for the hand of a female from her family. The marriage price often consists of camels, pack animals, or other things. No one can take a men’s wife until he understands who has power over his wife in regards to him. The Khazars including the King live in tents. Islam would not allow this custom because a male child should be raised by his own father. The king of Khazar is called Khaqan and only appears in public once in every four months. Some customs of the king include that he could potentially have up to 25 wives and when he dies, a large house is built for him. Just like the king, Muhammad had multiple wives. Normally a Muslim could marry up to four times.

Ibn Jubayr went on a three-pilgrimages and visited many places including Alexandria, Medina, Nile River, and Cairo. He received a good education and was a poet and personal secretary to the Almohad governor of Granada. After his first pilgrimage, he decided to give up his royal life for a simple and modest life. His 'Rihla' also played a very important role because it set the model for the genre of travel writing in Arabic. He saw Muslim prisoners on Christian’s lands who were treated like slaves and had iron chains on their legs. He felt bad for them because they were used for the hardest labor and were mistreated. The highlight of his journey was going to Al-Madina which is one of Sicily’s capitals. It was very beautiful and he was fascinated by the mosques and the Muslim city-dwellers. Ibn Jubayr was astonished by how the king knew how to read and write in Arabic. He gave them employment and were confident in the Muslims. His whole royal authority and women slaves are all Muslim. The king’s motto was ‘Praise be to God, as praise is due’. He also went to Messina and met with an officer named Abd-al-Masih. He was a high-ranking official who was very nice to Ibn Jubayr and his companions. He even asked questions about the hajj to Mecca and begged them for a blessed object from Mecca. 

In conclusion, all of these three Muslim travelers had different aspects when encountering Muslims from different cultures and places. Muslims believe that their religion provides a common bond because provided a common language which is Arabic, a dominant legal system, and better records. Providing a common language is helpful and it is very important to the culture. Islam is a monotheistic faith just like Christianity and Zoroastrianism. They believe in God, sacred books, judgment day, and prophets. Islam encourages and tells us to do good in the face of evil. An example of this would be, almsgiving which is one of the five pillars of Islam.

07 July 2022
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