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Nature of religion and beliefs

- People ponder the mysteries of human existence and seek to find answers the questions that
people have asked and continue to ask about the search of meaning and the ultimate goal of
human life a number of quite distinctive responses have emerged.
- Some come through sacred texts and writings for others such as Australias Indigenous
people through ancestral myths and stories of Dreaminess expressed through symbolism and
art and reenacted in there ceremonies.
- Living religion explores the expression and practice of various belief systems that have
emerged throughout the world as people have sought answers to the ultimate question of
- Religion, however one defines it, is complex. It can be a cohesive force in society and, at
the same time, a source of division. But the exploration of these different things is exciting.
- What is religion? Belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers
considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny. The sate of being grasped by
ultimate concern.
- With all these definitions the only common agreement is that is it something beyond the
ordinary. It has a transcended dimension and that helps in some way to map a course
through life obstacles and limitations of human existence.
- Transcendent Dimension: The belief in a divine being or powers whose existence goes
beyond human limitations.
- Immanent Dimension: A world view that recognizes a divine being or powers as a constant
reality and active and continuing presence among believers in this world.
- Religion offers believers a specific set of beliefs and practices that gives meaning to there
live. Religious adherents use sacred texts ,key beliefs, ethical systems, rituals and ceremonies
to confirm the beliefs and to provide them with guidance on how to live there life.
Two types of Religious World Views
- It is possible to distinguish two types of religious world views. The first is a world view that
holds belief in a divine power and/or powers beyond the human dimension. This corresponds
to the world view held by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The followers of these religions
believe in one God why exists beyond the human and yet guides humanity throughout its
everyday existence.
- The second world view maintains belief in a divine being or powers dwelling within he
individual such a world view is characteristics of Buddhism and Hinduism.

Characteristics of religion
- There are four main characteristics of a religion:
- Beliefs and believers.
All religions are sustained by beliefs and believers. An example is for Christians they believe
Jesus of Nazareth was the son of God, the resurrection, forgiveness of sins. The believers are
certainly the living Adherents of each tradition. But in some cases it also includes holy

people, saints , mystics and other inspirational figures both living and dead.
- Sacred texts and writings
All religions have at there center oral and written sacred texts and writings or other types of
stories. In Islam the Quran is the central sacred text. This is meditated from and gives
- Ethics
Ethics can be understood as the explicit, philosophical and religious reflection on moral
beliefs within a tradition. These are central to any religion there purpose is to clarify what is
Right and Wrong and what followers of a religion should freely do or refrain form doing.
- Rituals and ceremonies
Rituals and ceremonies are enactments or systems of actions and beliefs that each have a
beginning a middle and a end.. They are directly linked to superhuman beings or forces.
Rituals and ceremonies in Judaism include male circumcision and Bar Mitzvah as well as
significant rituals for marriage, divorce and death.
A dynamic, living religion
-These characteristics create in turn a dynamic, living religion. A dynamic religion is one
characterized by energy, ambition, new ideas and practical achievements. It develops into a
powerful force that refreshes itself constantly, and therefore avoids settling into a practicable
or conservative rut. A living religion is something that is full of life, not dead, decaying or
bereft of ideas
The contribution of religion to individuals and to society and culture
- This section on the nature of religion has provided various examples of how religion
contributes to individuals and to society and culture. With its claim to a supernatural
dimension, revealed religion succeeds in fixing the minds and hearts of its adherents in the
here and now while at the same time pointing beyond the material to the spiritual or divine
- They change over time and affect the society and culture in which that changers take place
creating a dynamic and living society.

Australian Aboriginal Beliefs and Spiritualities- Dreaming

Nature of dreaming
- Aboriginal: Capitalized when used to describe Aboriginal people
- Culture: the accepted and traditionally patterned ways of behaving, a set of common
understandings shared by the members of a group or community Includes land, language,
relationships, and indignity.
- Indigenous: Those people who are the original inhabitants of any country.
- Ancestral beings: Those spirits who moved about forming the landscape and creating the
plants, animals and as people know the world.
- Dreaming- A complex concept of fundamental importance to Aboriginal culture, embracing
the creative past of the ancestral beings as well as the present and the future.
-Initiation: Formal admissions into a society the ceremony of admission.

-Mythological Symbolism: The representation of the stories about supernatural beings and
Rite: A formal or ceremonial act or procedure that is described or is customary in a religious
or other solemn use. Within the rite there are central rituals.
- In spite of diversity, no matter where Aboriginal people come from in Australia they are
recognized and recognize each other as being one people.
- Aboriginal people have been in Australia for more then 40 000 years. When James Cook
entered Australias history, the Aboriginal life was nomadic or semi nomadic they were living
by hunting and gathering using stones and spears.
- Because they were described as this James Cook described the continent as terra nullius
which is empty land.
- Dreaming is the CENTRE of Aboriginal religion and life; its the closest translation of the
Aboriginal concept of how the world works. Dreaming is the past, the present and the future.
- Dreaming is the unseen spiritual world. It is what gives life and reality to the visible life
- In traditional aboriginal Australia, world order comes form all those events in which
ancestral beings travel and transform themselves into sites.
- For Indigenous Australians the land is the core of all spirituality-the land is not dead, it is
alive with power and the Ancestral beings who live in it. It is impossible to discuss the beliefs
and spiritualities of Indigenous Australians without talking about the land.It is the land that
gives them their indignity- the land is my mother.

Religion in Australia Pre 1945

- Religion as defined by Europeans, came with the establishments in 1788 of the British
settlement in the colony of New South Wales and was the religion of the British-Christianity.
This British Christianity , however was not unified Christianity and the lack of harmony
among Christians remained part of Australias religious history well into the twentieth
- It was not until the mid nineteenth century that there was any official recognition of any
religious tradition other then Christianity and that was of Judaism.
- Relative isolation from the rest of the world and a fairly narrow immigration stream form
the British Isles endured that the religious make up of Australia did not change much for a
hundred years.
- The exceptions to this were waves of non-British immigration during the nineteenth century
gold rushes and some refugees around the time of the First World War. The real marker point
for a change in the Australian religious landscape came with worldwide upheaval of the
Second World War. The end of that war, then, serves as the point up in to the current survey
- In 1845 , those identified as Christians were 98.6% of the population , 72.4% were
Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodist and other protestants from Britain and 26.2 % were
Catholics from Ireland and Britain.
Arrival and establishment of Christianity
- Formal Christianity came to Australia, rather as an after thought with the first fleet and its

church of England chaplain Rev Richard Johnson. On the first fleet , two thirds of the
convicts classified themselves as church of England , one third as Roman Catholics.
- For the first thirty years of the new settlement the church if England ministers were the only
clergy with any power of influence in the community. They had a role in legislative activity
and were supported financially by authorities.
- The church of England was the sate religion of England and it was expected things would be
no different in Austral.
-Many were atheist , the church of England never associated with them.
- The catholic convicts despised the religion of the English, a people they saw as their
- Al convicts were obliged to attend church of England services but these had little effect in
establishing a climate of religious feelings.
The Church of England (Anglican)
-The earliest Church of England ministers were of the low church, or evangelical.
-The evangelicals stressed religion as an individual matter of personal conviction and
salvation, as meditated through the bible.
- Support from the colonial government brought many privileges for the Church of England
in Australia.
- Bishop William Grant Broughton sought permission of self government for the church in
England in 1850. But was declined.
- In 1962 all the parliaments of Australia passed legislation to separate completely the Church
of England from its formal link to the Crown under Australian secular law.
The Church of Scotland (Presbyterian)
- Presbyterians were not necessarily the wealthy classes in the nineteenth centaury Australian
- Rev. John Dunmore Lang sponsored a significant number of Presbyterians to Australia to
escape the poverty of Scotland and also to ensure a Protestant character to NSW.
- Movement towards the union of various divisions within Presbyterianism in Australia was
began in the second half of the nineteenth century.
- A national Federal Presbyterian Union was formed in 1901 as the Presbyterian Church of
The Church of Rome (Roman Catholic)
- In its Australia beginnings, the catholic church was Irish and the Irish were convicts.
- Convicts on board, English laws had led them to rebel.
- In 1798 Irish rebels were transported to Australia in large numbers mainly men who stood
up to English oppressors.
- The Irish Catholics were given more piety than some others in the colony, encouraged as
from 1820 by the powerful influence of Fr John Terry.
-Therry became a leader to the Irish Catholics.
- The catholic church began to grow in strength. By the 1880s thirty
seven Roman catholic schools were built and running throughout Australia.
The nonconformist Churches
- The nonconformist played a major role in the establishment in Christianity.

- Came from mainly pacific islands

- Samuel Mars den played a major role being the colonies chaplain and planting the seeds for
Christianity in Australia.
- There were small groups of them and they continued for years.
- Strong commitment to evangelicalism, they loved missionary work and were active in
establishing schools, churches, hospitals.
- It declined throughout the nineteenth century.
Religious Traditions other than Christianity
- Apart from Judaism, it would be difficult to say that any tradition other then Christianity
was established in Australia before 1945.
- However other traditions were presented in Australia particular leading up to Federation and
the Immigration restriction act of 1901. Which ensured the white Australia policy became
- After world war 2 the governments drive to repopulate Australia left many nationalities in
-There were many Muslim presences in Australia before European settlement.
- Nothing much happened except some carvings.
- Majority of them turned back to there homeland after the period of work, the numbers
declined in Australia.
- There were at least eight Jewish convicts on the first fleet.
- Convict numbers were supplemented by emigrants Jews from Britains urban poor and then
increasing numbers of middle-class English who brought with them particular Jewish style
- They flourished throughout Sydney and Melbourne.
- They were fleeing persecution, they continued to come all through the twenty century.
The development of Christianity in Australia
-Rivalries between the Church of England and Catholics. Effected how education developed
In Australia and in the way social welfare was organized.
- There has been sectarianism between Christian denominations for ever.
- Mainly between Anglicans and Catholics.
- All Protestants denominations kept apart from the Irish Catholic.
- The First World War was a crucial period in the entrenchment of the sectarian divide
between Catholics, and Protestant and Anglican Australia.
- The conscription tore up Australia.
- Not until 1960s that Sectarianism disappeared.

Social Welfare
- In the area of social welfare, agencies such as St Vincent De Paul, the Wesley Central
Mission and the Brotherhood of St Lawrence have a major impact today on the lives of
- The men and women who took religion seriously in the Nineteenth century were the origins
of these.
- They did this without Government support.
St Vincent de Paul
The st Vincent de Paul society is a catholic organization established in France 1833. By 1895
there were already twenty six branches of the St Vincent DePaul society in Sydney alone.
Members of the association visited people in hospitals and prisons, offered assistance to age,
homeless and poor.
The salvation Army
The Salvation Army, a Christian denomination that began as the Christian Mission in the
East end of London in 1865, it found its way to South Australia in1880. The salvation Army
has a strong belief in the importance of bringing the Christian message to people through
practical means, thus it emphasis on providing welfare services. From humble beginnings, the
Salvos have become a part of the fabric of Australian society.
The contribution of religious traditions in Australia
Anglo catholic- A strand within the Church of England (Anglican ) whos rituals retained
many aspects of Roman Catholicism.
- Proselytizing- Winning converts to one religion.
- Secularism- A social or political philosophy that rejects all forms of religion.
Rural and outback communities
- The makeup of Australias religious communities state by state reflects the differences in
their colonial past.
- The catholic church went where the Irih went and many of them to outback communities in
rural Australia.
- In rural areas the catholic church had advantage- Catholic nuns and brothers and priest most
Ireland, were prepared to go where married Anglican clergy refused to go.
Bush Brotherhood
- Australias vast open spaces and absence church Authorities were two of the factors that
played a part in the emergence of the Church of England bush brother hood.
- For the first thirty years of the new penal settlement, the only official chaplaincy services
were provided by the Church of England ministers.
- There continues to be a strong tradition of providing chaplaincy services in Anglican
Church today .
- One of the most significant chaplaincy movements emerge in the nineteenth century was the
Anglican ministries in remote country areas.
- Scattered parishes the vastness of the Australian bush and the slowness of the Church of
England authorities to create bishoprics meant there was little to no church supervision in the

- The brotherhoods relied on clergy recruited from England, lured by the promised romance
of a life as a minister in the Bush.
- Well in to the 20th century, the concept of loyalty to the Empire was disappearing in Britain.
English clergy no longer felt the same sense of duty to travel across the world to serve the
church as a bush brother.
- Of course there were Australian brothers, but local Anglicans were never as inclined
towards the style of lonely, celibate life that seems to have romanced to the English brothers
- An extraordinary number of English Brothers were made bishops twenty in all, eighteen of
them in Australia.
The Bush Aid Society
- The Bush Aid Society was an attempt by the evangelical Sydney Anglicans to capture the
dioceses from the influence of the Bush Brother hood with there strongly Anglo Catholic
- In addition Anglicans feared Catholic aggression in the bush. Social services, such as child
welfare and education, were almost entirely under the control of Catholics Nuns and brothers,
who had established convent schools in places and married Anglican clergy had refused to go.
- A mission to the bush was also and escape route for conservative Sydney evangelicals, who
felt besieged by the increasingly liberalizing forces around them.
- The bush Aid society fro Australia and Tasmania known as the BCA, was launched on the
26th May 1919.Bca with its married clergy and army of female volunteers, took over in places
where the brotherhoods had failed , particularly the settled rural areas and townships.
- In an age when women are mostly restricted to fetes and flowers in the service of the
Church , the BCA was a noteworthy for it pioneering use of women missionaries and they
were the backbone of the Society. Australian women took up the challenge, too, as hostel
sisters and nurses.
- The BCA developed a reputation for health care services, its hostels for young people, and
its innovative use of airplanes. The hostels- models of Christian service rather than
proselytizing preaching-ensured the welcome of the BCA and its long life in the Bush. The
BCA is still working in some of the Areas it pioneered in the 1920s.
Australian Inland Mission
- Victorian-born Presbyterian minister John Flynn ( 1880-1951) went on a mission to shearers
in 1909 and in 1912 founded the Australian Inland Mission, which brought a range of
religious, health, pastoral and other services for Europeans in outback Australia. Flynn used
the modern inventions of the wireless and the aero plane to establish the Flying doctors
service in the late 1920s to provide reliable medical assistance for people in medical need to
remote areas. The school of the Air was an offshoot of the introduction of the wireless in the
bush. Flynns motto was For Christ and the Continent it is still the motto of the Uniting
Church in Australia outback mission service.
- The story of religion and education in the nineteenth century Australia is essentially a story
of the interplay of Christianity and politics.
- The churches battled with government for financial support and autonomy in an area where
they saw the future of their religious communities and education.
- The series of enactments of parliament in the nineteenth century focusing on education
influenced the contribution of the Churches to Australian society and also the process of
secularism in Australia society.
- The establishment of the Schools Estates Corporation Charter in 1825 guaranteed oneseventh of colonial land grants for the maintenance of the Anglican Church and its schools.

- This ensured that control of the colonies schools remained with the Church of England.
- The majority of Catholic parents refused to send there their children to school, preferring no
education rather than allowing their children to come under the Church of England.
- The effect of the Church Act 1836 was to provide government aid to genuine religious effort
in the colony.
- The church act had the effect of ensuring that established Christianity in Australia was both
mainstream and urban. Small religious denominations or people living in far-flung rural areas
lacked the facility to organize themselves in into congregations, and received virtually no aid.
- The major denominations firmly established their power base in the cities particularly in
Melboune and Sydney
- In 1862, government aid was withdrawn from all New South Wales religious denominations
and Henry Parkes Public Instruction Act 1880 abolished aid to to denominational education.
- Education was to be free, compulsory and secular.
- This was to lead to the establishment of Catholic education system entirely separate from
the state. State controlled schools had been condemned in Pope Pius IX Syllabus of Errors
in 1864 and so Catholics did not welcome the idea of secular education system as was
proposed by the Act. This, together with Urban power-base of the church, brought the
establishment of a system of Catholic schools with religious orders of teachers as heir
essential foundation.
Public Morality
- Religion, something of an afterthought in the founding of Australia, came to be seen as the
only hope of improvement in public morality. The clergy could do the job of being Gods
police. Christians had a powerful influence on public policy in these areasand established a
reputation as wowsers.
- The influence of Christian values in legislation can be strongly evident in the 2oth century
particularly in the first half. Criminal adultery, liquor, licensing and anit- gambling laws
and a strong positive lobby in laws to protect women and children were all evidence of the
influence of Christian morality over the 20th century lawmakers.
- Variouse Sunday observance laws were passed down
Religion Traditions
Origins and Variants
- Christianity emerged around 3 BCE, from within Jewish context, through the life and
ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
- Jesus was a religious Jew who attended the synagogue, and celebrated Jewish festivals.
- After Jesus death his messages were spread and adapted by Paul and other men and women
whop were his disciples. They had established a separate identity when it was accepted that to
follow Jesus one did not have to be Jew.
- The catholic communion includes eight distinct rites including the Roman Marinate rites
and acknowledges the Pope as the leader.
- Christianity is the largest of the worlds major religions with about 2.1 billion followers,
roughly one third of the worlds populations.
Principal beliefs
- Christians believe in one God and that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that God sent his

son to earth to save humanity from the consequences of its sins.

- Christians believe that Jesus was fully human and fully divine.
- They believe in whose forgiveness should be made for Jesus to come again.
- Christians believe in the trinity that is God, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that God,
through the work of the Holy Spirit is present today and evident in the works of believers.
- Christians believe that the Church of Communion of believers is necessary for salvation and
is the body of Christ and believe in life after death.
- They believe that sacraments were established by Jesus him self. Generally they retain at
least two sacraments clearly mentioned in the Christian Scriptures- Baptism and Eucharist.
- Christians recognize 7 sacraments.
- Some Christian Churches also hold strong beliefs in saints and in Mary as the mother of
Sacred texts and writings
-The Christian Bible consists of the Jewish Scriptures (torah) and the Christian scriptures.
- The Key beliefs of Christianity are expressed throughout the Bible.
- The Bible is also sometimes referred to as Scripture or Holy Scripture
- The word Gospel means Good News. A term used by early Christians to describe what
Jesus had achieved.
- The Jewish scriptures were written in Hebrew and sections in Aramaic. The Christian
scriptures were written in Greek then translated to Latin for the western Church.
- There are no difference in the interpretation of the Bible for catholic, Orthodox and
Protestant churches.
- the Bible offers Christians support and guidance, including guidelines for moral behavior. It
is used for reading, reflection , prayer and retreat.

Ethical teachings
- The core Christian ethical teachings are the Ten Commandments or Decalogue , beatitudes
and Jesus commandments
- They are also based on the law of love and compassion, on the nature of the Final Judgment
as well as the gospel call to repentance forgiveness and the urgent demands of Gods reign.
- Christian ethics raises questions for believers: What is good life? How to distinguish
between good and evil? How does Jesus challenge me?.
- Historically there have been quite different approaches to ethics by Catholics and
Protestants. For Catholics there was eternal law- God directed all nature to its proper goaland this law could be known in two ways. It could be known by human reasons, natural law,
and by Gods revelation through Scriptures and Tradition Church teaching.
- Because the Protestant reformers generally based there ethics on the bible there was never
the same certainty and confidence in protestants ethics as there had been in Catholic ethics.
- Christians these day tend to exercise their conscience when making there decisions in
ethical issues.
Significant Practice
- Christian worship involves praising God in music and speech, readings from scripture and
prayers of various sorts, also holy ceremonies.

- Christians liturgy or worship is a key reference point for prayer, reflecting the life, death and
resurrection of Christ for believers.
- Christian worship grew out of Jewish worship and the first obvious divergence was making
Sunday the Holy day instead of Saturday. By doing this the day of Christian worship is the
same as the day Jesus rose from the dead.
- Church services on a Sunday divide into two general types: Eucharist, services focused on
the act of the Holy Communion and services of the word. Both types of service include
hymns, readings and prayers.
-Reformed churches stress the preaching of the word in their practices, while Orthodox and
Roman Catholic Churches stress symbolic actions and rites. Icons are particular important in
Orthodox and Eastern liturgical practices.
- Prayer was central to the life of Jesus and many Christian prayer forms have their earliest
roots in Judaism.
- Forms of Christian personal devotion include vocal, mental and contemplative prayer as
well as practices.
- The rites Baptism and marriage and the other sacraments are also significant practices in the
tradition and find their inspiration in Jesus preaching and in the sacred rituals of the early
Origins and variants
- Judaism as a historical religion has its origins in the clan of Abraham and Sarah which
wandered from ancient Egypt.
- God revealed to Abraham that Israel was Gods chosen people. Gods call of Abraham and
Israel was shown in the Exodus and in the giving of the Torah or Ten Commandments to
- There are four major groups or variants within Judaism:
- Orthodox
- Ultra Orthodox
- Progressive
- Conservative
- Reconstructive
- The two main variants in Australia are modern Orthadox and Progressive.
- In traditional terms a person is considered a Jew if there Mother is a Jew.
Principal Beliefs
-Rabbinic Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people in the period following the destruction
of the second temple in 70ce. This is distinct from Jewish religion of the biblical times, which
focused on temple worship.
- Shifted from Temple cult to home and synagogue worship.
- The central concepts of Jewish belief are covenant and blessing, flowing from he great
Exodus or liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
- Today, as in the past, Jewish beliefs find expression Authority of the Rabbi as a teacher of
the Torah, and through the religious practices of the faithful Jew who fulfils the mitzvoth.
Sacred writings and texts
- The most important collection of sacred texts is the Torah or first five books of the Hebrew
Bible. The first five books are also referred to as the Pentateuch. There is also the Mishnah

this is a broader version of the Torah.

- The general term Tenach is used to refer to the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures. - Talmud- Is
a Collection of commentaries on biblical texts that form, with the HYPERLINK
"" Torah, the foundation for the religious laws of
HYPERLINK "" Judaism.
- The Talmud is the most authoritative work of the Oral Torah.
- Part of Jewish sacred writings is also Midrash, a collection of traditional Jewish
interpretations of the books of the bible, in the form of homilies.
Ethical Teachings
- Significant ethical teachings include the Decalogue or Ten Commandments and the Shema.
- The ethical principles of Judaism are lived through the commandments and the shema.
- The ethical principals of Judaism are lived through the commandments of the torah, the rule
of life; and include the obligation to do deeds of loving kindness.
- Alms giving are considered to be equal to all commandments of the torah.
- Of particular importance is the Halachah, the Jewish legal tradition grounded in the 613
mitzvoth of the Torah which seeks to guide Jews in right relationships with God and all
- The torah prohibits graven images. It has been argued in modern Judaism that moral human
beings are the only human beings are the only image of God that is appropriate. The religious
ethic that emerges from such a view is that humans are the nearest thing to being divine. As
others should always be treated with respect and generosity and one should always act with
humility. In order to love to love ones neighbor, as the torah teaches, one must know the
others pain.
- Moses penned the most famous summary of Jewish Belief the thirteen articles of faith.
This combined with the torah and mitzvoth contain important teachings on covenant, prayer,
humanity, the afterlife, and the religious roles of individuals families and the Jewish
Significant practices
- The Jewish call to holiness is based on the precepts of the Torah; and in particular the
keeping of the mitzvoth, the 613 commandments contained within the Torah.
- Key features of Jewish spirituality also include the Shabbat ( Sabbath meal) and the Sabbath
synagogue meal.
- Judaism includes kabbalah or mystical traditions.
- Mothers perform the home ritual of the lighting of the candle and blessing the meal to usher
in Shabbat. In the orthodox tradition, the woman Is responsible for the maintenance of the
home and is obedient to her husband. Women do play public roles in the synagogue in
progressive and conservative variants of the traditions; these variants have also ordained
woman as rabbis.
- The Jewish festival of Passover, the giving of the Torah and The festival of booths are
known as the three pilgrims festivals. This is because the Torah commands jews to make a
pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem on each occasion. The temple no longer stands but the
festival remains as important aspects of the Jewish experience of the pilgrims journey of
- The call to Aliyah Going up is a physical pilgrimage to the state of Israel is a powerful
Notion in modern Judaism

Origins and Variants

- Islam emerged in the seventh century within the tribal society of the Arabian Peninsula. Its
name is inseparable from that of Muhammad the Messenger of God.
- In the month of Ramadan (the ninth months of the Islamic calendar) Muhammad received
the first of many revelations from God. These revelations continued for twenty two years and
when collected and arranged became the Quran Islams sacred scripture.
- Muhammads preaching of Gods message was not well received in his home city of Makka
and he and a small number of followers quietly emigrated to Madina in 622.
- The hija ( migration) marked a turning point and it was in Madina that an Islamic
community ( numma) was formed and its members were called Muslims.
- Muhammad was succeeded by the four rightly guided caliphs but the community suffered
a series of crisis about Authority and leadership that led to a number of different outcomes.
- The branch of Islam that accepts the first four caliphs as rightful successors of Muhammad.
- Sunni and Shii , the two major variants arose at this time. Today sunni comprise 85 per cent
of Muslims and shiI around 15 perent.
Principal beliefs
- In Islam it is impossible to separate beliefs from practice-faith and the right action are
- The foundation of Islamic belief is the revelation from Allsh in the Quran.
- the beliefs of Islam are found in the seven Articles of its creed as revealed by Allah:
- Tawhid- the oneness of Allah. Only Allah must be worshipped and no other being should be
associated with Allah. The sin of this I worse then any other.
- Rusulhu- the belief in prophet hood. The Quran names twenty-five prophets among them
are Moses, Abraham, David and Jesus. And Muhammad is the final prophet.
-Al-Akhira- This is the world to come. Muslims believe in an afterlife that when they die
their lives on life will be assessed. While they believe that nothing can happen without the
will and the knowledge and the power of God, that does not stop human beings making free
- Muslims belief is put into practice through the five pillars of faith.
Sacred texts and writings
- Islam has two universal texts that are considered sacred the Quran and the Hadith.
- The Quran is the direct word from God and contains all the essential teachings of the unity
and power of God, the stories of the prophets and the consequences of good and evil for the
life here and after.
- Muslims do not speak of Muhammad writing the Quran but of his receiving it and reciting
it. The recitation was copied down by scribes. It was during the time of the third rightly
guided caliph that the Authorized version was established.
- The Quran consist of 114 sura chapters with 6000 versus.
- For Muslims it is always recited in Arabic as that is the language of God.
- Second to the Quran in Authority is the Hadith, which record the sunna of the prophet.
These are the traditions and practices of Muhammad that have become models to be followed
by Muslims.
- Most Muslims accept six collections of hadith as being the most trust worthy. These were
collected within the first three centuries of Islam.
Ethical teachings
- The ethical teachings of Islam reflect the beliefs and teachings of Islam.

-Islam places a very strong emphasis on the importance of right action.

- Laws that govern actions fall into two categories;
- The behavior of Muslims towards God.
- And the way in which human beings treat one another
- For Muslims there is no distinction between sacred and secular.
- The most important of the Laws that govern Muslims behavior towards god are described in
the five pillars of faith.
- Moral guidelines for Muslims place great emphasis on the umma or community, in this case
they are called to do things that is natural, promote unity and harmony and support the
community and obey the Law. Justice, compassion and generosity and love of neighbors are
also stressed.
Significant Practices
- Muslims ritual, ceremonies, prayer and belief is centered on the five pillars of faith.
- These rituals are the practical expressions of the Muslim devotion to God and are extended
to all sectors of human activity.
- The daily ritual prayer is the distinctive mark of believers and provides them with
opportunities for direct communion with God five times a day and so helps them to avoid too
much attachment to non essential things.
- Salat is highly formalized and regulated in its cycles of spoken formulas and body postures
and is recited from memory in Arabic. Each Salat must be offered at its proper time and
facing Mecca.
- The place of worship for Muslims is the Mosque but the obligatory daily prayers can be said
anywhere. Congregational prayer at a mosque on a Friday at noon is highly recommended.
-Major Islamic festivals include.
- The end of Ramadan
- The month of pilgrimage.