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Crash Course in Islam

  1. The Six Articles Of Faith2010/03/26
    You may have heard of the Five Pillars of Islam, but have you heard of the Six Articles of Faith?

  2. The Nation Of Islam2010/03/11
    In the early 20th century something was happening in the United States. In addition to the struggles of the Depression and two world wars – Islam in America was changing. At least among one population.

  3. Do Muslims Work On Fridays?2010/02/18
    There is no prohibition against Muslims working on Friday – it’s not set aside as a “day of rest” – but many feel that, once the call of prayer is given they cannot work.

  4. What Is A Fatwa?2010/02/04
    You may have heard the term fatwa before – especially if you’re a fan of writer Salman Rushdie – and you may think a fatwa is a kind of death sentence. Well, it’s not.

  5. The Role Of Women In Islam2010/01/07
    One issue that comes up quite often in discussions about Islam is the role of women in the faith – with many non-Muslims wondering if women are seen as “second class citizens” in the religion.

  6. Shaking Hands In The Muslim World2009/12/24
    For many people shaking hands when meeting someone is as routine as taking a breath. But for some Muslims shaking hands isn’t that easy.

  7. Muslim Holidays2009/12/17
    Each year, you can count on most businesses being closed Christmas. For Muslims, the major holidays are the two Eids – Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

  8. Islamic Finance2009/12/03
    There is a whole industry surrounding Islamic finance and banking. It’s considered un-Islamic to practice usury – or, in plain English, to charge people a lot of interest on a small loan.

  9. The Muslim Greeting2009/11/16
    If you’ve ever heard Muslims greet each other, you’ve probably heard the standard Muslim greeting.

  10. Do Muslims Observe The Sabbath?2009/04/22
    While Muslims do not celebrate the Sabbath like Jews or Christians, they do have a day of prayer that is a lot like many Christian church services. This day is Friday – in fact, the very word for Friday in Arabic comes from the name for the special prayer that is done only on that day.

  11. Are All Muslims Arabs?2009/04/15
    Today we examine the question of whether all Muslims are Arabs. Islam arose out of the Arabian Desert, and the original practitioners were, indeed, Arabs. So there may have been a time centuries ago when you could say all Muslims were Arabs. That’s no longer the case.

  12. The Will Of Allah2009/04/08
    Islam, like some branches of Christianity, adheres to the idea of predestination. For Muslims, Allah knows and sees everything – he knows the outcomes good or bad. Nothing happens in this world that Allah does not know, that Allah has not permitted.

  13. Holy Men In Islam2009/04/01
    In the news we hear a lot about imams – men who lead specific mosques or Muslim communities. But, unlike other faiths, there is no hierarchical structure in Islam. So there is no one religious authority who can pass judgments on what is, and what is not, good Muslim practice.

  14. Excommunication In Islam2009/03/25
    Traditionally, a person is excommunicated from Christianity and Judaism when he or she commits a sin that disrupts the religious community or is simply unforgivable. Not so in Islam – there is no formal structure in Islam to excommunicate a Muslim. However, there are sins that are considered unforgivable.

  15. The Arabic Language2009/03/18
    Muslims believe Arabic words have holy power and a special relationship with Allah. Because of this, Muslims pray and read the Qur’an in Arabic, no matter what their native language. Of course, not all Muslims become fluent in Arabic – many only know enough to understand the Qur’an and prayers.

  16. The Qur’an: Just A Book?2009/03/11
    Any book that’s believed to hold religious truths is often considered sacred. The Bible and the Jewish Torah are both thought to be inspired by God. For Jews, after a copy of a Torah is blessed, it is a great sin to harm it in any way. Also, many Christians treat the Bible with special care. Similarly, the Qur’an is held in very high regard.

  17. The Different Levels Of Heaven In Islam2009/03/04
    Muslims, like people of many faiths, believe in an afterlife. In Heaven and in Hell. But there is no original sin in Islam. So, everyone has the same potential to get into Heaven – in fact Muslims believe a child who dies goes to Heaven regardless of the religion of his or her parents. Belief in Heaven is an important tenet of Islam.

  18. Charitable Giving: The Practice Of Zakat2009/02/25
    Like tithing or alms-giving in Judaism and Christianity, Muslims are required to donate a certain amount of their wealth to charity—this practice, which is commonly called Zakat, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

  19. Muslim Profession Of Faith2009/02/11
    In Christian faiths, to become a full-fledged member of the religion one must be baptized. To become a Muslim, a person simply needs to make the profession of faith.

  20. The Crescent Moon And Islam2009/02/04
    For many people the image of the crescent moon and Islam go hand-in-hand. The two have become so entwined in the popular imagination that it's lead some to believe that Muslims worship a moon god, which isn't true.

  21. The History Of Harems2009/01/28
    A harem is typically shown as a large room full of beautiful women lying about on silken pillows awaiting the arrival of the sultan to whom they belong. Western art has turned the harem into a kind of sexual playground, but, originally, it was simply the area of the home where the Muslim women lived.

  22. The Five Pillars Of Islam2009/01/21
    The Five Pillars of Islam are the foundation of the entire Islamic faith. Without the pillars there is no Islam.

  23. Muslim Prayer: How Do Muslims Pray?2009/01/14
    Prayer in Islam is ritualized, with some critics saying the ritual takes away from the spiritual. But Muslims don't see it that way. The five prayers, together with the movements involved in them, are designed to combine meditation, devotion, moral elevation and physical exercise.

  24. Who Are The Sufis?2009/01/07
    Many religions have a mystical branch and Islam is no different - in Islam, the Sufis are the mystics. Named after the course wool garment worn by the first Sufis, these mystics attempt to discipline both the mind and body in order to directly experience God.

  25. Jerusalem And Islam2008/12/24
    Jerusalem is a sacred place in Islam. It is the third holiest shrine, after Mecca and Medina. This is, in part, because of the city's association with important Abrahamic prophets ... including Kings David and Solomon as well as Jesus.

  26. What Is Islamic Art?2008/12/17
    There is a lot of debate over what exactly is "Muslim" or "Islamic" art. How do you define the art of a religion that spans cultures? There's no easy answer to that - but there is one form of art that has crossed cultural and national barriers. Calligraphy.

  27. Santa Claus In Baghdad Screening In Bloomington2008/12/16
    Screening December 21 in Bloomington of film from Raouf Zaki. "Santa Claus in Baghdad" gives audience members a peek inside the life of a young Iraqi girl in the last few years of the regime of Saddam Hussein. The film is suitable for general audiences, ages 12 and up.

  28. Ishmael And Islam2008/12/10
    While some Jews and Christians believe they are descendants of Isaac, Muslims believe they are the inheritors of Ishmael’s legacy. That they, along with Jews and Christians, are the “children of Abraham”. And they believe it was Ishmael, not Isaac, Abraham almost sacrificed to God.

  29. What Is Jihad?2008/12/03
    Many people outside Islam think they know what jihad means – "holy war," they’ve been told by pundits or reporters. And, in part, they’re right … but that’s not the whole story.

  30. Arabs And Islam: Are All Arabs Muslim?2008/11/26
    Although Islam is the predominate religion among Arabs, there are a number of Christians and Jews who are, in fact, Arab.

  31. Does Islam Allow Polygamy?2008/11/19
    The Koran does allow a man to have more than one wife, up to four, if he can support them. The Prophet Muhammad, himself, had multiple wives. However, that doesn't mean all modern Muslim nations treat polygamy the same way.

  32. Is The Hijab Required Dress For Muslim Women?2008/11/12
    The term hijab is meant to refer simply to the way a woman dresses. Of course, standards of modestly vary from culture to culture – so there is some debate over what women must do.

  33. Angels In Islam2008/11/05
    It was actually Gabriel who recited the Qur’an to Muhammad in a cave, Hira’a, near Mecca. But he’s not the only angel Muslims believe in. Angels, in general, are important to Islam.

  34. Do Muslims Believe In Jesus?2008/10/29
    Jesus is a special figure for both Christians and Muslims. Christians view Jesus as the divine son of God and a savior, but in Islam, Jesus is a prophet. Like Muhammad, he is greatly revered as a man who shared a message from Allah with the world.

  35. What Is The Ka’aba?2008/10/22
    There are some outside Islam who think the Ka’aba, in Mecca, is a pagan temple – it is an idea deeply offensive to Muslims. They believe the Ka’aba was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael, considered the father of Islam. The building is believed to mark the gate of Heaven, where communication with Allah is easiest.

  36. Do Muslims Eat Meat? Islam And Halal2008/10/15
    Nothing in the Qur’an requires Muslims to be vegetarians. However, there are certain restrictions on what Muslims can eat or drink – these restrictions are called Halal.

  37. Are Non-Muslims Allowed To Go To Mosque?2008/10/08
    There are many mosques in Europe and the United States that are open to non-Muslims. But, it is important to show proper respect in the mosque. Non-Muslims are still required to dress conservatively or perhaps take off their shoes.

  38. What Is The Meaning Of The Word “Islam”?2008/10/01
    In Arabic, the word "Islam" means submission or surrender – however, it was derived from the root word "salam". From this root word, you can also derive the words peace and safety.

  39. The Myth Of Monolithic Islam2008/09/24
    When many people hear or think of Islam what often comes to mind is a monolithic religion in which people all practice and believe the same thing. But, just as Christianity and Buddhism are splintered into different groups so is Islam.

  40. Do Muslims Worship Muhammad?2008/09/17
    Many people think Muslims worship Muhammad - but that's not true. Muhammad is not a deity. Instead Muslims believe he is the last in a line of prophets that includes Abraham and Jesus.

  41. What Is Islamic Law?1970/01/01
    Sharia has always been a personal, as well as a group, undertaking. The Sharia is meant to guide individuals in their daily lives as much as the Muslim community as a whole.

Crash Course in Islam
Crash Course in Islam is a production of the Voices and Visions Project from the Center for the Study of Global Change at Indiana University. This weekly podcast debunks common myths about the Islamic faith in brief, informational segments. Learn more at CrashCourseinIslam.org

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