Islam - Introduction

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ – الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ – وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

Islam  (al-’isla-m) is the monotheistic religion articulated by the Qur’an, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Allah), and by the teachings and normative example (called the Sunnah and composed of Hadith) of Muhammad, often considered by them to be the last prophet of God.
In addition to referring to the religion itself, the word Islam means 'submission to God', 'peace', and 'way to peace'.
An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.


The Quran, (literally meaning “a recitation”), also transliterated Koran, Qur’an, and al-Qur’an, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God  (Allah) and the final divine revelation—Final Testament.
It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language.
Muslims believe that the Quran was verbally revealed through the angel Jibril (Gabriel) from God to Muhammad gradually over a period of approximately twenty-three years beginning in 610 CE, when Muhammad was forty, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death.
Furthermore, Muslims believe that the Qur'an was precisely memorized, recited and exactly written down by Muhammad's companions, called Sahabas, after each revelation have been dictated by Muhammad.
Shortly after Muhammad's death the Quran was compiled into a single book by order of the first Caliph Abu Bakr and at the suggestion of his future successor Umar.
Hafsa, who was Muhammad's widow and Umar's daughter, was entrusted with that Quran text after the second Caliph Umar died.
When Uthman, the third Caliph, began to notice slight differences in Arabic dialect he asked Hafsa to allow him to use the text in her possession to be set as the standard dialect, the Quraish dialect now known as Fus'ha (Modern Standard Arabic).
Before returning the text to Hafsa Uthman made several thousand copies of Abu Bakr's redaction and, to standardize the text, invalidated all other versions of the Quran.
This process of formalization is known as the "Uthmanic recension".
The present form of the Quran text is accepted by most scholars as the original version compiled by Abu Bakr.
Muslims regard the Quran as the main miracle of Muhammad, the proof of his prophethood and the culmination of a series of divine messages that started, according to Islamic belief, with the messages revealed to Adam, regarded in Islam as the first prophet, and continued with the Suhuf Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham), the Tawrat (Torah or Pentateuch) of Moses, the Zabur (Tehillim or Book of Psalms) of David, and the Injil (Gospel) of Jesus.
The Quran assumes familiarity with major narratives recounted in Jewish and Christian scriptures, summarizing some, dwelling at length on others.
The Quran describes itself as a book of guidance, sometimes offering detailed accounts of specific historical events, and often emphasizing the moral significance of an event over its narrative sequence.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

الشيخ محمد بن عبد الوهاب 

Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab

Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, (born 1114 AH / 1703 AD in Uyaynah; died 1206 AH / 1792 AD), was an Arab prominent Islamic scholar.
He is associated with the revivalist religious movement of Salafism.

The al Sauds

Ibn Abd al-Wahhab was invited to settle in neighboring Dir'iyya by its ruler Muhammad ibn Saud in 1740 (1157 AH).
Two of Ibn Saud's brothers had been students of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab in Uyayna, and are said to have played a role in convincing Ibn Saud to take him in.
Ibn Saud's wife is also reported to have been a adherent to Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's cause.
Upon arriving in Diriyya, a pact was made between Ibn Saud and Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, by which Ibn Saud pledged to implement Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's teachings and enforce them on his and his neighboring towns.
Beginning in the last years of the 18th century Ibn Saud and his heirs (The House of Saud) would spend the next 140 years mounting various academic and military campaigns to seize control of Arabia and its outlying regions, finally taking control of the whole of modern day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1922.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

Muhammed bin 'Abd Al Wahhab considered his movement an effort to purify Islam by returning Muslims to what he believed were the original principles of Islam, as typified by the Salaf and rejecting what he regarded as corruptions introduced by Bid'ah and Shirk.
Although all Muslims pray to one God, Muhammed bin 'Abd Al Wahhab was keen on emphasizing that no intercession with God was possible without God's permission, which God only grants to whom He wills and only to benefit those whom He wills, certainly not the ones who invoke anything or anyone except Him, as these would never be forgiven.
Specific practices, such as celebrating the birth of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were also deemed as innovations based on the fact that there is no supportive text from the Quran or hadith sanctioning such a practice; and furthermore, the companions did not practice it either.  Muhammed bin 'Abd Al Wahhab's impact on Islam has been considerable and significant.

Muhammed bin Abd al-Wahhab's descendents are known today as "Aal-Shaykh" ("The family of the Shaykh").
Both the current Saudi minister of justice and the current grand mufti of Saudi Arabia are also descendents of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab.


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

T H E   H O U S E   O F   S A U D

آل سعود
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
The House of Saud, also called the Al Saud, is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia. The head of the family is King Abdullah. The ruling faction of the family is primarily led by the descendants of Muhammad bin Saud and his brothers. The family advocates Salafi Islam and unification of Arabia.
 The most influential member of the family is the King of Saudi Arabia.
The line of succession to the Saudi throne is not father-son but brother-brother of the children of King Abdul-Aziz. The family is estimated to be composed of 7,000 members.
Most power resides amongst the 200 or so descendants of King Abdul-Aziz.

عبد العزيز آل سعود

King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia

King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia (15 January 1876 [1] – 9 November 1953) was the first monarch of the Third Saudi State known as Saudi Arabia.
He was commonly referred to as Ibn Saud.
Beginning with the reconquest of his family's ancestral home city of Riyadh in 1902, he consolidated his control over the Najd in 1922, conquered the Hijaz in 1925.
The nation was founded and unified as Saudi Arabia in 1932.
As King, he presided over the discovery of petroleum in Saudi Arabia in 1938 and the beginning of large-scale oil exploitation after World War II.
He was the father of many children, including all of the subsequent kings of Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Ikhwan

The Ikhwan was the Islamic religious militia which formed the main military force of the Arabian ruler Ibn Saud and played a key role in establishing him as ruler of most of the Arabian Peninsula, in his new state of Saudi Arabia.
The Ikhwan were made up of Bedouin tribes.
This militant religious brotherhood declared that they were dedicated to the purification and the unification of Islam.
This movement had aimed at breaking up the tribes, and settling the Bedu around the wells and oases.
They felt that the nomadic life was incompatible with strict conformity with Islam.
Ibn Saud had risen to power on this movement.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

سلطان بجاد حميد العتيبي

Sultan Bin Najad Al Otaibi

Sultan Bin Najad Al Otaibi also known as Sultan bin Bajad Al-Otaibi (circa 1890- died 1931) was a leader of the Ikhwan movement in Saudi Arabia.
This movement was the virtual army that supported King Abdul Aziz to build his kingdom between 1910 and 1927.
Along with his colleague and friend Faisal Al-Dawish al Mutairi, he led the Arabian tribal forces in the occupation of Al Hufuf, Al Qatif, Hail, Al Jawf, Asir and Mecca and Medina.
Although he was not literate, he was very religious and strongly believed in the Wahabi principles.
He fought all the enemies of the Saudi kings considering them infidels and disbelievers according to Wahabi doctrine.
After the occupation of Hijaz, King Abdul Aziz and Al Ikhwan leaders went into clashes as Abdul Aziz wanted to stop the fighting in Arabia and concentrate on building the foundations of a modern state.
Sultan Bin Najad and his friend considered this as a sin according to Wahabism and disagreed about the agreements the king made with the British and neighbouring powers.
Najad entered into several battles with the king's forces until he was killed in Al Artaweeiyah in 1931.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

Later the Ikhwan rebelled when they accused Ibn Saud of religious laxity when he forbade them to raid into neighbouring states.
After the conquest of the Hejaz in 1924 brought all of the current Saudi state under Ibn Saud's control, the monarch found himself in conflict with elements of the Ikhwan.
He crushed their power at the Battle of Sabilla in 1930, following which the militia was reorganised into the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

 Saudi Kings after King Abdul-Aziz 

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

 سعود بن عبد العزيز آل سعود

King Saud bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud - (1953-1964)

Saud bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud (January 12, 1902 - February 23, 1969) was King of Saudi Arabia from 1953-64.
He was removed from power by Faisal because of Saud's mismanagement and waste.
He was the eldest surviving son of Ibn Saud and became Crown Prince in 1933.
He died in exile in Greece.

 فيصل بن عبدالعزيز آل سعود

King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud

Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud (1906 – March 25, 1975) was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975.
As king, he is credited with rescuing the country's finances and implementing a policy of modernization and reform, while his main foreign policy themes were pan-Islamism, anti-Communism, and pro-Palestinian nationalism.
He successfully stabilized the kingdom's bureaucracy and his reign had significant popularity among Saudis.
In 1975, he was assassinated by his nephew Faisal bin Musaid.

 خالد بن عبد العزيز آل سعود

Khalid bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud‎ 

Khalid bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud (February 13, 1913– June 13, 1982) was Crown Prince from 1965–75 and King of Saudi Arabia from 1975-82.
He ruled during the oil boom years of the Kingdom.
In 1979, he had to deal with the Grand Mosque Seizure.
As King, he delegated many of his responsibilities to his half-brother Crown Prince Fahd.

فهد بن عبد العزيز آل سعود. 
Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud

Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, (16 March 1921 – 1 August 2005) was the King of the Saudi Arabia from 1982-2005.
One of forty-five sons of Saudi founder Ibn Saud, and the fourth of his five sons who have ruled the Kingdom (Saud, Faisal, Khalid, Fahd, and Abdullah), Fahd ascended to the throne on the death of his half-brother, King Khalid, on 13 June 1982.
Fahd was appointed Crown Prince when Khalid succeeded their half-brother King Faisal, who was assassinated in 1975.
Fahd was viewed as the de facto prime minister during King Khalid's reign in part due to the latter's ill health.
Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke 29 November 1995, after which he was unable to continue performing his full official duties. His half-brother, Abdullah, the country's Crown Prince, served as de facto regent of the kingdom and succeeded Fahd as monarch upon his death on 1 August 2005.
King Fahd is credited for having introduced the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia in 1992.

عبد الله بن عبد العزيز آل سعود

Malik al-Mamlaka al-'Arabiyya as-Sa'udiyya - Khadim al-Haramayn ash-Sharifayn

Malik Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques

Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, (born August 1, 1923), is the current King of Saudi Arabia.
On August 1, 2005, he succeeded to the throne upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. Previously, as Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1996 to 2005. He has been Commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard from 1962 to November 2010.
He was formally enthroned on August 3, 2005.
At age 87, he is one of the world's oldest reigning monarchs. He has topped the 500 Most Influential Muslims list for two consecutive years in 2009 and 2010.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

 المملكة العربية السعودية

(Al Mamlaka al ʻArabiyya as Suʻūdiyya)

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, commonly known as Saudi Arabia, is the third-largest country in the Middle East by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the third-largest Arab country.
It is bordered by Jordan and Iraq on the north and northeast, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on the east, Oman on the southeast, and Yemen on the south.
It is also connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway.
The Persian Gulf lies to the northeast and the Red Sea to its west. Saudi Arabia has an estimated population of 25.7 million of which 5.5 million are non-citizens, and its size is approximately 2,149,690 square kilometres (830,000 sq mi).
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by Abdul-Aziz bin Saud (known in the West as Ibn Saud) in 1932, although the conquests which eventually led to the creation of the Kingdom began in 1902 when he captured Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud, referred to in Arabic as the Al Saud.
Saudi Arabia's government takes the form of an Islamic absolute monarchy.
The kingdom is known as "The Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places in Islam.
The two mosques are Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca), and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (in Medina).

The ulema, the religious and clerical leadership, are led by the Al ash-Sheikh, who are the descendants of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab founder of the dominant Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia.
The alliance between the Al-Saud (the royal family) and the Al ash-Sheikh has existed since the first Saudi State, and is based on a power-sharing understanding whereby the Al-Saud have political predominance but will support and propagate the Al ash-Sheikh's Wahhabism, while the Al ash-Sheikh have predominance in religious matters but will support the Al-Saud's rule
Despite this long-standing balance of power, the ash-Sheikh family, and the Ulema as a whole, have in recent years exercised influence beyond purely religious matters and have had decisive involvement in key political decisions.

عبد العزيز بن عبد الله بن محمد بن عبد اللطيف آل الشيخ‎ 

Abd al-'Aziz ibn 'Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Lateef Aal ash-Shaikh

Abdul Aziz al ash-Shaikh (born February 10, 1940) is a Muslim scholar and the current Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia.

He began studying the Qur'an at the Ahmad Ibn Sanaan Mosque and memorized the entire text by the time he was twelve years old.
In 1954 he transferred to the Imaam ad-Da'wah Institute where he graduated from the Faculty of Sharia in 1962.
He then began his active religious life, and worked as a teacher at the Imaam ad-Da'wah al-'Ilmee Institute until 1971.
He then transferred to teaching at the Faculty of Sharia (at the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University) in Riyadh and continued there until 1991.
He was made a member of the Council of Senior Scholars in 1986, where after he was also made a member of the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawa, and was appointed deputy to the then Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, (Shaikh ibn Baaz) in 1995.

 A R T

القبة الخضراء

The Tomb of the Prophet - Medina
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

مسجد قبة الصخرة

The Dome of the Rock at Night
al Quds  القُدس   (Jerusalem)
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

مسجد قبة الصخرة‎      
The Dome of the Rock at Night
al Quds  القُدس   (Jerusalem)

'At the Entrance to the Temple Mount - Jerusalem - 1886'

'Prayer in Cairo'
Jean-Leon Gerome

'Prayer In The Mosque'
Jean-Leon Gerome

'Interior of a Mosque'
Jean-Leon Gerome

'View of Cairo'
Jean-Leon Gerome

'Tombs of the Mameluks'
Gifford-Sanford Robinson 

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ – لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَبِذَلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ


adventures in Egypt

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