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Islam the Quran and the Five Pillars All Without a Flamewar Crash Course World History 13
Hi there, I'm John Green, this is CrashCourse: World History and today we're going to talk about Islam, which like Christianityand Judaism grew up on the east coast of the Mediterranean but unlike Christianity andJudaism is not terribly well understood in the West. For instance, you probably knowwhat this is and what this is, you probably don't know what that is. Google it. Mr. Green Mr. Green why do you think peopleknow so little about Islamic historyé Did you just ask an interesting nonannoyingquestion, me from the pasté I think we don't know about early Islamic history because wedon't learn about it, me from the past,
because we don't learn about it, becausewe're taught that our history is the story of Christianity in Europe, when in fact ourhistory is the story of people on the planet, so let's try to learn something today. theme music So in less than 200 years Islam went fromnot existing to being the religious and political organizing principal of one of the largestempires in the world. And that story begins in the 7th century CEwhen the angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad, a 40ish guy who made his living as a caravantrader and told him to begin reciting the word of God.
Initially, this freaked Muhammad out, as,you know, it wouldâ€”but then his wife and a couple of other people encouraged him andslowly he came to accept the mantle as prophet. A few things to know about the world Islamentered: First, Muhammad's society was intensely tribal. He was a member of the Quraysh tribe,living in Mecca and tribal ties were extremely important. Also, at the time, the Arabian peninsula waslike this crazy religious melting pot. Like most tribal Arabs worshipped gods very similar to theMesopotamian gods you'll remember from episode 3. And by the time of Muhammad, cult statutesof many of those gods had been collected in his hometown of Mecca in this templelikestructure called the Kaaba.
But Arabia was also a home for monotheismslike Christianity and Judaism, even a bit of Zoroastrianism. So the message that therewas only god wouldn't have been like as surprising to Muhammad as it was, for instance,to Abraham. Also, and this will become very important,the northern part of Arabia was sandwiched between the Byzantine Empire and the PersianSassanian Empireâ€”and you'll remember, those guys were always fighting. They werelike snowboarders and skiers, or like the Westboro Baptist Church and everyone else. At its core, Islam is what we call a radicalreforming religionâ€”just like Jesus and Moses
sought to restore Abrahamic monotheism afterwhat they perceived as straying, so too did Muhammad. Muslims believe that God sent Muhammad asthe final prophet to bring people back to the one true religion, which involves the worship of,and submission to, a single and allpowerful God. The Quran also acknowledges Abraham and Mosesand Jesus among others as prophets, but it's very different from the Hebrew and Christianbibles: For one thing it's much less narrative,but also its the written record of the revelations Muhammadreceivedâ€”which means its not written from the point of view of people, it is seen asthe actual word of God.
The Quran is a really broadranging text,but it returns again and again to a couple themes. One is strict monotheism and the otheris the importance of taking care of those less fortunate than you. The Quran, says ofthe good person spends his substanceâ€”however much he himselfmay cherish itâ€”upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer,and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage. These revelations also radically increasedthe rights of women and orphans, which was one of the reasons why Mohammad's triballeaders weren't that psyched about them.