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Middle Eastern History

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1) Statecraft and the unity of state and religion

The fact that three quarters of the Koran is focused on civil procedure makes us appreciate how important establishing the state was to Muhammad. He embedded in these procedures in the Koran because he wanted no separation between religion and state. For good reason, having no split between these two facets leaves no gray area of rule that conforms to one system and not the other. He did not want the loyalties of his people to clash between their faith and their government. This achievement originated through the Koran's integration of scriptures and civil guidelines.

2) Absence of Clergy

The absence of clergy within the Islamic faith is attributed to three causes.

§ In the early days of Islam, Muhammad would preach in the holy city of Mecca. During this time, Mecca was filled with Christians, Jews, and Pagans. The Christian and Jewish clergymen would mock Muhammad day and night; they discouraged and embarrassed him with hopes to break his will. Its safe to assume that from the start, Muhammad has a negative feel towards clergyman.

§ Islamic faith is the much more self-serving than any of the other major religions. You convert yourself, marry yourself, & pray yourself. Muhammad did not feel it was essential or even necessary to institute a higher authority in the place of worship.

§ Before Muhammad become The Prophet, he was very established, and greatly successful as a businessman. And his business intellect led him to the conclusion that it would be a waste of funds to setup a higher authority in the mosques. After all if he were to succeed at spreading Islamic influence into the Persian and Arabian Empires, he would need all the funds he could get.

3) Law Issues

a. Legal procedures

The Islamic judicial system has somewhat a resemblance to the American judicial system. The greatest similarity is the practice that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Another likeness is the practice of Habeas Corpus. This provides that no person shall be held against his or her will without being formally charged with a crime. However, a major difference in regards to legal procedure between our two cultures is the absence of lawyers. In Islamic legal proceedings, an alleged criminal is not granted the use of an attorney. If a Writ of Amicus Curen is established, the defendant deems themselves unable to comprehend the accusations brought upon them, and unable to adequately defend themselves. In this case a third party can be brought in to take the case.

Certain charges require eyewitness accounts to convict on. For example, if a man was on trial for adultery, it would take a testimony of four men or eight women to prove guilt. A women eyewitness counts half of that as a man eyewitness. This is attributed to the belief that women are more forgiving than men. It is one of the few places in the Koran that inequality is given to men and women.

b. Constitutional issues

Every law and binding principle is set forth in the three quarters portion of the Koran that acts as the Islamic Constitution.

c. Judicial review of laws

The Ulema act as the Islamic Supreme Court. Ulema stands for Scholars of Islamic Law. They have the power to interpret the Koran, challenge rulings, and set precedence by issuing fetwas, or rulings.

4) Social issues and people's equality before the law

a. race

There is no separate classes or prejudices. An example of his strong belief is what took place in when Muhammad was in Ethiopia. A black peasant had just converted. Muhammad made certain that everyone understood that this peasant whom had recently converted now has the same class as the prince from Yemen whom converted years ago. They are both brothers now, both apostles under the same light. One pillar of the Islamic culture that Muhammad was determined to apply was the idea that all races, all ethnicities, all classes and genders are all equal in the eyes of God. Once converted, all of the people of your faith are now your brothers and sisters.

b. gender

Some of the most influential and significant figures in Islamic history have been women. The first Muslim was Muhammad's mother, Sumayya. She also was the first to transcribe the words of Allah, through Muhammad. Women are just as significant and respected in the social, political, and financial sectors within Islamic cultures. Much different



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