Course: Introduction to Islam (2023)
Faculty Mentor: Necati Alkan
When I began the course Introduction to Islam, I had little knowledge of the life of Muhammad. The knowledge I’ve gained now helps me to better understand the teachings of Islam. I have a better understanding of how Islam spread, and I recognize the value in the teachings of Islam about the brotherhood of all Muslims. Bahá’í teachings of the Oneness of Humanity take that concept to even higher levels, with appreciation of all spiritual traditions—exemplifying unity in diversity!
I value learning about the early life of Muhammad: that he was an orphan, lived the first few years of his life in the Bedouin family of his wet nurse, and after the death of his mother when he was 6 years old, was then raised by his uncle along with Ali, his younger cousin, the son of that uncle. We learned a lot about how Islam spread and the factors that differentiate Sunni from Shí’í Islam.
It was interesting to learn that teachings are now being disseminated that argue that the Qur’án does not support the teaching that women are unequal to men and that this was a misinterpretation of the Qur’án by paternalistic cultures. Lastly, I was helped to realize that there is now a tremendous mixing of cultures in the world, and we all need to know more about each other.
I feel that I now have a better understanding of progressive revelation. Coming from a Christian family heritage, and knowing little about Islam, I now see how concern for the needy, social concern, can be cultivated in society by a newer revelation.
It is great, at my age, to access such learning on the Internet. Thank you, Wilmette Institute!