The birth, life, and death of Muhammad impacted the world of Islam differently. His birth in 570 CE signaled the resurgence of the religion which had already sank into obscurity for centuries because the people of Meca rejected the monotheistic religion preached by Abraham. His life as a preacher which began three years after the start of the revelations resulted to a rejuvenated Muslim world. The flight of the Muslims to Medina (or the hijrah) which he orchestrated in order for them to escape persecution from the hands of the Qurayshites of Mecca was what strengthened Islam as soon as they had settled in Medina.
Their newfound strength later enabled them to raise a strong army to recapture Mecca from the hands of the Qurayshites. However, while he re-established Mecca as the holy sanctuary of Islam, Muhammad himself chose to live in Medina (Fisher, 2005). While his birth signaled the rebirth of Islam and his life rejuvenated their religion, his death in 632 CE in Medina rocked the Muslim world. It caused a serious split among the followers of Islam. The Shi’a and Sunni Muslims became irreconcilably separated because of the issue of succession after Muhammad died.
Most of the surviving Muslims believed that although Muhammad was able to leave explicit instructions telling his followers what to do after his death, they contended that he failed to anoint his successor. Thus, for the said majority, the issue of who should succeed Muhammad became an issue which should be settled satisfactorily in order to prevent dissension among the Muslims. After only discussing the problem briefly, they decided to settle the issue of succession by election.
Unfortunately, the minority group insisted that it was not true that Muhammad failed to name his successor. They declared that several weeks before he died, Muhammad held the hand of his son-in-law, Ali, and uttered the following words: “Whoever I protect, ‘Ali is also his protector. O God, be a friend to whoever is his friend and an enemy to whoever is his enemy” (Fisher. 2005). The issue of succession was ultimately decided according to the wishes of the majority – by election – but the two factions have never reconciled up to this day.
The Shi’a Muslims now form the majority faction in Iran, while the Sunnis are the majority in “Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, northern African countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asian countries of the former Soviet Union, and Indonesia” (Fisher, 2005). The minority, the Shi’a Muslims or the Shi’ites, interprets the Qur’an strictly and adheres rather closely to the teachings embodies in the Qur’an. The Sunnis, or the majority, constitutes almost 90% of all Muslims who are considered traditionalists and secular. Because of their secularity, they are more adaptable than the Shi’ites (Robinson, 2007).
Muslims have been accused of mutilating women. This practice, however, is denied by the followers of Islam. According to them, “Female Genital Mutilation” (FGM), which is actually a surgical procedure performed on girls before they reach the age of puberty for the purpose of terminating or reducing their sexual feelings, is not an Islamic practice. They explain that FGM is a tradition of “Animists, Christians, and [some] Muslims in those countries where FGM is common. ” Women are given equal rights under Islam. In fact, the Qur’an decreed that when it comes to public life, men and women should have equal rights and participation.
During the time of Muhammad, women were allowed to participate actively in their baya which is the equivalent of today’s practice of political endorsements. Evidence of this Muslim women’s status is the voting rights granted to women in the predominantly Muslim countries like Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman. The women in Kuwait followed suit by earning their right to vote and get elected sometime in 2005. In fact, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Prime Minister, divulged a plan to appoint a woman minister in Kuwait soon (Robinson, 2007).
Muslims as terrorists and pro-violence Yusuf (n. d. ) said that majority of the Muslims are convinced that while the U. S. government has been blaming terrorism on Islam for years, it was the 9/11 incident which dealt the most telling blow on the credibility and reputation of their religion. This was because the international media was able to depict that many Muslims around the world rejoiced after that incident. The truth is, however, that majority of the Muslim world was saddened by that incident and the repercussions it caused.
They would like to tell the world that terrorism is not an official policy of Islam and that, in fact, Muslims also consider terrorists as enemies of their religion. He laments the fact that When a crazy Christian does something terrible, everyone in the West knows it is the actions of a mad man because they have some knowledge of the core beliefs and ethics of Christianity. When a mad Muslim does something evil or foolish they assume it is from the religion of Islam, not because they hate us but because they have never been told by a Muslim what the teachings of Islam are all about.