In my last article I presented a quiz on the religion of Roman Catholicism. I received several positive responses from readers, so I thought I might give it another try. In this and the next installment we will look at questions concerning Islam. Certainly no world religion has garnered more interest, questions, and just plain fear than has Islam in the past couple of decades. Unfortunately, most people, including Christians, really don’t know much about that faith or the more than a billion Muslims who practice it. Take a few minutes to answer the following ten questions on the background and history of Islam, then check the answers below to see how you did. In the next installment we will present ten more questions about Islamic beliefs.
Fill in the blanks with the letter of the correct answer.
1. ____Islam literally means “__________.”
d. Fun, Fun, Fun
2. ____A Muslim is one who worships ________ (the Muslim/Arabic name for God).
3. ____Muhammad is regarded as the _________ of the prophets.
4. ____He claimed the Angel _______revealed to him God’s final revelation for humanity.
5. ____Muhammad was born in the year _______.
a. 586 BC
b. 4 BC
c. AD 570
d. AD 1492
6. ____In his 20s, Muhammad married an older wealthy widow named ___________.
(Extra credit: Another wealthy widow with this name married a famous younger single man. Do you know who they were? __________and __________ ___________
7. ____Muhammad initially preached in the city of ______.
d. Mos Eisley
8. ____On July 16, AD 622, Muhammad fled to the Arabian city of Yathrib (Medina) – Muslims call this event “________.”
a. The Hegira
b. The Jihada
c. The Salat
d. El Paso
9. ____Muhammad died in the year ________.
a. 49 BC
b. AD 70
c. AD 632
d. AD 1776
10. ____Muhammad married Aisha when she was____ years old.
Now let’s see how you did on these first ten questions.
1. The correct answer is C. The word Islam is derived from the Arabic verb meaning “to submit” or “to surrender.” Thus, the literal meaning of Islam is “submission.” Muslims would say that the aim of their faith is the voluntary submission of their minds, bodies, and souls to God. Some Muslims argue that the word Islam is also related the Arabic word salam meaning “peace.”
2. The correct answer is B. The Islamic name for God is Allah, which is the Arabic word for god or deity. Muslims contend there is only one true, eternal, and infinite creator.
Islam’s most basic statement of faith is: “There is no God except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” They believe Allah is one, in the sense of a rigid monotheism. Muslims absolutely reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. The Qur’an states, “In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful – Say: He is God, The One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begotteth not, Nor is He begotten; and there is none Like unto Him” (Qur’an- Sura [chapter] 112:1-4).
They believe that Allah was Creator of the universe, man, and the host of angels. He is indivisible and without parts. He alone is God and has no son. “No son did Allah beget nor is there any god along with Him” (Sura 23:91). “No son has He begotten nor has He a partner in His dominion…” (Sura 25:2).
In Islam, Allah is unknowable in a personal sense. We can only know of his characteristics. According to Islam, God has 13 attributes: Existence, Eternity, Perpetuity, Dissimilarity, Self-Sustenance, Unity, Might, Will, Knowledge, Life, Hearing, Sight and Speech.
Islam teaches that mankind’s purpose is to willingly pursue and obey God. Nonetheless, God is in total control of our fate, so it is an extreme form of predeterminism. We are totally at the mercy of God. “To Him is due the origin of the heavens and the earth; when He decreeth a matter He saith to it: ‘Be’; and it is.” (Sura 2:117). “If it were His will He could destroy you, O mankind, and create another race: for He hath power this to do” (Sura 4:133).
God has 99 names that reflect His characteristics.
“He is Allah, than whom there is no other God, the Knower of the invisible and the visible. He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. He is Allah, than whom there is no other God, the Sovereign Lord the Holy One, Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him). He is Allah, the Creator, the Shaper out of naught, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifieth Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise” (Sura 59:22-24).
Allah is not directly involved in human affairs. Divinely appointed prophets communicate His will as revealed by angels (Islam’s four archangels include: Gabriel, Michael, Israfil, and Izra’il).
3. The correct answer is A. Muhammad (AD 570- 632) is regarded as the “Seal” of the prophets. Muslims believe Allah has sent thousands of prophets to mankind through the ages beginning with Adam. Many of those mentioned in the Quran are derived from the Bible. According to Islam, they all taught essentially the same message. In any case, Muhammad is regarded as the last and greatest of the prophets who provided the highest and final revelation in the Qur’an.
4. The correct answer is A. Muslims believe that Allah’s final revelation was delivered by the Angel Gabriel. Gabriel supposedly appeared to Muhammad and dictated the words in Arabic exactly as they were given to him directly from Allah. Muhammad then recited them to scribes who wrote them down flawlessly. Thus, they regard Muhammad and the Quran as divinely inspired without variance from Allah’s message.
The Qur’an (Koran) is the Sacred Book of Islam. In many ways it is the center of the Islamic Faith. Muslims believe it is the dictated words of God revealed to Muhammad in Arabic and is comparable to the significance of Jesus to Christians. It is the perfect and ultimate revelation of God. The Qur’an consists of 114 Suras (chapters). The Suras are not placed in chronological order in all editions of the Qur’an. Rather they are placed in what they believe is a divinely designed order.
5. The correct answer is C. Muhammad was born in the year AD 570 in what is now Saudi Arabia. His Father died before his birth and his mother died when he was six years of age. As a boy he was raised by his merchant uncle Abu Talib.
6. The correct answer is A. At age 25 Muhammad married a wealthy 40 year old widow named Khadija. Soon afterward, beginning about AD 611, Muhammad claimed he started experiencing vivid visions and angelic visitations who revealed the truth of the one god to him.
EXTRA CREDIT ANSWER: The other wealthy widow who married a famous younger man was Martha Dandridge Custis. She married George Washington on January 6th1759, when she was 27 and he was 26.
7. The correct answer is C. With his wife’s support, Muhammad began to preach in his home city of Mecca in Arabia. However, in AD 619, both his uncle and Khadija died. Nevertheless, Muhammad continued his preaching which garnered opposition from pagan priests and merchants in Mecca who resented his monotheism.
8. The correct answer is A. In AD 622, Muhammad was forced to flee Mecca to the nearby city of Yathrib (Medina).This event is called the Hegira or Hijira (the “flight”). It is regarded as the beginning point of the Islamic religion and the first year on the Islamic lunar calendar. Thus this year, AD (Latin: Anno Domini- Year of Our Lord [Jesus]) 2012, is considered the year AH (Anno Hegirae – Year of the Hegira) 1433. The Islamic New Year begins on November 14th, 2012.
In Mecca, Muhammad made many converts to his new faith and raised an army. In AD 630, he led his army back to Mecca and immediately destroyed the pagan shrines still standing. He then established the city as the focal location of his new faith. He called all his followers to worship only at the shrine now called the Kaaba (the Cube) which houses the sacred Black Stone. The Kaaba was supposedly built by Abraham on the site where Adam first worshipped Allah, an Islamic tradition which lacks historical basis. Each year millions of people from around the world travel to Mecca to participate in the Pilgrimage (the Hajj) that all faithful Muslims are expected to take at least once in their lives. During that five day event, they retrace the steps in the life of Muhammad and walk around the Kaaba seven times.
9. The correct answer is C. Muhammad died in AD 632. He was succeeded by Abu-Bakr (573 – 634) as the first Caliph (Deputy). Abu-Bakr was Muhammad’s closest advisor and father of Aisha, one Muhammad’s wives (see #10 below).
10. The correct answer is A. Aisha was born in AD 614 in Mecca. Although some Muslim apologists dispute it, the evidence shows that her father gave her to Muhammad to be his third wife at the age of six. However, the marriage reportedly was not consummated until she was age nine. She was considered Muhammad’s favorite wife (he had at least nine after the death of Khadija). Muhammad died in AD 632, when Aisha was only eighteen. However, she remained involved in the political life of Islam until her death in AD 678. She is often referred to as the “Mother of the Believers.”
So how did you do? If you got them all right you have good knowledge if Islamic history. I hope this has helped you in any case. In the next installment we have a quiz on the beliefs and practices of Islam. Stay tuned for the next article.
© 2012 Tal Davis