18) Explain the origins, spread, and religious principles of Islam: understand Islamic unity and the “gracious life” and explain the forces of disunity within Islam.
Islam is a monotheistic religion that originated from the Arab Peninsula around 622 CE. Islam particularly originated from the Arabic tribe of the Quraysh people, to which the founder of Muslim-Muhammad-belonged. This tribe lived near Mecca and acted as the guardians of the Kaaba-pagan worship shrine. According to traditional Islamic views, Islam and its doctrine in the Holy Qur’an began developing after revelations of its verses to Muhammad at around 610 CE when he was 40 years old. Though linked to the revelation of verses, some elements of Islam such as the Kaa’ba and its black stone imply that some elements must have originated from pagan worship at the Kaaba.
The start of Islam’s rise and initial spread is linked to the flight of Muslins to Medina during the Hijra. Later on, spread of the religion occurred through trade routes and contact as well as through migration and territorial expansion.
The principles of Islamic faith are founded on belief in Allah, the books of Allah (kutubullah), the judgment day (Yawmuddin), the angels (Malaikah), life after death (Akhirah), the messenger of Allah (Rusulullah) and supremacy of the divine (Al-Qadar). These are the major principles of the faith.
In spite of having these common uniting principles, Islam is divided along Sunni and Shiite lines. The disunity between Shiite and Sunni Muslims has often led to differences in the practice of the faith. This disunity can be traced back to the death of Muhammad. The tribal differences on who should have inherited Muhammad’s position after his death were the main cause of current Islamic disunity.
19) Outline the conditions that permitted the early spread of Christianity and describe Christianity’s impact on the political and social establishment of the empire.
Jesus-the founder of Christianity was born into Roman dominion and context. The development of Christianity, therefore, began under the Roman Empire. Several factors under the Roman Empire encouraged the quick spread of Christianity. The establishment of peace under the Roman Empire’s ‘pax romana’ was the first ingredient that facilitated a quick spread of Christianity. The peace and lack of military conflict ensured that Christians would easily traverse Roman territory safely and spread the gospel. The peaceful travel facilitated a quick spread. The Roman conquest of other territories also facilitated the spread of Christianity. In the ancient times, religion was closely linked to national identity. The failure or access of people and their cities depended on their deities. Therefore, when any city was conquered by Rome, the people easily lost faith in their deities, and thus creating a perfect ground for spread of Christianity. In conquering the Hellenistic world, the Roman Empire established the use of a common language. This facilitated effective communication that easily facilitated the spread of Christianity.
While the Roman Empire impacted on the spread of Christianity, the religion also impacted the empire positively. Key among the impacts was the development of monotheism and social order based on values of Christian religion. As the religion spread social unity based on faith was attained within the empire. The spread of the faith also fostered political recognition of the faith within the Roman Empire.
20) Compare and Contrast the Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages.
The Paleolithic or ‘old stone age’ was period characterized by nomadic life where people lived in tribal societies of approximately fifty members. In this age, people mainly practiced hunting and gathering activities. Chipped stone tools and wooden weapons were the major implements used in this era. Animal skins were the common form clothing use in the Paleolithic period. The people of this age lived in skin tents, huts and mouths of caves, which were all temporary. In this age, there was no concept of private property and life was communal. On the contrary, the concept of private property was well developed in the Neolithic period (new age period). In this period, ownership property such as livestock, tools and land had emerged. Life was more sedentary in the Neolithic period and shelters were permanent and made of mud bricks supported by wood. Stone tools of the Neolithic period were more developed because they were ground and sharpened. Both the Paleolithic and Neolithic period shared stone tools because metallurgy was not yet developed. Crop husbandry is also one the discoveries that characterized the Neolithic period as people of the period began practicing agriculture. Unlike the Paleolithic period, the Neolithic period began experiencing more societal organization in terms of leadership and religion as populations grew.
What led to the changes in how ancient humans lived?
The changes in how ancient humans lived are best evidenced by transformation from the Paleolithic period to the Neolithic period. The emergence of a sedentary life led to developments in crop and animal husbandry. Domestication reduced gathering and hunting habits. As man became more sedentary, the ability to stay in one place for long led to development of other societal elements such as leadership structures and governorship as well as the development of religion. The sedentary life paved way for advances in social structures of society. The improvement of tools into lighter, sharper and more durable nature led to a great improvement life operations and thus making life easier. The development of a sedentary lifestyle, improvement of tools and growth of societal values and structures are perhaps the most important shapers of life in ancient times.
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