This month we will continue to meet on February 20th, from 1-3 PM, in the Library. Currently we are viewing and discussing lectures from Sacred Texts of the World, a Great Courses series.
On Feb. 6th we began exploring Islam. We’ll discuss the Prophet Muhammad, born in 570 CE in Mecca, who began receiving the message of God while meditating in a cave outside Mecca, and became the founder of Islam. We’ll discuss the Qur’an, the sacred text of Islam, and the attitudes of Muslims toward it. We’ll also learn the differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims and how this split came about. Then we’ll take a deeper look into the Holy Qur’an, its basic themes, the Bible stories in the Qur’an, and the Islamic laws within the Qur’an, along with some selections or Suras.
On Feb. 20th we’ll finish our study of Islam with the Hadith and Sufism. The Hadith are accounts of Muhammad’s actions and sayings, which were intensely studied to determine rules and regulations for believers and became raw materials for legal opinions. Eventually, the analysis of Qur’an and Hadith produced Sharia, or Muslim law, but this is not a single law code and exact regulations are different in different countries. The mystic strand of Islam, called Sufism, developed in the 8th century as an attempt to experience God directly, emphasizing the spiritual, emotive aspects of religion rather than the letter of the law. We’ll also learn of some celebrated Sufi authors such as Farid al-Din Attar (1145-1221) and Jalal al-din Rumi (1207-1273).
Following this lecture we’ll jump back to a tradition related to Christianity, namely Mormonism and its sacred texts. Mormonism began in upstate New York in March 1830 with the publication of the Book of Mormon. Eleven day later a church was formally organized by Joseph Smith which came to be known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). Today this denomination, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, has more than 15 million members worldwide.
Come join us and find out more for yourself. For more information contact Glory Bowen (973-335-5590)