Posted: August 7th, 2013
Bruce Lincoln elaborates on the four domains that are essential in defining anything that can be called a religion. He defines religion as having the following qualities. One, religion has a set of practices that aim at producing a proper world. Two, religion consists of a community having members that refer to a religious discourse and its related practices. Three, religion has to be an institution that controls the practices and religious discourse as well as asserting their validity and value. Lastly, religion is an organized discourse that has preset regulations
The Islam community is made up of members who have similar value for their religion and the Quran. They share similar respect for the importance of prayer and sanctity in life. Lastly, the Islam institution houses various religious leaders that are responsible for disseminating and interpreting the group’s discourse. The inability of an individual to understand the religious background of al Qaeda network would be detrimental. This is because the group is based on the Islam religion that guides theirs actions and decisions such as the choice to make a terror attack. The rise of the Arabs was made possible by the carefully preserved culture of oral poetry and fierce individualism, and the individual efforts of Muhammad that were largely responsible for the religious revolution. At first, Muhammad started violent wars that were similar to jihads in opposing the Islam religion but later embraced it. The conversion of Arabs to Islam and this marked the beginning of Islamic era.
In the September 11 terror attacks that left many people dead and buildings destroyed, the perpetrators had evidence of religious manipulation. The letters from the al Qaeda network showed that religious discourse was responsible for the mass murder, as well as, portraying al Qaeda as a religious institution that acted on behalf of the broader Islam community. According to Bruce, most of activities done by the al Qaeda, members were rituals that included preparing themselves spiritually and physically to make terror attacks. An instance is would be when the bombers take over a plane and recite the Quran as well as doing other rituals. Bruce attempts to stress the intense dependence on religion by the al Qaeda group to perpetrate terrorism. In summary, the letters written by the al Qaeda were at most very religious in nature.
The definition of religion by Geertz displays religion as a cultural scheme that was hegemonic. He defined Islam as both a cultural and social system that was characterized by a series of symbols that influenced feelings and emotions in men using factual and non-factual references, such as the Quran and other concepts. Bruce Lincoln’s definition of religion aptly covers the four main domains of religion and goes on to describe their functions and roles in the society. Within the Islam religion, they have several goals to shape the community into proper human beings. Islam people have extremely strict regulations concerning proper behavior and conduct as well as rules involving personal health. These regulations are strictly observed by all individuals.
The rise of the Islamic empire was boosted by a combination of academic excellence, economic development and social reorganization. The Arab community was a center for intellectual excellence in all topics, for example, science, education and medicine. The scholars from Muslim and non-Muslim communities gathered a lot of knowledge on different sectors of the economy such as road building, small and medium businesses as well as professional knowledge. The Muslim community had also invested in developing science and technology among their scholars such as astronomy and chemistry. The analysis of Islam and its civilization, should be approached from an objective point of view, as their culture and religion are earmarked by a lot of bias from former scholars and analysts. The bias was shaped by knowledge acquired from other sources. For a long time, Islam has been viewed as a culture that is predisposed toward using violent means in their contact with the rest of the world. This bias should be avoided when analyzing the Muslim community.
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