Life for the mainly desert Arabs was one of almost constant warfare with other tribal groups over territory and religious allegiances. The only time that the fighting stopped and the tribes got together was in a sacred tent in Mecca where no fighting was allowed. This “ceasefire” also enabled trading to take place and so the human ingenuity for “turning a blind eye” prevailed.
Mohammed’s genius was to declare a single God and this had the effect of uniting the various tribes. The sacred tent in Mecca was retained and other rules followed such as prayer 5 times a day, while facing Mecca, plus the various rules about hygiene, food and so on.
I was reminded by Mohammed’s life story that it was similar to Ghandi’s, whom we studied earlier in the year. Both Ghandi and Mohammed were as much political strategists as they were spiritual leaders. In Mohammed’s case major battles were fought to overcome resistance to his new religion and for Ghandi the “battle” to liberate India from the British was fought using “non-resistance” methods. These two leaders inspired major change to whole societies.
No homework was organized for this period, but for those interested, and wishing to prepare in advance for our next session, August 5th, we will watch the excellent video on Islam again, because so few of the class have seen it. We meet as usual in the ex-Centre room Dunlop Campus.
September’s topic is as yet undecided.
At this stage a trip is planned in October to the Benedictine Monastery at Thoona and on the same trip we may stop at the Winton wetlands café for lunch, or afternoon tea, plus study the indigenous displays and possibly hear details about it from an indigenous representative.
In November, our final meeting of the year, we will study/discuss Christianity and Judaism.