World History Homework Five Answers - Student One

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AddisonDM 15:23, 3 March 2009 (EST)

1.The Five Pillars of Islam are submission to God, fasting during Ramadan, the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), almsgiving, and prayer five times daily facing Mecca in the East. These are the most fundamental requirements of all Muslims.


2.The major difference between Islam and Christianity is that Islam combines governmental and military ideas with religious ones. Christianity instructs its followers to be good citizens and follow their own governments for the most part (Jesus said "Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s," and the Bible and Christian tradition uphold good citizenship), while Islam, at least for much of its past, has militarily conquered land and set up its own government. Islam adopted some of the violence that seems typical in the Middle East, and contains elements of theocracy, making it both a religion and an ideology. Shariah is considered the only fully approved form of government in Shia Islam.

Excellent, may use as a model answer.

3.I equally like Charles the Hammer and Charlemagne. Charles the Hammer famously won the Battle of Tours in 732, saving Europe from a Muslim military invasion. This preserved Christianity in Europe and also kept peace. Charlemagne almost re-established a civilized and overarching central government with the Holy Roman Empire, and he introduced education and civilization where there had been very little.

Superb again!

4.I like that feudalism seems to be a great improvisation. It began rather haphazardly but it worked very well. Even though there was no strong central government like in the Roman Empire, Europe functioned much as though there was. The fact that all the land was owned, and that peasants could not move, made the system very stable and difficult to disrupt. I imagine it like a square board cut into pieces and surrounded by a frame. Whatever happens on top of the board, the board itself remains intact.

However, just because it worked doesn’t mean it was all good. In the case of peasants, they received stability but lost freedom. It was all good on the plot of land you worked, but you could never change jobs or leave. Lords and vassals on the other hand could do almost anything they wanted. In modern terms, feudalism lacked a middle class- there were the poor peasants or serfs, and the rich lords and vassals, with few people in between.

Excellent point about no middle class. I'm not sure I agree that Europe "functioned much as though there was" a strong central government. Perhaps it functioned better without a central government! Superb answer otherwise.

5.Sunnis are more moderate than Shi’ites. Also, certain branches of Shi’ites believe that the caliph, the successor of Mohammad, must be from the “Ahl al-Bayt,” meaning the family of Mohammad. Sunnis do not require the caliph to be descended from Mohammad, and they beleived that the caliph could be chosen by democracy. The Shi’ites are much smaller than the Sunnis as well. Iran is ruled by Shi’ites, Saudi Arabia is ruled by the Sunnis.

Correct. Note: "believed", not "beleived".

6.I find it interesting that most countries are either mostly Muslim or only a little bit Muslim- few are in between. One reason this might be is that Islam really only grew where Muslims had invaded. Arabia, the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Southeast Asia were invaded by Muslims and subsequently became substantially Islamic. Other places, like Europe and North America, have not been invaded and have only minorities of Muslims. In short, Islam cannot evangelize as well as Christianity, so it has only grown where it used the military.

Interesting observation.

7.The Teotihuacan (AD 100-900) was the earliest of the five major pre-Columbian South and Latin American civilzations. They had cities and an upper class of priests and nobles.

The Maya were located on the Yucatan Peninsula and lasted from AD 300-900. They knew some astronomy and developed mathematics (including the concept of zero), a written language, and a calendar. They also built ziggurat-like pyramids. The idea that the apocalypse will happen in 2012 comes from the Mayan calendar.

The Aztecs (AD 1200-1521) were great architects, as shown by their capital city, Tenochtitlan. The city was wonderfully constructed and was located in a lake, connected to the coast by causeways. However, the Aztecs were much more efficient in war than in civilization. They practiced copious human sacrifice.

The Incas (AD 1250-1525) created an efficient empire in a difficult terrain. Based in the Andes Mountains, they used different elevations to help grow different crops, and, lacking a language, used a cord system similar to an abacus as an accounting and recording tool. They built roads lined with supply centers and organized small groups of people to get community work done. The famous city of Machu Picchu was an Inca city.



2.I absolutely believe that democracy is possible in Iraq. True, we have not fully succeeded in six years, and true, the Middle East is a traditionally violent place, but six years of partial failure does not mean we can never succeed. When there were elections in Iraq, common people were excited to come out and vote. I remember seeing a photo of a woman in a burqua smiling and giving the peace sign. I remember hearing that the dictator Saddam Hussein was only revered because everyone was terrified of him. I think that the common people as a whole really want freedom, and that if the theocracies and dictatorships were removed, there could be peaceful democracy. Yes, Iraqi elections were under close watch by the military, but hey, a similar situation took place in our nation in the South after the Civil War. Federal government officials had to monitor elections to prevent African Americans from being disenfranchised by the KKK and other violent racists. But we overcame it. So can Iraq. Whether the government uses Islam, Communism, or Juche to oppress the people, it is almost impossible to destroy the desire for freedom that exists in man.

A very passionate answer! May use as a model answer, along with someone arguing the opposite.

3.I think chivalry is good in itself, and certainly worked well in feudal times, but I think it is slightly outdated today. When it comes to codes of behavior of any sort, I prefer that they be based directly on the Bible or Christian practice, as oppose to some sort of cultural code. I’ve said before that the 1950s lead to a backlash because the societal codes were not based enough on Christianity, but rather on a less tangible, less persuasive idea. Something like this, including chivalry, may include in itself the seeds of the backlash. Christianity does not. Thus, any code of manners or behavior should be based as closely as possible on the Gospel.

You present your position very well, but I think chivalry is powerful in an independent way also.

6.Islam has three dimensions: Islam (submission), Imam (faith or belief) and Ihsan (perfection or excellence). The Qur'an itself differentiates between Islam and Imam: “Do not say ‘we have accepted faith’; rather say ‘we have accepted Islam,’ for faith has not yet entered your hearts.” Thus submission does not replace faith in Islam, but works alongside it. In addition to the Five Pillars, there are also six Articles of Faith: belief in God, angels, Books of God (such as the Qur’an), Prophets, Day of Judgement, and destiny or divine judgement. Thus, there is a conception of faith in Islam, but it is not as central as in Christianity. Judaism also has the concept of faith, although again it is less important than in Christianity. Hinduism has an idea of faith as well: it is called Śraddhā and means strong belief and purity of thought. However, there is much debate about the details of this faith.

I do think that Christianity has the greatest conception of faith, and I think religions further from Christianity have lesser conceptions of faith. But I think that most religions have some idea of faith.

But there is yet another way to look at this: each religion may have a different kind or “flavor” of faith- perhaps you cannot even compare faiths. In this view, it is perfectly valid to say that only Christianity has Christian faith, only Islam has Islamic faith, etc.

Well reasoned, with a fascinating conclusion! But I question the use of the term "faith" in your English translation of the Qur'an. I'd like to analyze the Arabic original further. Note also that the Qur'an was written hundreds of years after the New Testament was widely circulated.
Oh, by the way, great use of the wikilinks! Also, the form "judgment" rather than "judgement" is preferred now.
Superb answers, among the best in the class all year. I'll probably use two model answers from this. 100/100. Congratulations!--Andy Schlafly 21:53, 5 March 2009 (EST)