Islam: Empire of Faith

WEB LESSONS The resources and 5 lessons here are designed to help teachers use the PBS Islam: Empire of Faith video series and companion Web site in secondary social studies, civics, religion, and language arts classes. The lesson plans may also be adapted for use as stand-alone resources. Lesson One: An Introduction to Islam and Muhammad; Lesson Two: The Fascinating World of Islam; Lesson Three: Creating a Textile Museum Piece from the Islamic Empire; Lesson Four: Great Thinkers and Accomplishments of Islam Fact Cubes; and Lesson Five: Renaissance Man Comparison Poster

Islam Divided: The Shiites and Sunnis

WEB CONTENT ARTICLE and LESSON Muslims observe a common set of beliefs and practices. These include such things as praying five times a day to God. Islam (which means submission to God) also incorporated elements from Judaism and Christianity. Like Jews and Christians, Muslims believe in heaven, hell, and the Day of Judgment. Before Judgment Day, according to Islam, a "divinely guided leader," al-Mahdi, will appear to bring God's peace and justice on Earth. When Muhammad was alive, his followers looked to him as the leader of God's "harmonious community." When he died, a crisis arose over how to choose his successor. This individual would not be another prophet, but a caliph, the political leader of the Muslims. Ali ibn Abi Talib was Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law and many thought he had chosen the 30-year-old Ali to succeed him as caliph. However, the Muslim community chose Abu Bakr, an elder who was not a member of Muhammad's family. This conflict over the successor created a rift that became the Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam. In CRF's lesson, students examine the historic Shia-Sunni conflict to assess its present-day status in Iraq and determine how it will play out in the region after the Iraqi war. HS

Islam in America

WEB LESSON This Access Islam lesson is based on material first recorded by Religion and Ethics Weekly. Students explore some of the religious and cultural variations within Islam, as well as the relation of Muslims to members of other religious groups. There are five videos for this lesson. A segment on the influx of Somali Muslims into a town in Maine highlights the tensions that can occur when a group of Muslim immigrants settles in a community unfamiliar with Islam. Other videos look at the relation of African-American Muslims to Muslims who immigrate from Asia and Africa; and similarities between Islamic Halal and Jewish Kosher traditions.

Women in Islam

WEB LESSON This Access Islam material used original interviews conducted by Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly. Through the materials presented in this lesson, including a QuickTime video, students explore basic beliefs and practices of Islam, examine Muslim women's roles in Islam and modern American society, and compare women's rights in Islam with the history of women's rights in the United States.

The Five Pillars of Islam

WEB LESSON This Access Islam lesson used flims produced by Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly. The foundation of Islamic religious practices is the Five Pillars. These basic duties -- belief, worship, fasting, almsgiving, and pilgrimage -- guide Muslims in their daily life and their worship of God. Through the materials presented in this lesson, students will explore and understand the basic beliefs of Islam and the Five Pillars. They will view streaming video segments from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly (free registration required) and information from Internet sources to look closely at each pillar. Then, as a culminating activity in groups, students will create posters about the Five Pillars for classroom display. Background essay and discussion questions support the video selection. MS -HS

Art in the Muslim World

WEB LESSON In classical Islamic art, forms of art such as calligraphy, architecture, and decorative arts are celebrated. Through the materials presented in this lesson including a video clip from Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly (free registration required), students will explore basic elements of Islamic art, learn about the origin and styles of the specific art of Islamic calligraphy, and create their own piece of artistic calligraphy. MS

Qur'an: Sacred Scripture of Islam

WEB LESSON Students learn about the Qur'an and its rich history in this Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly lessons (free registration required). The Qur'an is the sacred scripture of Islam, and is believed by Muslims to be God's final revelation to humankind. Qur'anic teachings influenced Muslim cultures, and its references to learning, education, observation, and the use of reason stimulated Muslims to pursue knowledge in many fields. The word Qur'an means "reading" or "recitation," and the oral recitation and memorization of verses has served as a foundation for strengthening faith as well as acquiring the intellectual tools to seek knowledge more generally. Streaming video clips support the lesson. MS - HS

Salat: Prayer in Muslim Life

WEB LESSON Prayer is a central feature of every religion, and even non-religious people may pray as a spiritual practice or a form of meditation. In this lesson, students examine the role of prayer in the lives of Muslims, who pray at five specific times each day in a practice known as salat, one of the Five Pillars of Islam. A Religion & Ethics Newsweekly video presents an interview with a Muslim who talks about the centrality of prayer in his life. Students learn about Muslim prayer practices and write about and reflect on the role of tradition in their own lives. Free registration required to access the lesson. MS - HS

Ramadan Observance

WEB LESSON Students investigate the traditions and spiritual aspects of Ramadan using video segments from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly (free registration required) and various Web sites. To build background knowledge, access and follow the links to "The Beliefs and Practices of Islam" and "An Introduction to Ramadan." In each section there is an overview of information as well as questions and activities to use with students. MS - HS

The Hajj: Journey to Mecca

WEB LESSON The annual Hajj, or pilgrimage, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and an essential part of a Muslim's faith and practice. In this lesson, students learn of the activities involved during the pilgrimage and their historic and spiritual importance to Muslims. MS-HS

Scholarship and Learning in Islam

WEB LESSON In this lesson, students look at several aspects of the long tradition of Islamic learning. They are introduced to the Islamic religious school known as the madrasah, where students begin their religious education by studying the Qur'an. A video segment from the PBS series Religion & Ethics Newsweekly (free registration required) features Dr. Roy Parvis Mottahedeh, a scholar who presents a madrasah in operation today and speaks about the historical evolution of madrasahs. Another Religion & Ethics video segment describes the history of the mosque at Timbuktu which, in the fourteenth century, was a vibrant center of Islamic scholarship. A third video segment links astronomy to the annual celebration of the religious holiday of Ramadan. As a culminating project, students develop graphic presentations about scholarship and learning in Islam. MS

Geography and History of the Arabian Peninsula, and Overview of Islam

WEB LESSON This activity provides students with background information on the context of the Arabian Peninsula during the sixth and seventh centuries of the Common Era. The background lesson asks students to think about the influence of religion on personal life and the larger society. MS - HS

Overview of Muslim History and the Spread of Islam from the 7th to the 21st century

WEB LESSON This lesson provides students with knowledge of how and when Islam spread to various regions, and to locate regions where Muslims form a demographic majority or significant minorities, from the 7th to the 21st centuries.

What is Shariah? Major Sources and Principles of Islamic Law

WEB LESSON This lesson provides background reading on the nature of Islamic law, and the role of legal scholars in making judgements according to Islamic legal sources. Understanding this material will help students evaluate Islamic approaches to contemporary social and political issues in Muslim countries and communities. This lesson support the video Frontline: Muslims

Three Major Events in the Rise of Islam

WEB LESSON This lesson allows students to examine three important events in the life of Muhammad and the development of the Muslim community with respect to jihad, or legitimate warfare. They explain the significance of the Hijrah (Muhammad's migration from Makkah to Madinah), the treaty of Hudaibiyyah, and the "Opening of Makkah" to the development and survival of the Muslim community and to Muhammad's life.

Origins of Islamic Law

WEB LESSON In this Constitutional Rights Foundation lesson students examine Islamic law, which has become controversial among some Americans in the last decade. Students will find that, like Judaic law, which influenced western legal systems, Islamic law originated as an important part of the religion. Sharia (shuh REE uh), an Arabic word meaning "the right path," refers to traditional Islamic law. It is based on the Koran, the Prophet Muhammad's teachings and interpretations of those teachings by certain Muslim legal scholars.

The Islam Project: Lesson Plans

WEB LESSONS This list of lessons support Frontline's films Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet and Muslims

Zahrah's Hijab

WEB TEXT & AUDIO "Zahrah's Hijab" is a nonfiction story written by Sean McCollum for publication as a Perspectives for a Diverse America central text in 2013. Discussion questions included. K-5