Islam Unit Study Guide

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Islam Unit Study Guide

Exam Date: Thursday/Friday March 5/6


Use this information sheet as a tool to prepare for the unit exam.  If you know all the material on this study guide, you should be very successful on the exam. You will NOT be turning this in.

*All of the information you cite on the exam should come from your notes, readings and discussions in class. You should NOT use outside resources to answer these questions. If you use information from outside sources that does not reflect the concepts/information discussed in class, you will not earn credit for those responses. The reason for this is that students sometimes use very unreliable sources when looking things up and consequently have answers that are inaccurate.
Test Format:

  • Fill in the blank

  • True-False

  • Multiple Choice

  • Short Answer

  • Essay

Resources to study from:

  • Cornell Notes taken in class

  • Empire of Faith Viewing Guide: The rise of Islam (Student Handout 1.2A)

  • Five Pillars of Islam reading

  • Sunni Shia article

  • Empire of Faith Viewing Guide: The Awakening (contributions of the Islamic world)

  • Women and Islam reading notes: Connect-Extend-Challenge/Change



  1. The historical context and significance of Arabia before Islam, and major events of Muhammad’s life

Terms to Know: Nomad, polytheism, Mecca, Kaaba, Judeo-Christian-Islamic Tradition, Medina, prophet, Khadijah, Hegira, idols

  1. What is the Kaaba, and why was it significant?

  2. Why was Mecca an important place economically and religiously before Islam?

  3. What was life like in Arabia before Islam (during the Jahiliyah)? Know how Islam changed society during this period.

  4. According to Muslims, what is the historical context that links Islam to Christianity and Judaism?

  5. Create a timeline of important events in Muhammad’s life. Use the film we watching in class (Empire of Faith: available on Youtube) to create your timeline.

  6. What were the root causes of conflict between Muhammad and non-believers in Mecca?

  7. What is significant about the Hijrah to Medina?

  8. What was significant about the Battle of Badr?

  1. The Spread of Islam

    1. Describe the spread of Islam after Muhammad’s death. Where did it spread? Why did it spread so quickly? How did conquering Muslims treat people of other faiths? What contributions did Muslims bring to conquered lands?

    2. Where do most Muslims live today? What is the largest Muslim country in the world?

  1. Beliefs and Practices of Islam

Terms to Know: Five Pillars of Islam, Shahada, Salat, Zakat, Ramadan, Hajj, Tawhid, Allah, Sources of Authority, Quran, Hadith, Sunnah, Sharia

  1. What are the Five Pillars of faith? What are at least two aspects of how this pillar is practiced? Know the Arabic terms for the first pillar (profession of faith) and for pilgrimage.

  2. What is the central tenet/most important concept of Islam?

  3. What are the three sources of authority in Islam? What is the difference between the Sunnah, Hadith and Quran? What are some examples of each?

  4. What is jihad? What are the different levels of jihad? How is jihad misunderstood by non-Muslims? What are some conditions of a Just War?

  1. Divisions within Islam

Terms to Know: Sunni, Shiite, Traditionalists, Fundamentalists, Modernists

  1. What is the historical background for the split between Sunni and Shii Muslims? What does each group believe? Which group is larger? Which countries in the Middle East have a majority of Shi’as?

  2. What is the difference between Traditionalists, Fundamentalists and Modernists with regards to their views of the west?

  1. Art and Architecture: Describe important aspects of Islamic art and architecture. Know how art and architecture reflect the values of Islam.

  1. Women and Islam: Be able to ask higher level questions and provide evidence from our readings and discussions regarding topics around women and Islam.

Essay Question: Islam has had a very significant impact on the Middle East, both in the past and in the present. Create a thesis statement making an argument for HOW Islam has impacted the Middle East. Then cite three specific pieces of evidence (statistics, quotes, hard facts, etc.) to support your thesis. Think about the impact in culture, social, political, economic ways.

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