History of Islam
The history of Islam concerns the political, social and developments of the Islamic civilization. Despite concerns about the reliability of early sources, most historians believe that Islam originated in Mecca and Medina at the start of the 7th century 600 years after the founding of Christianity. Muslims, believe that it did not start with Muhammad, but that it was the original faith of others whom they regard as prophets, such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Adam. In 610 CE, Muhammad began receiving. Muhammad's message won over a handful of followers and was met with increasing opposition from Meccan notables. In 618, after he lost protection with the death of his influential uncle Abu Talib, Muhammad migrated to the city of Yathrib. With Muhammad's death in 632, disagreement broke out over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. By the 8th century, the Islamic empire extended from Iberia in the west to the Indus River in the east. Polities such as those ruled by the Umayyads, Abbasids and Mamluks were among the most influential powers in the world.
The Islamic Golden Age gave rise to many centers of culture and science and produced notable astronomers, mathematicians and philosophers during the Middle Ages. In the early 13th century, the Delhi Sultanate took over the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent. In the 13th and 14th centuries, destructive Mongol invasions and those of Tamerlane from the East, along with the loss of population in the Black Death weakened the traditional centers of the Islamic world, stretching from Persia to Egypt. Islamic Iberia was conquered by Christian forces during the Reconquista. Nonetheless, in the Early Modern period, the Ottomans, the Safavids, the Mughals were able to create new world powers again. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, most parts of the Muslim world fell under the influence or direct control of European "Great Powers." Their efforts to win independence and build modern nation states over the course of the last two centuries continue to reverberate to the present day. The following timeline can serve as a rough visual guide to the most important polities in the Islamic world prior to the First World War.
It covers major historical centers of power and culture, including Arabia, Persia, Egypt, Maghreb, al-Andalus, Transoxania and Anatolia. It is an approximation, since rule over some regions was sometimes divided among different centers of power, authority in larger polities was distributed among several dynasties. For example, during the stages of the Abbasid Caliphate the capital city of Baghdad was ruled by other dynasties such as the Buyyids and the Seljuks, while the Ottomans delegated executive authority over outlying provinces to local potentates, such as the Deys of Algiers, the Beys of Tunis, the Mamluks of Iraq. Dates are approximate, consult particular articles for details; the study of the earliest periods in Islamic history is made difficult by a lack of sources. For example, the most important historiographical source for the origins of Islam is the work of al-Tabari. While al-Tabari was an excellent historian by the standards of his time and place, use of his work as a source is problematic for two reasons.
For one, his style of historical writing permitted liberal use of mythical, stereotyped and polemical presentations of its subject matter. Second, al-Tabari's descriptions of the beginning of Islam post-date the events by a large amount of time, al-Tabari having died in 923. Differing views about how to deal with the available sources has led to the development of four different approaches to the history of early Islam. All four methods have some level of support today; the descriptive method uses the outlines of Islamic traditions, while being adjusted for the stories of miracles and faith-centred claims within those sources. Edward Gibbon and Gustav Weil represent some of the first historians following the descriptive method. On the source critical method, a comparison of all the sources is sought in order to identify which informants to the sources are weak and thereby distinguish spurious material; the work of William Montgomery Watt and that of Wilferd Madelung are two source critical examples.
On the tradition critical method, the sources are believed to be based on oral traditions with unclear origins and transmission history, so are treated cautiously. Ignaz Goldziher was the pioneer of the tradition critical method, Uri Rubin gives a contemporary example; the skeptical method doubts nearly all of the material in the traditional sources, regarding any possible historical core as too difficult to decipher from distorted and fabricated material. An early example of the skeptical method was the work of John Wansbrough. Nowadays, the popularity of the different methods employed varies on the scope of the works under consideration. For overview treatments of the history of early Islam, the descriptive approach is more popular. For scholars who look at the beginnings of Islam in depth, the source critical and tradition critical methods are more followed. After the 8th century, the quality of sources improves; those sources which treated earlier times with a large temporal and cultural gap now begin to give accounts which are more contemporaneous, the quality of genre of available historical accounts improves, new documentary sources—such as official documents and poetry—
A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity, identified by traits such as a name, organization and doctrine. Individual bodies, may use alternative terms to describe themselves, such as church or sometimes fellowship. Divisions between one group and another are defined by doctrine. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity"; these branches differ in many ways through differences in practices and belief. Individual denominations vary in the degree to which they recognize one another. Several groups claim to be the direct and sole authentic successor of the church founded by Jesus Christ in the 1st century AD. Others, believe in denominationalism, where some or all Christian groups are legitimate churches of the same religion regardless of their distinguishing labels and practices; because of this concept, some Christian bodies reject the term "denomination" to describe themselves, to avoid implying equivalency with other churches or denominations.
The Catholic Church which claims 1.2 billion members – over half of all Christians worldwide – does not view itself as a denomination, but as the original pre-denominational church, a view rejected by other Christians. Protestant denominations account for 37 percent of Christians worldwide. Together and Protestantism comprise Western Christianity. Western Christian denominations prevail in Western, Northern and Southern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas and Oceania; the Eastern Orthodox Church, with an estimated 225–300 million adherents, is the second-largest Christian organization in the world and considers itself the original pre-denominational church. Unlike the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church is itself a communion of independent autocephalous churches that mutually recognize each other to the exclusion of others; the Eastern Orthodox Church, together with Oriental Orthodoxy and the Assyrian Church of the East, constitutes Eastern Christianity. Eastern Christian denominations are represented in Eastern Europe, North Asia, the Middle East, Northeast Africa and South India.
Christians have various doctrines about the Church and about how the divine church corresponds to Christian denominations. Both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox hold that their own organizations faithfully represent the One Holy catholic and Apostolic Church to the exclusion of the other. Sixteenth-century Protestants separated from the Catholic Church because of theologies and practices that they considered to be in violation of their own interpretation. Members of the various denominations acknowledge each other as Christians, at least to the extent that they have mutually recognized baptisms and acknowledge orthodox views including the Divinity of Jesus and doctrines of sin and salvation though doctrinal and ecclesiological obstacles hinder full communion between churches. Since the reforms surrounding the Second Vatican Council of 1962–1965, the Catholic Church has referred to Protestant communities as "denominations", while reserving the term "church" for apostolic churches, including the Eastern Orthodox.
But some non-denominational Christians do not follow any particular branch, though sometimes regarded as Protestants. Each group uses different terminology to discuss their beliefs; this section will discuss the definitions of several terms used throughout the article, before discussing the beliefs themselves in detail in following sections. A denomination within Christianity can be defined as a "recognized autonomous branch of the Christian Church". "Church" as a synonym, refers to a "particular Christian organization with its own clergy and distinctive doctrines". Some traditional and evangelical Protestants draw a distinction between membership in the universal church and fellowship within the local church. Becoming a believer in Christ makes one a member of the universal church; some evangelical groups describe themselves as interdenominational fellowships, partnering with local churches to strengthen evangelical efforts targeting a particular group with specialized needs, such as students or ethnic groups.
A related concept is denominationalism, the belief that some or all Christian groups are legitimate churches of the same religion regardless of their distinguishing labels and practices.. Protestant leaders differ from the views of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, the two largest Christian denominations; each church makes mutually exclusive claims for itself to be t
The Musta‘lī are a sect of Isma'ilism named for their acceptance of al-Musta'li as the legitimate nineteenth Fatimid caliph and legitimate successor to his father, al-Mustansir Billah. In contrast, the Nizari—the other living branch of Ismailism, presently led by Aga Khan IV—believe the nineteenth caliph was al-Musta'li's elder brother, Nizar. Isma'ilism is a branch of Shia Islam; the Musta'li originated in Fatimid-ruled Egypt moved its religious center to Yemen, gained a foothold in 11th-century Western India through missionaries. There was a distinction between the Taiyabi and the Hafizi Musta'lis, the former recognizing at-Tayyib Abu'l-Qasim as the legitimate heir of the Imamate after al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah and the latter following al-Hafiz, enthroned as caliph; the Hafizi view lost all support following the downfall of the Fatimid Caliphate: current-day Musta'lis are all Taiyabi. Most Musta'li are Bohras, the largest Bohra group is the Dawoodi Bohra, who are found in India; the name Bohra is a reinterpretation of the Gujarati word vahaurau "to trade".
The Bohra comprise two principal groups: a chiefly merchant class Shi'i majority and a Sunni Bohra minority who are peasant farmers. Mohammed Burhanuddin was the 52nd Da'i al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohra community. After his death Mufaddal Saifuddin succeeded him. According to Musta'lī tradition, after the death of al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah, his infant son, about two years old, was protected by Arwa al-Sulayhi, wife of the chief Fatimid Da'i of Yemen, she had been promoted to the post of Hujjat al-Islam long before by al-Mustansir Billah when her husband died and ran the Fatimid dawah from Yemen in the name of Imam Tayyib. During her leadership Tayyib went into occultation. Zoeb bin Moosa was first to be instituted to this office and the line of Taiyibi Da'is that began in 1132 has passed from one Da'i to another up to the present day. Arwa al-Sulayhi was the Hujjah in Yemen from the time of Imam al Mustansir, she appointed the Dai in Yemen to run religious affairs. Ismaili missionaries Ahmed and Abadullah were sent to India in that time.
They sent Syedi Nuruddin to Dongaon to look after southern part and Syedi Fakhruddin to East Rajasthan, India. In 1592, a leadership struggle caused the Ṭayyibi to split. Following the death of the 26th Dai in 1591 CE, Suleman bin Hasan, the grandson of the 24th Dai, was wali in Yemen and claimed the succession, supported by a few Bohras from Yemen and India. However, most Bohras denied his claim of nass, declaring that the supporting document evidence was forged; the two factions separated, with the followers of Suleman Bin Hasan becoming the Sulaymanis named after Sulayman ibn Hassan and located in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the followers of Syedna Dawood Bin Qutubshah becoming the Dawoodi Bohra. Dawoodi Bohra, found in the Indian subcontinent. There is a community of Sunni Bohra in India. In the fifteenth century, there was schism in the Bohra community of Patan in Gujarat as a large number converted from Musta'li Isma'ili Shia Islam to mainstream Hanafi Sunni Islam; the leader of this conversion movement to Sunni was Syed Jafar Ahmad Shirazi who had the support of the Mughal governor of Gujarat.
A split in 1637 from the Dawoodi resulted in the Alavi Bohra. The Hebtiahs Bohra are a branch of Musta'li Isma'ili Shi'a Islam that broke off from the mainstream Dawoodi Bohra after the death of the 39th Da'i al-Mutlaq in 1754; the Atba-i-Malak community are a branch of Musta'ali Isma'ili Shi'a Islam that broke off from the mainstream Dawoodi Bohra after the death of the 46th Da'i al-Mutlaq, under the leadership of Abdul Hussain Jivaji in 1840. They have further split into two more branches: Atba-e-Malak Badar - The current leader is Maulana Muhammad Amiruddin Malak Saheb. Atba-i-Malak Vakil - Their current leader is Tayyebhai Razzak; the Progressive Dawoodi Bohra is a reformist sect within Musta'li Ismai'li Shi'a Islam that broke off circa 1977. They disagree with mainstream Dawoodi Bohra, as led by the Da'i al-Mutlaq, on doctrinal and social issues. Taher Fakhruddin is a claimant to the title of Dai al Mutlaq since 2016. In 2014 following the death of Mohammed Burhanuddin, there was a succession dispute over who became the 53rd Da'i al-Mutlaq.
This dispute has been resolved and Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin has been claimed as the 53rd Da'i al-Mutlaq. According to Musta'li belief, the line of Imams, descendants of Ali and hereditary successors to Muhammad in his role of legitimate leader of the community of Muslim believers, follows: Hasan ibn Ali 625–670 Husayn ibn Ali 626–680 Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidinm 659–712 Muhammad al-Baqir 676–743 Ja'far al-Sadiq 702–765 Isma'il ibn Jafar 719/722–775 Muhammad ibn Isma'il 740–813 Ahmad al-Wafi 766–829 Muhammad at-Taqi 790–840 Radi Abdullah Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah al-Qa'im bi-Amr Allah al-Mansur Billah al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah al-Aziz Billah al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah Ali az-Zahir al-Mustansir Billah al-Musta'li al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah at-Tayyib Abu'l-QasimImams one through five are well-known historical figures in the early history of Islam who are revered by Twelvers; the Imams numbered 11 -- 21. The imams from Muhammad ibn Isma'il onward were occulted by the Musta'li. Followers of the Musta'li Imams recite the names of these imams in Dua-e Taqarrub after
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Eastern Orthodox Church the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with 200–260 million members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia; the church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Near East. Eastern Orthodox theology is based on the Nicene Creed; the church teaches that it is the One, Holy and Apostolic church established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles. It maintains, its patriarchates, reminiscent of the pentarchy, autocephalous and autonomous churches reflect a variety of hierarchical organisation.
Of its innumerable sacred mysteries, it recognises seven major sacraments, of which the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in synaxis. The church teaches that through consecration invoked by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ; the Virgin Mary is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the God-bearer, honoured in devotions. The Eastern Orthodox Church shared communion with the Roman Catholic Church until the East–West Schism in 1054, triggered by disputes over doctrine the authority of the Pope. Before the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, the Oriental Orthodox churches shared in this communion, separating over differences in Christology; the majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Southeast and Eastern Europe, Cyprus and other communities in the Caucasus region, communities in Siberia reaching the Russian Far East. There are smaller communities in the former Byzantine regions of the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Middle East where it is decreasing due to persecution.
There are many in other parts of the world, formed through diaspora and missionary activity. In keeping with the church's teaching on universality and with the Nicene Creed, Orthodox authorities such as Saint Raphael of Brooklyn have insisted that the full name of the church has always included the term "Catholic", as in "Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church"; the official name of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the "Orthodox Catholic Church". It is the name by which the church refers to itself in its liturgical or canonical texts, in official publications, in official contexts or administrative documents. Orthodox teachers refer to the church as Catholic; this name and longer variants containing "Catholic" are recognised and referenced in other books and publications by secular or non-Orthodox writers. The common name of the church, "Eastern Orthodox Church", is a shortened practicality that helps to avoid confusions in casual use. From ancient times through the first millennium, Greek was the most prevalent shared language in the demographic regions where the Byzantine Empire flourished, Greek, being the language in which the New Testament was written, was the primary liturgical language of the church.
For this reason, the eastern churches were sometimes identified as "Greek" before the Great Schism of 1054. After 1054, "Greek Orthodox" or "Greek Catholic" marked a church as being in communion with Constantinople, much as "Catholic" did for communion with Rome; this identification with Greek, became confusing with time. Missionaries brought Orthodoxy to many regions without ethnic Greeks, where the Greek language was not spoken. In addition, struggles between Rome and Constantinople to control parts of Southeastern Europe resulted in the conversion of some churches to Rome, which also used "Greek Catholic" to indicate their continued use of the Byzantine rites. Today, many of those same churches remain, while a large number of Orthodox are not of Greek national origin, do not use Greek as the language of worship. "Eastern" indicates the geographical element in the Church's origin and development, while "Orthodox" indicates the faith, as well as communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
There are additional Christian churches in the east that are in communion with neither Rome nor Constantinople, who tend to be distinguished by the category named "Oriental Orthodox". While the church continues to call itself "Catholic", for reasons of universality, the common title of "Eastern Orthodox Church" avoids casual confusion with the Roman Catholic Church; the first known use of the phrase "the catholic Church" occurred in a letter written about 110 AD from one Greek church to another. The letter states: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be as where Jesus may be, there is the universal Church." Thus from the beginning, Christians referred to the Church as the "One, Holy and Apostolic Church". The Eastern Orthodox Church claims that it is today the continuation and preservation of that same early Church. A number of other Christian churches make a similar claim: the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Assyrian Church and the Oriental Orthodox.
In the Eastern Orthodox v
Alevism is a syncretic and local Islamic tradition, whose adherents follow the mystical teachings of Ali, the Twelve Imams and a descendant—the 13th century Alevi saint Haji Bektash Veli. Alevis are found in Turkey among ethnic Turks and Kurds, make up between 11-12% of Turkey's population, the largest belief after Sunni Islam. After the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a dispute arose about his legitimate successor; the Islamic community was divided into those who adhered to Abu Bakr, named Sunnis, those who sided with Ali, called Shia. Concurrently, people who sided with Ali were called Alevis, defined as "those who adore to Ali and his family". Therefore, some authors uses Shiism synonymously with Alevism. However, Alevism is not Shiism, but affected by Shiism and although they share some common beliefs with the Twelver Shia, their rites and practises are wholly different from Shiism, thus Alevism incorporates Turkish beliefs present during the 14th century such as Shamanism and Animism, which mixed with Extremist Shias and Sufi beliefs that were adopted by some Turkish tribes, similar to the Sufi-Ghulat view of the first Safavids, integrated with Sunnism.
In Turkey, Ja'faris, Kaysanites, Fatimid Ismailis, Qizilbashes and Pamiris are called as Aleviler. However Alawism and Alevism are two distinct sects; the topic Alevi investigated in this article refers to "Kızılbaş faith". Some of the differences that mark Alevis from mainstream Muslims are the use of cemevi halls rather than mosques. Alevis have some links with Twelver Shia Islam, but do not follow taqlid towards a Marja' "source of emulation"; some practices of the Alevis are based on Sufi elements of the Bektashi tariqa. "Alevi" is explained as referring to Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad. The name represents a Turkish form of the word ‘Alawi "of or pertaining to Ali". According to scholar Soner Cagaptay, Alevism is a "relatively unstructured interpretation of Islam". Journalist Patrick Kingsley states that for some self-described Alevi, their religion is "simply a cultural identity, rather than a form of worship". Many teachings are based on an orally transmitted tradition, traditionally kept secret from outsiders.
Alevis profess the Islamic shahada, but adding "Ali is the friend of God". The basis for Alevis' most distinctive beliefs is found in the Buyruks. Included are hymns by figures such as Shah Ismail or Pir Sultan Abdal, stories of Hajji Bektash and other lore. In Alevi cosmology, God is called Al-Haqq or referred to as Allah. God created life and gave part of Himself, the soul, so the created world can reflect His Being. Alevis believe in the unity of Allah and Ali, but this is not a trinity composed of God and the historical figures of Muhammad and Ali. Rather and Ali are representations of Allah's light, being neither independent from God, nor separate characteristics of Him, they do not worship god because they are scared of him they worship god because of their everlasting love. The exact meaning of this trinity is blurred; some consider Haqq with Muhammed and Ali equal below created from His light. Others consider them all to be the same. In Alevi writings are many references to the unity of Muhammad and Ali, such as: Ali Muhammed'dir uh dur fah'ad, Muhammad Ali, Gördüm bir elmadır, el-Hamdû'liLlâh.
The phrase "For the love of Allah-Muhammad-Ali" is common to several Alevi prayers. Despite the different description of God, there can't be found a trace of God ruling based on fear. Accordingly, God will not judge the people by their acts of worship and there is no literal hell or heaven with material punishments or pleasures; however Alevism believes in the immortality of the soul. Alevis, who believe in a literal existence of supernatural beings believe in good and bad angels the same as Orthodox Islam, i
Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder; this "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period, flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India. Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, shared textual resources, pilgrimage to sacred sites. Hindu texts are classified into Smṛti; these texts discuss theology, mythology, Vedic yajna, agamic rituals, temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Āgamas.
Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is a strong Hindu tradition of questioning authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life, namely Dharma, Artha and Moksha. Hindu practices include rituals such as puja and recitations, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, occasional pilgrimages; some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions engage in lifelong Sannyasa to achieve Moksha. Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, forbearance, self-restraint, compassion, among others; the four largest denominations of Hinduism are the Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Smartism. Hinduism is the world's third largest religion. Hinduism is the most professed faith in India and Mauritius, it is the predominant religion in Bali, Indonesia.
Significant numbers of Hindu communities are found in the Caribbean, North America, other countries. The word Hindū is derived from Indo-Aryan/Sanskrit root Sindhu; the Proto-Iranian sound change *s > h occurred between 850–600 BCE, according to Asko Parpola. It is believed that Hindu was used as the name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. According to Gavin Flood, "The actual term Hindu first occurs as a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the term Hindu in these ancient records did not refer to a religion. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by Xuanzang, 14th-century Persian text Futuhu's-salatin by'Abd al-Malik Isami. Thapar states that the word Hindu is found as heptahindu in Avesta – equivalent to Rigvedic sapta sindhu, while hndstn is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia.
The Arabic term al-Hind referred to the people. This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term Hindū, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the "land of Hindus"; the term Hindu was used in some Sanskrit texts such as the Rajataranginis of Kashmir and some 16th- to 18th-century Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava texts including Chaitanya Charitamrita and Chaitanya Bhagavata. These texts used it to distinguish Hindus from Muslims who are called Yavanas or Mlecchas, with the 16th-century Chaitanya Charitamrita text and the 17th-century Bhakta Mala text using the phrase "Hindu dharma", it was only towards the end of the 18th century that European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus. The term Hinduism spelled Hindooism, was introduced into the English language in the 18th century to denote the religious and cultural traditions native to India. Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book.
Because of the wide range of traditions and ideas covered by the term Hinduism, arriving at a comprehensive definition is difficult. The religion "defies our desire to define and categorize it". Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, "a way of life". From a Western lexical standpoint, Hinduism like other faiths is appropriately referred to as a religion. In India the term dharma is preferred, broader than the Western term religion; the study of India and its cultures and religions, the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by th
Smarta tradition is a movement in Hinduism that developed during its classical period around the beginning of the Common Era. It reflects a Hindu synthesis of four philosophical strands: Mimamsa, Advaita and theism; the Smarta tradition rejects theistic sectarianism, it is notable for the domestic worship of five shrines with five deities, all treated as equal – Vishnu, Brahma and Devi. The Smarta tradition contrasted with the older Shrauta tradition, based on elaborate rituals and rites. There has been considerable overlap in the ideas and practices of the Smarta tradition with other significant historic movements within Hinduism, namely Shaivism, Brahmanism and Shaktism; the Smarta tradition is aligned with Advaita Vedanta, regards Adi Shankara as its founder or reformer. Shankara championed the ultimate reality is impersonal and Nirguna and any symbolic god serves the same equivalent purpose. Inspired by this belief, the Smarta tradition followers, along with the five Hindu gods include a sixth impersonal god in their practice.
The tradition has been called by William Jackson as "advaitin, monistic in its outlook". The term Smarta refers to Brahmins who specialize in the Smriti corpus of texts named the Grihya Sutras, in contrast to Shrauta Sutras. Smarta Brahmins with their focus on the Smriti corpus, contrast from Srauta Brahmins who specialize in the Sruti corpus, rituals and ceremonies that follow the Vedas. Smarta स्मार्त is an adjective derived from Smriti; the smriti are a specific body of Hindu texts attributed to an author, traditionally written down but revised, in contrast to Śrutis considered authorless, that were transmitted verbally across the generations and fixed. Smarta has several meanings: Relating to memory Recorded in or based on the Smriti Based on tradition, prescribed or sanctioned by traditional law Orthodox Brahmin versed in or guided by traditional law and Vedanta doctrineIn Smarta tradition context, the term Smarta means "follower of Smriti". Smarta is specially associated with a "sect founded by Shankaracharya", states Monier Williams.
See Late Middle Kingdoms - The Late-Classical Age and Classical Hinduism The Vedanga texts, states Alf Hiltebeitel, are Smriti texts that were composed in the second half of the Vedic period that ended around 500 BCE. The Vedanga texts include the Kalpa texts consisting of the Srautasutras and Dharmasutras, many of which were revised well past the Vedic period; the Grihyasutras and Dharmasutras, states Hiltebeitel, were composed between 600 BCE and 400 CE, these are sometimes called the Smartasutras, the roots of the Smriti tradition. The Smriti texts accept the knowledge in the Sruti, but they interpret it in a number of ways, which gave rise to six darsanas of Hindu philosophy. Of these, states Hiltebeitel, the Mimamsa and Vedanta have sometimes been called the Smarta schools which emphasize the Vedas with reason and other pramanas, in contrast to Haituka schools which emphasize hetu independent of the Vedas while accepting the authority of the Vedas. Of the two Smarta traditions, Mimamsa focussed on Vedic ritual traditions, while Vedanta focussed on Upanishadic knowledge tradition.
Around the start of the common era, thereafter, a syncretism of Haituka schools, the Smarta schools with ancient theistic ideas gave rise to a growth in traditions such as Shaivism and Shaktism. Hiltebeitel and Flood locate the origins of a revived orthodox Smarta Tradition in the Classical Period of Hinduism with nondualist interpretation of Vedanta, around the time when different Hindu traditions emerged from the interaction between Brahmanism and local traditions; the revived Smarta Tradition attempted to integrate varied and conflicting devotional practices, with its ideas of nondual experience of Atman as Brahman. The rapprochement included the practice of pancayatana-puja, wherein a Hindu could focus on any saguna deity of choice such as Vishnu, Durga, Surya or Ganesha, as an interim step towards realizing the nirguna Brahman; the growth of this Smarta Tradition began in the Gupta period, was dominated by Dvija classes, in particular the Brahmins, of the early medieval Indian society.
This Smarta Tradition competed with other major traditions of Hinduism such as Shaivism and Shaktism. The ideas of Smarta Tradition were influential, creative with concepts such as of Harihara and Ardhanarishvara, many of the major scholars of Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Bhakti movement came out of the Smarta Tradition. Medieval era scholars such as Vedanta Desika and Vallabhacharya recognized Smarta Tradition as competing with Vaishnavism and other traditions. According to Jeffrey Timm, for example, in verse 10 of the Tattvarthadipanibandha, Vallabhacharya states that, "Mutually contradictory conclusions are non-contradictory when they are considered from their respective contexts, like Vaishnava, etc."According to Murray Milner Jr. a professor of Sociology, the Smarta tradition refers to "Hindus who tend toward Brahmanical orthodoxy in both thought and behavior". Smartas are committed to a "relatively unified Hinduism" and they reject extreme forms of sectarian isolationism, reminiscent of the European discourse about church and Christian sects.
The tradition, states Milner, has roots that emerged sometime between 3rd century BCE and 3rd century CE, likel