Archives For Religion


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Alvar”, any of a group of South Indian mystics who in the 6th to 9th centuries wandered from temple to temple singing ecstatic hymns in adoration of the god VISHNU. The tradition is that there were 12 Alvars. The songs of the Alvars rank among the world’s greatest devotional literature. Among the followers of SHIVA, the counterparts of the Alvars were the Nayanars.

The name Alvar means, in the Tail language in which they sang, “one who is immersed—drowned—in Vishnu.” Their BHAKTI (religious devotion) was intensely passionate. The Alvars are sometimes described as falling unconscious in rapture before images of Vishnu enshrined in local temples, and the locative elements in their poetry are notable.

The most famous of the Alvars is NAMMALVAR who lived from 880-930 CE and composed four works. The best known of these works and indeed one of the best-known works of bhakti in South India of any period or language, is the Tiruvaymoli, a 1,102 verse poem to Vishnu. The hymns of the Alvars were gathered in the 10th century by Nathamuni, a leader of the SRI VAISNAVA sect. The collection is called Nalayira Prabandham (“Collection of 4,000 Songs”).

Listen to the sounds of the Nalayira divya prabandham

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOe5gZL0i23pR7bt1tb3y-vyT1wEYCnzY

(Comeback on 9/02/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Amalekite”.

#Today’sReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Altis”, in GREEK RELIGION, a sacred grove or precinct in OLYMPIA, Greece. It was an irregular, walled, quadrangular area measuring more than 200 yards on each side. In it were the temples of ZEUS and of HERA; the principal altars and votive offerings; the small treasuries built by various Dorian states; and the administration buildings for the Olympic Games, which were held nearby. Outside the sacred place were the stadium, hippodrome, baths, and other accommodations for visitors.

(Comeback on 9/02/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Alvar”.

#Today’sReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Altar”, raised structure or place that is used for sacrifice, worship, or prayer.

Altars probably originated when certain localities (a tree, a spring, a rock) came to be regarded as holy or as inhabited by spirits or gods, whose intervention could be solicited by the worshiper. The worshiper’s gifts to propitiate or please the golds were placed on an altar nearby. In some religions a stone or heap of stones or a mound of earth probably sufficed for this purpose. With the institution of sacrifice in sanctuaries and temples, elaborate altars were built of stone or brick on which the victim was killed and its blood channeled off or its flesh burned. The altars used in ancient Israel consisted of a rectangular stone with a basin hollowed out on its top. The four corners of the basin terminated in projections; these “horns” came to be regarded as the altar’s holiest part, so that anyone clinging to them was immune from molestation. The altars used elsewhere in the Middle East ranged from small upright stands for burning incense to the great rectangular stone altars built in Egyptian temples during the period of the New Kingdom.

The ancient Greeks built altars at the entrances and in the courtyards of their houses, in marketplaces and public buildings, and in sacred groves in the countryside. There were city altars, on which fire continually burned, and temple altars, which were built in front of the temple rather than within it. The great altar of ZEUS at Pergamum (now in the Berlin State Museum) has fine examples of the relief sculptures with which the Greeks decorated their altars. Lofty, imposing altars were used for powerful gods such as Zeus or ATHENA, while lower altars were thought more suitable for such domestic deities as HECATE.

When the Christians began to build churches, a wooden altar table was placed in the choir or in the apse. These altars gradually came to be built of stone, and the remains of martyrs were customarily reburied beneath them. In Western churches from as early as the 4th century, the altar was covered by a canopy-like structure, the baldachin, which rested on columns placed around the altar. The altar was further ornamented by an altarpiece, a screen or wall behind it covered with paintings or sculptures. During the Middle Ages side altars were built in the larger Western churches so that multiple masses could be celebrated, sometimes simultaneously.

(Comeback on 9/01/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Altis”.

#Today’sReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Alpha and Omega”, first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, which, within CHRISTIANITY, have come to signify the comprehensiveness of God, implying that God includes all that can be. In the NEW TESTAMENT book of REVELATION TO JOHN, the term is used as the self-designation of God and of Christ. The reference in Revelation likely had a Jewish origin, based on such OLD TESTAMENT passages as Isaiah 44:6 (“I am the first and the last”). In rabbinic literature, the word emet (“truth”), composed of the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, is “the seal of God” and carries somewhat the same connotation as Alpha and Omega.

(Comeback on 8/31/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Altar”.

#Today’sReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Aload, Greek Aloada, or Aloeida, in Greek myth, name for either Otus or Ephialtes, the gigantic twin sons of Iphimedeia by the god POSEIDON. The Aloads fought against the Olympian gods and endeavored to storm Olympus, but APOLLO destroyed them before they reached manhood. In a later myth they sought ARTEMIS (goddess of wild animals, vegetation, and childbirth) and HERA (wife of ZEUS) in marriage, whereupon Artemis appeared between them in the shape of a stag, which they attempted to kill but instead slew each other.

(Comeback on 8/30/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Alpha and Omega”.

#Today’sReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Almoravids, Arabic al-Murabitun (“Those Dwelling in Fortified Convents,” or “Warrior-Monks”), confederation of Berber tribes—Lamtunah, Gudalah, Massufah—of the Sanhajah clan, whose religious zeal and military enterprise built an empire in northwestern Africa and Muslim Spain the 11th and 12th centuries. These Saharan Berbers were inspired to improve their knowledge of Islamic doctrine by their leader Yahya ibn Ibrahim and the Moroccan theologian ‘Abd Allah ibn Yasin. Under Abu Bakr al-Lamtuni and later Yusuf ibn Tashufin, the Almoravids merged their religious reform fervor with the conquest of Morocco and western Algeria as far as Algiers between 1054 and 1092. They established their capital at Marrakech in 1062. Yusuf assumed the title of amir al-muslimin (“commander of the Muslims”) but still paid homage to the ‘Abbasid CALIPH in Baghdad. He moved into Spain 1085, as the old caliphal territories of Córdoba were falling before the Christians and Toledo was being taken by Alfonso VI of Castile and Leon. At the Battle of al-Zallaqah, near Badajoz, in 1086 Yusuf halted an advance by the Castilians but did not regain Toledo.

The whole of Muslim Spain, however, except Valencia, eventually came under Almoravid rule. In the reign (1106-42) of ‘Ali ibn Yusuf the union between Spain and Africa was consolidated, but the Almoravids were a Berber minority at the head of the Spanish-Arab empire, and while they tried to hold Spain with Berber troops and the Maghrib with a strong Christian guard, they could not restrain the Christian reconquest that began a rebellion in the Atlas Mountains and after 22 years of fighting emerged victorious. Marrakech fell in 1147. Almoravid leaders survived only for a time in Spain and the Balearic Isles.

(Comeback on 8/29/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Aload”.

#Today’sReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Almohads, Arabic al-Muwahhidun (“Those Who Affirm the Unity of God”), Berber confederation that created an Islamic empire in North Africa and Spain (1130-1269), founded on the religious teachings of IBN TUMART (d. 1130).

A Berber state arose in Tinmel in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco c. 1120, inspired by Ibn Tumart and his demands for puritanical moral reform and a strict concept of the unity of God (TAWHID). In 1121 Ibn Tumart proclaimed himself the MAHDI, and, as spiritual and military leader, began the wars against the ALMORAVIDS. Under his successor, ‘Abd al-Mu’min, the Almohads brought down the Almoravid state in 1147, subjugating the Maghrib, and captured Marrakech, which became the Almohad capital. Almoravid domains in Andalusia, however, were left virtually intact until the CALIPH Abu Ya’qub Yusuf (reigned 1163-84) forced the surrender of Seville in 11972; the extension of Almohad rule over the rest of Islamic Spain followed. During the reign of Abu Yusuf Ya’qub al-Mansur (1184-99), serious Arab rebellions devastated the eastern provinces of the empire, while in Spain the Christian threat remained constant, despite al-Mansur’s victory at Alarcos (1195). Then, at the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), the Almohads were dealt a shattering defeat by a Christian coalition from Leon, Castile, Navarre, and Aragon. They retreated to their North African provinces, where soon afterward the Hafsids seized power at Tunis (1236), the ‘Abd al-Wadids took Tilimsan (Tlemcen) (1239),and, finally, Marrakech fell to the Marinids (1269).

The original puritanical outlook of Ibn Tumart was soon lost. The building of richly ornamented Andalusian monuments in the manner of the Almoravids began with Ibn Tumart’s successor ‘Abd al-Mu’min. Neither did the movement for a return to traditionalist ISLAM survive; both the mystical Sufis (see SUFISM) and the philosophical schools represented by IBN TUFAYL and IBN RUSHD (Averroës) flourished under the Almohad kings.

(Comeback on 8/28/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Almoravids”.

#Today’sReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver