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Asoka Has Contributed Many Significant Contributions Religion Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Religion
Wordcount: 2094 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Asoka has contributed many significant contributions to the development of Buddhism. Asoka became the first Buddhist emperor, and he conversed to Buddhism in 261 BCE and was then known as Dharmasoka. Asoka contributed to the development of Buddhism in three important ways. First he applied basic principles of Buddhism to his rule through government and foreign policies. Second and the most significant contribution, Asoka supported missionaries, he sent them throughout the kingdom in order to spread the teachings of Buddhism. Third, Asoka was able to maintain Buddhism as a major religious tradition in the kingdom. Asoka was able to contribute interfaith dialogue; he maintained positive dialogue with people of other religions because he believed all religions are good. Asoka believed the first precept (Ashismsa) and generosity were very important in witnessing the faith. Asoka taught people about Buddhism in different ways to help them best understand all the Buddhist teachings. For example Asoka taught the educated through writing on edicts and pillars, whereas he taught the uneducated through ministry, stories and paintings. Asoka strengthens Buddhism through Viharas, he built these shrines in order for the Sangha to worship in and practice their faith. Asoka established social welfare support because Asoka believed it was important to support all his people. An example of a social welfare that Asoka did was he grew medicinal herb gardens and shade areas for all the people. Most importantly Asoka believed that everyone should be treated with friendliness. Asoka has been a big part in the development of Buddhism and has contributed many important and significant contributions that are still being used and continued to be followed today.

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Assess the impact on Buddhism of the significant person or school of thought identified in the previous question.

The contributions of Asoka to Buddhism have had a great impact on the Buddhism community. Asoka’s contribution of the missionaries has impacted Buddhism significantly, it allowed Buddhism to expand beyond Mauryan Empire. A positive impact Asoka had was religious tolerance, as now the Buddhism religion is being respected and is expanding to other neighbouring kingdoms. For example, Asoka sent his son and daughter to Sri Lanka with the missionaries and the impact this had was Sri Lanka converted to Buddhism. Asoka contributions impacted his kingdom significantly. Through Asoka the Sangha and Lay people were able to unite through worshiping in the temples and shires. If it wasn’t for Asoka building the Viharas, people wouldn’t have been able to unite together and worship their religious tradition. Buddhism is now publicly worshiped and this is due to one of Asoka’s contributions. Examples of Asoka’s contributes that are impacted by public worship of Buddhism is the stupas, temples and rock edicts which are everywhere in the kingdom and visible to the public as they have the Buddhist teachings on them. People were impacted by Asoka as they saw him as a true witness to the faith. This is because Asoka showed how to correctly live the Buddhist life according to the ethics of Buddhism. Also Asoka influenced the people around him to adapt Buddhist teachings to their way of life, this is an ethical decision. The significant impact Asoka left on the Buddhism community is his conversion from a harsh person and a murderer to living by Buddhist ethical standards, which is a very big deal for both Asoka and his people. Through rock edicts, stupas and missionaries Asoka was able to promote Buddhist education as equal access to knowledge. The most important impact Asoka left from his contributions was the importance of social welfare as he showed his people how important social welfare in Buddhism and the care for others is. This was shown through Asoka’s examples of social welfare, some of these examples include, medicinal herb gardens, hospitals, planting trees and lastly treating everyone friendly and with fairness. People have witnessed Asoka’s ruling over the kingdom as being a true example for all people of what the lived expression of Buddhism should be through his witness to the faith and this has all significantly impacted all the people of his kingdom and other people from his neighbouring kingdoms who are now Buddhist because of him.


“In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful,…to You lone do we turn for help. Guide us along the straight path.”

To what extent does this quotation expresses a significant person/school of thought’s distinctive Islamic answer to the enduring questions of human existence?

Islam is the submission to Allah. There is a division in adherents in Islam; the two main sects are the Sunni and the Shi’a. The shi’ites believes that the accurate leadership of Muslims after Muhammad’s son-in-law continues through a line of religious teachers. Sunnis support the dominance of the caliphs, which is the line of rulers elected by the people to guard the visionary legacy in the running of community relationships. Islam adherents believe that there is only one God, called Allah. The stimulus above the “to you lone do we turn for help. Guide us along the straight path” shows this meaning, that there is only one true god and that the adherents are to follow that one god, in order for their questions about human existence to be answered and to be lead on the correct path. The stimulus above is from the Qur’an, the holy book for Muslim adherents.

Sayyid Qutb was a significant person who helped answer the fundamental questions by expressing his distinctive Islamic answers to the questions of human existence. Sayyid Qutb answered those questions through his new interpretation of the principal teachings. His new interpretation was that he wanted everyone in state of Hakimiyya, and this only exists under the Shari’a law. Sayyid Qutb’s principal teachings to his adherents include Jihad, Jahiliya/Hakimiyya, and submission to the will of Allah which is very important (away from western influences), centrality of Allah through Tawhid (oneness) and Aquida (belief in god) and lastly Shari’a law.

Sayyid Qutb had a radical practice of Islam which he influenced his adherents to follow. He expressed to the adherents that it was important to have modest life styles of living, and living free from negative influence of the west, namely sexual freedom and materialism. By the adherent following Muhammad’s way of life, they are helped by Allah and guided to the right path. Sayyid Qutb answered the questions of human life through his philosophy. His philosophy was Hakimiyya, Jahiliya, Jihad, and in order to be in the state of Hakimiyya adherents need to overcome Jahiliya by Jihad. Sayyid Qutb philosophy answers those questions as they express the importance of submission to Allah and he showed adherents how to live to God. The stimulus means to be submitted to Allah, and to only believe in the one true God.

Sayyid Qutb was born in Musha, Egypt in 1906, and in 1916 he attended a school in his local village. In 1919 Sayyid Qutb dropped out of school for two years, and he then moved to Cairo in 1920 where he finished his high school education. In 1929 he attended Dar Al-Alum University. Between 1939-1948 Sayyid Qutb worked as a university teacher, he also wrote many articles that reflected the Liberal values. In 1948, Sayyid Qutb, he went to America, achieved a Masters Degree education, and he also wrote a book ‘Social in Islam’ building an Islamic idea of Tawhid. In 1949 he wrote another book called ‘In the shades of the Qur’an’, which was a commentary on the Qur’an. An example from the book ‘In the shades of the Qur’an’ is “There is nothing hindering people to seek the mercy of Allah. All they have to do is to seek it directly from Allah without mediation or intercession except heading to Him in obedience, hope, confidence and submission.” [1] This quote from the book helps adherents understand how important the submission to Allah is, and also in the stimulus above it helps adherents find answers to their questions about human existence.

Sayyid Qutb joined Islamic brotherhood. In 1954 Sayyid Qutb was first arrested and jailed for conspiracy to overthrow the ruling Egyptian government through the use of lesser Jihad which he encouraged. He was released from prison in 1964. A year later in 1965 he published another book called the ‘Milestone’. In this book he criticised the west because he didn’t like the way they were living, and because of that his philosophy about. An example of a quote from the book ‘Milestone’ is “..as a family is the basis of the society, and the basis of the family is the division of labour between husband and wife, and the upbringing is the most important function of the family, then such a society is indeed civilised” [2] . In this quote Sayyid Qutb is emphasising that Islam and the Islamic style of living encourages this kind of family. By becoming this family adherents are living the right way of life according to Allah. Sayyid Qutb was rearrested and jailed again on charges of conspiracy against the ruling government, which was implemented through ‘Milestones’. In 19966 Sayyid Quote was executed by hanging. As shown in the stimulus above, Sayyid Qutb is an example to the adherents on the right way of life and the right path to take.

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Sayyid Qutb’s philosophy is all about Hakimiyya, and the way to achieve it, his philosophy also consists of Jahiliya and Jihad. He wanted all of the adherents in society to be Hakimiyya, which means for adherents to accept the Shari’a and live under it, Hakimiyya is the goal in life. In reference to the stimulus above by being in the state of Hakimiyya you submitting to Allah and following the one true God. Jahiliya is thesubmit to materialism and sexual freedom. In Jihad, there is greater Jihad which is individual struggle to submit to the will of Allah and lesser Jihad which is holy war, and the use of military means. Sayyid Qutb mostly focused on the greater Jihad. His philosophy is all about being in the state of Hakimiyya and overcoming Jahiliya. Sayyid Qutb lived his philosophy and he showed the right way to live to the submission to the will of Allah, in reference to the stimulus this is important in order of walking the right path.

Sayyid Qutb has impacted many people, both followers of his philosophy and opposers of his philosophy. The impacts his left on his followers include he brought a new and more relevant understanding of Islam and how it should be lived and he died as a martyr for Islam. He is a model of living his Islamic principles, in spite of the personal consequence even death. Opposers of his philosophy believe that he is a poor example of what Islam should be, also there were protests against him and many Muslims didn’t want him known as a significant person. His radical views are seen as examples to other people as there are many radical groups that exist today and follow his philosophy. In reference to the stimulus, Sayyid Qutb is seen as a person who was able to answer the questions about human existence to all adherents. People who follow his philosophy see him as a good example on the way to live to the submission to the will of Allah, and praying to the only true God.

Sayyid Qutb has radically interpreted the Qur’an and he has affected many adherents. His philosophy, Hakimiyya, Jahiliya and Jihad, has answered all the questions that each adherent asks themselves about the existence of life. The meaning behind the stimulus is that there is one true God, and adherents should only follow that one God, also that they should live to the submission of Allah. The Tawhid gives adherents their beliefs and encourages them to live the proper way of life and following in Muhammad’s footsteps. Sayyid Qutb is a significant person who was able to distinctively answer the enduring questions of human existence.


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