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Brief Summary about Islam Research Paper


Introduction

The September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon brought to the fore a lot of ignorant beliefs and stereotypes regarding Islam(Ibrahim 102). Undoubtedly, it is past time for tutors to educate themselves and their students on what is the world’s second largest religion. One way that teachers can open discussions on this topic is through asking students to list stereotypes about Islam or simply to record everything they know about Islam and/ or Muslims.

Despite the existence of numerous materials about Islam on internet sites, it is rather sad to note that people are still ignorant about this great religion. To many people, Islam is simply a religion that belongs to people who “pray a lot” and whose men are allowed to marry more than one wife. This paper gives a brief summary on Islam and corrects some of the common misconceptions concerning this noble religion.

Evidently, one misconception about Islam is the translation of Jihad as “holy war.” According to the English dictionary, Jihad is simply translated as striving in the manner of God. This means that any person who undertakes to study Islam or preach about its ideals is jihad.

Contrary to the image portrayed by the media, Jihad is not used to refer to someone who instigates violence in the name of Islam. In fact, the exact translation of the word Islam is peace. It is therefore sad to note that Islam is wrongly associated with the violence that has rocked many parts of the world (PewResearchCenter).

Although the media is partly to blame for this apparent misconception, it is also a fact that majority of non-Muslim Americans do not understand that Islam is a lifestyle.

Since Muslims do not recognize boundaries between nation-states the way most Americans do, it follows that their patriotism is more about the religion than a particular nation. Additionally, because of religious/racial categorization in the media, Muslims are one of the minoritygroups who are constantly identified by religion when they are accused of committing fanatic acts (Truthnet).

In America, many teachers approach Islam as though it were a distant, traditional religion. This is despite the fact that there are over six million Muslims in America and the number keeps on growing at a very high rate. In fact, Islam is the name given to the religion while Muslim is used to refer to its followers.

According to statistics, (Hakim 26) there are over 1.2 billion Muslims throughout the world. Large portions of these live in Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and in some portions of Africa and Asia. In addition to Judaism and Christianity, Islam is considered the third largest monotheistic religion. Islam adherents believe that the Qu’ran is God’s word that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through angel Gabriel.

Traditionally, Islam is built on five basic beliefs. The first, which is the most important, is the belief in Allah who is the universal God of all Muslims. The Muslims also believe in the Prophets led by Muhammad and the ones before him. In addition to this, Muslim faithful also belief in the justice of God and the Imams who are also known as the Apostles of God.

The final belief is that of a judgment day something that guides Muslims to live sober lives since they know they are answerable to a higher being. Apart from the five beliefs, Muslims also have five duties, which they are supposed to carry out. The most important duty of these is praying five times a day-morning, noon, afternoon, sunset and evening.

Once in their lifetime, Muslims are required to make a pilgrimage to Mecca if they are physically and financially stable. In the holy month of Ramadan, every healthy Muslim is supposed to fast and pray both for his needs and for those around him(Robson 83). It is also the duty of Muslims to give alms to the poor and strive in the way of God (Jihad).

Contrary to popular belief, Muslims worship God directly. Traditionally, religious leaders in the Islamic faith do not have any divine characteristics. Unlike Judaism and Christianity, people and objects in Islam are not considered “holy.” In fact, it is considered blasphemous if one worships anything or anyone apart from God.

Unlike Christians, Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the son of God but they acknowledge that he was indeed a prophet. Although the teachings in the Qu’ran is translated differently from the bible, most of the basic information is similar to the one found in the Old Testament and in the Torah (Hakim 26).

With the mode of dressing rapidly changing in the 21st century, it is amazing to note that Muslim women have maintained their traditional dressing. According to analysts, the modesty exhibited by women in their mode of dressing is done as reverence to God and not to men.

Although there has been complains about the role of the Muslim woman in the society, analysts argue that they are treated better than women are in other cultures. This can be seen from the fact that Muslim women were allowed the right to vote 1400 years ago, which was centuries before the rest of the world opened up to the idea(Hakim 26).

In order to understand Islam better, it is important to note that it has two main sects, the Sunni and Shi’ite. Despite there being two different sects, the difference is minimal since it only dwells on who took the leadership following the death of Prophet Muhammad and how the leader came into power.

Additionally, Muslims in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East practice Wahabism, which is a fanatic interpretation of Islam established in the 18th century by Mohamed Ibn Abd-al-Wahab.

Islamic researchers usually low rate this faction, just as they denounce the Taliban(Robson 82). As the world moves towards the 21st century, things have significantly changed in the family front and this has changed the concept of arranged marriages as it was practiced in the past.Unlike in the past, the two people getting married are given a chance to make an input in the marriage decision.

While Christians follow the traditional Greek calendar, Muslims follow the lunar calendar and this means that their holidays move apart from the Christian calendar by approximately 11 days.In any given year, the Islamic calendar has two major holidays, Eid al Adha, which is held at the end of the Mecca pilgrimage and Eid al Fitr, which comes at the end of Ramadan.

Unlike other religions, Islam is family-oriented. In every part of the world, the chief means of transmitting the religion’s message is through the family. This means that parents, both fathers and mothers, bear the biggest responsibility when it comes to raising their children. This orientation towards the family translates into a society-oriented way of life and this greatly differs from the western view of individuality(Ibrahim 105).

With the world having become a global village, there is an urgent need for everyone to understand the major Islamic practices for a peaceful co-existence. Muslims abstain from many things and knowing what they are is a great key to a meaningful association. To begin with, Muslims do not drink alcohol, nor do they eat pork, ham or bacon.

When issuing an invitation for a social event, it is advisable for one to provide information about the food and drinks that are meant to be served. By letting people know that soft drinks and vegetarian food will be available, Muslim people are encouraged to attend and assured that they will be able to participate fully in the event(PewResearchCenter).

Conclusion

Islam is considered the second largest religion after Christianity. Despite this being the case, very little is known about the religion. It is sad to note that this is happening while there is so much information that is available about the religion. Majority of the Americans have chosen to believe what the media portrays about the religion and this has led to serious misconceptions on Islam.

It is rather sad to note that teachers treat Islam as a distant and ancient religion despite the fact that there are over six million Muslims in America and the number keeps on rising rapidly. There is also need for the media to stop spreading misconceptions about the Islamic faith and instead give their audience well rehearsed facts on the religion. This will make people appreciate Islam and make them realize how misguided they have been on the issue.

Works Cited

Hakim, Semya. “War, Terrorism, and America’s Classrooms:Responding to Sept. 11 and its Aftermath,” Rethinking Schools Online 52.4 (2001): 26-27. Print.

Ibrahim, Abdikadir. “The Harmful Effects of Extremism.” Gateway to Islamic and Scientific Studies 16.2 (2010): 102-111. Print.

PewResearchCenter. Common Concerns about Islamic Extremism, July 21, 2011. Web.

Robson, Roy. Think World Religions. New York: Prentice Hall, 2010. 82-96. Print.

Truthnet. The History of Islam, 2011. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2018, June 14). Brief Summary about Islam. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/brief-summary-about-islam/

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IvyPanda. "Brief Summary about Islam." June 14, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/brief-summary-about-islam/.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "Brief Summary about Islam." June 14, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/brief-summary-about-islam/.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'Brief Summary about Islam'. 14 June.

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