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Islam for Beginners - 22 more Questions answered

Islam for Beginners:

Rituals and Practice-

22 More Questions Answered

 

Table of Contents

Table of Contents 2

Introduction 3

22 More Questions Answered about Islamic Rituals and Practices 4

This book is a follow-up to the book, Islam for Beginners: Islamic Rituals and Practice, by this same author. In this book, you will read more about the Islamic faith and the culture of its people. This book was written to answer some of the most common questions that Islam beginners might have. By Islam beginners we are referring to atheists, agnostics, Christians, Jews, Hindus, those who convert to Islam, or even any non-practicing or non-religious persons who may have been born into the Muslim faith. 4

Conclusion 19

Introduction

I want to thank you and congratulate you for downloading the book [_ Islam for Beginners: Rituals and Practice- 22 More Questions Answered _].

 

This book is a sequel to the book Islam for Beginners: Islamic Rituals and Practice, also written by me.

As the world becomes increasingly diversified, becoming more familiar with other cultures and religions is a necessary skill for cross-cultural relationships and communications. This book will provide you with more information to answer some of the most common questions that you may have about Islamic culture and the religion.

 

If you do not have a basic knowledge to understand others it may lead to miscommunication and other problems.

 

It’s time for you to become knowledgeable about one of the largest and the fastest growing world religions and its people.

I also wanted to thank you for all the feedback I received about the first book. It really helped me to improve! You showed me the importance of a good translator service (English is not my mother tongue, so a lector does really help) and the fine polishments here and there.

 

While the world tension is currently increasing, I hope that true understanding of each other will help us all to build a better world. My homeland, Turkey, is in turmoil. Syria is burning, Iraq is still not peaceful and Europe is slowly but steadily shifting towards Nationalism. I pray for all those who suffer, no matter their religion – for this is what Allah teaches us all:

 

Peace.

22 More Questions Answered about Islamic Rituals and Practices

This book is a follow-up to the book, Islam for Beginners: Islamic Rituals and Practice, by this same author. In this book, you will read more about the Islamic faith and the culture of its people. This book was written to answer some of the most common questions that Islam beginners might have. By Islam beginners we are referring to atheists, agnostics, Christians, Jews, Hindus, those who convert to Islam, or even any non-practicing or non-religious persons who may have been born into the Muslim faith.

The information will be presented in an easy Question and Answer format. It is intended to provide more information to the reader. It is also encouraged that the reader use this information to continue the process of discovering more about Islam, to read more about the subject, and to reach out to Muslim peoples and learn more about the culture.

Book knowledge is wonderful, but it lacks that human element. In these modern times there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about Islam. Therefore, anything that people can do to bridge these gaps will help with communication and relationships. Some topics will be expansions of some of the answers provided in the first book. Others will be new topics and more advanced questions, with answers provided in a very objective and factual way. The most common Questions and Answers will follow.

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p<>{color:#151515;}. What is Islam?

Islam is known as a religion of peace. Persons of Islamic faith ascribe to one God, who is Allah, or God in the Arabic language. This is described as a monotheistic culture, as compared to a religion such as Hinduism where many deities are worshipped. The word Islam itself is from the word peace, and is translated to also mean submission to the will of God. Anyone who practices Islam is committing to a peaceful, ethical and virtuous life, and personal accountability for their actions.

Islam requires that all who follow commit their lives to serving Allah. The Prophet Muhammad, who lived from 570 A.D. until his death in 632 A.D., is the last Prophet through which Allah provided his word and messages for all followers, called Ummah. The Qur’an is the direct word of Allah as shared through the Prophet Muhammad. The Anglicized spelling of the Qur’an is Koran.

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p<>{color:#151515;}. What is the distinction between Islam, Islamic, Muslim, and Islamism?

The words are interrelated and yet have differences in their applications.

Islam refers to the people and the religion of the Muslims, which accepts the Prophet Muhammad as the messenger of God, or Allah.

Islamic refers to that which has to do with Islam, as a descriptor.

Muslim refers to the people who are of the Islamic faith, or who practice Islam.

Islamism refers to the intentional spread of Islam in a more conservative and fundamentalist way. We will cover fundamentalism later.

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p<>{color:#222;}. What is the difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims?

Shi’a Muslims are one of the separate types of Islam. The Sunnis are the other. Sunni Muslims represent almost 90% of world Muslims today . They practice what is called Sunnisim. They are also referred to as Suunites, Sunnis, and Ahlus Sunnah. Sunnah has to do with the words of the Prophet Muhammed.

A brief explanation of their separation is that the two schools of Islam separated after the Prophet Muhammed’s death, due to the communities conflicting on the divine designation of the next Islamic leader. Shi’a Muslims decided separately on the first Caliph, or the religious and political leader who would succeed the Prophet Muhammed. They chose their Caliph to be the Prophet Muhammed’s cousin (and also father-in-law). His name was Abu Bakr. Sunni Muslims chose the Prophet Muhammad’s cousin (and also his son-in-law) and cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib.

4. What are the primary differences between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam?

There are some similarities and also differences between each of these major world religions. The other distinguishing fact amongst the three is that each is a major monotheistic world religion as well. This means that one God is acknowledged and worshipped. There are many similarities and differences, therefore, some highlights are provided here. Muslims believe that the very first Prophet of Allah was Adam. Prophet Muhammad was the final Prophet of Allah, who delivered the direct word of Allah through the Qur’an.

In the Christian Bible you will also note there were Prophets of God such as Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, David, Jacob, John the Baptist, Joseph and Jesus, Noah, Moses, and Solomon as well as a longer list of prophets. Muslims recognize the same prophets but believe that Muhammed was the final Prophet for the word of God, for all of humankind.

Muslims however see Jesus as a human man and not a son of God or Allah. He was sent by Allah. His name is Isa in Arabic. Jews believe that Jesus was also a human and that he was Jewish. Muslims believe Jesus was ascended to heaven, not crucified and reborn. Jews believe he was crucified for saying he was divine.

Muslims also do not believe in the Holy Trinity as Christians believe (i.e., Jesus being the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). Muslims do not worship any other than God himself. No other of the human prophets were divine, nor were Angels. Therefore, again, they are not to be worshipped aside from Allah for Muslims.

Only Christians and Muslims believe in Jesus as the Messiah. They both believe in an Anti-Christ. Both believe in a heaven and a hell. For Muslims, it may not include an eternity as it does for Christianity. The Jewish faith has the concept of punishments as well, some eternal but most temporary, yet for many of the Judaic sects there is not the same focus on the afterlife as with Christianity.

Muslims and Christians believe in the Old and New Testaments. In Judaism, there is a similar book to the Old Testament or Tanakh, which contains the Torah, Nevi’im and Ketuvim which are laws, Prophets, and writings. In Islam it is the Qur’an. The Bible is the book for Christianity.

Another interesting fact is that Islam was started in what is known as the Holy Land, and has many practices that are similar to Judaism. Jerusalem is the commonplace where God resided for all three major religions at some time. There’s a special connection to the people here. Jerusalem, along with Medina (where Muhammad and followers migrated to during what is called the Hijra), and Mecca (where Muhammad was born), are some of the Holy places of Islam. To note, the holy places for each sect of Islam do differ slightly.

Jews also had originally settled Medina. Historically in these geographical areas there has been much strife between the religions, and namely for the sake of this book, we are referring to the Jews and Muslims. However these few basic facts show the overlap in some earlier history.

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p<>{color:#151515;}. What are some contributions of Islam to the world?

Muslims have contributed greatly to world cultures including what is referred to as the western world. Europeans had then adopted all of the advancements by Muslim innovators at some point in history. Muslims historically have had great contributions in science, math, health, and language as well as many inventions that helped advance humanity.

Global maps were created by Muslims. Art and architecture has been heavily influenced by Islam. In Medina, the first university was reported to have been established by a Muslim man, yet there is evidence that two women had established the first degree awarding university in Morocco much earlier. Muslims also contributed to evolving the algebra that the Greeks had earlier begun. Arabic numerals also were developed by Muslims. Muslims have also contributed to philosophy and rational thought.

6. How widespread and how diverse is Islam?

One out of five people in the world at present are Muslim and it is always growing. Muslims do not just live in Saudi Arabia, but they are spread out around the world. What can be called the Islamic world includes countries in South America, where there are Muslims, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia and Southeast Asia (Indonesia having the largest in the world).

Arabic is a common language for those born into Islam and also to those who convert to Islam. The word of Allah, and delivered by the Prophet Muhammad in the Qur’an, was written in Arabic as well as the messages delivered in the Hadith. The Hadith includes the narratives of Muhammad’s actions and his words. Although there are translations, and services can be in both English and Arabic, the prayers and writings would lose context and meaning if solely translated. The prayers are stated in Arabic. Arabic is the common language not just for prayer, the Qur’an, but for the Islamic “brotherhood” or Ummah on totality.

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p<>{color:#151515;}. What is Islamic fundamentalism?

In the purest sense of the word, fundamentalism has to do with adhering to the purest foundations or principles of something. In this case, it would be adhering to the original philosophies, messages and practices of the Qur’an for Muslims.

It is a literal, and strict interpretation. It recognizes dichotomies, such as what should or shouldn’t be viewed as correct or incorrect. In its purest interpretation, this is not implied to be negative although this is what society and media sometimes assume it to be. Fundamentalism applies to Islam as well as some other religions and sects. In any religion or practice there will be some who interpret piety to be reflective of a strict adherence with absolutely no deviation, and others will interpret their followings and teachings to their environment and other factors. These persons still may maintain integrity of the religion and themselves however.

However, with reference to Islam, fundamentalism can be a great source of misunderstanding. The concept of fundamentalism and the label itself can be used to imply extremist ideas or actions, as well as violence. We stated earlier that Islam is a religion of peace and this is the central message. This highlights the problem of misinterpretation with this fundamentalist label.

Additionally, some Muslims refer the not being able to express their religion and culture as “secular fundamentalism.” Used in this way, the label is intended to describe the strictness or adherence to a non-religious way of being. It also implies a value judgement on imposing secular and non-Muslim views on the conduct and lives of Muslim persons. Usually this is done in westernized cultures. This also brings misunderstandings.

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p<>{color:#151515;}. How is Muslim family life for women and girls in particular?

Muslim families are as diverse as the countries from which they come. Some of the family structure and dynamics result from Islam and the teachings however. Family is one of the most prized areas of Islam and great measures are taken to support the family structure. A misunderstanding of Islam is created by westernized interpretations and values which in some cases are very different.

Women in Islam are upheld in high regard. According to the Qur’an, the wearing of the hijab, and facial and body coverings (partial or entire), allows women the freedom from bother or harm, and freedom from the pressures to succumb to competition, or a focus on the superficiality of physical beauty. According to Islam this code of dress is an equalizer and also permits the woman to be free to dedicate herself to the service of Allah. It promotes upright thought and conduct as well.

Arranged marriages do occur but they aren’t required. Many girls have a say in their parents’ choice of a partner as well. Dating and courting isn’t usually supported. Once married, the Muslim woman is supposed to be the man’s equal and partner. This is stated in the Qur’an. There is not a subjugation of women, and rather, there is an inherent expectation that the two sexes will have equal roles in maintenance of piousness in the family and accountability in the household. There may be a difference in family roles in terms of gender in some but not necessarily all Muslim families.

Motherhood is held in high esteem, and likewise, respect for parents by their children is a very strong value expressed in the Qur’an. In a traditional Muslim family, the father’s role is also to support the women in their family and extended family as a protectorate in emotional and physical ways. Of course there are variations in any family or community but again, many of these general qualities are misconstrued by those who do not have understanding of Islam.

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p<>{color:#151515;}. What is the diet of a Muslim?

According to the Qur’an, and the wishes of Allah, foods are halal, or according to the law, or unlawful, and not halal. These unlawful foods can also be called haram, or unlawful in a general sense. There are a list of specific foods that are considered not to be halal and exceptions to the approved Muslim diet. Pork is the most notable of the foods Muslims do not eat. Carnivorous animals that eat other meats are forbidden, as are animals without ears. Birds of prey are forbidden. Much of this is similar to Judaism as well as some types of Christian religions.

Foods that are halal, and especially fruits and grains considered halal may have a spiritual context. Some of these are integrated into holy celebrations. Fish with scales are halal. Seafood is also considered halal in some groups of Islam, but not all.

There is some debate over some subcategories of land and sea foods. Although the Qur’an states the intent to make food choices easy, some do find it dicey deciding the type of animals alright to eat.

Additionally, the manner in which living food is slaughtered is either halal or not, as the other category of meats that are not to be eaten are animals who were slaughtered not in the name of Allah. Animals that were already deceased or animals that were not killed properly aren’t halal.

What is “proper” means how the animals are killed, by what tools, and by whom that makes the difference. For instance, a quick cut to sever the throat versus electrocution would be halal. A sharp knife versus a blunt object would be halal as well. Food that is slaughtered by “People of the Book” who are Christians or Jewish are halal, but food slaughtered by someone of another religion is not halal.

If a Muslim eats away from the home, they may always ask if the food is halal. If unknown, and assumed that it comes from an area where it is predominately Muslim, or Christians, or Jews, one is able to bless the food to make it permissible in many instances.

Fasting particularly during Ramadan is done with a structure and formality. Healthy adults will participate in this. They may also break the fast in particular ways and with certain foods.

Ingesting alcohol and tobacco is haram at any time.

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p<>{color:#151515;}. Why do so many people convert to Islam?

Almost 40% of Muslims were born in the United States. There are many Caucasian and other ethnicities of Muslims in the United States but the three largest ethnic groups of Muslims in the United States are Southeast Asians (as noted prior) and Asians, Arabians, and African Americans. The largest number of converts to Islam in the United States are African-American.

Regarding the higher rates of African Americans who convert, in the media it has been suggested that Islam transcends racism: 1. Because of the diversity and inclusion that Muslim brothers and sisters are of all ethnicities, and no one is superior, and 2. This is contrasted with the history of racism, and exclusion, or forced conversion by Christians in much of the African world.

There are numerous reasons why some people decide to convert to Islam, either from another faith, or starting as an atheist or agnostic. Those who convert come from all ethnicities as stated above. It is not unique to one race or ethnicity.

Some of the most common reasons given have to do with the messages of peace. Many persons are drawn to the messages, the structure given to provide an ethical guideline for living a moral life, and also the practical guidance on a simple lifestyle.

The average age for those converting to Islam is in the early thirties.

Most Christians convert as youth for comparison. The convert at a later age has lived a life that now may seem to need discipline, truth, or a rightful path, and Islam delivers these messages through the Qur’an. Additionally, most youth in the United States are Christian and are not encouraged to convert, especially to Islam.

Another point which speaks to the conversion is the number of persons who convert while incarcerated. It is said that Islam absolves one wrong doing without needing to be saved, and that the Muslim is only expected to begin by leading the life as Allah intended it to be. This is inviting to those who are on a difficult path.

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p<>{color:#000;}. What is the significance of a Fatwa?

In the media, we hear constant mention of a fatwa. It is implied that it is a curse that may be enforced by severe punishment or death. Yet, there are levels of fatwas, which most non-Muslims nor the mainstream media do not have knowledge of.

The fatwa was detailed in the first book for beginners, and we will give a quick review here, to demystify what it is and what it is not. A fatwa is a rule or opinion provided by a qualified legal authority and leader in an Islamic country. There is no centralized authority. However, the authority making such a decree must meet specific qualifications that include the deepest knowledge and messages of the Qur’an, as a fatwa is based on Islamic law, as laid out in the Qur’an.

The fatwa is also decided by consensus after debate amongst authorities, religious clerics or scholars in the Muslim community. They may disagree but eventually must compromise. The primary authority delivers the ruling. Once decreed it can be changed if needed, according to customs and situations in modern life.

A fatwa may address laws that are spelled out directly in the Qur’an or it may address modern issues that concern ethics, morality or actions. Some fatwa include scientific developments or even business proceedings. A fatwa has a broad application that goes beyond the threats or war-like decrees that the media usually is reporting.

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p<>{color:#000;}. What is hajj?

A hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca. Due to the Islamic calendar, the date changes from each year to year, but usually between the 8th to 12th days of the last month of the Islamic year. Muslims are obligated to make this pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime if they are physically able. It is one of the five pillars of Islam that were described in the first Beginner’s book. It is the second largest gathering of people in the universe. If done at any other time of the year, it is called an Umrah, or a smaller pilgrimage. This is encouraged but does not replace the Hajj.

As stated earlier in this book, Muhammad was born and lived in Mecca. This is considered one of the holiest of places for Muslims. This is also the place where all Muslims throughout the world will direct their prayers at each of the five times throughout the day. There are a few rituals the mustati (the person making the trip) will participate in. These include (in a most simple description) circling the building that is at the center. There is a run between hills, drinking from a well, a vigil and an overnight stay, a simulated stoning, head shaving, animal sacrifice, and a festival and holy period. Each of these steps has a deep significance to Islam and particularly to Muhammad. Each are worthy of a lengthy historical review as well.

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p<>{color:#000;}. What is Sharia law?

Sharia, or Shari’ah, is the legal system for people of Islam. This is another very misunderstood aspect of Islamic countries. It draws from both the word of Allah in the Qur’an and the Hadith which is the narrative of Muhammed’s actions and words. It is not externally imposed law, but law based on the principles and statements from Allah.

It is noted again in the media primarily for some of its extremities especially where punishments are concerned if they are deemed necessary and that becomes very controversial for non-Muslims as well as Muslims. Additionally there are higher questions of the compatibility of sharia and secular law and their intersection in some countries. There are differences on Shari’ah law with the various sects of Islam.

Many countries use Shari’ah law but not all do. It is predominantly used (either in whole or part) in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates to name a few. Other countries will use parts that may be limited to certain family and personal matters.

In the case of a fatwa, the legal and religious authority applies what is called ijtihad, which essentially is reasoning from a thorough decision making process. Ijtihad is the process behind the interpretation and application of Shari’ah law. A mujtahid is the scholar who has the qualifications to do this independent reasoning, taking into consideration the Qur’an and Hadith as well as legal information. It is quite extensive if done according to its required efforts.

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p<>{color:#000;}. What is it like to raise a Muslim child?

In most Muslim countries, families will follow a similar structure in which to educate their children on Islam. As stated before, the Islamic family relies heavily on the Qur’an for guidance and discipline so much of what occurs in the home is determined by the scripture in the Qur’an as well as the accompanying Hadith.

It is important to note raising Muslim children is not “strict” without merit or with the intent to repress as some western cultures assume and stereotype. In essence, by following the guidance of these teachings and laws a family receives the structure it needs and the moral compass will always point to the direction that is needed. There is very little needed to interpret or decide when this is heeded by a family. There is no intention other than to provide this structure in accordance to the Qur’ans interpretation.

A Muslim child will be taught in the earliest years to respect her or his mother and father. They are taught to be thankful to Allah and to respect their parents who sacrifice for them on a daily basis. They are taught nobility, kindness, charity, and sisterhood and brotherhood of the Ummah, or the Muslim community. They are taught to pray by the age of seven, and learn how to give service of themselves to Allah. Muslim children are brought around other Muslims to learn how to relate and care for each other.

Muhammed himself was an orphan. He also was very fond of children, was playful as well as a protectorate of children both physically and emotionally. He himself had experienced the death of all of his biological children, in their infancy. His expression for love came through in other people’s children, his adopted child and grandchildren, as well as children of other cultures. He was an example for all Muslims and his qualities are exhibited in his actions as they are told. All Muslim children are due to be respected, loved, and also cared for physically, mentally and financially as well.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Do Muslim children and youth attend Mosques?

The mosque, or masjid, is a sacred place for Muslims. It should be serene and quiet, a place of calmness and sacred cleanliness. Children are encouraged to learn Islam by attending masjids with their parents. However, it is realistic that there may be different expectations and rules according to their ages. There are also children’s prayer lines that follow the men’s prayer lines.

Unlike Christianity, Islam looks at every child as innocent. Each child must be taught how to be Muslim by their families. In most of Christianity, people are born with the original sin and make amends during their lifetimes to be saved. This is a very different worldview.

Very young children (under 5 or 6) may be brought to the mosques when they are quite young as long as they do not soil the sacred masjid which would be haram, and as long as they are refraining from making noise that would be distracting for prayer. However, it isn’t encouraged to bring young children as they do know yet to respect the masjid nor how to pray.

Older children (over 7) are expected to pray alongside their parents. If they can pray by the side of other children, they may. However they might have to stay by a parent’s side in prayer if the other children would distract them to play. Again, they are not encouraged to attend as they too do not know how to pray properly and may not respect the sanctity of the masjid and the people in prayer.

Children at the age of puberty (generally 12-15) are obliged to attend the masjid when they hit this milestone. They are encouraged at these ages, regardless however, to attend in order to learn how to pray and learn about the Muslim culture, and their Muslim brothers and sisters. After 15 they are deemed to be mature, and must attend and pray.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Why do men and women pray separately?

Muslim men and women may pray together at home and in public. At hajj they pray together, at the masjid they may pray together. There is no law or teaching in scripture that a Muslim woman cannot pray with a man. It has come to be that some mosques or masjids have partition or curtains, but not to separate and exclude the women. With the partition, women could come and go as needed by a separate entrance. If a child becomes unruly they would be able to address a problem or to leave.

Women who attend mosques do not have an obligatory duty to do so. It is understood that there may be duties at home, travel barriers, or age limitations on the woman’s ability to attend. This is completely acceptable.

When women do attend the masjid, they will pray behind men however. The men will be in the prayer lines in the front. The children will be in the prayer lines behind the men and the women will be in the prayer lines behind the children. Prayer includes bending and prostration so it makes some sense for women in dress to be behind males when doing so. In addition, this is how people prayed with the Prophet Muhammed.

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p<>{color:#000;}. How do modern Muslims address health issues?

Muslims are taught to ask for Allah’s assistance when ill. They will pray to Allah for strength or patience, and they may turn to the Qur’an. In Islam, there is not a fear as with some of Christianity that illness is a punishment by God. Muslims see illness as natural, and death is part of the life cycle, passing into the next phase of life that returns the person to Allah.

There are certain customs that western doctors should be knowledgable on across all Muslims. They would be encouraged to have a provider of the same sex preferably for a Muslim patient. If the patient is a woman, they should have an attendant who is also female or allow a family member to come into the room. Eye contact should be limited and touching other than exams is discouraged especially in female patients.

Doctors and nurses should anticipate modesty on part of the patient. If a Muslim woman is being seen, she should be afforded to wear her body-covering garb. If this is not possible, then long hospital gowns should be provided. If this too cannot be possible, then the woman should be allowed to bring her own. Doctors should expect modesty and respect privacy.

Muslim patients should be afforded an Islamic-friendly waiting area, where women and their children can wait and pray if needed. It also provides a safe place. Imagery should not be Christian-centric. Muslim décor would be preferable if possible.

There are a variety of health conditions for which only certain interventions are permissible. These areas include women’s health and reproductive health, end-of-life care, and euthanasia. According to the Qur’an, specific levels of care or procedures are permissible, or under specific circumstances.

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p<>{color:#000;}. What does Muslim art look like?

Art in the traditional Muslim world is reflective of the various dynasties that took Islam from a central place, and into the Eastern, Asian and African world. Literature, philosophy, natural sciences, math, and art are some of the products of the Islamic culture growth and its evolution. Greece, Rome, India, Persia, Byzantine, Turkish, Ottoman, Spanish. These other people’s art and culture became incorporated with Islamic art imagery and forms, and likewise Islamic art and architecture also touched and has stayed in these regions.

Fabrics, some woven, with beads or embroidery, or silks were some of the textiles that were used for art and for useful objects such as wall hangings and tents. The words mohair and cotton even came from Arabic to English as Muslims spread their cultural influence to other countries including Europe.

Sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, urns, glass, and wooden stelae are some art forms that we see in early Islamic art. Later, gilded illuminations written with meticulously laid out formatting and in calligraphy were produced as in manuscripts.

Animals, people, words, medallions, flowers and leaves, scrolls, geometric designs and abstract imagery were common. Minarets and dome roofs, glazed tiles, courtyards, and gardens represented the later Islamic art and architecture.

Modern Muslim art is also quite diverse. It exists in the same types of mediums as what exists all over the “art world,” internationally. Islamic art today may still include traditional imagery, symbols and patterns. The type of art also may be more traditional, as with textiles, painting, sculpture, etc. Much of its now political, with artists’ statements on gender, human rights, war, and religion, much of which is taboo in some Islamic societies. These newer art forms generally are more freely expressed in western countries.

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p<>{color:#000;}. What is a Caliphate?

A Caliph is a successor to the Prophet Muhammad. The caliphate is the religious area that the Caliph oversees. Shi’a Muslims believe that a Caliph should be chosen by Allah. The man should be a Muslim religious leader called an Imam, and from the descendants of Muhammed.

Sunni Muslims believe that A Caliph should be chosen by community consensus and elected. Their Caliph has the same authority as the other, but he is not seen in the same prophetic role as with the Shi’a.

Caliphates have existed across all Islamic dynasties and have included the lineage of the Prophet Muhammed. They have not been static, and have been susceptible to the movements of people, wars, takeovers, the building and destruction of cities, and changes in dynastic rule.

The position of Caliph was used over time by conquering empires as well. Starting with the Ottomans in Russia, they took the term for themselves to abscond the Caliph’s power and authority and to exert control over Muslims inside and outside of the dynasty. It also happened with the British in India. The Unites States Secretary of State also requested and was granted the position of Caliph to control the people of the Philippines with a military rule in 1899.

As you can see, the Caliph’s position and the role of the Caliphate are recognizably very influential in the everyday life, the religion, as well as the politics of the Caliphates within their purview.

Caliphates went somewhat dormant after the early 1920’s. Emirs who were generals, commanders, or aristocratic such as princes were effectively used for ruling. These emirs oversaw sovereign areas as well. Think of the United Arab Emirates. Partially this was due to the evolution of the role of Caliph, which was also spurred by the move away from the Caliph’s relationship as a descendant to the Prophet Muhammad. This relationship was discontinued with dynastic and colonial state takeovers of the Caliph rule.

Today, we have a resurgence of what some are claiming to be the reestablishment of a self-declared Caliphate. The current “Islamic State” is one such self-declared caliphate.

However, in the Qur’an, it is said that a true Caliphate is one only established by Allah, and which will work in righteousness to unify people. The Caliphates role is not to focus on human endeavors. It is also said that the Caliph is chosen by God and the hearts of the people will be directed towards him (which explains the process of identification of the Caliph).

The Caliph is given the position by Allah, and is not given the position by a proclaimed right nor merely by an election. What is being done today to establish a Caliphate does not fit this message of the Qur’an. You will hear the current media refer to these terms often, but the background information is not usually provided to give it context.

20. What does Islam is “spread by the sword” mean?

Some wonder if the claim to spread Islam by the sword, in the Qur’an, is contrary to what Islam’s message of peace is about.

There is a literal translation and there is a contextual meaning to this phrase. One has to look very objectively at Islamic history to discern the meaning. One perspective is to examine the numerous holy wars, or jihads, which various Islamic dynasties after Muhammad waged. Many do not know that Muhammad was a military commander as well as a Prophet of God himself. There is no doubt there was war across all Islamic rule, dynasties, and within the Caliphates.

Another viewpoint is examined when one looks at all of the places and other means whereby Islamic rule became the power due to the Islamic leaders making peace treaties or pacts. For instance, in the 700’s (A.D.), a noble from Iberia offered the Muslim governor to invade and overthrow the oppressive Visigoth ruler in the region. They promised support if this was done. It was done and the Muslim leadership was welcomed. The Muslim leadership went further in making pacts with other Visigoth rulers to outline protections for the people in the region, to allow for religious freedom and slavery.

Another example from history showed that while it lasted, and prior to its overturn and ultimate destruction), Islamic rule had allowed for persons of many faiths to co-exist peacefully in Spain.

Other examples show that Muslim leaders, and using the word of Allah in the Qur’an, supported converts to Islam but not by force.

On the contrary, other historians will point out the examples where Christians and others were forced to convert to Islam or be were forced to pay a tax and have land and other restrictions. In the interpretation of these examples however the options to convert or pay taxes didn’t necessitate violence.

The other question is about the concept of forced conversion in this manner, as compared to the physical wars waged by Islamic rulers, with very different motives.

Writings about Muhammed’s protection of the Ummah by a sword are also important. This seems to provide another simple view showing the defensive use of a sword to maintain peace in threatening situations.

However, the use of swords can be said of many nations and state of diverse origins. Additionally, some concepts such as manifest destinies which resulted in forced colonization, or the Holy Christian Crusades are examples of the use of swords for the purpose of conquering and dominating. How do we justify creating peace?

This asks the ultimate question of exactly what is done by the sword ? Also, is this a legitimate question to ask about Islam[_?_] Additionally, by asking the question it seems that we are also trying to assess the values of Islam. Scholars in the western world debate what does this mean, and how would it prove or disprove that Islam is truly a peaceful religion? This answer is unclear but worthy of reading into the scripture as well as history to find the true messages of Islam for oneself.

21. What is the importance of the Hadith versus the Qur’an?

The Qur’an has been told earlier as the written word of God, or Allah, as told to the Prophet Muhammed. It is his direct word as given through his messenger. The Hadith is a supplementary document that details the thoughts, actions, and deeds of the Prophet Muhammed as he lived life as a Prophet of Allah and gave service to his God, bringing together the Ummah, or the Muslim people. The Qur’an is the primary book of scriptures that all Muslims read and follow. This is the equivalent to the Bible in Christianity. The Qur’an provides Allah’s words on daily life, righteous living, community obligation and piety to him alone as the sole God and Creator of the Universe. The Qur’an is referred to by individuals, Imams, Caliphs and the juries and authorities when examining Shari’ah law and deciding fatwas, etc. It carries much weight both on morality and society, but also in guiding legal principles as based on religious rules.

The Hadith is translated as a narrative or report, which is actually a culmination of a few that were compiled generations after Muhammed had passed. This is a compliment to the Qur’an although it does have another purpose which is to highlight Islam through the life and examples of the Prophet. It is also considered in legal decision making as well, marking its significance for people not merely in the realm of law but also in the daily life of Muslims.

There are a few Hadith that have been labelled as more authentic or useful than others but not all sects of Muslims accept or use any or all of the Hadith texts. Sunnis and Shi’a Muslims also use different parts of the Hadith.

In sum, they are not the same thing yet both provide information and insight that it’s worthy of studying each alone.

22. Who are some famous Muslims?

As with any world religion, there will be celebrities, scholars, and special persons that highlight and represent the culture. This is something that westerners usually would like to know.

However, in Islam, it is immodest and against God to be boastful of one’s status, even if there is pride in being a Muslim. Patriotism and prideful nationalism is discouraged.

Therefore, this short list is shared with you for entertainment and information, as well as to help you appreciate the diversity in the world of Islam.

Some famous or well-known Muslims in American culture are:

Aziz Ansari (Comedian and Actor)

Busta Rhymes (Rapper)

Cat Stevens (Musician)

Dave Chappelle (Comedian)

Faran Tahir (Actor)

Huma Abedin (Political Staffer, and former Deputy Chief of Staff at State Department)

Iman (High fashion model)

Janet Jackson (Singer)

Malcolm X (Leader of Nation of Islam)

Mehmet Oz (Physician, Author and TV celebrity)

Muhammad Ali (Boxer)

Omar Sharif (Actor)

Shaquille O’Neal (Basketball Player)

Zayn Malik (Musician)

There are hundreds more of well-known Muslims with celebrity or household name status. There are thousands of doctors, scientists, academics, politicians and so many other field of discipline where Muslims have made a mark, and contributions to western society.

Conclusion

Thank you again for downloading this book!

I hope this book was able to help you to understand more of the practice and rituals of Islam and to give them more context for your studies.

Hopefully you have read the first in this series, to provide you some background. This book should have given you a deeper understanding of Islam and Muslim people.

If you are a beginner of any sort, an atheist or a person of another faith, or if you are a non-practicing Muslim, this information will help you to get answers to some of the common questions that are asked of Muslims about the religion and the people.

Misconceptions and misunderstanding about Islam not merely contribute to a lack of information, but they can be extremely problematic for Muslims in this day and age. Additionally, with a greater awareness for the immense cultural diversity of Islam there is the greater potential to create less judgment and bias which can lead to discrimination. With a greater understanding of what Islam is or is not, and of the messages it brings to both Muslim and non–Muslim peoples perhaps those bridges will be crossed as well.

The next step is to read more about Islam from different resources, to meet and talk with people of the Muslim faith, and perhaps attend Muslim cultural events if only to connect with the people and the culture.

Finally, if you enjoyed this book, please take the time to share your thoughts and post a review on Amazon. It’d be greatly appreciated!

Thank you and good luck!

Description

In this book, [_ Islam for Beginners: Rituals and Practice- 22 More Questions Answered _], you will find much information on the religion and the people of Islam. Many non-Muslims have so many questions that they are simply afraid to ask. This new book asks those questions and provides the answers.

 

Whether you are an atheist, a Christian, a Jew or a Hindu, or a non-practicing Muslim, this book is for you. It is written in easy language but takes on important topics.

 

This book is a sequel to the book Islam for Beginners: Islamic Rituals and Practice, also written by this author.

In this book you will also learn:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What the difference is between Christianity, Judaism and Islam

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What family structure is like for Islamic families

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What really is a fatwa

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The history of some of the Islamic caliphates and why this is important today

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Why Islam is so popular in its messages, and why some people convert

 

As the world becomes increasingly diversified, becoming more familiar with other cultures and religions is a necessary skill for cross-cultural relationships and communications.

 

This book will provide you with even more information than the first, to answer some of the most common questions about the world’s fastest growing religion.


Islam for Beginners - 22 more Questions answered

In this book, Islam for Beginners: Rituals and Practice- 22 More Questions Answered, you will find much information on the religion and the people of Islam. Many non-Muslims have so many questions that they are simply afraid to ask. This new book asks those questions and provides the answers. Whether you are an atheist, a Christian, a Jew or a Hindu, or a non-practicing Muslim, this book is for you. It is written in easy language but takes on important topics. This book is a sequel to the book Islam for Beginners: Islamic Rituals and Practice, also written by this author. In this book you will also learn: • What the difference is between Christianity, Judaism and Islam • What family structure is like for Islamic families • What really is a fatwa • The history of some of the Islamic caliphates and why this is important today • Why Islam is so popular in its messages, and why some people convert As the world becomes increasingly diversified, becoming more familiar with other cultures and religions is a necessary skill for cross-cultural relationships and communications. This book will provide you with even more information than the first, to answer some of the most common questions about the world’s fastest growing religion.

  • Author: Dogan Can
  • Published: 2016-07-23 17:50:08
  • Words: 7402
Islam for Beginners - 22 more Questions answered Islam for Beginners - 22 more Questions answered