July 06, 2004

The relevance of understanding Islam

Here is an interesting article which portrays the difference of understanding of Islam among Arab & non-Arab Muslims.

* Islamic culture and customs of the people are different among both.

* Many Arab Muslims consider Arab culture as Islamic culture. Many of the non-Arab Muslims argue that Arab culture is rooted in the land of Arabia and does not reflect Islamic culture.

* Arab nationalism is based on Arab race and non-Arabs are not included.

* People of non-Arab Muslim countries are willing to elect women as their heads of state/government, but the idea of women running a country is an unacceptable idea in Arab Muslim countries.

* The interaction of non-Arab Muslims with people of other faiths has given an opportunity to respect other religious faiths. The result is that non-Arab Muslims tend to be less dogmatic or rigid in their views of non-Islamic faith.

* All Arab Muslim states (22 in number) are being ruled by political institutions, such as monarchs, Emirates, Sultans, and Presidents. While in most non-Arab Muslim states, people elect their governments through fair and free elections.

The reason behind the difference is:

Many Islamic scholars believe that the principle of Ijtihad, the use of reason to apply Qu'ranic injunctions to contemporary values is almost absent in most Islamic countries. Muslim people live within a given social, economic and administrative structure of a particular time and place. Accordingly, many Islamic scholars hold the view that Islamic precepts and practices are to be adapted to meet the needs of the day.


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