Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Muslim life

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“For Muslims religion is not something set apart from daily life; religion shapes every part of their lives.”

Explain how Islam is constructed as a living religious system.

A living religious system is a religion that is interwoven with the everyday lives of its Followers. Islam is constructed as a living religious system, through Shari’a Law, birth, marriage, Funerary Rites, the Five Pillars, women’s duties and food codes. Through these aspects, it is depicted that For Muslims religion is not something set apart from daily life, but religion shapes every part of their lives.

The Law of Islam, “Shari’a” is legislation that has been developed by a set of regulations, principals and values, and is one example of how Islam is constructed as a living religious system. It is a code of behaviour that contains laws of worship, hygiene and family, which are all imposed and judged. This law is derived mainly from the teachings of the Qur’an, The Sunna, Muslim Doctors and analogical reasoning. Shari’a covers all aspects of life and it develops a country of presumed equality, under the guidance of Allah’s teachings. As Islamic countries are governed by laws that are based on the Qur’an’s teachings, and as punishments, such as flogging and stoning prevail if the law is not obeyed, it is obvious to realize the significance of the Qur’an and its great impact on Muslims in their everyday lives. The Shari’a shapes the daily actions of Islam followers, where even if a woman does not wear a chaddor, veil, she will be imprisoned. It keeps Muslims faithful to the Qur’an by obeying the law

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The duties of a woman and their dress codes are also examples of how Islam is constructed as a living religious system. Muslim women are limited and are deemed inferior to men, as creation beliefs see them as only evolving from Adam’s rib. Muslim women are also expected to dress in an unpretentious and sanitary manner, in accordance to Islamic principals, only revealing their hands, face and hair. Wearing a chaddor is a cultural development. The reality that women are treated unequal to men because of Islamic beliefs of creation, and the fact that they cover their bodies to satisfy Qur’an teachings, evidently shows that Islam is a constructed living religious system, where Muslim lives are underpinned by their beliefs that shape every part of their lives.

Islam is also a constructed living religious system because of Islamic divisions between halal and haram foods. Haram foods are foods that are forbidden, such as pork, alcohol, or any substances with intoxicates, even medicines, as well as mind transforming drugs like cocaine. Halal foods are permitted foods, which include meats like chicken, goat, beef and lamb, as long as they are slaughtered in accordance with the halal method. Haram foods are seen to be harmful to the body, and therefore are harmful to Allah. Through these beliefs and practices, it can once again be seen that Islam is a religion that influences all aspects of life, where Muslims shop, what foods they consume, as well as affecting Muslims who suffer from illness. Such practices are derived from the Qur’an and portray the interweaving of religion in Muslim everyday life.

Birth, marriage and Funerary Rites of Muslims are also ways that depict how Islam is a constructed living religious system. At birth, the baby’s father whispers the call to prayer in its ear. Seven days later, a naming ceremony is held where the children should be named in accordance to Allah, Fatimah and other significant Muslims. This clearly portraying how as soon as a child is born; they are exposed to Allah and his teachings. The naming ritual also portrays how Muslim life is underpinned by their beliefs, as even a name must have connections to Allah. Muslim’s are required to marry. The event is simple where the contract, Adq Nikah, is signed and the Qur’an is read. Marriage must be “an act of obedience to Allah”, in agreement to the Qur’an teachings. Since the marriage ceremony revolves around the Qur’an, its influence on everyday life is once again depicted. With Funerary Rites, Muslims must be ritually washed, “wudu”, and then buried, with their head facing Mekkah. This also portrays the religions impact on daily life, as even in death, Muslim beliefs in the Holy city must be portrayed. This all clearly portraying how Muslim life revolves around Islam.

The Five Pillars are also examples of how Islam is constructed as a living religious system. “Shahada”, or the Declaration of faith involves Muslims personally reciting the Kalimah statement of faith, “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet”, many times a day. “Salat” or Prayer, is where Muslims must pray fives times a day, at specific times, facing Mekkah to symbolise their submission to Allah. “Zakat” or Almsgiving is a .5% compulsory tax for the poor, that Islamic countries conduct in order to provide equality between Muslims, thus depicting the Qur’an’s teachings of equality and that Allah owns all wealth. “Salam” or fasting is the month of Ramadan, where all over 14 must abstain from sexual intercourse, eating drinking and smoking from dusk until dawn. This reminding Muslims of their dependence on Allah. “Hajj” or Pilgrimage is the devotional practice that involves Muslims going to Mekkah at least once a lifetime to acquire the “supreme experience of spiritual achievement.” All these Five Pillars are definite examples of how Islam is constructed as a living religious system, as they all portray Islamic beliefs of Allah and Mekkah, which come from the Qur’an. Depicting the Qur’an’s significance and the fact that the Islamic religion shapes every part of a follower’s life, as such practices must interfere with aspects like work duties and incomes.

Clearly, the Muslim religion is a living religious system. The infallible words of the Qur’an, with its beliefs, ethics and rituals are all interconnected with life issues, producing a religion like no other, a religion where daily life and beliefs are thoroughly interwoven. From voting in an election to preparing dinner, no action of a Muslim can be carried out without the consideration of their beliefs.

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