A Muslim is a person who claims to follow the Islamic teachings while Islam is the people ‘s way of life of the Muslims. The Qur’an is the source book of the Muslims and contains in it the message that Allah gave to his prophet. Islam’s beliefs, goals and values have been controversial in the modern world and the media has been reporting on it more so after the11th September 2001 in USA (Ahmad 2011). This has been followed by many misconceptions associated with their way of life. Islam continues to be practiced all over the world by the many diverse cultures. This paper will look into the countries that Islam is practiced and its effects to the general population residing in these countries. Some of these countries will include USA, India, Pakistan and others. This will lead to the differences between other main types of worship like Christianity and Judaism with Islam. Due to the diverse understanding of Islam by the people, there are different reactions from different groups in the world. Many of the misconceptions about Islam are due to lack of adequate knowhow of its beliefs mostly of the non-Muslim.
Misconception on Islamic beliefs, goals and values
The Quran teaches on the equality and the marrying those without husbands and being faithful to them. On the issue of inheritance, it is the sole duty of the man to work and provide for the family. The woman on the other side is to be provided and is not to support the family. This explains why men should have twice the amount of inheritance as compared to women. This clears the misconception that women are not valued in Islam.
Another main misconception about Islam is that it is meant to the Arabs. This is because the Quran is written in Arabic and most of the Muslims are Arabs. This is a misconception because only 18 percent of the Muslims are Arabs. The country with the highest number of Muslims is Indonesia followed by Bangladesh both of which are not Arabic countries. Islam has spread in all corners of the world and does not include Arabs only, although the Quran was first written in the language. There is also the belief that Muslims kill innocent people in the form of holy war. The Quran teaches about the need to preserve life and no one should take away life apart from the one who gives it. Islam stands firm that a real Muslim will observe this order from the Quran and Sunnah. Anybody who does kill innocent people is not a Muslim by deeds, but by the word of the mouth.
Many people in the world believe that the Muslim community worship a man by the name of Muhammad. On the contrary, it is lack of knowledge of Islamic teachings since he is only a messenger from Allah. Quran and Sunnah teach of a monotheistic Islam mode of worship and only a non-Muslim would argue that they do worship a prophet. The Quran continues to erase the misconception that they do not recognize Jesus. But the main truth is that the Muslims recognize Jesus, but not as the son of God, but as just one of the prophets that served Allah.
Teachings of Islam and its effects in different countries
According to Dabashi (2012), in the USA, Many of the Muslims believe that Religion is a vital part of their worship. Many of the Muslims pray every day with many praying the five Salah. Others attend the weekly religious meetings in the mosques and many of the Muslims in this country believe that it is not Islam only that can take people to the paradise. USA is characterized by many groups of Muslims with different beliefs. Some believe in Muhammad, angels, God and others in the judgment day. Women have their separate place of worship like in other countries, although women do not wear hijab mostly as compared to other countries. They have been seen negatively since the 11th September issue, but they have remained resilient and remain active in the economic and political activities.
In the United Kingdom, the Muslim community has involved itself in the creative lifestyle as many are artists. The women have followed the fashion diversity of the country. They have raised Islam by use of creative arts and have even started a newspaper under their name. Many of them continue to be arrested, affected by diseases and poor educational levels. This shows how they have been neglected and seen as outsiders. India has experienced violence against the Muslims. This has been attributed to socio-political and historical reasons with the Hindus. This has been brought by competition in business where Muslims businesses are targeted plus they are seen as a political threat to the Hindus due to their increasing numbers (Dabashi 2012).)
Pakistan’s population is made up of Muslims raging to 96 percent. There are Islamic schools that teach people on the modern education. Due to media influence, women have been forced to wear Hijabs. There has also reduction in the number of attacks due to the intervention of the government and agencies of intelligence.In the middle East part of the world, Muslim enjoys a huge following with Judaism and Christianity also having following but not as Islam. Sunni is the major part of the Muslim and Shi’a is the minority. Violence has always been there due to the two having conflicts on who is to lead the Muslims in general. Judaism in Middle East is commonly found in Israel while Christians migrated into the area long time ago. The number of Christians has been decreasing due to the persecution by the majority who are the Muslims.This is due to Jihad as anybody who does not believe in Allah deserves not to live.
Relationship between Islam, Christianity and Judaism
All the three religions have one God and are as a result of one father who is Abraham(Peters 2008). The source books are the Bible, Quran and Hebrew Tanakh. According to the Christians, Jesus Christ comes to reconcile people and forgive sins, in Islam was to spread the gospel while Judaism does not attach any relevant role of Christ. He is the second in the trinity born of a virgin in Christianity, a prophet sent by Allah for the Muslims and Judaism does not attach any relevant tittle but takes him as an ordinary Jew. In Christianity, sin is inherited from Adam, Muslims believe they were born without sin while Judaism does not show any knowledge of sin that is original.
Interaction of Muslims and Non-Muslims
Allah did not object to the idea of Muslims mixing with non-Muslims in the Quran. He, however,proposes that such a relationship should be to promote peace and order. For this reason, Muslims in the world mix freely with the non-believers. This is an exception of countries with different understanding of the non-Muslims who view them as not worth living for example in the Middle East. Islam teaches on peaceful coexistence and love to the mankind. This is the reason most of the Muslims in USA and Great Britain live in love with those who are not Muslims. They are taught not to take behaviors of the non-Muslims more so on the issue of dressing (Thomas et al 2009). Even when the enemies are against them, Islam teaches about finding amicable peaceful solutions and not war. Those who fight are not true Muslims, according to their belief and teachings. Muslim socializes with the non-Muslims to establish, compassion, justice and tolerance. They visit their sick, socialize during happy moments, greetings in the form of handshake and hugging, sharing and giving them gifts. They also offer condolence messages when struck by a disaster.
Islam is a religion with a following in many countries in the world. Many of its believers are found in the Middle East part of the world. The religion has been full of misconceptions by the non-Muslims on their general beliefs and way of worship. Most of the people believe that women are not valued, that the Muslims do not recognize Jesus, Worship a person in the name of Muhammad and are mostly Arabs. These misconceptions are only to the people who do not know the teachings of the Quran. Islam is practiced by people of diverse cultures from USA to Great Britain, Pakistan and India. The teachings of Islam makes them relate well with the non-Muslims as it teaches on peaceful existence and love to the neighbors.
The research paper shows how Islam is a sensitive part of the general public in the country today. It has been associated with many misconceptions which are only false beliefs. The introduction in brief, explains the difference between Islam and Muslims and the different areas the paper will dwell on.
The first part of the paper describes the main misconceptions that are there in the society. Many believe that Islam is a religion of the Arabs whereas the country with the highest number of Muslims is not Arabic speaking. There is also the misconception that Islam does not recognize Jesus and that it does not value women. It is also a misconception that Muslims worship a person. The second part shows the different areas and the reactions of Muslims towards the non-Muslims. These areas have different approach due to the diverse cultural beliefs in the areas.
The third part describes the relationship among the three major religions which are Islam, Christianity and Judaism. This part shows a similarity among the three and some differences. This shows the different beliefs of the different groups in the different religions. This leads to the next part of the paper which is how the Muslims interact with the other groups which are not Muslims. This is based on the teachings of the Quran which insists on peace and love of the mankind. It also cautions on the influence of the non-Muslims to their beliefs and code of conduct. The conclusion concludes the main points that are discussed in the research paper.
Ahmad, S. D. (2011). Islam in perspective. S.l.: Authorhouse. Dabashi, H. (2012). Being a Muslim in the world: Rethinking Islam for a Post-Western History. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Peters, F. E., & Esposito, J. L. (2008). The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam: A New Edition. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Thomas, D., Roggema, B., Monferrer, S. J. P., Chesworth, J., & Azumah, J. (2009). Christian Muslim relations: A bibliographical history. Leiden: Brill.