Islam in Today´s World

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Islam in today’s world is practiced differently not only depending on culture, ethnicity, background and society – but also depending on belief, values, ethics and morals. The main division drawn in between Islam today is what can more or less be called the Orthodox Muslims versus the Modern Muslims. Within these groups, there are many subdivisions, and this paper is the result of the obvious, yet difficult research made about the different perspectives and beliefs that shift away from each other. The Orthodox Muslims have all one thing in common – practicing Islam word for word as stated in the Koran and more or less trying to build and/or adjust most things in life basing it on the Koran and showing emphasis on living standards as in the prophet’s lifetime, ca 1400 years ago. The Modern Muslims have many things in common – living in a secular society-based adjustment as well as being more open-minded about the translation, perception and interpretation of the Koran, as well as supporting developments and changes within Islam; although Modern Muslims do have many issues they do not agree upon. Even though Orthodox Muslims can easily abandon the external beliefs of Modern Muslims because “they do not follow the Koran”, this does not necessarily mean that the Modern Muslims are neglecting or changing the meaning of the Koran.

Today, the official Islamic division is known as the Sunni and the Shia. Although Shia is very similar to Orthodox Muslims, Sunni is a very broad and varied group and therefore, some Sunni’s can also be Orthodox Muslims. This depends values, morals and traditions. Shia is also different from Sunni, in the sense that Shias follow the prophet Ali and believe in Muhammad. The Sunnis, as stated in the Koran follow the prophet Mohammad. There is another broad group of Muslims, mostly linked to the Orthodox Muslims, which use religion (Islam) politically and most of them either support revolution and terrorism or even contribute to these. In this paper, the politic expressions and Orthodox Muslims are not separated. This is because they more or less view Islam the same way. However, regardless of groups and subdivisions, all Muslims believe in the same God as Christians and Jews, but portray God differently. God in Islamic view is of no gender and is not a human being- it is more of a supernatural power/divine whom is the creator of everything; earth, you, me, the universe, and the list is endless. All Muslims believe in all of the prophets, however Muhammad being the, what can be called “outstanding” and the last prophet also known as the messenger. The Koran is the holy book of Islam, and is the book of God’s words, written by the angel Gabriel. Muslims believe in a hell and heaven, which only God will decide on the Judgment Day. The main purpose of mankind is doing good to the world. As this paper is directed at Islam in today’s world, it will bring up brief issues between current-day Islam.

Among forbidden activities and practices, drinking alcohol, gambling and most known of them all – eating pork are some of the concrete things. Even though most Muslims agree upon this, there are yet a large number either doing one or all of them. This does not make a person a bad Muslim, but the Koran says (so God says) that these are strictly prohibited. One must understand that all of these are of the same degree of sin. Conversely, the Koran also consists of more obscure and less concrete guidelines as well as what is right and wrong. These, Muslims have a hard time agreeing upon, because of different interpretations and beliefs. Such things include the situation of women, lifestyle, gender-role, homosexuality and circumcision.

The women’s role in Islam is important and by this, it is not meant that she has to wear the veil and be totally covered up, and has to become a housewife. In Islam, women are the one half, and men are the other. God sees women and men as equal. A mother’s blessing is needed in order for a child to maintain its chance to go to heaven. Many Muslim societies today restrict women’s freedom, because of political issues as well as interpretation of the Koran. For these societies, women’s freedom implies threat to the superior male, as in their view “a threat to Islam”. Still in other societies, women are as free as in the Western world.
Lifestyle is another area Muslims do not agree on. While the more Orthodox Muslims claim that lifestyle has to be based on the Koran’s guidelines, the Modern Muslims adopt different lifestyles and don’t let severe tradition interfere with lifestyle and belief. Homosexuality, which is still a current issue that cannot be agreed upon, has no actual concrete prohibition, although there are scripts in the Koran which describe homosexuals as “perverts” and condemn homosexuality, but very importantly – no penalty or torture is allowed to be prescribed, which some Muslim societies unfortunately does anyway. Still, there are many Muslim homosexuals.

Gender-role is another huge discussion in Muslim countries. The male, which is portrayed as the worker and the financial source of the house, whereas the woman is portrayed as the housewife taking care of the children and house-keeping is slowly fading away, nonetheless because more and more Muslim societies are shifting towards Westernization. Yet, this typical gender-role maintains in some areas. The gender-role of the man specifically, has been over exaggerated as much as that men can be unfaithful, beat the wives, need to have authority, and can do as he pleases, just like any dictatorship. Circumcision (for men) has been portrayed as a Muslim duty and must, whereas it states clearly in the Koran that circumcision is a Sunna, which means that it is not a must, but is hygienic and that the prophet Muhammad did so.

Islam in today’s world should not be seen as a threat to justice or freedom in society. One has to understand that Islam is about freedom, but people from Muslim areas (mostly underdeveloped areas) misuse Islam and therefore as Islam puts a lot of significance into trust, Muslim people tend to trust other Muslim people. This creates different groups of different interpretations (mostly political and authoritarian) and finally we have subdivisions and even sects of Islam. Islam supports open-mindedness and God has even stated in the Koran that he has given us a brain and intellectual to think and use for the best. Moreover, prejudice against Islam (especially by the Europeans) threats the justice and freedom in society, because Islam is seen as supporting terrorism and degrading, which eliminates Muslims from the society and society and Muslims become opponents. I am not personally supporting this, but that is what seems to happen. If Islam was practiced in a democratic way (as the Koran states and is) the religion would be good to society. It can even be good today, because there are Muslim people who practice Islam as it is stated in the Koran, without judging or brainwashing others. On the other hand, if Islam is seen in a Taliban’s view, then Islam is definitely detrimental to society, and a threat to humankind.

Personally as a Muslim person, I think that the misinterpretation of the Koran is not only biased but it is manipulated for political and authoritarian matter. I view Islam this way: the Koran is accurate, but was written 1,400 years ago. The world has undergone changes and developments since then, which has to be taken into significance. The Koran does point out that the male can marry three or four wives, but during that time, this was necessary because of men dying from war and women being dependent of a man for children’s and financial purposes. The Koran’s context of lifestyle is very much based on the society 1,400 years ago. We develop, society developed – and we have to adjust ourselves to these developments, without neglecting faith and what is right and wrong. The Koran also mentions that Muslim men can marry non-Muslim women (either Jews or Christians) and that Muslim women can’t marry non-Muslim men – but hello – there are changes there now aren’t there? Not so long ago, fathers were the main gesture (in most cultures) and the religion of the father overruled the mother’s. That does not have to be the case today!
I can openly say that I get extremely annoyed with prejudice against Islam, and comments both from Muslims and non-Muslims such as “you are not a full/appropriate Muslim because you don’t wear the veil, you don’t aim to be a housewife” or whatever. What has that got to do with Islam, I ask myself. Nothing really. I know the answer but happen to become furious when people judge me and I can’t convince them. Tradition and religion is so often mixed with each other. Tradition and Islam… Just as Eva Theorin-Umarlar states, a middle-aged Swedish woman who converted to Islam in 1973, “To demonstrate one’s faith is not Islam…” – “We have to be able to stand for our faith, but live in a modern society as well” and about the v...

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  • Inactive member 2007-12-09

    Jätte bra arbete. håller med d


Inactive member [2005-04-10]   Islam in Today´s World
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