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Islam and Culture

Adaab arz hai……

These popular words are always linked with Islam and this is no coincidence. Islam has given its’ believers a strict code of conduct which was a breathe of fresh air for that time. It taught neighbours to love each other in a time when wars would erupt over an argument. It taught its’ followers to educate themselves when they were amongst the most ignorant of nations. Whilst the world debated whether women were humans or not, our Prophet Muhammad (saw) stood on Mount Arafat to proclaim that women were the partners of men and should be treated with kindness.

Islam lays the foundations for amicable relations between ties of kin and condemned back biting as if it were eating dead flesh. Islam gave mothers the highest of all statuses stating that paradise lies at her feet for those who wish to seek it. All provisions for the poor have been made for example if you cannot reach the Kaaba for pilgrimage, serve your parents- if this is not culture, what is it? Man is not an island- we are surrounded by relations and moral obligations and codes of conduct. Ever wondered what these are and how we should behave towards each one? Curious, confused or just want to make sure that you are on the right path? Well, read on…..

Islam- an umbrella under which traditions, manners and rituals seek to guide us through life. Islam governs each and every mannerism from modesty, the acceptance of gifts and the like through to the right way of sitting and sleeping. There is no set of circumstances to which Islam does not have an answer to how it should be dealt with. This is the adab - morals and manners in Islam that sets guidelines from our dress to social and professional conduct.

As stated in the introduction, kindness towards kin is among the greatest forms of charity. Maintaining ties is a lot harder than actually breaking them and it is this duty that our Prophet (saw) stressed because no one has the right to break the ties and relations that Allah (swt) has put in place himself. Birth and marriage are the two ways in which we are bound to our relatives and it is amongst the gravest of sins to break these and the greatest of virtues to maintain them in the face of adversity and hardship. We are told to invite each other for a meal, give and receive gifts and share wealth in a hard time in an attempt to foster strong relations. The greatness of our religion is that in an age where children were not noticed or loved and girls were often buried alive, Islam preached love towards these most innocent of souls with the Prophet (saw) leading the way with the love he showered upon his own grandchildren, pausing whilst delivering his sermon to pick up his beloved grandchild Hussain (ra) and on another occasion prolonging his prayer as his grandchildren climbed on top of the Prophet (saw).

Islam preaches kindness and generosity towards all, even non-believers, which will come as a surprise to some because Islam never taught the Muslims to hate. The use of indecent language, accusations, cursing and back-biting are all barred in attempt to make Muslims the most righteous and dignified of all creation. How many of us fit this bill? I certainly don’t but I will strive hard to try.

Islam is not just about bowing to the Lord five times a day and giving some money to charity every now and again. It is about having Islam flowing out of you in each and every thing you and say. As we have stressed before, Islam is a complete way of life and it gives us rights and duties which are unprecedented. In this section we will explore all these aspects in an attempt to complete our understanding of what it really means to be a Muslim.