Islam is a monotheistic religion articulated by the Quran. The Quran is a text considered to be holy and as the word of God by all its adherents. The Quran is also based on the teachings of Mohamed, who Muslims believe was the last prophet. Islam is practiced by various cultures across the world. The beliefs in this religion sometimes vary depending on the geographical locations. The Muslims themselves also differ in opinions at times concerning certain controversial issues. Misconceptions about Islam around the world are also rampant. This occurs when different people around the world think differently about the goals, values and beliefs articulated in the Islam religion. Islam beliefs have also been contrasted with the beliefs of Christianity and Judaism in this paper. The paper has also outlined the effects that come with different understandings of Islam in the way the Muslims interact and communicate with people of other religions.
Misconceptions About Islam Religion
The Media, especially in the Western culture plays a crucial role in spreading misconceptions about the Islamic religion. This shapes the public opinion that this religion is an imperfection, and it deserves to be abolished. The greatest misconception about Islamic religion is the fact that terrorist attacks are conducted by Muslims. For example, there was a terrorist attack in Norway for which the Media outlets pointed a finger at Muslim Terrorists. It was later revealed that the perpetrator was not a Muslim. This act of bias and misconception against Islamic religion may be highly instrumental at inciting violence. Therefore, the Muslims become stigmatized and associated with terror attacks (Samovar 2011). When it comes to thinking about this misconception, the most important question that the learners should seek to find out is why are Muslims the first focus when a terrorist act happens? The truth is terrorism cannot be justified by valid interpretation of Islamic faith. The teachings of the Quran bear moral messages such as hope, faith and peace. Another misconception about Islam is that the Quran that he Muslims use forbids singing. The Quran does not forbid singing, moreover, many sound styles are evident in the Quran. The book itself is written in rhythmic style. Therefore, it is a misconception which needs to be changed. Some non Muslims also believe that Muslims worship a Moon God. This concept is a mistake since Allah is not an Idol. The most fundamental belief that is found in the Islam religion is that the Universe has only one almighty God who is the creator and sustainer of life. Muslims believe that there is only one God Allah, which is his Arabic name. In fact, Christians who speak in Arabic also call their God Allah.
The people of the United States also have a serious misconception about the Islamic culture. This comes with the belief that Arabs make the biggest population of Muslims in the world. The truth is that Arabs only make 15% of the world Muslim population. The country with the world’s largest number of Muslims is Indonesia. Asia and Africa also are on the third place with the number of Muslim population respectively . The notion that Islam oppresses its women is a total misconception, since most of the unfair treatment that the women receive in Islam is based on traditions and not Islamic faith by any chance. In fact, the Islamic family law does not allow practices such as forced marriages and spousal abuse.
Some non Muslims also think that Islam promotes racism (Abul 1976). This concept is also mistaken, since Islam is itself formed by a variety of races. The critics against Islam should consider basing their arguments along rational lines. Misconceptions that do not have well established basis are not just. Clear thinkers should be able to understand that Islam is a universal religion just like Christianity and Hinduism. They believe that Islamic religion was spread by the sword, which is also a myth. This idea is based on the example of Egypt, whose population comprises both the Muslims and the Christians. If Muslim religion was spread with the power of the sword, then the Muslims in Egypt could have already converted the Christian believers.
Teachings of Islam, and how they are interpreted and/or practiced in different countries and cultures (US, Great Britain, the Middle East, India, Pakistan and other Asian countries)
The way the teachings of Islamic religion are interpreted across the western society constitutes to Islam phobia, which serious trouble to many western societies, for the whole society and not the Muslims only. This hatred phenomenon contributes to instability of the society by weakening interpersonal relationships between Muslims and non Muslims. In non Muslim countries, women are sometimes banned from wearing scarves in work places and schools. It is an abuse of a fundamental human right that provides that every person has a freedom to worship. Bearing in mind that the scurfs have a religious meaning, it is noteworthy that these countries should consider treating Muslims within understandable measures. It is evident that Muslims should work hard to get their rights (Ali 2011). However, it is not an easy task, mainly because Muslim communities do not dispose enough financial resources. Therefore, they remain being oppressed by non Muslims with a lot of money and influence.
To fight this discrimination and misconception of their religious teaching, Muslims should look for allies who can give them financial support during the proceedings for the rights of Muslims. Formation of organizations that help to teach the people the basic ideas that are articulated in Islam is also a brilliant option. Moreover, it is necessary for the Muslims to spread the values of peace, honesty and respect for every religion in the world. The Muslims consider using crusades as an option to spread these ideas. This would probably be the first step in fighting the conflict between Muslims of different sects. Just like Christianity, Islam has sects that are divided on the basis of ideological differences. An end to conflicting ideas between Muslims would take a key role in spreading the ideas of peace across the world. It would also help to end the mindset of the people of the West concerning the religion of Islam. The image of the Islam religion in the West is extremely poor, which is evident from the way the Western Media presents Muslims as fanatics and terrorists.
Countries that distinctively believe in Islam, Judaism or Christianity as their main religion, share some common beliefs. These beliefs look alike because they all accept the existence of Abraham and place in him some spiritual affiliation. A sharp contrast shows that though these religions believe in Abraham, their ideas about his role in their religions vary. Judaism reveres Abraham primarily as the founding patriarch of the children of Israel. Christians view Abraham as an ancestor of Jesus and a spiritual bearer of the Christian religion. On the other hand, Muslims believe that Abraham is a prophet. They consider Abraham to be one of the first Muslims in the world, and a messenger of God that stands in the lineage of Muhammad (Anderson 2007).
How Difference in Understanding Islam Affects the Relationship Between Muslims and Non Muslims
Clear thinking aims at analyzing the issues from both perspectives. The understanding of Islamic religion is decidedly different to the Muslims and the non Muslims. This affects the communication of both groups. A clear thinker should seek to know how the difference in understanding the Islamic religion affects the relationship of these two groups in both ways: positively or negatively. There are a few things that Muslims do that establish compassion, tolerance and justice for non Muslims. This affects the interpersonal relationships of both these groups. Christians and people of other religions, who are treated well by Muslims change their biased opinions. Therefore, a mutual relationship develops between Muslims and non Muslim. The result is a magnificent boost of the economy of country. Muslims accept the innovations of non Muslims and even share meals in the same table, which is of course a positive drive towards a society of unity between various religious groups. When Muslims engage in acts that promote unity and cooperation with other religions in the United States and other countries, this becomes functionally necessary to the welfare of the society at large.
On the other hand, the people who view Muslims as a set of crooks who kill Christians may face difficulties when it comes to relating with the Muslims. These non Muslims have a wrong perception that Muslims kill Christians and anyone who does not believe in Islamic religion. However, this fact is arguable depending on various circumstances around the world and the factors motivating them. In communication and interpersonal relationships, Muslims suffer stigmatization. They are always marked, especially in a group of Christians, and other religious groups. This fact may have negative outcomes for the upcoming generations. For example, a Muslim child who grows in a company of non Muslims is likely to suffer stigmatization at school. Once the child’s socialization messes up, he/she is likely to have poor confidence or perhaps become violent.
The American view towards Islam is likely to encourage violence in the United States, and it may also incite the people of other countries with different religions to fight against Muslims. The notion that Muslims have been associated with acts of terrorism in the United States and other countries around the world is an instrumental fact that makes the relationship of Muslims and non Muslims weaker and weaker every day. This has been evident all through the history of the United States with certain terrorist gangs, such as Alqaeda and Alshabaab, to name a few, terrorizing the whole world. Therefore, the communication between Muslims and non Muslims is at stake. The non Muslims communicate and interact with Muslims with fear. They often have a mindset that a bomb blast is always in the offing when a Muslim is around them (Dodge 2010).
From the foregoing, it is unquestionably vivid and clear that Islamic religion faces various misconceptions. The non Muslims do not understand the main ideas, beliefs and cultural practices that the Muslims practice. They approach the cultural practices of Muslims with an ill connotation. This results to stigmatization that is a grievous thing for the Muslims to handle. Therefore, all the people around the world should respect and avoid interfering with Islamic religious practices and believes. Perhaps, the countries whose citizens include both Muslims and non Muslims should consider making laws that protect Muslims form stigmatization on the basis of their religion. The Muslims should also work hard to unite all the sects that are present in the Islamic religion. This would be particularly necessary to protect their reputation as a world class religion.
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