Religious Studies A 23-year old student Ahmet Ali is from Iran. Now he lives and studies in the United States, but he never forgets about his identity and his traditions. He willingly agreed to tell about his life and the life of his family in the context of Islamic traditions. As it turned out the connection between the Islamic religion and traditional way of life is very close and sometimes it is impossible to separate them. Many Muslim traditions are centuries old and most of them are based on the religious views. Ahmet points out that each Muslim, no matter what education or social status he/she has, knows and dutifully follows the five fundamentals of the Islamic religion.
The central fundamental is the principle of confession. As Ahmet said, to become a real Muslim it is enough to solemnly pronounce only one statement: There is one god Allah, and Muhammed is the prophet of Allah.” Another main principle is the prayer that consists of a number of bows and various religious formulas. Only the sick and small children are absolved from it. A Muslim is to have five prayers a day and they may be performed individually at home or any other place. Each prayer is preceded by a ritual bath. Friday is considered to be the day of a common prayer when all Muslim community gathers in the mosque. During the prayer a Muslim never asks Allah for anything.
Fasting also plays a very important role in the traditions of Muslims. The main and obligatory fasting is called Ramadan. In Ramadan, Muslims must abstain during the daylight hours from eating, drinking, smoking, entertainment and sexual intercourse. In the night time they may eat and drink, but very moderately. Besides the restrictions connected with the fasting Ahmet Ali named a great number of other restrictions that regulate various sides of the everyday life of Muslims. For example, Muslims are not allowed to drink alcohol, eat pork, and participate in gambling and usury. The fourth fundamental of Islam is almsgiving.
Since the Engel decision in 1962, religious advocates have been assailing the Supreme Court for 'taking God out of the classroom.' In an effort to reverse this trend, conservative religious groups have been fighting for the passage of a school prayer amendment to gain greater leeway for religious activities in schools. Clearly not all school prayer advocates agree as to what types of religious ...
All well-to-do people have to share their money with the poor. And the fifth principle says that at least once in their lifetime, Muslims who are financially able must travel to Mecca and perform the rituals of the Hajj, during which Muslims reenact certain spiritually significant events related to the life of the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim).
Muslims who performed hajj are highly respected in their community. Ahmet has not performed hajj yet, but he is definitely going to go to Mecca in the future. Relationships within a family are also regulated by Muslim traditions. There exist a number of ceremonies that are essential for all Muslims. A male becomes a Muslim after circumcision at the age of seven.
This tradition symbolizes a process of becoming an adult. Ahmet remembers that it was very hard to endure the pain, but he was told that it was a matter of honor for a boy and tried not to cry. Marriage is concluded in the presence of respected Muslims who read holy scripts of Koran. The Islamic religion allows a man to have up to four wives, if he can afford to provide for such a big family. Presently polygamy is very rare and in many Islamic countries it is even outlawed. Ahmet stated that he knows only one Iranian who has two wives.
All his friends and relatives are married only once. A burial ceremony is accompanied by reading of Koran surahs. A person is usually buried on the day of death and is put into the grave without a coffin, covered in sindon. The head of the deceased must be directed to Mecca. Ahmet as all the other Muslims strongly believes that on the Judgment Day all the deceased will resurrect to appear before Allah and respond for all their deeds and intentions. Interesting are traditional clothes of Muslims.
Though they have been modified in the modern world, male Muslims still try to stick to the tradition to cover the head. Muslim women have to hide their face and body from other mens looks. One of the characteristic attributes of a Muslim is a string of beads that serve for counting praises to Allah. A string can contain 33 or 99 beads. Ahmet demonstrated his string which contained 33 beads and remarked that he has to work on Koran more so that soon he can say more praises to Allah. The conversation with Ahmet revealed many new facts from the life of Muslims. It proved that Muslims are very pious people who love their God and follow all his instructions. At the same time they strictly stick to their traditions which are closely intertwined with their religion and honor the memory of their ancestors..
Islam is the world’s second great monotheistic religion (Armstrong, 2002). Islam, an Arabic word, comes from a root word meaning commitment or surrender: hence the foundation of Islam is submission to the will of the Only God, Allah. The word ‘Muslim’ also itself means ‘one who lives his life according to Allah’s will (Esposito, 2002). Allah also has laid down the five pillars of foundations of ...