Common aspects of Muslim Culture

 

1. Allah is the One God, Prayer Customs During Travel, In the Mosque And At Home

The Muslims have a belief that a Creator of mankind is the one God known as “Allah”. The Muslims also believe that Islam is the culmination and continuation of Christianity and Judaism.

2. The Role Of The Prayer Leader Or The Iman

The traditional roles of the Iman which is an Arabic word which means to “stand in front of”, is to lead groups in prayer and to guide in matters associated with worship, as well as to perform the services associated with funeral rites and marriages. They can also offer spiritual guidance and support. There are no clergies in Islam and the Iman is often any one of the Muslim community members that are either hired or in good-standing for these selected purposes. He will be chosen according to his deep knowledge and understanding of the different Islamic disciplines. The Muslims have a belief in a spiritual connection that is direct with God, which means the Iman is never considered as an intercessor.

3. About The Prayer Protocols And Pets

Cleanliness in Muslim culture is regarded as highly important, especially as one of the prerequisites for prayer, for an individual and the place that they pray at. Saliva from animals is regarded as unclean and has to be washed away before a prayer is offered. In order to avoid the process of washing excessively, most Muslims will not own or keep pets, including animals like dogs inside the home, and will avoid contact with these animals.

4. Dietary Restrictions

Pork and any products that contain pork or alcoholic drinks are considered “haram”, which means forbidden in Islam. The Muslims also eat meat which is “halal”, where the meat will be slaughtered in an Islamic way and then it is blessed in the name of their God. Alcohol that is used in medicinal products is permitted.

5. Celebrations: Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-UI-Fitr

The Islamic calendars are based on lunar cycles, that has 11 days shorter than Solar calendars. This is the reason why the Islamic holidays are on different dates each year. The Muslims believe that the Quran was revealed to their Prophet Muhammad in a month known as Ramadan, which falls in the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. During this time the Muslims fast, where they refrain from drinking liquids or consuming food from dawn up until sunset. During this time the religion encourages practicing reflection, charity, and forgiveness, and to then capitalize on these factors for the remainder of their year.

Eid-ul-Fitr is the mark of the end of their fasting. The greeting known as “Eid Mubarak” which means “Happy Eid” is the phrase used for wishing the Muslims well for this day. Eid-al-Adha starts on the 10th day of Dhu’l-Hijja, which is the 12th month in the Islamic calendar. It lasts for 3 days, this event occurs at the end of the annual Haj, which is known as the pilgrimage to Mecca. Eid-ul-Adha is the occasion that commemorates Abraham’s obedience to God.

Obedience to god

The Islamic New Year starts in the month known as Muharram, which is 20-days after Haj. Unlike the majority of the Western holidays, welcoming in the Islamic new year happens to be a quiet event which is marked by prayer.

6. Respect And Politeness For Elders

In the Muslim culture, the Muslims pay particular attention to showing the utmost respect for elders. There are a number of gestures that seem acceptable for the younger adults to participate in, which are considered as rude when in the presence of an elder. For example, a person might call one of their peers using their index finger, yet they would never do this to someone who is older. These types of expressions from young children will not be considered as offensive. A level of decorum happens to be one of the expectations. For example, calling an elder by either their last or first name without a prefix of Miss, Mrs. or Mr. is regarded as highly rude. The second generations that reside in the Western societies are often more flexible about this. Standing to greet a guest, especially an elder, opening a door, giving up your seat, and maintaining a general respectful demeanor comes highly appreciated. Voicing strong and open opposition to views of an elder is seen as insulting. However, a polite insertion of one’s views will be appreciated.

7. Shaking Hands

In the Western societies where the common form for a greeting involves a handshake with people of opposite genders is usually widely practiced. However, there are a few Muslims that do not shake hands. In order to avoid offending an American’s feelings when a handshake is refused, as well as to prevent the Muslim women from feeling uncomfortable when they attempt to avoid a handshake, it is advisable to rather wait and see if the woman offers her hand. If a hand is not offered an acceptable greeting includes a nod of your head with a smile.

8. Removing Your Shoes Before You Enter A Home

Removing your shoes before you enter a Muslim home will be appreciated due to cleanliness reasons, especially when your shoes are full of soil or mud. The Muslims keep shoes that they only wear indoors. It is always polite to ask a host if they would prefer their guests to take off their shoes. The emergency responders are exempt from such a custom.

9. Emergency Treatments

In general, a paramedic or doctor that is a woman is more preferable for Muslim women. However, when faced with an emergency situation to prevent an injury or save the person’s life, it is regarded as acceptable if a male doctor or paramedic treats a woman.

10. Eye Contact

Maintaining constant eye-contact may make the elderly and Muslim women feel uncomfortable. The best way is to look the person in the eye briefly and then to look away. It is still important to slightly tilt the head or nod once in a while to show the person you are interested in talking to them. The majority of the Muslims that live in the Western societies have become accustomed to this and will usually not be bothered by direct eye-contact. The children in a few Asian and Muslim societies are still taught that they should not be staring into eyes of a figure in authority or the elderly and that it is regarded as challenging or disrespectful.

The Five Daily Prayers

The 5 Pillars of Faith

Prayer is one of Islam’s Five Pillars, the guiding tenets that all observant Muslims must follow:

  • Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam’s most holy site, that all Muslims must make at least once in their lifetime.
  • Sawm: Ritual fasting observed during Ramadan.
  • Shahadah: Reciting the Islamic profession of faith, called the Kalimah (“There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger”).
  • Salat: Daily prayers, properly observed.
  • Zakat: Giving to charity and aiding the poor.

Muslims demonstrate their faithfulness by actively honoring the Five Pillars of Islam in their everyday lives. Daily prayer is the most visible means of doing so.

How Do Muslims Pray?

As with other faiths, Muslims must observe specific rituals as part of their daily prayers. Before praying, Muslims must be clear of mind and of body. Islamic teaching requires Muslims to engage in ritualistic washing of the hands, feet, arms, and legs, called Wudhu, before praying. Worshippers must also be dressed modestly in clean clothing.

Once the Wudhu has been completed, it’s time to find a place to pray. Many Muslims pray at mosques, where they can share their faith with others. But any quiet place, even a corner of an office or home, can be used for prayer. The only stipulation is that the prayers must be said while facing in the direction of Mecca, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Prayer Ritual

Traditionally, prayers are said while standing on a small prayer rug, though using one isn’t required. The prayers are always recited in Arabic while performing a series of ritualized gestures and movements intended to glorify Allah and proclaim devotion called Rak’ha. The Rak’ha is repeated two to four times, depending on the time of day.

  • Takbir: Worshippers stand and raise their open hands to shoulder level, proclaiming Allahu Akbar (“God is great”).
  • Qiyaam: Still standing, faithful cross their right arm over their left across their chest or navel. The first chapter of the Quran is read, along with other supplications.
  • Ruku: Worshippers bow toward Mecca, place their hands on their knees, and repeat, “Glory be to God, the greatest,” three times.
  • Second Qiyaam: The faithful return to a standing position, arms at their sides. Allah’s glory is proclaimed again.
  • Sujud: Worshippers kneel with only palms, knees, toes, forehead, and nose touching the ground. “Glory be to God, the highest” is repeated three times.
  • Tashahhud: Transition into a seated pose, feet beneath them and hands on laps. This is a moment to pause and reflect on one’s prayer.
  • Sujud is repeated.
  • Tashahhud is repeated. Prayers to Allah are said, and the faithful raise their right index fingers briefly to proclaim their devotion. Worshippers also ask Allah for forgiveness and mercy.

If worshippers are praying communally, they will conclude prayers with a brief message of peace for one another. Muslims turn first to their right, then to their left, and offer the greeting, “Peace be upon you, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.”

Prayer Times

In Muslim communities, people are reminded of the salat by the daily calls to prayer, known as adhan. The adhan are delivered from mosques by a muezzin, the mosque’s designated caller of prayer. During the call to prayer, the muezzin recites the Takbir and the Kalimah.

Traditionally, the calls were made from the mosque’s minaret without amplification, though many modern mosques use loudspeakers so that the faithful can hear the call more clearly. The prayer times themselves are dictated by the position of the sun:

  • Fajr: This prayer starts off the day with the remembrance of God; it is performed before sunrise.
  • Dhuhr: After the day’s work has begun, one breaks shortly after noon to again remember God and seek His guidance.
  • ‘Asr: In the late afternoon, people take a few minutes to remember God and the greater meaning of their lives.
  • Maghrib: Just after the sun goes down, Muslims remember God again as the day begins to come to a close.
  • ‘Isha: Before retiring for the night, Muslims again take the time to remember God’s presence, guidance, mercy, and forgiveness.

In ancient times, one merely looked at the sun to determine the various times of day for prayer. In modern days, printed daily prayer schedules precisely pinpoint the beginning of each prayer time. And yes, there are plenty of apps for that.

Missing prayers is considered a serious lapse of faith for devout Muslims. But circumstances do sometimes arise where a prayer time may be missed. Tradition dictates that Muslims should make up their missed prayer as soon as possible or at the very least recite the missed prayer as part of the next regular salat.