Islam is the religion that is followed by Muslims all over the word and which is based on the teaching of Allah as captured in the Quran (Sardar, 2007). The adherents of this religion believe that, there is only one God who should be worshipped by all. However, Islam has continued to elicit controversy for many years with people who adore other religion arguing that, it advocates for violence against those who aren’t Muslims. Much of this has been brought about by the numerous acts of terrorisms purported by individuals believed to be Muslims (Egendorf, 2005). For instance, a study carried out by Pew Research Center to establish how different religious groups coexist in U.S found out that, since the 2001 terror attacks, 66% of the total American population are of the view that, Muslims are violent people (Sardar, 2007). This study seeks to dispel these negative attributes by highlighting some of the ways in which Islam teachings advocate for peace and love in many countries.
The teachings of Islam
As highlighted earlier, Muslims rely on the Quran to derive appropriate moral and ethical values which they have to follow in their day-to-day lives (Smith, 2007). Many leaders of this religion call for Islam believers to uphold the teachings of Prophet Muhammad who was sent by Allah to exercise his will on earth. Islam advocates for its followers remaining peaceful and thus abstaining from any action that may end up making violent. This aspect can be derived from one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad in which he calls for Muslims to always control their temper since those who do so are considered as having a strong heart (Smith, 2007). Moreover, the Quran also agitates for Islam followers maintaining peace by noting that, God only shows mercy to those who have mercy for other people. Another notable teaching of Islam is that of love where Muslims are advised not only love their fellow Islam believers, but also individuals who adore other religions. For instance, the Quran highlights that, people become perfect when they start purporting good deeds against others (Sardar, 2007).
Islam also supports freedom of expression for it teaches against oppressing others as well as abhorring a feeling of been superior to others. Prophet Muhammad advised that, Muslims should show more concern to those who are inferior to them than their superiors (Smith, 2007). However, the religion draws criticism from Christians due to its marriage and family stance. For instance, it indirectly advocates for men to have more than one wife by noting that, men should consider marrying other women if doing so will enable them treat orphans fairly (Hellyer, 2007). On the issue of family, the Quran clearly notes that, husbands should take control over their families, exercising authority over their wives. It further goes ahead and points out that, men should take the responsibility of disciplining their wives if at all they become disobedient to them (Smith, 2007). Most importantly, the Quran teaches Muslims to follow the Islamic Law which virtually address all issues relating to human life. The Islamic Law also offers guidelines on how Islam believes should coexist with other members of the society (Sardar, 2007).
How these teachings are practiced in different countries
The perception held by many people is that, a large population of Islam followers lives in Middle East. This isn’t correct for statistics provided by the Pew Research Center reveal that, close to 60% of the world’s total Muslim population can be found in Asia (Sardar, 2007). Moreover, statistics also reveal that, despite the views held by many people, not all Arabs are Muslims. U.S is believed to be home of approximately 6.5 million Muslims who carry out their religious activities in about 1500 mosques spread all over the country (Egendorf, 2005). The American Muslims are quite religious for the Pew study revealed that, many of them attend prayer sessions nearly two times a week. The research further revealed that, 76% of the total American Muslim population observes the Ramadan during which they take to fasting (Egendorf, 2005). However, adhering to the teachings of Islam by the American Muslim is usually very hard due to the many atrocities carried out against them by individuals who don’t believe in this religion. For instance, a 2004 report table by the Muslim American Taskforce on Civil Rights and Election revealed that, many Muslims abhorred hard feelings against the then president, George W. Bush, as a result of attacking Iraq (Egendorf, 2005).
There are no major differences in relation to the Islam religious practices Purported by the Muslims living in Britain and America. A 2009 article published by the BBC was categorical that, Islam believers who live in England base their faith on the five Islamic pillars which are; Zakat, Hajj, Sawn, Salat and Shahadah (Hellyer, 2007). The five pillars, as noted by the article, provide the basis of owning up to Islam teachings. In Middle East, the situation is slightly different as a result of the existence of radical Muslims who believe in wedging a holy war against the enemies of Allah, in this case America and its allies (Smith, 2007). The conservative group on the other hand refrains from acts of violence and rather advocates for peaceful coexistence. One notable feature of this group is that of prohibiting its members from taking alcohol as well as becoming vegetarians. The Muslims living in India are of the view that, different religious groups should live together harmoniously. They even join the Hindus and Christians in celebrating some of their festivals such as the Deepavali and Christmas respectively (Sardar, 2007).
Understanding of Islam in different countries’ culture
The violent activities carried out by the radical Muslim group have led to many people having quite differing view about Islam. For instance, the general American population has an anti-Muslim feeling within them propelled by 2001 attack of the World Trade Center by the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization (Egendorf, 2005). A religious survey curried in 2003 found out that, a large percentage of the American population doesn’t have any concrete information about Islam. Christians have contributed significantly to this aspect as a result of condoning some of the attributes associated with this religion (Smith, 2007). For instance, they hold the view that; Muslims are against gender equality since they treat women unfairly. There is also a common belief among U.S citizens that, Islam is quite different from other religion for its teachings are ungodly (Egendorf, 2005). Much of these negative perceptions stems up from the fact that, many Americans are misguided in relation to the beliefs of Muslims which they view to be against the their country’s culture (Sardar, 2007).
The British people are known for their undying pride in their country’s culture which is exemplified through their language, foods and music, among many more aspects (Hellyer, 2007). The largest religious denomination in England is the Anglican whose teachings are similar to those of the Roman Catholic. Like in America, Islam is greatly disliked in the country with many British citizens holding the view that; it contributes significantly in creating conflicts among members of a given society (Hellyer, 2007). The matter is further worsened by the fact that, a large percentage of the British population isn’t very religious. However, many British people believe that the Muslims living in the country are somehow different than those in Arab countries who they consider to be radical (Hellyer, 2007). Islam is greatly adored in Middle East and many Asian countries since it is considered to be a way of life. Many Arabs are Muslims and thus clearly understand the Islam religion (Sardar, 2007). The reason behind the increased belief in these countries is that of following Islamic Laws which are based on the teachings of the Quran.
Islam is of great significance in India since it is the second largest religion, in form of number of believers, after Hinduism. Muslims and the other Indians interact freely with this brought about by the fact that, the Muslims have contributed greatly to the economic prosperity been enjoyed in the country (Smith, 2007). The Indian courts have also played an important role in facilitating the spread of Islam in the country by ruling that, the people who profess Islam faith should be charged in accordance with the Muslim Law rather than the civic ones (Smith, 2007). Pakistan and Indonesia hold high values in relation to Islam since the two are the highest Muslim populated countries in the world. The governments of the two countries are founded on the basis of Islamic teachings and law. The only difference between the religious practices of the two is that, Pakistan is known to be the home of many radical Muslim groups, most notably the Al-Qaeda (Egendorf, 2005).
How Islam is contrasted with Christianity and Judaism
The differences between Islam and these two religions can be attributed to the teachings advocated by the religions. For instance, Islam believes in one God, Allah, and therefore despise the perception created by Christians that, God is in three forms (Hellyer, 2007). Another notable ideological difference between the two groups is that of their description of Jesus. Muslims hold the view that, Jesus was a prophet sent by God to his people and thus He was not God. This is different from the way Christians view this matter for they believe that Jesus was indeed God. On top of this, divisions between Muslims and Christians arise in relation to the way Muslims treat women. For instance, it is said that as per the Islam teachings, women should take their husbands as their second god, showing unquestionable obedience to them (Sardar, 2007). Moreover, they should agree to be punished by them whenever they do something which their husbands deem to be wrong. Christians are greatly against this action for they view it as perpetrating violence in families (Hellyer, 2007).
Impacts of these differences on the interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims
The interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims in many countries has been very frowzy, with this brought about by the negative attribute many people associate with Islam. A number of actions carried out by members of the two divide has contributed significantly in fueling the enmity between Muslims and Christians (Smith, 2007). A good example of this is that of the Quran by a Floridian pastor, i.e. Terry Jones, which caused a worldwide criticism and outcry. Another notable action is that of depicting Prophet Muhammad as a cartoon. In U.S, Christians and Muslims view each other with suspicion with this perpetrated by fact that, they always try to outwit each other in their attempts to publicize their religions as been superior compared to the latter (Egendorf, 2005). The same can be said in many Arabs speaking nation which have been characterized by many cases of Muslims burning churches as a way of expressing their dislike of Christians (Smith, 2007).