Most people wont recognize Muslim culture, even if they see it almost every day. Exactly. Every time you see a news story about Muslims all over the world, you’re looking at some aspects of Muslim culture.
And ‘our way of eating.
And ‘our way of speaking.
And ‘even in clothing.
Many of these similarities are present in most, if not all Muslim societies.
Although there are over one billion Muslims around the world. Even if we are talking about hundreds of different languages. Even though we live in dozens of countries. We still share a common culture Muslim.
This culture is rooted in our common belief that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger.
For example, did you notice how Muslim women tend to wear such clothes? Even if the hijab is sent from the Quran, it is surprising to see so many Muslim women who voluntarily choose to cover their hair. Yes, in some countries wear the hijab is mandatory. But this is the exception, not the rule.
Another example of an almost universal Muslim culture is that most Muslim men wear beards. Now, if you live in the West (or Egypt), probably will not see this often. But in most Muslim countries, men do not shave the beard off.
Now here is an aspect of Muslim culture, which would probably never see unless you happen to be Muslims too. The Muslims always eat with your right hand! Even left-handed Muslims eat with your right hand.
As for the left hand – which is generally relegated to use the bathroom. So, we do not use your left hand to eat.
The origins of the Muslim culture
But where does the Muslim culture is? Who has composed? I just fell from heaven?
Not exactly. There are several sources of Muslim culture, but I reduced them to the three most common.
1. The Koran – the holy book of Allah Almighty.
2. The Hadith – the statements and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah be pleased with him).
3. Local tradition.
The Koran and Muslim culture
Many aspects of our culture comes from the Koran. Some things that Muslims are actually almost unconsciously sent, or encouraged, or allowed by God in His holy book the Koran. For example:
* The women wear the hijab and other Islamic dress rules.
* Muslims greet the other with “As-salaamu Alay-kum.” This greeting is standard among all the Muslims around the world.
* Saying Bismillah (In the Name of Allah) before doing anything.
* Say Inshallah (if Allah wills) when talking about future events.
The Hadith and Muslim Culture
Many practices that are prevalent in the Muslim world has never been mentioned in the Quran. Instead, these practices have been derived from the practices, sayings, stories and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions. These traditions are called hadith.
Here are some examples of Muslim culture that come from the Hadith:
* Men growing beards and cut of mustaches.
* With your right hand to eat with your left hand and bath.
* Using a miswak (stick used for cleaning teeth).
* The handshake to greet someone.
Muslim local customs and culture
There are also many practices among Muslims that were never mentioned in either the Koran and the Hadith. Most of these practices have been introduced by the societies and cultures that accepted Islam. Here are some examples:
* The men kiss on the cheek to say goodbye (Middle East
* After the greeting someone, putting his hand to his head (West Africa
* Prostrate when your child has reached 40 days old (Pakistan)
Difference between Muslim culture and local culture
As you can see from above, Muslim culture can cover a wide range of subjects. However, I think it’s important to differnt between what is really Islamic and what is right culture. Many things we do today are not supported by the Word of Allah in the Koran or the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad in the Hadith. Many practical things that Muslims today are simply taken as the local customs in Islamic culture.
Now I’m not saying that these customs and local traditions are haram, or forbidden in Islam. I’m just saying that most of them have no basis or foundation in Islam. For some people, some local practices are definitely prohibited in Islam. And some of them are in place.
But we need to know which parts of Islamic art and culture are truly Islamic and what is not.
And Allah knows best.