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I wasn't kidding when I said I was gonna read up on Islam stuff and their culture during my free time. I have yet to procure a hard copy of the Qur'an (though there is a free PDF of it somewhere, I believe) so this is all internet-based research with very minimal Wikipedia stuff. Took me awhile to verify some stuff here and there but voila, here are some interesting facts about Islam in random order:
1. On the subject of death.
You know how we're taught to express our sympathies to someone upon hearing the news of their loved one's death? Usually, we say "condolence" or "our condolences" or even "we're sorry for your loss". Which I find doesn't really have meaning except that it acknowledges the (surviving) person's sorrow over a natural phase of life. If you're a Muslim, and you come upon the news of a fellow Muslim's loss or death of a loved one, the proper "greeting" is:
Innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji'on.
Translation: To Allah we belong and to Him is our return.
I find that this phrase is more spiritually meaningful because it reminds us how everything, including our lives, is borrowed energy and that it is inevitable that we will all return to the same source.
To the family of the deceased you say: Aathama allahu ajrakom. Translation: May Allah make your reward great.
Verily, women are the twin halves of men
- Prophet Muhammad
Islam does not categorize women as the source of evil in the world and "original sin". Islam has abolished and abrogated laws that demoted women as inferior in quality and nature. Women are equally qualified to engage in financial dealings and property ownership. According to Islamic law, women can buy, own, sell, and undertake any financial transaction without any restrictions, guardianship, or limitations ( you can imagine how shocking this was for people in the Middle Ages). Women are entitled to the same rights as men in terms of education, social responsibilities, integrity, and wealth. Men who treat their women unjustly are usually looked down upon.
However, Muslim extremists (i.e. the Taliban) usually overlook these rights and dominantly patriarchal Muslim societies have difficulty with consistently granting their women these rights and recently, reproductive rights:
Muslim countries protest against UN resolution giving women's rights.
Then again, regardless of your religion and its teachings, women's rights have always been an issue in any extremist/fundamentally religious /patriarchal societies.
Taslima Nasreen revolts again, urges all to become un-Islamic
Islam recognizes all the prophets in the Jewish and Christian Bible. And yes, Jesus included. Though they only acknowledge him as a prophet, not the saviour of the people or the literal son of God.
4. The Qur'an
Probably the difference between the Bible and the Qur'an is that the Bible has undergone several changes and "editing" which resulted in having many versions that had its followers debating amongst themselves while the Qur'an's contents and messages have stayed consistently the same throughout history as it is a rule that no changes will be done and to preserve its authenticity, there were followers who have impeccably memorized it word-for-word. If you don't believe them, believe science:
In the 19th century, the Institute of Munich (that's in Germany, you geography newbs) collected more than 40,000 manuscripts and printed texts produced in various parts of the Islamic world. After carefully studying and translating each manuscript, apart from a few copying mistakes, their conclusion: there were no discrepancies.
Qur'an is originally written in Arabic so when you are actually referring to the Qur'an, it's automatically assumed you're talking about the original Arabic text. Translated copies of the Qur'an are not to be mistaken as another version of it.
The Prophet Muhammad cited that hypocrites possess these 3 traits:
"When he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks it, when he is trusted he betrays."
If one has sworn an oath to do something and the person has failed to carry it out, the said person has to feed 10 persons or clothe 10 persons. If that person happens to be financially unstable, he/she must fast for 3 days.
Good god, if we applied this rule to our politicians years ago it's possible we'd all be well-fed OR we'd have emaciated politicians in office.
I'd like to add more fun and interesting facts about Islam and its culture but I'll probably get carried away.
Web Sources and Additional readings
Adam and Eve: Gender Equality
Women in Islam
25 Prophets of Islam
Comparison of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity
The Authenticity of the Qur'an
Islamic Ink: Dictionary
On a random note, Hijabis can be fierce and fashionable too.
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