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In the Name of God بسم الله

Islam And Culture

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Salam, 

 

I was going to do a series of videos examining this topic. First I want to give my understanding and definitions, and knowledgeable members please correct me if I'm wrong. 

 

Culture Definition. 

 

Culture is a set of beliefs, values, and habits/way of doing things that exist within a certain place and amoung a certain group of people. Culture is what defines people as members of a certain group. The defining characteristic of a culture which separates it from other surrounding and/or similar cultures is language. 

 

Why is Culture necessary. 

 

Culture is necessary in order to create a common understanding amoung the people about how the common activities of life are to be conducted. It defines the limits of behaviour and facilitates communication. Without culture, each individual actions would have to be negotiated among people and a consensus reached on how to do it and what the limits are. Since this is either not possible or extremely burdensome on most people, culture becomes necessary to pre-define common behaviors and codify certain values that exist in a society. 

 

Islam definition. 

 

Islam means submission to the will of Almighty God(s.w.a) and thru this process of submission, the result is peace. 

 

Islamic Culture

 

Islam is a culture unto itself. It does not wholly exist, nor is it wholly absent from any national, geographic, or linguistically based culture. It's core values are defined by Divine Revelation (i.e. the Holy Quran) and teaching of Ahl Al Bayt(a.s). It is not similar to other cultures in that its rules and principles were not constructed in an arbitrary way based on various circumstances that the people of that culture found themselves in, but they were revealed to the people from a defined source and inline with the true and complete nature of man. 

 

Goal of Islamic Culture. 

 

The goal of Islamic culture is to sift the presently existing culture (national, linguistic, or geographically defined) until the false or harmful aspects of the culture are discarded and what is left is only those parts of the culture which are helpful to the society and in line with the true and pure nature of mankind. Rasoulallah(p.b.u.h) said 'I have only come to perfect the aklaq(the social manners)' meaning that the mission of Rasoulallah(p.b.u.h) was to create an Islamic culture that would guide both the Arabic culture present at his time and all other later cultures in this process of cultural 'sifting' to finally end up with the Islamic Culture. 

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There's a danger when certain geographic cultures are considered more "Islamic" just because of historical factors and popular depictions.  It's not just conflating Islam with culture, its conflating Islam with skin tone, Islam with national origin, Islam with socioeconomic status, or Islam with language. 

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My first show on the Shia Channel was called Culture v/s Islam and it pointed out the various misunderstandings that people had because of giving more importance to culture than their religion. I don't know how the masses found it but one of my friend's aunt was furious on me because she didn't accept that some of the cultural things that she had soo religously followed were actually unislamic...looool!

Edited by UmmEbrahim
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