Muslims Essential Criterion: "Human"

Question and answer details
Jenny Craley-Ansara
I have a school presentation about Islam in a couple of days and during my research work some points came up that I need help with. I have a couple of questions. I want to know about the main culture of the Islamic people. What are the Islamic people like? What languages do they speak? What are their popular foods? How do the Islamic people earn their living? Can you describe their political, geographical, and economic environment? Are their major social class differences? Are there major ethnic, religious, tribal or language differences within the social classes? And what are the major social institutions and governmental structures found within the society of the Islamic people? Thank you for your time, I hope you can help me out! I would greatly appreciate it if you could get back to me as soon as possible, since my presentation is in 3 days. Thanks again!
Heba Raouf Ezzat

Salam, Jenny.

Thank you very much for your question and for your trust in us. We are sorry that you will get this reply after your presentation is over, but our replies go through a process that takes a few days, so we hope you had a successful event.

As we receive many questions that are of interest for other readers as well and are checked later on by visitors, allow me to try to give you a comment rather than an answer.

What struck me in your question is the logic of it as well as the rationale and imagination. You have a hidden assumption somehow that Muslims are DIFFERENT. It is not that they are different in faith, but that they are different altogether. So they fall in the category of the Other. Hence, you asked about the details of their culture as if it is a very isolated and completely encapsulated different culture or way of life.

Actually, my dear, there is no single language nor a specific number of languages that Muslims speak, no single culture they belong to, and no customs they necessarily exclusively share. Of course Muslims share the faith. You can get a general idea about what Islam is all about through the many pages of Onislam.net. As for Muslims, they are simply like Christians and Jews and followers of other faiths and ideologies. You can find them everywhere, they belong to societies and nations that vary, and they fall into many classes and occupations.

If you are a Muslim Indian, you may not have the same creed as your fellow Hindu citizen, but your day-to-day life probably has much more in common, especially in your public life, than say what you share with a Brazilian Muslim -- and there are Brazilian Muslims. Muslims belong to different ethnicities, many cultures, and adopt a variety of political opinions.

So, basically, there is no short answer to your question. The truth is, my dear, Muslims are citizens of their respective nations, affected by their respective cultures, and share with you a very essential criterion: They are humans. They form human societies, they can be majorities or minorities, and they aspire to the good of their countries and societies and families.

The question then can become what is the relation between Islam and Christianity in theological and sociological terms in, say, Egypt, South Africa, or North America. Or what are the factors behind the adoption of different economic systems in different Muslim countries and what do Muslim minorities in other places think about that, etc.

The difference between your questions and such questions as these is that these latter assume that Muslims are no different than other people; the questions attempt to study and analyze how Muslims act in a certain way, in a specific context, and how much they are affected by their faith and creed or the historical moment they live in.These questions are applicable to all adherents of all faiths.

So we can also ask about the impact of Protestantism on American foreign policy, or the way French Catholics deal with the rigid French version of secularism.

You may say "but I chose my question, and you should only give me an answer to my specific question." My message to you is that sometimes questions are obstacles on the path of understanding, that is if we do not recognize the bias of the questions and their inconsistency.

But allow me again to thank you for your question and I hope my answer would encourage your critical mind to ask more questions that we would be more than happy to reply to.

Again we are sorry we could not reply earlier, and we wish you all the best always. We hope you stay in touch.

Thank you and salam.

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