Assignment(project) # 03
Muhammad Jabran Abbasi
Dr Farhat(subject coordinator)
Subject: HUM 110 Islamic studies
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MUSLIM UMMAH and WEST
Muslim ummah is known to be the whole community of Muslim bound together by the ties of Islamic religion.It,s a very strong bond which is present in the heart of every Muslim and conncts them from one corner of the world to the other corner in sympathy and respect.
West is known to be the union of the people of the westren countries(mostly Christian).Westren culture is very different from the culture of Muslim ummah.Westren culture is mostly known to be as European culture as Europe is situated in the west.
At some times the differences of the Muslim ummah seem to be great but at some areas of time they seem to be much alike.
Westerners tend to think of Islamic societies as backward- looking, oppressed by religion, and inhumanely governed, comparing them to their own enlightened, secular democracies. But measurement of the cultural distance between the West and Islam is a complex undertaking, and that distance is narrower than they assume. Islam is not just a religion, and certainly not just a fundamentalist political movement. It is a civilization, and a way of life that varies from one Muslim country to another but is animated by a common spirit far more humane than most Westerners realize. Nor do those in the West always recognize how their own societies have failed to live up to their liberal mythology. Moreover, aspects of Islamic culture that Westerners regard as medieval may have prevailed in their own culture until fairly recently; in many cases, Islamic societies may be only a few decades behind socially and technologically advanced Western ones. In the end, the question is what path leads to the highest quality of life for the average citizen, while avoiding the worst abuses. The path of the West does not provide all the answers, Islamic values deserve serious consideration.
Because of the missunderstanding between the west and Muslims,many problems have been created recently for the Muslim ummah due to the dominating westren ecnomical situation.Mores and values have changed rapidly in the West in the last several decades as revolutions in technology and society progressed. Islamic countries, which are now experiencing many of the same changes, may well follow suit but these changes are not readily applicable upon muslim ummah due to their ethical and moral values.
Premarital sex, for example, was strongly disapproved of in the West until after World War II. There were laws against sex outside marriage, some of which are still on the books, if rarely enforced. Today sex before marriage, with parental consent, is common.Well this is considered to be a sin of great degree in the muslim ummah and there is punishment for it in this world and the world hereafter.
Even within the West, one sees cultural lag. Although capital punishment has been abolished almost everywhere in the Western world, the United States is currently increasing the number of capital offenses and executing more death row inmates than it has in years. But death penalty opponents, including Human Rights Watch and the Roman Catholic Church, continue to protest the practice in the United States, and one day capital punishment will almost certainly be regarded in America as a violation of human rights but there is no other way of execution disscused by these organization which is still a big question mark for them because penalty of crimes is must in any civilization to exist in peace.Where as the penalty of all crimes are described in detail in Muslim ummah.These penalties are not manmade for Muslim ummah but they believe that they are made by their creator for their peace in life thus they are never to be changeable for the Muslim ummah.
Westerners regard Muslim societies as unenlightened when it comes to the status of women, and it is true that the gender question is still troublesome in Muslim countries. Islamic rules on sexual modesty have often resulted in excessive segregation of the sexes in public places, sometimes bringing about the marginalization of women in public affairs more generally. British women, however, were granted the right to own property independent of their husbands only in 1870, while Muslim women have always had that right. Indeed, Islam is the only world religion founded by a businessman in commercial partnership with his wife. While in many Western cultures daughters could not inherit anything if there were sons in the family, Islamic law has always allocated shares from every inheritance to both daughters and sons. Primogeniture has been illegal under the sharia for 14 centuries.
The historical distance between the West and Islam in the treatment of women may be a matter of decades rather than centuries. Recall that in almost all Western countries except for New Zealand, women did not gain the right to vote until the twentieth century. Great Britain extended the vote to women in two stages, in 1918 and 1928, and the United States enfranchised them by constitutional amendment in 1920. France followed as recently as 1944. Switzerland did not permit women to vote in national elections until 1971 — decades after Muslim women in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan had been casting ballots.
Furthermore, the United States, the largest and most influential Western nation, has never had a female president. In contrast, two of the most populous Muslim countries, Pakistan and Bangladesh, have had women prime ministers: Benazir Bhutto headed two governments in Pakistan, and Khaleda Zia and Hasina Wajed served consecutively in Bangladesh. Turkey has had Prime Minister Tansu Ciller. Muslim countries are ahead in female empowerment, though still behind in female liberation.After having these facts in mind then the will of the westren world to be dominating and turning the Muslim ummah to the Westren culture seems to be absurd.
Due to the ever rising position of the west and the continous downfall of the Muslim ummah the West has left its mark on the Islamic world; through its politicians and generals, but also through its materialism, technologies, communication tools and organizational paradigms, things with which only hermits can completely avoid contact. The resulting conflicts are very real.
For centuries Christians regarded Muhammed(S.A.W) as a false prophet(nauzubillah)even today few Christians would probably consider him a true prophet. The Islamic attitude toward Judaism and Christianity is quite different. Islam sees itself explicitly as belonging to the same monotheist tradition as its two sister faiths embody. It connects to them, relates to them, but at the same time considers itself superior. Just as the New Testament succeeds the Old Testament for Christians, the revelation of Islam concludes the chain of revelations for Muslims. The Torah and the Gospels are respected, but it is the Koran alone that contains the true message. Moses is a prophet, Jesus is a prophet, but Muhammed (S.A.W)is the most loved of all the prophets and also the khatam un nabiyeen.Well,this conflict between them is considered to be conflicts of thoughts and beliefs.
Being under the rule of other religion is considered to be a problem by most of the people but Jews and Christians enjoyed the protection of the Muslim authorities. They were, after all, recipients of a scripture of revelation, who, like Muslims, believed in the one and only God – albeit, from an Islamic point of view, in a diluted form. Hence the designation dhimmi ("protected person") applied to both Jews and Christians living under Islamic rule. This exemptive status explicitly distinguished them from the non-believers who were the Muslims’ predefined enemy. In exchange for the payment of special tributes, their independence was guaranteed and they were protected from physical violence.This was the time of Muslim rule,when the equality and the forgiveness of Muslim leaders was famous in every corner of the world.The people from other states and religion very offenly used to flee from their kings for having the hope of being saved from their brutality by the noble and wise Muslim khalifa.
But the case have changed.now the Muslims have to travel from their homelands in order to gain a chance of having a successful life abroad.Mostly their choice is to be the growing success rate of the european countries in which they have a better chance of success.Yet, recent Islamic migrants to Western nations face the dilemma of finding their authentic voice in popular Western culture, balanced against their fears of cultural assimilation and loss of identity. Muslims as a group have had less success compared to other religious or ethnic minorities, like the Jews or African Americans, in opening “a window on the multidimensionality of what can be called cultural ecology” (Mowlana). They seek to know how is it possible to move toward the center of Western culture without compromising deeply-held religious beliefs and traditions.
The clash that arises from conflicting worldviews leaves emotional and psychological scars. Among recent migrants to Europe and North America, many Muslims agree with American Islam scholar Yvonne Haddad (1991) in their “frustration and dismay as they continue to experience prejudice, intimidation, discrimination, misunderstanding, and even hatred”. Yet, in the midst of these uncertain encounters, Islam and Western society are finding ways to adapt, if incompletely, to each others worldviews and values.