Islam: A Balancing Act
Islam is a very large religion, accounting for one-fifth of the world’s population. In any large religious community, there are many different variations and sects and this is true of Islam. But unlike what is usually common, there is also an underlying unity that flows through the entire Muslim community. Muslims show this on a personal, one-on-one level, but also even at the global level, when Muslim countries help other Muslim countries. And as a whole, the tradition of Islam balances its large diversity through the concept of the tawhid and the Five Pillars. Islam, since it is a missionary religion, has changed and adapted everywhere it has gone, creating many diverse variations around the world. Islam began in Saudi Arabia, but over the centuries it has migrated around the world to Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Each geographical area has its own unique way of practicing Islam. In places like Iran and Nigeria, Shariah law is followed. This is the exact law as it is written in the Quran and mainly emphasizes the “eye for an eye” and “ear for an ear” principle. Although punishments aren’t always enforced, they give people great incentive not to commit crimes, thereby lowering the chaos in the country (Muslims). On the other side of the spectrum, in places like the United States, the main goal is trying to fit in and find a place for Muslims in a country that discriminates so much against them. Many times, Muslims are asked to truly put to test their values of peace, acceptance, and compassion by putting aside their differences and educating and relating with other religions such as Christianity. Even though they may be discriminated against, even to the point of life threatening danger, Muslims are asked to be loving to those who do such things to them and to emulate said characteristics by not retaliating. In places such as Turkey, Islam is being squashed by the government because of a desire to modernize and...
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