Can the Muslim World and Western World Peacefully Coexist

Topics: Islam, Muhammad, Muslim world Pages: 9 (2991 words) Published: January 11, 2014


Can the Muslim World and Western World Peacefully Coexist
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Can the Muslim World and Western World Peacefully Coexist
Islam has greatly expanded as a religion and lifestyle. It reaches across national boundaries and continents. Many fear that the world will soon be engulfed by the Muslim world. The goal of this paper has two major purposes. First is to gain a good understanding of Islamic beliefs and to explore Muslim practices and viewpoints throughout the world. Secondly, the paper attempts to determine if the Muslim world and Western World can be reconciled to each other. Is there enough commonality and flexibility between these two groups to allow for peaceful coexistence?

Even though there is a wide diversity of people who practice Islam throughout the world, there are central beliefs and practices shared by all committed Muslims in the world. All Muslims who practice Islam believe in the one-ness of God, believe in the prophet Muhammad and God’s messages to human kind that were relayed by the prophet Muhammad and later written down in the Qur’an (Carr, 2003, Chapter 4). The Muslim world is also bound together by the religious practices and obligations known as the five pillars. The five pillars of Islam consists of the profession of faith, daily prayer, the giving of alms, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Mecca (Carr, 2003, Chapter 4).

The profession of faith is the realization that God is one, is unique, is all knowing, all powerful, all merciful, and that there is no other God but Allah. By professing this and submitting to God’s will by respecting and obeying God’s commandments which were revealed through the prophet Muhammad and written in the Qur’an encompasses the first pillar.

The second pillar is the Muslim’s duty to face Mecca and as Carr states “to say five prescribed daily prayers-at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and evening.” (Carr, 2003, Chapter 4). Before a prayer begins, Muslims are required to perform a ritual cleansing and purification. Each prayer consists of a sequence of movements called ra’ka that includes standing, kneeling, and prostrating. These movements are performed while reciting text from the Qur’an and other sources. Every prayer ends with the profession of faith and then concludes with an outward expression “May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you.” (Carr, 2003, Chapter 4). Muslims are required to pray in groups only one time per week: in a mosque at noon on Friday. In many Muslim mosques, men and women pray in groups separately.

The third pillar of Islam is charitable giving. The main purpose of charitable giving is to help those who are poor. It is to help raise the poor out of poverty, and is an important theme throughout the Qur’an (Carr, 2003, Chapter 4).

The fourth pillar of Islam is fasting during the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the month that Muhammad received his initial revelations from God. The month is considered sacred, and if a person is not ill or pregnant they are expected to fast from sun up to sundown every day. This fasting ritual is thought to build physical and spiritual discipline, and it is used as a a time to reflect on the trials of the poor. It is also a practice that builds solidarity among Muslims (Carr, 2003, Chapter 4).

The fifth and final pillar of Islam is for all Muslims who have the physical and monetary means to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life. As Carr states, “The spiritual objective of the pilgrimage to Mecca is to set aside worldly concerns and to commune with God.” (Carr, 2003, Chapter 4).

Holy texts used by Muslims consist of the Qur’an, and Hadith. The Qur’an is considered the literal word of the God. It was compiled after Muhammad’s death from verses his followers had memorized; it was completed approximately 25 years after Muhammad’s death...

References: Bethell, T. (2013, February). Islam and Islamism in the Modern World: An Interview with Daniel Pipes. The American Spectator, p. 44.
Carr, M. S. (2003). Chapter 4: What Muslims Believe. Who Are The Muslims, 14.
Carr, M. S. (2003). Chapter 5: Islamic Legal Sources. Who are the Muslims, 19.
Carr, M. S. (2003). Chapter 6: The Distribution of Muslims Today. Who are the Muslims, 22.
Pew Research Center., & Pew Global Attitudes Project (2006). The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other. Washington, District of Columbia: Pew Research Center.
Pew Research Center., & Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. (2009). Mapping the Global Muslim Population. Washington, District of Columbia: Pew Research Center.
Pew Research Center., & Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. (2013). The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics, and Society. Washington, District of Columbia: Pew Research Center.
Pew Research Center., & Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. (2012). Unity and Diversity. Washington, District of Columbia: Pew Research Center.
Stratton, A. (2005). A woman breaks a taboo. New Statesman, 134(4733), 12.
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