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Islamic teachings: What West should know!

Islam means submission or surrender, peace, purity, acceptance and commitment. The religion of Islam is the complete acceptance of the teachings and guidance of Allah through the Qur'an i.e. surrender to the Will of Allah.

Muslims are those who accept freely and willingly the supreme Power of Allah, submits to Him, and endeavors for total reorganization of their life according to the revealed teachings of Allah. They also work towards the establishment of a just and equitable social order, which would totally reflect the guidance of Allah.

Apart from different schools of thought, Muslim scholars today have different views as regards the implementation of Islamic teachings or the interpretation of the Qur'an. In this regard they can be categorized into two groups:

Firstly, the Islamist (Traditionalist) group, that is those whose aspiration are always to implement Islam as their way of life in its totality, just as it was implemented by the earlier Muslim generations. To them Islam is not only a theory, but it has been put to practice for many centuries in the past. This group of Muslims always strives to establish an Islamic state where the Islamic Law can be enforced fully.

Among this group some are RADICAL and some others are MODERATE, though they have same aspiration and ideology. The Western Media usually term the radical ones as "Fundamentalists" in a negative sense, and the moderate one as "Orthodox".

Secondly, the Modernist group, that is those who maintain that in terms of social life Islamic teaching needs to be reformed, and to do so certain passages of the Qur'an needs to be reinterpreted according to the context of the day. This group has no concern about the political side of Islam, as they are secularists who believe in the segregation between the Religions.

Religious analysis of the Islam through the Quran and Hadith, Islam may be considered as an exotic religion to many in the western part of the globe. The impression that Westerners have is usually obtained through the media representing Islamic countries or groups in the middle of a Holy War. The wars, called Jihad, are usually waged by Islamic Fundamentalist who professes terrorism to get their messages across, giving Islam a negative reputation. Because of the lack of understanding of this highly publicized religion, many conflicts arise between the people who live in eastern and western worlds. In turn, this causes problems amongst different cultures through various political and religious battles that result from these misconceptions. In order to prevent future strife, it is important for people all over the world to have a better understanding of other religions.

Essence of Quranic Teachings

The Epistemology of Islam is contained in the sacred book called the Quran that was revealed in Arabic to the Prophet Muhammad in exact words of Allah through the Angel Gabriel. The Quran means Recollect, Clarify, Recital, Reading, and Criterion. It contains truths about everything and functions as a recollection of all previously revealed books. When Muhammad was forty years old, he had his first revelation and continued to do so for the next twenty-two years, remembering each revelation and then having them written down by scholars. The whole book consists of chapters that were believed to be put in order by Muhammad himself and are word for word from Allah. This book is the most widely read and memorized book in the world and because of the number of people memorizing the book it helped it remain unchanged for the past fourteenth centuries….

Most Westerners tend to view the Islamic societies as somewhat backward in believe that this is due to the oppressed religious beliefs of Islamist. They also believe that the Islamic society is governed inhumanely in comparison to the enlightened, well-rounded democracy of the Western world. However the measurement of cultural differences between the West and Islam is somewhat complex and the differences between the two are narrower than assumed by most Western beliefs. Islam is not considered just a religion, and most certainly is not just a fundamentalist political movement but is a civilization and a way of life that varies from one Muslim country to another. The Westerners seem fail to recognize how their own societies have failed to live up to their liberal mythology. Many aspects of Islamic culture that Westerners regard as medieval may even have prevailed in their own culture until fairly recently. In most cases, Islamic societies are only a few decades behind in the socially and technologically advanced Westerners.

 According to them, Islamic values deserve serious consideration because the West doesn't provide the answers to all the questions being asked. Many Westerners regard Muslim societies as being unenlightened when it comes to the rights of women, and it is true that the question regarding women is still troublesome in most Muslim countries. The rules regarding the Islamic beliefs on sexual modesty have often resulted in excessive segregation of the sexes in public places, sometimes bringing about questionable differences regarding women's rights. However, Muslim women have always been permitted to own property and enjoy respect and security in Islam.

The Islamic laws and their interpretation

The religion and the practices of Islam have often been seen in a negative light in the Western world. This can be attributed to the effects that Islamic fundamentalists have had on society through their attacks on the Western world. Islamic Laws may be strict relative to Western society, but their main purpose is to give people a guideline of how to live their lives in a "clean" fashion (Nasr, 1997). The punishments that people receive for violating Islamic Law are believed to be very brutal by the Western Society; but this is not necessarily the case. Most Muslims believe that these punishments are just and also that these punishments are minor compared to the ultimate punishment that will be delivered by the hand of God on the Day of Judgment.

By all accounts, Islam defines a complete code of conduct, and is a peaceful religion that explains the different aspects of life in the most decent ways.

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