Sunday, April 5, 2015

Does culture influence our views on Islam?

Yes, yes it DOES.

Consider the following scenarios.

Country A) Muslims in this country are segregated by gender in places like schools, hospitals, restaurants, bus stops, train stations, gyms, lecture halls, and so on . Women are taught to be housewives (cook, clean, raise children) and their line of education will suit this. Women are covered head to toe, don't take part in politics, don't go out without close male relatives, don't drive, don't play sports (and if they do, then its in a closed area where no one can see them), and are hidden from the public. There are also laws against women for dress, inheritance, movement, choosing a spouse on her own, and being able to work. Women are also taught that they are a fitnah for men, and must be dependent on men, because it is against nature for women to be independent. In this country, there are little to no non-muslims, and little to no places of worship for other religions. Muslims in this country might also be taught to hate non-muslims and segregate themselves away from them. Men are allowed, and maybe even encouraged to take additional wives. Men and women also are taught not to speak to the opposite gender.

When looking for religious rulings, the scholars in this country will only quote their own, as they are the only ones they trust. These scholars will base their understandings of Islam according to this environment that they grew up in. This country is also more likely to follow unreliable hadiths, because it will suit their culture (i.e the hadith about hijab, women being inferior to men, women the reason men are sinners, etc.). It is also within this country that we will see people having beliefs about women that medieval Europe had (women only good for making children, women being less smarter than men, women's sexuality the reason everything is so corrupt and so on).

The above mentioned qualities are normal, traditional, cultural, and religious (according to them) to the people in country A. This is how they grew up, what they witnessed and heard. This will all be passed down to their children, then their children, and so on. What they have up here is a very FIXED and RIGID system. Anything slightly contradictory is unacceptable, and will automatically be compared to things like prostitution, adultery, idol worship, and biddah (changing things in religion).

A glimpse of the mentality of people in country A can be found on online islamic forums (islam awakening, ummah, salafi talk) and youtube videos that have salafi/wahabi scholars.

Now see country B) Muslims in this country are not segregated by gender. Schools, hospitals, restaurants, lecture halls, work places, gyms and so on are all co-educational and mixed. Women are not taught to be housewives and are seen as equals. There are no laws on women. Women can freely travel, work in any profession, play any kind of sport wherever they want to, and can be politicians and judges. In this country, there is a variety of religions and places of worship. Mosques are found beside churches, synagogues, gurdwaras, and Hindu and Buddhist temples. We are taught in schools to be kind, respectful, helpful, and friendly to all people, regardless of their religious/irreligious beliefs. People in this country interact with each other, regardless of the gender or religion/irreligion, because it a normal part of every day life. Women wear whatever, go wherever and with whomever they want to (I'm talking about wearing modest clothes with friends. Not immodest clothes and going out with boyfriends to places like bars and nightclubs. BUT Country A will assume this anyways since they can't differentiate between a strip club and women being independent and controlling her own life).

Muslims in this country grew up seeing the Islamic religion WITHOUT any culture or traditions or customs. We see Islam for how it purely is. MANY things that are practiced in Muslim countries are NOT found in the Quran or Sunnah, and those of us who can put aside all cultural restrictions will notice this.

We see with our own eyes what leads to adultery and other sinful things. I have mentioned this already here:

We see with our own eyes our daughters, sisters, and wives excelling in sports, science and technology, arts and entertainment, politics, the judiciary, and so on.

Those of us in this country have taken many courses about women and gender. We study the medieval "scientists" who had such terrible views of women. We study how FALSE these people are and we study how science shows there's no difference in male and female intelligence. We study how and why the men had such views on women (to control them). We laugh and see how wrong these men were. Unfortunately, this is still prevalent in Muslim countries.

Now imagine if citizens from Country A visit or see how people in Country B are. How do you think they'll react? They'll be shocked, annoyed, and insulted. They'll respond by showing how we're all misguided and Allah's wrath will be upon all of us. Both  the men and women will say that motherhood and housewifery are the only things that will lead to paradise, and women who work outside the home are "shameful" and "prostitutes". They'll start pulling out fornication stats (see the link I posted a few paragraphs ago) and say this is because of women working, playing sports, people of the opposite sex talking to each other and yadda yaddah yaddah.

Case and point. Go to Youtube and type in "Chechen dance" or "Pakistani wedding dance". Dancing is a part of those cultures for weddings. But it isn't in the culture of Country A. Why do you think you see all the comments of "HARAAM HARAAM", or when there's women "SLUT, WHORE, LANAT, GHATSI, SHARMOTA". Even for videos where men and women are talking, the comments reflect those from country A. You find all sorts of ridiculous comments. Then they, for "evidence", will quote their famous salafist wahabi scholars, who use their culture and say its Islam. They will throw in the "lowering the gaze" card. I have mentioned what lowering the gaze refers to here:

Lowering the gaze over in country A literally means rolling your eyeballs on the floor and not looking at women, even when speaking to them. This is 1) WRONG, Islamically 2) NOT what happens here in Country B.

So an example of country B is Canada. During the winter Olympics, we cheered on our athletes. The females who brought home medals just continued to show what a great country this is. Everyone was also especially excited for hockey. All the people watched the women's team win gold. Now, notice how this will NEVER be possible for country A, because women playing sports infront of millions of people is sinful. They must be covered head to toe and even then, only women can watch.

I dunno if I'll expand on this later, but for now this is good enough, I made my point that I wanted to make.

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