Islamic Culture: from Mystery to Candidness
Morocco World News
Meknes, Morocco, August 5, 2012
Many people are wondering if the use of the expression “Islamic culture” is logical or not. They say that culture is something which we are constantly creating due to the requirements of life such as music, dance, cookery, art, exchanging of goods using money, etc. For example, to feel happy from music or adorn your body with ornamentation such as jewelry for men, and stylized scars (tattoos), all are behaviors which are not acceptable by Islam. They also say that Islam came with all aspects which establish our life.
Of course Islam showed us how to cope with life and after death, but this does not mean we are not allowed to discover and invent things; otherwise, what is our role in this world? Maybe these people established unclear ideas about the meaning of culture; they need insight to understand well what we mean by “Islamic culture.”
Culture is a debatable concept to which we cannot give a specific definition, but there are some attempts to define it. Generally speaking, culture is defined as a system of shared beliefs, values, rituals, customs, behaviors, art, artifacts, technology, styles of dress, ways of producing and cooking food, religion, and political and economic systems. These are ways the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and are transmitted from generation to generation through learning (Bliss, 2001). Culture distinguishes one human group from others. It also distinguishes humans from other animals.
Seelye (1984), an anthropologist, defined culture as a broad concept that embraces all aspects of human life. It includes everything people learn to do. It is everything humans have learned. Culture shapes our thoughts and actions, and often does so with a heavy hand.
As we have seen earlier, culture is not always good nor is it all that bad. It paves the ground for us to improve our lives and find out things which are consistent with our everyday needs so as to reach the truth (why we are here). For example, people eat some foods and do not accept others because they know their benefits from their dangers. People are distinctly born with nature, but they are not born with culture, they have to learn it. In other words, people must learn to speak and grasp a language and to abide by the rules of society. In many societies all people must learn to produce food and to construct shelters. In other societies people must learn a skill to earn money. In brief, culture takes the natural biological urges we share with other animals and teaches us how to express them in particular ways.
Islam plays an important role in human life. It moulds human behavior in the best direction; it shows us how to deal with life and how to establish a new life which is entirely safe. Thus, our culture will be one of the most successful species on the planet. Islam itself teaches us what, when, and how to express the natural biological urges in particular ways. It prevents Muslims from eating pork and drinking alcohol. Islam gives them the skills to earn money, to work and so on. In general, it gives them an understanding of how the world works and how they respond to actions of others and their environment. Every society has culturally unique ways of thinking about how the world unites people in their behavior. It is the same thing with Muslims. Islam has established unique ways of thinking about the world. Thus we find Islam affects Muslims’ behaviors and shapes these behaviors in some directions. For this reason, Islamic culture is different from other cultures.
Nabil Belmekki is master program student in Applied Linguistics (English studies) at Moulay Ismail University in Meknes. He obtained his BA in linguistics from the same university.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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