CHAPTER 13 ARAB CULTURE Arab Culture PRISMs? In today’s world, should all cultures be secularized? Can religion be the basis for social law? Have organized religions helped or hurt the world more? Should all cultures be subject to a universal code of civil rights?
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There are 22 Arab nations
Zone 1: Arabic (mainly the Arabian peninsula(Dominant language: Arabic)
Zone 2: Iraq to the Persian Gulf: Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan. (Dominant language: Farsi (also called Dari & Tajik)
Zone 3: Black Africa (150M people): Ethiopia, Mali, Senegal, Chad, Sudan, Morocco, Syria, Algeria, Libya
Zone 4: Turkic zone people groups: Chechen, Uighur, Uzbdk, Kirghiz, Turkeman (Dominant language: the Altaic family of languages)
Zone 6: Malay populations in Southeast Asia (220M Muslims): Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, sizable minorities in Thailand & the Philippines; smaller minorities in Cambodia & Vietnam
Zone 7: European Muslim minority populations: Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia; North Africans in France, & large populations of Turk & Kurd immigrants in Germany & 2M Indian Muslim immigrants in Britain.
Saudi Arabia: 13
American Muslims are fairly affluent, averaging more than $50,000 in annual income (vs. a national average of $32,000). Two-thirds have college degrees (vs. below half of the American adult population). American Muslims have larger families than non-Muslims.
28 characters read from right to left
Most historically Islamic nations are
still strongly Islamic, while most
historically Christian nations are only
marginally Christian now.
at noon on Fridays (because Allah
created humans on a Friday)
About 90% (800M) of Muslims are Sunni, the moderate branch of Islam in the practice of Islam & interpretation of the Qur’an. In 661, the Sunni split from the Shiites (10% of Muslims—100M), a more religiously conservative branch of Islam
Most Middle Eastern nations have Sunni majorities, as well as Pakistan, Turkey, & Afghanistan.
The Shiites are most prominent in Iraq & Iran.
“God is most great
I bear witness that there is no god but Allah
I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God
Hurry to prayer
Hurry to success
God is most great
There is no god but Allah”
“In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful.
Praise be to God, the Lord of creation.
Master of the day of judgment
You alone do we worship & to you alone we pray for help.
Guide us to the straight path,
The path of those whom you have favored,
Not of those who have incurred your wrath,
Nor of those who have gone astray.”
1. The most important Muslim annual religious time period which celebrates the angel Gabriel reciting the Koran (“recitation”) to Mohammad
2. Al haj, the trip to Mecca, is next in importance
3. Occurs during the 9th month of the Muslim calendar (based the Arab lunar calendar which is 11 days shorter than the solar year Western calendar)
Islamic legalistic regulations which range
from mandatory to optional:
as supporting one’s family, feeding the
hungry, or paying a dowry for one’s wife.
2. Mandub: Recommended behaviors such
as extra charity beyond what is required
or performing extra prayers beyond the
murder, adultery, theft, eating pork, usury
(charging interest), drinking alcohol, & gambling.
4. Makruh: Laws against abominations such as
cross dressing or making an offer on a piece of
property that already has a valid offer made on it.
5. Muhad: Permissible behaviors such as eating
ceremonially unclean meat when one is starving.
(Muslims are required to eat only halal meat,
which has been ceremonially slaughtered in the
name of Allah.)
Face is the reputation you earn (or lose) in the eyes of the community
Face is your “MBA”
2. For example, it is not against the law for an American to curse God on a city street, but he or she could be sued for cursing an individual. The reverse is true in Islamic societies. Islamic culture values their tradition of freedom of religion over the prevailing Western tradition of freedom from religion.
4. Even in the less democratic Muslims nations, the average citizen plays a decisive role in choosing the political leaders—local village officials– who actually wield the greatest amount of influence over the lives of individuals.
6. The main freedom desired by Muslims today is the freedom to confront their own political problems and find their own solutions within a Islamic religious context.
A small minority fringe ofmilitant Muslims believe that Western secularism&America’s support of Israel justify terrorism as a way to save the face of Arab nations, as well as Allah.
4. During the 1980s, Soviet Russia took over the central Asian Muslim nations (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, & Kyrgyzstan) & drew arbitrary/artificial borders around them, creating civil unrest between Muslims
6. Lack of cooperation between Arab nations has been a major historical roadblock to stable relations with the West & peace negotiations with Israel.
Iraq’s new coalitional government is dominated by Shias & Kurds (secular-leaning). The large, internally divided Sunni community feels disaffected.
Salafism, a new fundamentalist movement, is spreading rapidly in liberal Arab nations (especially Egypt, Jordan & Lebanon). Aided by Saudi-based religious television & the Internet, Salafism is a direct offshoot of Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabism, the most puritanical sect of Islam that has the strictest standards for Muslim dress, public piety, & martyrdom/jihad. “When people are filled with stress and uncertainty, black & white is very good and it’s easy to manage.”
“Man plans his way, but God
directs his steps” (Solomon—Proverbs)
Muslims believe that time belongs to Allah, not to us. Allah controls the future, & our knowledge of it is uncertain.
We should wait on Allah to intervene into human affairs rather than to plan out grand strategies which reflect only man’s finite (& perhaps self-serving) perspective.
Muslim fatalism directly reflects a cultural external locus of control in which man is ultimately not in charge of human affairs.
Western culture has an empire building
mentality that ignores God’spossible
providence in historical events.
No need to lock the business up
when the owner is running errands
The global market for halal products (prepared to Islamic religious standards) is $580B.
McDonald's recently experimented with halal fast food in London. Coca Cola uses the Ramadan Islamic holy season to feature marketing initiatives focused on key themes such as tolerance and charity.
A Syrian company markets the Fulla dark-haired doll as an ethnic alternative to the ubiquitous Barbie doll.