Islam provides an all-encompassing framework of values and principles to guide human life, with core elements including freedom, equality and solidarity for mankind.
But in today’s age of global prosperity, how is Islamic lifestyle faring in terms of resisting consumer culture that compromises values and morals? Will it have the capacity to influence human societies into the future?
Islam is an extremely vibrant culture with deep religious roots. Its teachings cover every area of human activity – ethics, family life and work among them – providing guidance for spiritual and moral development that contributes to an integrated society. This goal can only be realized if man responds to God’s sense of balance or the laws of harmony and obeys them accordingly.
Islam holds as its core belief that there is only one God and that Prophet Muhammad was His messenger. A person becomes a Muslim by proclaiming their belief and making the proclamation called shahadah, declaring there is no other deity but Allah and Muhammad is their representative.
Islam practitioners strive to follow both the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. Key teachings include respecting parents, helping the poor, being honest, prayer, fasting and pilgrimaging to Mecca as part of their religious practice; furthermore they believe in heaven and hell as destinations for both good and bad people alike – the former being paradise while hell awaits all who break God’s commandments in eternity.
Pew Research Center surveys indicate that most Muslims around the world agree that certain behaviors are morally wrong, with median percentages in six regions consistently condemning prostitution, homosexuality, suicide, drinking alcohol and abortion as immoral acts. Muslims also believe that all individuals will ultimately be judged by their deeds – those performing good deeds being rewarded while bad ones punished – so it is wise for one to follow Islam and not commit acts that lead to hell.
Muslims strive to live a balanced life through the Five Duties of Islam: believing in Allah as the one and only God; declaring Muhammad his messenger; performing daily prayers, fasting during Ramadan and going pilgrimage when possible. Additionally, Muslims promote social justice by advocating freedom of thought and action, equal rights for all and compassion towards others.
The adhan, or call to prayer, serves as a daily reminder to pious Muslims that it’s time for worship. At the Islamic Center of Athens’ main prayer hall, an imam, or Islamic leader, recites verses from the Quran in Arabic while men stand and women enter separate rooms as per Islamic rules against mixing of the sexes during worship services.
Islam promotes cleanliness by encouraging regular bathing and combing of hair, as well as washing hands, face, feet and head at least five times each day. Furthermore, Islam forbids eating food that was killed uncleanly or came in contact with polluted water sources; prior to eating they are required to wash both their heads and hands thoroughly with clean water before doing so.
Islam promotes chastity and modesty through the requirement for women to wear headscarves, men must wear jihabs, and girls wear long dresses or tunics; it disapproves of gambling, interest-taking, fortune telling and killing; it teaches generosity by asking Muslims to donate zakat, or charity, to those less fortunate; it prohibits pork consumption as well as mind-altering substances; promotes respect for parents through respecting them, honesty in work ethic and hard work ethic – ultimately teaching about family, community ties while teaching morality by prohibiting alcohol or mind altering substances used against humans while teaching morality through prohibiting consumption of pork or mind altering drugs while teaching morality through teaching them not just but helping family, friends neighbors or strangers when needed.
Islam as a religious faith places great emphasis on cleanliness. Hygiene goes far beyond simply being healthy – it becomes part of Muslim ritual. Muslims must clean themselves, their clothes and houses to fulfill their religious duties – often the subject of entire chapters dedicated to purity and ablation in books of Islamic jurisprudence!
Purity in Islam means having an ideal balance between heart, soul and body. Achieved through wudu or full ablution. Wudu removes physical impurities such as dirt, sweat and feces as well as any ritual impurities from sexual activity, menstruation or the first forty days after childbirth; plus helps maintain good oral hygiene while getting rid of unwanted hairs from your body.
Muslims practice Wudu five times each day by washing their hands with clean water as part of wudu, which also means not touching their genital area after urinating or defecating – even Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hp) recommended that when someone urinates or defecates they use their left hand rather than their right hand to wipe the area (Al-Bukhari 1987a).
Many of these hygiene practices align with what’s recommended by modern medicine. For example, wiping your mouth after eating is a recommended practice in preventive dental hygiene and limiting exposure to sunlight is key for primary prevention against diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus and melasma. Furthermore, body creases that harbor bacterial infestation should be avoided since these provide ideal spaces for pathogens to spread.
Muslim life enshrines family at its core, with strict obligations owed to both parents and extended relatives. Women are encouraged to pursue an education outside the home while adhering to a dress code which protects their modesty – covering heads, necks, and feet while remaining modest is encouraged.
Marriage in Islam is a sacred contract between a man and woman that includes an obligation to live together according to its teachings, raising their children in accordance with Islamic beliefs. Although shariah allows men to have multiple wives, polygamy remains rare and not the norm. No matter the number of wives a man may have, regardless of his own financial needs he must provide for both his spouse as well as any children they might have together. Additionally, Muslims cannot take interest (riba) on money nor cheat or deceive others when dealing with matters related to Islamic teachings.
Traditional Islam was a complete way of life that weaved social conventions and religious beliefs closely together, yet today it exists more as a religion than as a way of life. Yet despite this shift in focus, Muslims still exert immense influence around the globe and can often act as agents for change within their societies.
Islamic opinions worldwide differ on how strictly to observe its rules. There can be wide variation in whether Sufis (members of religious orders that emphasize the mystic elements of Islam) are widely recognized as Muslims; South Asia generally accepts them while in other countries – like Turkey where the Mevlevi “whirling dervish” order was founded – they may not be widely accepted. Furthermore, opinions vary as to whether reciting poetry and singing praise of God are considered acceptable acts of worship.
Islamic lifestyle encompasses teachings on every aspect of daily living. This includes religious obligations such as praying five times daily and fasting during Ramadan as well as charity giving (zakat).
Muslim children must attend Sunday school. If you cannot afford the tuition costs at a mosque-run program, try organizing with other families who share your desire for their kids to learn Islamic values and culture at Sunday school. This will help preserve our cultural identity as young people face materialism and irresponsibility today.
Muslim adherents must also abide by a code of conduct known as Sharia that prohibits things such as eating pork, gambling, taking interest and fortune-telling, lying, stealing and adultery as well as other sexual sins such as lying and theft. Furthermore, this code prohibits wastefulness with resources as well as harming people or animals while failing to honor parents, spouses or relatives.
New Muslims should realize that becoming an effective Muslim takes time and dedication, with some feeling overwhelmed or having doubts they will succeed – this is entirely normal as most converts go through similar experiences. The key is taking things step-by-step while staying motivated.
The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) set an excellent example by working hard and being non-lazy or selfish, which earned his employers’ respect as well as provision for himself and his family. All Muslims should strive to emulate such traits – hard working is one way of pleasing Allah while at the same time fulfilling other aspects of Islam.