Report on Religious Field Research
Report on Religious Field Research
Islam has been a mystery not only to the western parts of the world but from a global perspective. This distorted view of view of Islam led to varied opinions and perceptions in the public domain about Islam. The misconceptions about Islam are responsible for the various confrontations, which arise between Islam and other religions. Hence, there is a dire need for other religions and the world at large to understand the essence and values upheld by Islam. Islam is similar to other religions in that it aims at providing the followers with the much-needed clarity about life and leading righteous lives.
The first misconception about Islam is the treatment of women from an Islamic perspective. Islam is perceived as a femininely oppressive religion. This is brought about by a notion that when society discusses boys, the topic revolves around their careers. However, when society discusses girls, the topic usually revolves about their marriages. Islam is governed by a code of conduct, issued in the Shari’ah, which was revealed by the Almighty, Allah. The law provides that human intellect granted by Allah can enable humanity solve most of the issues plaguing humankind. It provides succinct information or guidelines for social interactions, family formation and dissolutions in amicable manners.
The Quran states “And just as according to [society’s] norms these women have obligations [towards their husbands], they also have rights, although men [as husbands] have a status above women. (2:228)” (Ganeri, 2002). This verse indicates that women are able to exercise liberties similar to their male counterparts. Customary tradition determines the treatment of women and the perception of treatment of women in societies. Hence, in Islam the doctrine of treatment of women is based on ensuring the division of roles, duties and responsibilities as provided without oppression to the women.
Hence, the guarantee provided by the Quran in terms of access to liberties enables women to seek education and thus further their skills for the subsequent development of their lives and the society. The issue of inferiority of women to men is based on notions such as the ability of a man to marry up to four wives, the ability of a man to gain a share of inheritance, larger than that of a woman, the ability of man to marry a non-Muslim whereas a woman is unable to do so, and the wearing of veils by the women. A man can marry up to four wives if only he can satisfy their needs.
Misconceptions in the modern society view that the Quran provides for crime, violence as provided in the laws governing a country. The Quran provides that authority should be respected in terms of execution of tasks. In an incidence of fornication, a claimant accuses a chaste man or woman of the identified immorality. The accuser is demanded by the Quran to provide four eyewitnesses. Hence, failure to provide four eye witnesses upon claims of a woman exercising fornication. The accuser is considered as having committed Qadhf and should be punished, and their claims refuted henceforth (Ganeri, 2002).
In addition, another misconception about Islam is that all Muslims are Arabs. This is based on the notions that a majority of Muslims are Arabs and that the Quran is inscribed in Arabic. Islam is a faith, which follows a specific doctrine and could be assumed by any individual irrespective of his race and nationality. Islam provides that acceptance of Allah as the true God and that Prophet Muhammad is his messenger. The calling of Prophet Muhammad is that an individual is a Muslim if he or she believes in the true prophets who existed before the time of Prophet Muhammad who are called Muslims in the Quran.
The code of conduct and observance of the laws and guidelines for living provided in the Quran give true definition to a Muslim. The Quran is a book, which was conveyed from Allah or God to humanity with the aim of providing direction in life to humanity. Confinement of Islam to Arabs is irrelevant and inappropriate in that Islam is among the fastest growing religions around the world given the high rate of individuals accepting the faith. Allah provides in the Quran that Islam be for all people who choose to accept the religion and its teachings (USTREAM, 2012).
Wrong beliefs and actions actualized by Muslims in the name of Islam are largely responsible for the vast underlying misconceptions about the faith and its beliefs especially in the contemporary society. Furthermore, a lack of understanding and false notions and stereotyping are among reasons for the distorted view about Islam. Stereotyping has resulted in views such as the consideration that Islam is a religion, which aims at denial of human rights for its followers, and other religions.
This is based on the notion that Islam does not advocate for pure democracy, is tolerant of and advocates for slavery. In essence, Islam is a way of life given that a Muslim is demanded to conduct his affairs with respect to the provisions of the Quran. Muslims are demanded to ensure their fulfillment of the Islamic state, which provides obedience to the Creator, Allah. In pure democracies, the respect for individual rights and liberties has potency to result in disobedience to Allah. This is because individual liberties are paramount when compared to the required levels of obedience to Allah (USTREAM, 2012).
Allah provides in the Sunnah and Quran that society and specifically Muslims should conduct their affairs by taking counsel from others. This is conducted with respect to the Sunnah and Quran. This ensures that all individuals in either a governmental or a social grouping are heard and that courses of action are based upon deliberations between the present of involved parties. Hence, in Islam equality is paramount as Allah views all his people as equal. The view of Islam as a faith, which advocates for equality is distorted by the few Islamic states around the world, which engage in the violation of the rights of their respective populace through crimes. This has resulted in a widespread view of Islam as intolerant and oppressive. Oppression also takes the form of the view of Islam as a faith, which advocates for slavery. The Sunnah in Islam provides that a Muslim who engages in freeing a Muslim slave would amount to forgiveness from Allah from the fires of hell. Hence, slavery is hated by Allah as he views the release of slaves as freeing the spirit of the slave into the world.
Another relevant misconception about Islam is the rejection of Jesus. This is based on the notion that Jesus is not acknowledged as the Son of God. Islam through the Quran and Sunnah eject the aspect of Allah begetting a son, Jesus. However, the holy scriptures of Islam acknowledge the presence and role of Jesus in the ancient times. Jesus is accorded equal status as the prophets and messengers who were sent by Allah to give guidance to the world.
Another misconception is that Muslims worship the messenger of Allah, Muhammad, because of the notion that Muslims are Muhammadans. This is a false view because Muhammad is only a messenger of Allah to humankind, Muhammad was instructed what to write upon the scriptures by the angle Gabriel; hence he was an intermediary in the revelation of the teachings of Allah to humankind. The strict adherence to the laws provided by Allah and revealed to his messenger resulted in a misconception by non-Muslims of the adherence to laws resulting in a view that Muslims are worshippers of the messenger of Allah. This is unfounded because all of the teachings provided in the Islamic scriptures are because of the revelations granted to humanity through Prophet Muhammad (Al- Hikmat TV, 2012).
Modern day misconceptions of Islam usually revolve around the acts of terrorism and Jihad. This is embedded in the notion that Islam tolerates the murder of innocents because of the consideration of Islam as faith, which advocates for terror acts in the name of Allah. Additionally there is also the notion that Islam spread through the sword by conquering other kingdoms. Hence, Islam is intrinsically founded on violence with a cruel judicial system, which does not respect the life of non-Islamic individuals or societies.
Misconceptions are usually brought about by the presence of misunderstandings between the various religious faiths in the modern society. Misunderstandings are usually brought about by misjudgments because of lack of information or knowledge about other faiths. Adequate provision of knowledge and information about other faiths is paramount to ensure cultivation of understanding between the faiths and their values. This is of great value as it ensures the presence of respect between the various religious faiths such as Islam and Christianity.
The acceptance of other faiths in foreign lands such as Buddhism is based on the presence of adequate information available to the public in terms of the values upheld, religious procedures and other vital facts about the religion. Hence, attainment of understanding is based on availed information and knowledge about a faith to the public.
On the other hand, the misconceptions are based on the presence of contradictory statements or issues in religion, which have similarities such as evidenced in Islam and Christianity. The differences in terms of views have been intrinsically the sources of the misconceptions because of the prejudicial view of the other race as greater than or inferior to another. Such inferiority and superiority complexes in religion have been at the heart of distorted views about other religions. Hence, there is dire need to establish clarity in terms of the differences between religions.
Misconceptions in the world from a religious perspective are common. This is because of the presence of differences and similarities between religions. The misconceptions are brought about the presence of social prejudices emanating from the lack of information and knowledge about the values and beliefs of other religions. However, in the advent of globalization misconceptions are on the decline because of the presence of acceptance and respect for other religions and their values and beliefs.
On the other hand religious differences have been in existence from historical times resulting in divergent views and conceptions about other religious groups. The most prominent religious differences between tow denominations is between Christianity and Islam. This is because both religions have an identical foundation in terms of their belief in one God or Allah in Islam. However, other denominations are reserved because of the presence of extreme differences thus resulting in minimal opportunities for any form of conflict between religions. The road to eradication and minimization of the present misconceptions could be achieved through the attainment of an understanding between the religions at hand.
This is achievable through adequate information and knowledge availed to the public in terms of the main issues identified. Misconceptions are at times based on the presence of prejudices, which have been historically in existence. Interactions and discourses between the warring religious groupings should be enable understanding between the groupings. This is vital in that a sense of understanding is paramount to ensure that there is consensus in terms of acceptance of other views. Acceptance of other views cultivates tolerance between religious groupings thus subsequently minimizing the potency of conflicts associated with the religious differences (Badran, 2009).
Diversity could also assume a religious perspective, which could be encouraged through public education of the importance of diversity and divergent views and beliefs possessed by the various religious groupings. Diversity is essential as it also enhances the presence of religious tolerance irrespective of the presence of bitter and extreme views, which could result in explosive confrontations and possible violence. In conclusion, attainment of consensus between religious groups because of their differences associated with the misconceptions could be eradicated through civic educational programs to the public to clarify the misconceptions and present precise ideas and information to the public.
Al- Hikmat TV. (2012). Islam: Friday Khatbah. Retrieved from http://www.alhikmatlive.com/;
Badran, M. (2009). Feminism in Islam: Secular and religious convergences. Oxford, England: Oneworld Publications.
Ganeri, A. (2002). The Quran. London: Evans.
USTREAM. (2012). Islamic Heritage Center. Retrieved from http://www.ustream.tv/channel/IHC-English-