Report on Religious Field Research

Report on Religious Field Research

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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.

Reference

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-

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Report on Religious Field Research

Report on Religious Field Research

Name:

Institution:

Course:

Date:

Report on Religious Field Research

1. Discuss any misconceptions you had about the religion you researched.

Before researching on atheism, I held different misconceptions concerning it. These misconceptions resulted from the lack of information I had concerning atheism, and the misunderstood concepts about the religion. There are many different sources of information concerning different religions available in the media, the internet, and other sources. This information is not always correct and factual. I held the misconception of how atheists came to believe that there is no God. I was of the opinion that atheists denounced the existence of God due to religious failure and their idea that God failed them. I thought that God failed them in a way, and that is why they chose to believe that God does not exist.

I also thought that atheists failed to believe in the existence of God because of all the suffering that people experience, irrespective of their goodness. I thought that since many people are of the opinion that God is supposed to bless those who are good and punish the bad ones, and this does not often happen, atheists would take this as their prove that there is no God. I though that they argued on this basis since God would not let terrible things happen to the virtuous and innocent people, and cause the bad ones to prosper. Another misconception was that atheists hate God, and Christians. I thought that people are atheists because they hate God. I also thought that atheists hate Christians because of their belief in God. Atheists are strong concerning their support of the non-existence of God. Atheists do not have any understanding of God.

2. Analyze how your prior understanding about this religion was altered (if at all) through your encounter

Although some people are drawn to atheism because of religious failure, others come to join atheism because of a deep conviction within them that there is no God. Many atheists have not had any religious experience. This means that they did not have any opportunity to experience any disappointment with religion. Many people are atheists because they depend on scientific facts to prove their claims. Therefore, they do not depend on natural occurrences alone to determine their non-existence of God. I came to understand that atheists do not hate God since they do not believe in the existence of God. They, therefore, cannot hate something or someone that they do not believe exists.

Atheists do not hate Christians or people from other religions, although they tend to disagree with their religious beliefs strongly. Some have Christian families and friends, and they do not hate them. They seek to make religious people who believe in God share their perspective by arguing and presenting their logic. Many people try to convince others to follow their religion using their own logic and atheists are not any different. However, my views concerning their hatred on Christian belief was not altered because they do not believe in any of the Christian claims, and they seek ways to dispute what the Christians believe. They tend to present Christian beliefs as myths or stories, and in some cases, they seek to mock these beliefs.

Most of my research revealed that many atheists concentrate on disproving Christian claims, with minimal focus on other religions that claim to believe in a god. Atheists believe that religious people believe a fallacy and that they have a false belief in God. Although atheists do not believe in God, many of them have an idea of God from the perspectives of different religions. They are able to base their beliefs and prove their claims from this perspective.

3. Discuss whether you believe misconceptions about other people’s religion are common and explain why or why not

Misconceptions about other people’s religion are common. This is because people do not, and cannot understand all religions. The lack of understanding or the misunderstanding about religion causes these misconceptions. This happens because people from different religions do not discuss and inform others concerning their religions. Without the necessary information, people will continue to hold these misconceptions, and they will continue to hold inaccurate beliefs concerning religions. Leaders and followers of a religion need to play an active role in ensuring that their communities have all the correct information concerning religion (Mittal, 2005). Leaders and congregants who fail to play an active role in educating those around them concerning their religion risk enhancing prejudiced thoughts concerning religion. People have misconceptions about different religions because do not have an open mind when talking about religion. They are not objective, and they are firm in their religious beliefs. They want to be right, and they avoid any situation that might prove them wrong. Most people have the strong belief that theirs is the right religion. They are quick to dismiss other people’s religion. This makes it hard for them to find out about other religions.

Some people also have misconceptions because of the news and events surrounding that religion (Small, 1997). For instance, many non-Muslims do not understand Islam. They think that Islam promotes violence because of all the violence reported in the media concerning violence in the Middle East, which is the base for Islam. Unfortunately, most of the known terrorists are Muslims, and this enhances this misconception. Other people have misconceptions about religion because of the stereotypical views concerning the religion. People not familiar with Christianity might be of the opinion that Christians are judgmental because of the stereotype concerning the religion. Misconceptions about religions do not only happen among outsiders of a religion, but they can also happen internally. This can stem from new converts to the specific religion. The new converts might be enthusiastic about their religion, and they might find the need to share the information they have learnt with people of other religions. This can create misconception. Many religious beliefs are complex and complicated and even people who have practiced their religion for some time might not have all the information contained in religious texts. There are many scholars in many religions. These scholars have studied religions, and they sometimes have contradicting information concerning religion. This shows that religious misconceptions can occur at any level of someone’s religious experience.

4. Recommend at least one (1) step that could be taken to minimize misconceptions people have about religions not their own

In order for people to minimize their misconceptions about religion, they need to know more about that religion. The only way that people can do this is by seeking more information about the religion. This can happen in different ways. For instance, holding discussion with friends and acquaintances from different religions will give a person the chance to know more about their religion. This will give a person the chance to ask for information concerning the religion. It will give a person the chance to ask for clarification based on previous misconceptions. In addition, one can ask questions concerning the religion, and ensure that he or she understands. One can also seek more information by searching from other sources such as books and credible articles that focus on his or her religion of interest. This will add more depth and clarity concerning the religion.

References:

Atheist: The Atheist Experience. Retrieved from http://www.ustream.tv/channel/The-Atheist-Experience

Mittal, K. R. (2005). Positive mind power. New Delhi, India: Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd,

Small, E. K. (1997). Mutual misconceptions: How Christians and Muslims misunderstand each other. Retrieved from www.spotlights.org/images/Misconceptions.pdf

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