Discussion Forums - Religion & Spirituality

Topic: Frequently asked questions about Islam

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
L. G. (L)
Subject: Frequently asked questions about Islam
Date Posted: 5/25/2008 5:44 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
Back To Top

There are over 6 million Muslims in the US alone, yet many Americans have no idea what Islam is.  This link has a really good over-view of Islam beliefs, for anyone interested.

25 Frequently Asked Questions about Islam

Also Wiki has an interesting info on regional population, ethnicity, culture and other facts about Muslims in the US.

Islam is practiced by a wide variety of people of many nationalities.   Roughly a third of Muslims in the US are of S. Asian heritage, with families having immigrated from countries such as India, Bangledesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan (among others).  Roughly a third are African-American, and a 25% are Arab, from countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morroco, Libya, Syria and Somalia (and others).  Roughly two percent are "white" Americans and one percent Latino.

Date Posted: 5/25/2008 6:38 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
Back To Top

thanks for posting this, L! 

My biggest pet peeve is the whole "they worship their God", or "we worship God they worship Allah"... it's the same thing! 

Same "god", same diety, same religious history, up to a point,(old testament, just like the Jews) same prophets, etc. 

It's a beautiful religion based on following God's path for you. 

Date Posted: 5/25/2008 8:25 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
Back To Top

Thanks, L.  The Muslims I know well are very spiritual people, and so kind. They don't oppress their women, for pity's sake (this is something I hear a lot), neither do they practice the oppression that hides behind excessive veneration of women (where you get the virgin/whore thing going). They are not militant in their beliefs. They live and let live.

I think I've mentioned before that one of our good friends up the street is a couple with 4 kids: he's Muslim, she's Jewish, and their oldest son, college age, is a born-again Christian. They must have fascinating supper table conversations. Their children shovel our walks every winter and won't accept payment. Good people.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 5/25/2008 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
Back To Top

That must be a pretty cool family, Les. :)  Like all religions, there are extremists and that's usually what makes the media, unfortunately. 

We have Muslims in our family, but we don't see them very often ( they live on the East Coast).

Date Posted: 5/27/2008 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
Back To Top

bumping this up... if anyone has any questions I'll try my best to answer them.  :)

 

ETA; I'll add his here so folks kow were I;m coming from... in high school I did a reseach project on the history of the first century of Isalm. At teh same time I was taking a class in the crisis over Israel/Palestine.  (this was the late 80's sot he intifadah was going strong). I became inammored witht he religin and the region. I converted to Islam then.  I was engaged to marry a Cathlic, so I had to keep that part of myself on the down-low (he knew), when we broke up I re-coverted, and followed the tenets for a year (Ramadan, prayer, keeping covered-but not the head scarf). This was in college. At the same time I was majoring in hsitory and concetrating on Middle Eastern politics and history. My senior thesis was arguing that the US should work WITH the Muslim Brotherhood (this was less than a year after the 1st WTC bombing; infact 10 years later there was a huge piece in the Washington Post that came to the same conclusion, I'm convinced they used my research for partsof that piece,cause it was just too similar).  At the end of college I followed a different path, and didn't continue in my Middle Eastern studies, but it is still something I'm passionate about.  In 2001 I was taching 7th grade world cutlutres, and was blessed to be a guide for children dealing with the attacks jsut a few miles from our school)



Last Edited on: 5/27/08 11:26 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/27/2008 11:02 AM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
Posts: 2,819
Back To Top

Cool, Sam - thanks.

One question:  did you read Aayan Hirsi Ali's book, Infidel?  She made some very strong claims about the Koran and Islam in that book, and I've been wondering about them.   One was that Mohammed was a pedophile because of his young brides.    I know that the Koran allows men to take four wives, but does it expressly say to marry them at a certain age?

Date Posted: 5/27/2008 11:18 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
Back To Top

I haven't read that book.  I don't recall anything in the Quran about when to marry and exactly how many wives, of course it has been 15 years since I've read it. I think most of the daily living things (like wives) comes from the Sunnah (traditions based on how Muhamed lived).  And we've see through the years how those traditions get abused and altered (for good and bad).  In this day and age, multiple wives is extremely rare (except in parts of Saudi Arabia) :)

I look at it this way, as far as ages of wives go- it was the same time as the "Dark Ages" in Europe, and it was not uncommon for girls to marry at 13 there either. :)  So were the Kings of Europe also pedophiles? (I kow you weren't saying this, the author of the book was) 

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 5/27/2008 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
Back To Top

Suzanne, this is from the first link.

**paste*******

21. Does Islam promote polygamy?

No, polygamy in Islam is a permission not an injunction. Historically, all the prophets except Jesus, who was not married, had more than one wife. For Muslim men to have more than one wife is a permission which is given to them in the Quran, not to satisfy lust, but for the welfare of the widows and the orphans of the wars. In the pre-Islamic period, men used to have many wives. One person had 11 wives and when he became Muslim, he asked the Prophet Muhammad (P), "What should I do with so many wives?" and he said, "Divorce all except the four." The Quran says, "you can marry 2 or 3 and up to 4 women if you can be equally just with each of them" (4:3). Since it is very difficult to be equally just with all wives, in practice, most of the Muslim men do not have more than one wife. Prophet Muhammad (P) himself from age 24 to 50 was married to only one woman, Khadija. In the western society, some men who have one wife have many extramarital affairs. Thus, a survey was published in "U.S.A. Today" (April 4, 1988 Section D) which asked 4,700 mistresses what they would like their status to be. They said that "they preferred being a second wife rather than the 'other woman' because they did not have the legal rights, nor did they have the financial equality of the legally married wives, and it appeared that they were being used by these men."

Date Posted: 5/27/2008 8:50 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,704
Back To Top

I have some friends that are Muslim.  Aside from the fact that they don't eat pork or celebrate Christian holidays, they don't live any differently from your average joe.  Very easy-going and friendly, and they even listen to (gasp!) country music.  Apparently, that's a negative side effect of moving to the south.

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2006
Posts: 4,840
Back To Top

This is interesting.   I was just listening to a report on NPR this morning about all the estimated 100,000 Muslims in the U.S. who are "quietly breaking the law" by practicing polygamy.   Check it out on www.npr.org.

 

 

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 3:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

LG thanks for the link. I'm thinking about sending it to a few family members. I'll get tarred and feathered for doing it though.

Beth, there are similar numbers for the FLDS plural marriages in the US now. The LDS doesnt condone plural marriages so the FLDS members branched off and created their own sect. Its like comparing apples to oranges at this point. Both are Mormon but they arent the same group. So while there may be muslim plural marriages they arent practicing according to the doctrine that the vast majority of muslims do.

 

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 3:50 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
Back To Top

The NPR piece was mostly about West AFrican immigrants, while Muslim the multiple marriages stem more from tribal traditions in West Africa and less from modern Islam.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90857818

 

No one knows how many Muslims in the U.S. live in polygamous families. But according to academics researching the issue, estimates range from 50,000 to 100,000 people. ....

Polygamy is freely practiced in parts of Africa, and almost every one of the women in the group has experienced polygamy firsthand – either as a wife in a plural marriage or having been raised in families with one father who has two or more wives. ...

But there's a restriction, says Sally, another group member. The husband cannot favor one woman over another – with his wealth or his heart.

"You have to love them the same way, share everything the same way, equally," says Sally. "Nobody can do that. It's impossible." ...

In the past decade, Muslim clerics began to notice that some men who wanted a religious wedding were already married to someone else.

According to Daisy Khan, who heads the American Society for Muslim Advancement and is married to an imam, polygamy is more common among conservative, less educated immigrants from Africa and Asia. It is rarer among middle-class Muslims from the Middle East. She adds that nowadays, imams do background checks on the grooms to make sure they're not already married in their home countries. ...

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 3:56 PM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2006
Posts: 4,840
Back To Top

I believed us to be discussing Muslims and the practice of Islam.  I didn't know we were distinguishing between "Middle-Eastern Muslims" and "African Muslims."  @@   Anyway, I was just saying it's interesting.

 

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 5/28/2008 5:40 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
Back To Top

Hijack:  Did anyone happen to catch the  - I think it was Dateline - show about polygamy in the US, last night?  It centered on FLDS but also discussed the close to 75,000 non-religious polygamists living in the US.  They showed one family with 3 wifes, and IIRC 26 kids - holy moly!!  They seemed happy enough, though.

Needless to say - It was *very* interesting!

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

I honestly have mixed feelings about polygamy. On one hand I dont see a problem with making consentual plural marriages legal. Do that and several "unwed" mothers can no longer bleed the beast. BUT when it comes down to 14 year old girls being forced to marry and sometimes have sex with 40,50,60,70 year old men its not ok.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 5/28/2008 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
Back To Top

Personally I think Polygamist marriages should be legal for consenting adults. 

T. -
Date Posted: 5/28/2008 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
Posts: 9,989
Back To Top

I know several polygamist families who are pagan.  The pagan polygamy is different than FLDS polygamy in that there is one wife and several husbands.  That is the way it should be, IMO ;0)  Goddess worship at its best.

LG,  I agree,  I believe any consenting adults who would like the protection of marriage should be afforded that right,  regardless of their sexual orientation or number of husbands/wives--with CONSENTING ADULTS being the key words.

Oh, and pagans don't call it polygamy--they call it polyamory.  Many lovers, not many spouses.



Last Edited on: 5/28/08 8:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/28/2008 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
Back To Top

You know one of the major reasons for polygamy is to have lots of children. 

In all fairness I think we should show the same disdain for the polygamists breeding like rabbits as we show towards a monogamous couple that breeds like rabbits.  To do otherwise would be grossly prejudicial.

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 9:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

Rebecca get over yourself. Must you come into every conversation and bring up random stuff that has nothing to do with the current topic just to sling mud?

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
Back To Top


 



Last Edited on: 1/14/14 1:06 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 5/29/2008 12:10 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
Back To Top

Rebecca - love ya, but what are you talking about?

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 8:19 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 4,449
Back To Top
Using big words to justify sniping at members who are genuinely trying to contribute to a conversation doesn't actually mean you've contributed anything yourself. Chris, seriously, shrug it off.
Date Posted: 5/29/2008 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2006
Posts: 4,840
Back To Top

I think polygamy among consenting adults should be legal, too.....But it would lead to some other issues like coverage on insurance policies and such.    I could see lots of companies dropping coverage altogether to keep from having to cover 4 wives!

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

I wont drop it. I refuse to stand back and let someone "walk" all over me. I wont do it. The entire group of forums here have become one big hunting ground where people are just itching for someone to pick on and I will not be the one to run away cause my feelings got hurt. (last comment not directed at anyone in particular)

Anyway back to the conversation at hand. Hopefully we can continue it without further sniping. Beth if some agencies started dropping them others would develop special deals to cater to the polygamists. There would be a demand for it and some company would step up to the plate to fill it.

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,704
Back To Top

I agree that the government would not want polygamy because of financial reasons.   When you sit and think about it, aside from the fact that it's unusual in America, there's really no reason why consenting adults shouldn't be allowed to be in a polygamous marriage.  I can't say that I personally would enjoy one, but that's neither here nor there.  What's to stop a man now from living with three or four women and having children with them?  Nothing legally as far as I know.  As long as he doesn't attempt to marry them, he isn't breaking any major laws (although I'm sure the community would eventually look for something).  They would be denying themselves legal protections and benefits that marriage brings, and that's the kicker.

Page: