Islamic Values vs. Muslim Values
The misconceptions that surround Islam in this day and age are too great to number.
A repeated scene is that of a Muslim having a discussion with a
non-Muslim and trying to explain that Muslims are not terrorists, Muslims are not
wife-beaters, that these actions are the deeds of a few which are then unjustly imposed on
the whole Muslim population. But if the whole Muslim population had presented themselves
in an Islamic manner in the first place, the reputation of a Muslim would be far too
virtuous to allow the misdeeds of a few to tarnish the image of the whole Muslim world.
But Muslims generally do not present Islamic values, they present Muslim values; and the
difference between these two can sometimes be as vivid as night and day.
What is meant by Islamic values and Muslim values?
Islamic values are those that are set
out in the Quran and the practice of the noble Messenger, Muhammad (S).
Muslim values are
those that are created as part of the culture of the Muslim communities. These include the
day-to-day interaction between the Muslims and their outlook on Islam's rules and
regulations. The difference is that Islam is perfect and pure, while the values formulated
by the Muslims may or may not be in accordance with Islam. The detriment that arises from
this is that many times precedence is given to the Muslim values over the Islamic values.
This is not to say that Muslims do not care about Islam, they care for and love Islam
deeply, they have concern for their children's Islamic upbringing and the welfare of the
Muslims all over the world. But what happens is that certain practices become common among
them and their mentalities are set on justifying these practices instead of accepting the
Islamic rulings on such things. They become a part of the Muslim culture and mentality,
and so it becomes difficult to try to explain to them that Islam forbids such things.
An understanding has to be conveyed that the Muslim communities will only thrive if they
adhere to the principles of Islam. The concept of Islam that the non-Muslims have is
directly related to the actions of the Muslim communities, because the majority of them
will not go out and research about Islam, they will make their judgments based on what
they see the Muslims doing. So it is not surprising for them to think that Muslims drink
alcohol, go to discos and nightclubs, engage in promiscuous relationships, and many other things
that a Muslim
should not be doing. On the flip side, it is not surprising for them to be ignorant of the
fact that a Muslim is supposed to pray at least five times a day, he/she has to fast
during Ramadhan, go to Hajj once in a lifetime, abstain from cursing and abusive language,
abstain from backbiting, go to masjid on Fridays for jum'a prayer, read Quran, and other
basic obligations that a Muslim has.
The result is that a distorted image of Islam, the pure
and perfect religion, is presented to them, and in response the Muslims try to say that it
is a few Muslims ruining it for the rest of them. But this is not the case, the
responsibility lies with the majority of the Muslims who themselves are not acting
Islamically. Yes, it is true that the terrorists are few, and that the equation of a
Muslim with a terrorist is wrong and unjust. But this is an isolated incident, and in
general it is the majority of the Muslims ruining things for themselves. This can only be
corrected by starting at the root of the problem, the Muslim family and attendance in the
Islamic centers. If the parents are consistent in teaching their children and are
themselves consistent in practicing Islam, and if the entire family attends the Islamic
centers on a regular basis, then we will see an amazing transformation in the conduct of
the Muslims, as individuals and as communities. Then when the non-Muslims look to the
actions of the Muslims they will actually learn about Islam, and will not have to worry
about whether or not what they are seeing is Islam.
As Muslims, we have to strive to make our Muslim values
the same as our Islamic values. Only then can we truly be considered believers.