The aim of this essay is to identify what Islamic sexual morals and codes are and how Muslims beliefs in these are affected by living in multicultural societies. Both the positive and negative effects will be stated and looked into. The tools I will use to conduct my research will be Islamic books and search engines on the Internet to find web sites relating to the matter about Islamic moral and sexual codes. I will also use the Internet to find articles or sites, which bring up key information about how Muslims living in multi cultural societies faiths are affected.
I may even have to carry out interviews and questionnaires to find what people living in Bradford feel about their faith and whether or not it is affected by living in a multi cultural society. The purpose of this essay is to distinguish what Islamic sexual and moral codes are and how Muslims belief in these are affected by them living in multi cultural societies, this can be done by looking at Islamic sources such as the Quran, Hadith, and the Sharia’h (which consists of both).
To point out the affects on Islamic moral and sexual codes living in multicultural societies, what will need to be looked into would be factors such as; multicultural societies, how they function, and the effects they have on Muslims. There are many meanings associated with multiculturalism. The simplest of definitions is found in any standard dictionary. The actual word means many cultures. Multicultural societies that I will concentrate on will be within Britain, in particular the area of Bradford, which is a large multi-cultural society.
Multi-cultural societies operate on the cultural morals and values that have come through with time, change acceptance and attitudes. Examples of these can be seen in homosexuality. Although it is considered a grave sin and of wrong doing, homosexuality has largely come to be accepted by societies nowadays as “normal”, where as looking ten years back there was much hatred and fear of homosexuality. Homosexual people were not able to show their sexual identities in public, they were restricted to keep their sexuality private, as of fear of society.
Now heavily publicised and used vastly as a tool by the media, homosexuals are free to show their sexuality in public and are accepted as “normal” by society. They are seen as another brick in the wall. To retrieve relative information on this matter, comparisons on religious and cultural matters will need to be examined, as well as pointing out people’s views and the conditions they are subject to. Also by pointing out whether or not there is Islamic law in place, and the extent to which Muslims follow this by.
I shall also be mainly concentrating on the younger Muslim generation. Islamic moral and sexual codes come from the Shari’s. As they are part of the Islamic teaching, they are a way of which to live your day-to-day life. Islam is a complete way of life it is a ‘deen’. Within it are many rules of do’s and don’ts (halal and haram). Everything is permissible in Islam except for what God has prohibited either in Quran or Sunnah (which is a practical interpretation of the Quran).
Many Islamic scholars also agree upon this view. The Islamic sharia’h removes from human beings harmful burdensome customs and superstitions, aiming to simplify and ease the business of day to day living. Its principles are designed o protect man from evil and to benefit him in all aspects of his life. ” (Yusuf al’ Qaradawi) Shari’s means ‘a clear straight path’, the way in which God wants men to walk’. The whole idea of sharia’h is set down for Muslims exactly what they should and should not do. Shari’s comes from sources such as the Quran, which is the primary source, and secondary sources such as Sunnah and Hadith.
Muslims are constantly reminded about the rights and wrongs of their actions daily through things such as Salat (five daily prayers) which reminds them of their promise to God and reminds them of their duties towards God and the duties God has given them. Another way is through Taqwa (God consciousness). Through this a Muslim is reminded that God is constantly watching him or her and that every action and deed they do will be accounted for. “Those who fear their Lord in their most secret thoughts and who hold the Hour (of Judgement) in awe. (21:49).
Therefore a Muslim is expected to be constantly on their guard in avoiding sins such as Islam prohibits premarital sex. This is because there are certain parts in the Quran, which tell Muslims to avoid indecency and fornication, ‘ Come not nigh to shameful deed whether open or secret’, (sura 6 v151). The verse, ‘And among His signs is this that He has created for you mates from among yourselves so that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them’, (sura 30 v21) is taken to mean that sex should only occur in marriage.
All Muslims believe that sex is restricted to marriage and that it has certain implications for Muslim social life. Zina (sex outside marriage) is haram. According to Yusuf al Qaradawi ” when Islam prohibits something, it closes all the avenues of approach to it. This is accomplished by ruling out every step and every means leading to haram. Accordingly, whatever excites passions opens up ways for illicit sexual relations between a man and a woman and promotes indecency and obscenity is haram.
This is one of the reasons why in Islam the sexes are kept apart as much as possible and why men and women must wear modest baggy clothing, which do not bring attention to their sexual features. Men are not allowed to wear silk or gold and women must have everything but their faces, hands and feet covered when in the presence of men they can marry. These rules have been based on Quranic statements such as sura 33 v 33-39. As mentioned before Islamic moral codes stem from the Sharia’h and are laws by which Muslims must live their day-to-day lives.
By living in a multi-cultural environment, you can become subject to a non-Islamic environment. Young British Muslims, like all other young British people, shape their identities within parameters set by the wider world. They seek a sense of their own worth and contribution within family, peer-group, neighbourhood and community affairs, and within the institutions, systems and organisations (particularly those relating to education and employment) to which they belong. The influences and pressures on them come from a range of different, often conflicting, directions, and all of which are at a higher extreme in multi-cultural societies.
Certain acts that take place in multi cultural environments are considered to be the norm but are regarded as haram (prohibited) in Islam. Living in societies where your beliefs cut you off from an act considered being the “norm” can bring up social barriers. Certain Muslims would feel like they have lost out on a common ground between themselves and the people they socialise with, creating peer pressure and loosing that sense of belonging amongst the people you set around you.
A lot more factors come into play with an example of this can be seen in pre-marital sex. As mentioned earlier Islam forbids pre-marital sex, however in certain multi-cultural societies sex outside of marriage is considered to be the norm. Sex is heavily publicised and used as tool for advertising and selling products by the media, and has largely come to be a source of public entertainment and common practice. By coming into contact of such a thing there are bound to be negative or positive effects on Muslims and the strength of their faith.
Some Muslims living in multi-cultural societies find it hard for them to “blend” in with their peers as of their beliefs. As mentioned before Islam does prohibit certain acts, foods of substances. One such thing is alcohol. The Islamic shari’ah clearly shows that alcohol is forbidden in Islam. However it may not be so easy for certain Muslims to “fit in” with their peers if they do not drink any alcoholic substances, a barrier comes about them and their peers. They loose out on some common ground and so become different, and some may even feel like the odd one out.
The influences and pressures on them come from a range of different, often conflicting, directions. In the notes, which follow, we recall briefly seven of these. The first being agenda (resistance and struggle). However, they have far fewer active supporters than the mainstream media claim. The family. Muslim families, like all families, vary in their approaches to child rearing and in the freedoms they permit to teenagers, and vary in their own loyalties and sense of belonging.
Young Muslims like all young people at all times and in all places, may be impatient or critical regarding some of their parents’ loyalties and priorities. The second factor being the mosque. Up to the age of 14 most Muslim children attend a local mosque school. The pedagogical style is typically different from that which they encounter at their mainstream school, for it puts much emphasis on learning the Qur’an in Arabic by heart and on oral repetition (tartil/tajwid), and gives relatively low priority, in the first instance, to discussion and intellectual understanding.
The imams and other teachers at the mosque schools mostly received their own education, both secular and religious, outside Britain. There is an increasingly widespread perception in Muslim communities that imams are not equipped by their own training to help young British Muslims cope with issues such as unemployment, racism and Islamophobia, drugs, the attractions of Western youth culture, and so on.
By and large mosques do not provide educational activities for young people over the age of 14, and thus are not well placed to support them if and when they question, as many in their mid and late teens are inclined to do, the pedagogy which they encountered at the mosque school and the interpretations of Islam which were presented. Muslim youth organisations which seek to promote understanding of the Muslim faith within the setting of a non-Muslim country such as Britain.
Their publications are in English, as are the meetings, which they organise. For many young Muslims there are a disparity, they feel, between what they hear and learn from such organisations and what they were told at the mosque school or by their families. At the very time that they become more devout and observant in their own personal Muslim beliefs and in their determination to live according to Muslim principles, they feel that the mosques and imams are often unable to respond to their particular needs and concerns.
Later we quote from a recent essay competition for Muslim students, to show the kinds of religious, social and ethical issues, which concern them. Extremist Muslim organisations. These too use English in their publications and meetings, and are implicitly or explicitly critical of aspects of traditional Islam, which they consider to be cultural accretions rather than essential. Also their discourse is frequently anti-western and they have closed and hostile views of other religions. Their references to Judaism and Israel are indistinguishable from crude anti-Semitism.
Their phobic hostility to all things western is a mirror image of western Islamophobia and indeed helps to feed it. Their simplistic messages can be attractive to young people, since they appear at first sight to give a satisfactory picture of the total world situation (the West is the root of all evil) and appear to have a clear practical The Islamophobic messages of the mass media. These often have the effect of undermining young people’s self-confidence and self-esteem, their confidence in their parents and families, and their respect for Islam.
The distorted image portrayed by the media is so profound, it is believed by Muslim elders that 60-80 per cent of young Muslims will never practise Islam other than … rituals. ” Islamophobia makes extremist organisations, however, even more attractive. An editorial article in a Muslim periodical has put the point as follows: “For many youngsters, Islam is proving to be a genuine way out, a way to make sense of the bewildering maelstrom of currents surrounding them. For many others, it is a reactionary grab at something they see as a source of opposition.
The irony is that by demonising Muslims the mass media is also erecting a romantic notion of opposition to mainstream culture. ” The largely secular culture of mainstream society, encountered through the education system and the mass media, and in employment and training. Mainstream western culture is largely indifferent to all forms of religious commitment, not only to Islam. Also, at the same time, it seems distinctively hostile to Islam, since so many Muslims meet rejection when they apply to mainstream employers for jobs, and since so many are unemployed.
The Policy Studies Institute’s recent research showed a clear decline in religious observance amongst younger Muslims. The street culture of the young people themselves. There are trends amongst young British Muslims, particularly those who are unemployed or who expect to be unemployed, towards territoriality and gang formation, and towards anti-social conduct, including criminality. In the prison population of England and Wales the numbers of Muslims increased by 40 per cent in the period 1991-1995. Such trends exist everywhere in the world where young people feel dispossessed and disadvantaged.
Amongst other things social exclusion is a fertile seedbed for extremists. From researching into the title given for this task, I have come to the conclusion that Islam in Britain, like Islam in the world, has many facets. From the research I had conducted into this essay I can say that British Muslims have links with a range of cultural, regional, ethnic and national traditions, are involved in British society and public life in a range of different ways, and are influenced by a diversity of strands and schools of thought within Islam itself.
In Islam, as in other faiths and systems of belief, there are lively explorations and debates. This also includes the practical interpretation and application of historic teachings; the distinction between what is authentic, abiding and essential in the inherited traditions as distinct from localised and an accident of history; the training, responsibilities and authority of leaders, and how to prepare the younger generation for the future.