MUSLIM CULTURE

Sravika and Pragna

Dietary Customs

Muslims are allowed to eat what is "good" (Qur'an 2:168) - that is, what is pure, clean, wholesome, nourishing, and pleasing to the taste. In general, everything is allowed (halal) except what has been specifically forbidden

Prohibited foods:

  • dead meat (i.e. carcass of an already-dead animal)
  • blood
  • flesh of swine (pork)
  • intoxicating drinks
  • meat of an animal that has been sacrificed to idols
  • meat of an animal that died from strangulation or blunt force
  • meat from which wild animals have already eaten

Religious Beliefs

The most important belief in Islam, and arguably the central theme of Islam, is that there is only one God. Allah, which is simply Arabic for "the (al) God (Ilah)."

For a Muslim, the object of life is to live in a way that is pleasing to Allah so that one may gain Paradise. It is believed that at puberty, an account of each person's deeds is opened, and this will be used at the Day of Judgment to determine his eternal fate.

  • The sanctity of life is an injunction.
  • Abortion is not advised except to save the mother's life or in very limited circumstances in early pregnancy due to medical or fetal indications. Individual decisions may vary.
  • It is a religious custom that an elder says the Islamic prayer call in an infant's right ear shortly after birth.
  • Circumcision of male infants is recommended and is universally practiced.
  • Blood transfusions are allowed.
  • Artificial reproductive technology is permitted only during the span of intact marriage between husband and wife.
  • Organ transplantation, both donating and receiving, is allowed with some restrictions (donor material of porcine origin).
  • Genetic engineering to cure a disease is acceptable. To date, Muslim jurists have called for a ban on human cloning.
  • Islam does not prohibit Muslim physicians from caring for AIDS patients or those with other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Assisted suicide and euthanasia are not permitted.
  • Maintaining a terminal patient on artificial life support for a prolonged period in a vegetative state is not encouraged.
  • Autopsy is not encouraged. However, it is permitted if required by law.

Interpersonal Customs

172 – Rule: Men are allowed to speak to non-Mahram women as long as the following two conditions are met:

It is not with the intention of lust.

The speaking does not lead either one of them to commit a sin.

173 – Rule: It is Makruh to speak to non-Mahram women, unless it is in the case of a necessity, especially if the one being spoken to is a young woman.

174 – Rule: If a man knows that by speaking to a non-Mahram woman, he will fall into sin, then he must not speak to her; whether the woman speaks in such a way that she lures him into sin, or the topic is such that the man falls into sin.

175 – Rule: It is haram for a man to speak to a non-Mahram woman with the intention of making her fall into sin.

Therefore: The conversations that are carried out with the intention of making others fall into sin (lustful conversations), such as explaining or describing sexual acts and scenes, are haram.

176 – Question: Is it allowed for a man to talk to a non-Mahram woman who wants to speak to him in a lustful manner? (In the event that the man knows that he will not fall into a sin?)

Answer: It is not allowed.

Answer: In the event that it helps or leads to a haram act, it must be avoided. B

177 – Rule: If a man fears that by speaking to a non-Mahram woman, she will make him fall into sin, then he must not speak to her.

178 – Rule: If a man knows that by speaking to a non-Mahram woman he will fall into sin other than that of a sexual nature, then it is not allowed for him to speak to her.

Therefore: If a man knows that by talking to a non-Mahram woman, he will be compelled to lie, backbite, or put a false accusation on somebody - whether she makes him fall into sin, or he himself by means of talking to her falls into a sin, then it is not allowed to talk to her.

179 – Question: If one fears that by talking to a certain non-Mahram woman he will fall into sin, then is it allowed for him to talk to her?

Answer: It is not allowed.

180 – Question: What is the ruling for a man to talk in such a way in that he imitates a woman’s voice, or vice versa?

Answer: It is not a problem if: it is not the voice of a specific woman whom he knows and this causes her degradation or dishonor; and this action of imitation does not stimulate him and it is not something vain and futile, and the same applies the other way around (a woman imitating the voice of a man).

181 – Rule: It is not allowed to talk to someone about anything that is related to sexual or intimate issues (except one’s spouse).

182 – Rule: Women are permitted to speak to non-Mahram men if the following conditions are met:

The speaking is not done with the intention of lust and seeking (sexual) pleasure.

The woman does not make her voice soft and attractive.

There is no fear of falling into corruption.

183 – Rule: It is Makruh for women to speak to men if it is not necessary.

184 – Rule: It is not allowed for a woman to speak to a non-Mahram man with the intention of making him fall into sin; whether she specifies that the reason she is talking to him is to make him fall into sin, or she talks about something that would make the non-Mahram man fall into a sin - such as explaining stimulating and sensual scenes, or explaining about things that would make the non-Mahram man become aroused upon hearing them.


Asking help from non-Mahram men for things that are not necessary; asking non-Mahram men questions while it is possible to ask a Mahram the same question; having discussions with men and putting one’s self between a discussion; exposing one’s talents or virtues to a non-Mahram and socializing with non-Mahram men more; having more of an affection to work in an environment in which there are non-Mahram men – in summary, all examples such as these in which there is a probability of falling into sin, and interactions in such places which are commonly done with the intention of deriving (sexual) pleasure, can lead to being be haram, according to the Laws of Islam.

185 – Rule: When a woman is speaking to a man, she must not make her voice pleasing and soft, such that if the person with whom she is talking to has a sickness in his heart, he will become attracted to her, even if she is talking to him about a general matter.

186 – Question: Is a woman allowed to speak to a non-Mahram man who wants to talk with her in a lustful manner? (In the event that the woman knows that she will not fall into sin?)

Answer: It is not allowed.

187 – Question: Is it allowed for women to recite in a chorus in the presence of non-Mahram men? What is the ruling for non-Mahram men to hear such a thing?

Answer: If it leads to corruption, then it is not allowed. Rather, normally, when women are singing or reciting in the presence of men and men are listening to it, this leads to corruption and thus, it is not allowed.

Answer: As long as there is no intention of lust or corruption involved, then women singing in a chorus and non-Mahram men listening to them, is not a problem. L

188 – Question: Is it allowed for a man to listen to a woman singing alone, if it does not lead to (sexual) excitement?

Answer: It is not allowed.

Answer: If it leads to corruption, then it is not allowed. Rather, normally, when women are singing or reciting in the presence of men and men are listening to it, this leads to corruption, and thus, it is not allowed.

189 – Question: What is the ruling on listening to poems (read) with emotion and feeling that the radio stations of the Islamic Republic of Iran broadcast?

Answer: If it leads to corruption, then it is not allowed.

Answer: If it is not in the category of Ghina and it is not stimulating, then it is not a problem.

190 – Rule: It is not a problem for women to recite Qur’an in front of non-Mahram men, even if it is in a pleasing voice, with the condition that it is not arousing nor does it cause corruption.

If it leads to corruption, then it is not permitted; rather, most often, women reading (Qur’an) in the presence of men and men listening to such a thing leads to corruption and thus, it is not allowed.

Women and girls must not recite the Qur’an in a tone in the presence of non-Mahram men, and similarly, if a man is reciting in a way that a woman gets enjoyment (of a lustful type), then it is a problem.

191 – Question: Is it allowed to read romance novels in which sexual issues are being discussed? Also, is it allowed to print such books?

Answer: It is not allowed.

Male/Female Roles

Although the Qur'an views women and men to be equal in human dignity, this spiritual or ethical equality has not been reflected in most Muslim laws. For example, women do not have equal rights to make independent decisions about choice of (marriage) partner, getting a divorce and custody of their children. Reformists and feminists have challenged women’s lack of rights and lack of control over their own lives in Muslim laws through the various techniques as in the section ‘Framework for Progressive Islam’.

Major Health Concepts

Matters concerning family (abortion, birth control) require both spouses to agree and consent forms are to be signed jointly. Women are very modest and frequently wear clothes that cover all of their body. During a medical examination, the women's modesty should be respected as much as possible. Whenever possible Muslim women prefer female doctors. For 10 days after giving birth and 5 to 6 days after menstruation, a woman is exempt from ritually prescribed prayer since this is a time of cleansing for her, although she may request privacy for personal devotions.

Abortion is permitted where the mother's health is in imminent danger. In addition, before the fetus attains personhood, that is during the first 120 days, abortion is permissible if the woman would stop lactating for another child. Rape is also a valid reason for abortion if there is a fear of psychological damage and problems that could lead to physical symptoms. Birth control is also permissible if the prescribed method does not have any adverse impact on the health of either spouse and if it does not lead to permanent sterilization.

Beliefs in the cause of illnesses

Illness and suffering are a part of the way God made the world. Muslims generally do not see illness as divine punishment. God may, however, cause illness as a test, a way of realigning a person with God’s purposes, or a means of cleansing away sins. Some Muslims also believe that a jinn (alt., djinn)or invisible spirit, may inhabit the body and cause sickness; this is sometimes linked to an act of sorcery.

During illness, Muslims are to seek God's help with patience and prayer, increase the remembrance of God to obtain peace, ask for forgiveness, give more in charity, and read or listen to more of the Qur'an. God rewards those who bear their suffering with patience and faith in God’s mercy. Ultimately, sickness can be a means to a closer relationship with God, the Healer.

Methods of treatment/ response to pain

Basically Tibb al-Islami is a branch of Islamic knowledge and is an effort to cure disease(s), sickness using methods that is/are in accordance to alQuran & asSunnah and the ijtihad of asSolafussoleh. The disease or sickness can be physically or spiritually. And the treatment is not confined to only on humans, but to a much wider including animals, plants/trees, buildings, roads, bridges etc.

Physical illness includes fever, cancer, paralysis etc...
Spiritual/mental illness includes illness afflicted by jinns, hasad (jealousy), uncontrolable rage/anger, etc.

Various physical and spiritual illness can be cured using Islamic treatment. The method includes using certain du'as (taken from alQur'an, alHadith and the practices of the Salafussoleh). Aside from du'as, using ingredients (eg water, honey, sidr leaves, etc) that are halal can also be used in treating the illness.

Beliefs/ practices regarding birth/death:

A baby is bathed immediately after birth, before giving it to the mother. The father (or mother or the imam) then whispers the call to prayer in child's ears so that the first sounds it hears are about Muslim faith. Circumcision of the male child is recommended within the first seven days. If for some medical reason this is not possible it can be performed before puberty. A baby born prematurely but at least 130 days gestation is given the same treatment as any other infant.

Since the introduction of advanced medical technology, besides the traditional definition of death which occurred when the heart and lungs stopped functioning, some Muslim schools of thought (mainly Sunni* and some Shia* Muslims) have accepted brain death as a valid definition when the brain ceases to function and brain cells begin to die. As such, artificial means may be used to preserve the body long enough to remove viable organs that are to be donated according to the conditions stated below.

Special symbols:

Prayer rug and the Koran must not be touched by anyone ritually unclean (e.g., with blood or urine on hand), and it is preferable that nothing should be placed on top of it. Some Muslims wear amulet, a black string or silver or gold chain on which sections of the Koran are attached. These, if requested by the client, should not be removed and must remain dry.