Arab Culture

By Soujanya G, Alishba D, and Faba V

The People of Arab

Religious Beliefs

Women are required to wear a Hijab (head cover). They are not required to wear it at home or with other family members who they cannot marry. However, a woman’s beauty is not meant for the public. This may cause a problem when there is an emergency and a male doctor may have to remove her Hijab due to a head injury. This case may cause religious problems/issues. Women in this religion are also not allowed to strip in front of a male doctor.


Male/Female Roles

Women are treated as equals to males. They are worthy of the same respect in the religion. A males household cannot strive without a woman. The role of the male is to provide the family with the necessities. The role of the woman is to to take care of the children and the house.


Methods of Treatment

In the islamic religion, people exercise right after their meals in order to lessen the chances of getting cholesterol. Their prayers help with the exercise because they do physical activity while praying. The prayers keep their body active, prevent them from muscle/joint disease. The performance of prayers put almost all the major muscles in the boy to use.


Response to Pain

The people of Islam respond to pain by taking a lot of medication. However, a religious practice of response to pain would be to make a handful of homemade remedies in order to lessen the pain. People in pain usually keep close to their loved ones in order to try to forget/ignore the pain.


Beliefs and Practices Surrounding Births

The islamic people encourage women to give birth in the most natural way possible. They also encourage natural processes after birth such as breastfeeding instead of store-bought milk. There are rituals and prayers said when there is a new addition to the family in hopes of keeping the child healthy and safe.


Interpersonal Customs

Most Arabs DO NOT share the American concept of “personal space” in public situations, and in private meetings or conversations. It is considered OFFENSIVE TO STEP OR LEAN AWAY! Women are an exception to this rule. DO NOT stand close to, stare at, or touch a woman. Women cannot make eye contact with other males except her husband, father, and son. Women wear veils.


Special Symbols, Books, and Religious Practices

5 Pillars:

#1 is Shahadah-- Declaring their is one God (Allah) and Muhammad is the last messages of Allah.

#2 is Salat-- Pray 5 times a day.

#3 is Fasting-- Fasting during the whole month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset, without water and food.

#4 is Alms- Giving (tax)-- Giving 2.5 percent of ones saving to the poor or needy yearly.

#5 is pilgrim (Saudi Arabia)-- Pilgrim to Makkah at least once in your lifetime if he or she can.


An Arab worldview is based upon six concepts:

Atomism: Arabs tend to see the world and events as isolated incidents, snapshots, and particular moments in time. Westerners tend to look for unifying concepts whereas Arabs focus on parts, rather than on the whole.

Faith: Arabs usually believe that many, if not all, things in life are controlled by the will of God (fate) rather than by human beings.

Wish versus Reality: Arabs, much more than Westerners, express emotion in a forceful and animated fashion. Their desire for modernity is contradicted by a desire for tradition (especially Islamic tradition).

Justice and Equality: Arabs value justice and equality among Muslims, and to a lesser degree to others. All actions taken by non-Arabs will be weighed in comparison to tradition and religious standards.

Paranoia: Arabs may seem paranoid by Western standards. Many are suspicious of any Western interest or intent in their land.


Importance of family over self: Arabic communities are tight-knit groups made up of even tighter family groups. Family pride and honor is more important than individual honor.

There is one book called Quran.

Green is the symbolic color of Islam.

Green is also the color of the banners used on the battlefield and the color of the first Islamic flag.

Islam also considers green significant because it is the color of nature.

Green is also a popular color used in art and architecture in Muslim nations.

Green is one of the dominate colors of Arab flags and considered a Pan-Arab color.

Black, red, and white are also very important and common colors. Traditionally these three colors, along with green, are preferred.


Major Health Concepts

Throughout the Arab World today, the Western allopathic system of cosmopolitan/technological medicine is widely available, often through a socialized government system. Availability, however, tends to be much greater in the urban centers than in the rural countryside. In addition, in many regions there tends to be a private fee-for-service sector that provides care to more wealthy patients with greater perceived quality and decreased waiting times. Public health and health education tend to be limited in the Arab nations. The idea of preventive care is an unknown luxury. Moreover, health education is highly limited. The general level of public awareness about health issues tends to be low.


Cultural routines and beliefs

Common for family members to deal with health issues collectively

Bad news is conventionally delivered to the family members first

Individuals will initially turn to the elders of the family for support, comfort, and advice

Death is a destiny created by God

Prayers and readings from the Qur'an or the Bible are for comfort

Menstrual blood is thought to be polluted and unclean, and female bodies are thought to be fragile

Female genital mutilation is practiced (Yemen and Sudan)

Male circumcision is required by Muslim law


Concept of health

Health is the absence of disease and the ability to cope successfully

An individual is in good health when he/she is able to fulfill his or her role and tasks

There is a dynamic relationship among the individual, environment, and God/the supernatural

Having good health is considered a gift from God

Arab culture and Islamic religion emphasize maintaining good health, hygiene, and diet


Causes of illness

One's sins (illness interpreted as punishment for one's sins)

Evil eye: the belief that a person looking at another with admiration or jealously that can provoke harm

Children and infants are most susceptible

Treatment: wearing special bracelets called "amulets", rituals, and incenses

Germ theory also generally accepted along with bad luck, emotional/spiritual distress, winds or drafts, hot and cold theory, and inadequate diet


Traditional remedies and treatments (also Types of Traditional Healer Utilized)

Burning parts of body with hot metal to reduce sciatic and gastric pain

Bleeding performed to lower blood pressure

Cupping (placing a heated cup upside down to create a suction on the body) to alleviate back pain and bronchitis

Keeping body warm to bring rapid recovery

The usually used herbal medicines and medicinal plants.

Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine was and still is the first choice when dealing with infertility, epilepsy, psychosomatic troubles and depression.

Remedies can be prepared by boiling plants in water or oil or inhaling essential oils.

Remedies can be taken as juice, syrup, roasted, salad, oil, poultice, or paste.


Dietary Customs

Eating less: Overeating is discouraged and throwing away food is forbidden.

You are not allowed to eat pork, lard, Meat that was not killed in the Islamic way, meat coming from an animal which died before slaughter, any food or drink with alcohol in it or a pork by product. They can eat halal meat, which is meat that was prepared in the Islamic way and is permitted to be eaten.


Beliefs and practices surrounding deaths

The human life is considered as sacred, and suicide and euthanasia are forbidden.

If a patient is suffering from a terminal condition and has been assessed as having no hope of recovery, medical treatment can be stopped.

Muslims will often be accepting death and illness because they believe that death has been predestined by God.

Islam doesn’t require treatment be provided just to prolong the final stages of a terminal illness. Under those circumstances, it is allowed to disconnect life supporting systems.

Muslims don’t see illness to be a punishment from God


Health Care Beliefs

During illness, Muslims usually are expected to seek God’s help through prayer and read more of the Quran.

Abortion is not advised unless the mother’s life is in immediate danger.

Providing patients with the same sex physicians is highly recommended.

Euthanasia or Mercy Killing is strictly prohibited.

Muslim doctors can take care of patients with AIDS or sexually transmitted diseases.

Blood transfusions are allowed.

Most muslims do not support human cloning.

Autopsies are not encouraged, unless it is required by law. In that case, they are permitted.

Artificial reproductive technology is permitted only during the span of intact marriage between husband and wife.

Some Muslim women insist on covering the full body, so it may be needed to have a full gown with long sleeves.