A belief system can be defined as structures of norms that define how one views the world. It is an experience or a reason that causes one to think or feel in a certain way. It determines one’s state of body and mind. For example, it can influence one to be happy, depressed and courageous. It also determines behaviors. A Muslim belief system encompass principles related to the unseen creator and to the prophesy constituting of matters like resurrection and the existence of angels. It entails anything from messengers based on the teachings Muslims were commanded to believe in.The Muslim system creates a firm foundation upon which Muslims rests their conduct entailing their entire life.
Muslims’ social, political and economic behaviors are based on their strong belief system. Muslims conducts themselves in the society according to the teachings of Allah. Every Muslim member freely adheres to same principles in preserving a social order. The Qur’an founded the responsibility of collective morality expressed in such terms as brotherhood, solidarity, and justice. However just like any other religion, Muslim interpretation varies. Likewise, the rituals and practices vary. The variation is as a result of the religion evolution after Muhammad died. The religion spread beyond Arabia onto different cultures and regions (Iqbal 46). The diversity was a result of how the core religious beliefs interacted with the different contexts the Muslims lived. These contexts were defined by factors like history, traditions, social, political and economic structures. The social, political and economic behaviors of Muslims are therefore created by these interactions. According to Bhatia (31), Muslims are not equally comfortable with Sharia law. Muslims differ on how they interpret certain Sharia aspects like divorce, family planning among others. According to the study done by Pew Research Centre in 2013, these differences vary by region from Asian countries to Europe. The distinct political and legal cultures explain the different levels of support of Sharia law. For example, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founding father of Turkey introduced the culture of the creation of secular government. By contrast, regions like South Asia and North Africa have officially embraced the Islam.
Islam has a unique history regarding where it traces its roots from.This history can be associated with major problems that have emerged within its belief system. Islam originated from Arab Culture, and all other cultures have adopted and maintained the Arab customs. The Arab culture was born in a desert, it was simple and unsophisticated. After the 9/11, historians, political scientists and other researchers considered Islam as a civilization block that stretches across the globe. The Islam culture is said to perceive west as self-contained and unified civilization and that is why they are in conflict. This perception is conceived from the crippled Arab Culture. The problem is, as per the culture, many Muslims do not believe in things like free speech, a secular state, democracy, free enterprise and human rights. As long as the Arab culture is preserved, many Muslims will continue to hate Israel and Americans for lacking a rational basis.
Apart from problems of the Islam belief system, it also encompasses beneficial teachings. In the past few decades, social work has emerged inspired by the Judeo-Christian tradition. This has been precipitated by the macro social environments and beliefs of the Islam. In the past decade and especially post 1965 when immigration reforms opened opportunities for migration to the US from regions like Africa and Asia, the Muslim population in the US has increased. Muslims have engaged in social work with a specific focus on the issue of social justice and Islam. These reasons for the social work activities can be referenced from the Islam teachings on the development of policy and also the delivery of social services. The Qur’an has a verse that teaches Muslims on social work as follows: “It is not righteous that you turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteous to believe in Allah…to spend of your substance out of love for Him, for orphans, for the needy, for the warfare, for those who ask; for the ransom of slaves…” (2:177).It outlines who, why and whom to deliver service to. Muslims believe they are complete by helping and this is what they get their attitude towards social work. They have received opportunities from this belief which has enabled them to access borders including America to do social work.
The relationship between Islam and how the people of Muslim culture behave is derived from the membership of the community. This is based on community beliefs regarding individual responsibility, rights, and privileges.Every individual must meet his or her obligation to secure their place in the community. Individuals also rely on others to fulfill their obligations and together acquire and share the necessary reservoir of social rights and privileges.The Qur’an expresses brotherhood and solidarity as a notion to the community to care about its members and a requirement for each person to carry out individual and social responsibility to the best of their ability. Qur’an 2:177 specifies that “to be firm and patient, in pain and in adversity, and throughout all periods of pain, such are the people of truth, the God-fearing”. This teaching influence the Muslim people to conduct themselves well even at their worst moments. That explains why one can say Muslims are made by manners. They have respect, they are trustworthy, respectful and have good morals.
Rulers in Islam have a higher burden than others regardless of whether they head a state, family or private enterprise. Rulers are responsible for the application of principles expressed in the Qur’an, and they are accountable to both man and God for their administration. They act in defense of what is right and oppose what is wrong. This is from the obedience of the words once said the prophet, “If someone among you sees wrong he must right it by his hand if he can. If he cannot, then by his tongue; if he cannot then by his gaze; if he cannot; then in his heart. The last is the minimum expression of his conviction” (Hadith 34).
The Qur’an recognizes the human nature and its susceptibility to conflicts. It gives the permission to act in defense. The Muslim scholars have developed a theory regarding defensive warfare following the period Jihad also used to extend the territorial ambitions of ruthless rulers.Today, the theory is distorted to justify terrorism. Just like law and politics, religions can be used to defend and also oppress. The dynamic of conflicts within the Muslim culture emerged from the overlap of different groups. These conflicts are based on the differences within major religions and also relationships among different groups which are on the single religion. An example is the religion based conflict in the Middle East. History reveals that conflicts in this region had its roots from the differences between Islam and Judaism. The Qur’an contains contradictory directives towards Jews.At one point it asks Muslims to treat Jews as their brothers and at another point asks Muslims to attack Jews who refuse to convert to Islam (Vatikiotis 12). The Qur’an also asks Muslims not to befriend Jews and Christian because they believe Jews do not have social order while Christians worship priests. These conflicts have extended and influenced hate on other nations accounting for terrorist attacks in various nations. Many Islamists today state that their aim is to restore a one Muslim nation. The mass demonstration in support of Osama Bin Laden is evidence of this wish of global Islamic unity. The ideology of establishing a totalitarian global rule is a threat to non-Arab Muslims like Turkish Republicans.
Belief systems determine how one views the world. The interactions between norms, beliefs and different experiences in life determine these belief systems.Beliefs constitute the base of one’s life, their conduct, and their intellectual life as well. The interaction of these beliefs with life’s experiences determines our reasoning and level of understanding. The Islam belief systems can explain why Muslims behave in certain ways. Even though a belief system is a major determinant of ones’ life, individuals can differently influence their lives by the way they interpret beliefs. These explain why Muslims sometimes do not support the same ideals like divorce and family planning. However, the larger part of every Muslim is dictated by their belief system which creates a firm foundation upon which they rest their conduct in their entire life.
Al-Hilali, Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din, and Muhammad Muhsin Khan. “THE NOBLE QURAN [with recitation].” (2015).
Bhatia, Amit A. “American evangelicals and Islam: Their perspectives, attitudes, and practices towards Muslims in the US.” Transformation 34.1 (2017): 26-37.
Iqbal, Mohammad. The reconstruction of religious thought in Islam. Stanford University Press, 2013.
Vatikiotis, Panayiotis Jerasimof. Conflict in the Middle East. Routledge, 2016.