Being raised a muslim, we are taught a lot of customs and traditions. However, we are never taught that these are only cultural expectations and not really part of the faith. Through my journey, I have come across a few things that I now understand have nothing to do with faith but no body ever talks about it.
1. Eid is not a religious festival
I was always under the impression Eid was a very important celebration and we weren’t allowed to go to work and we had to get dressed up and pray etc. This is all nonsense. Eid is just an Arab tradition that has been adopted in to Islam but has nothing to do with religion.
2. 40 is the age of maturity
The Quran specifically mentions age 40 as the age of maturity by which you should have left your bad behaviours and ignorance behind and become responsible adults.
3. Food does not need to be certified to be halal
This is something a lot of people struggle with because they feel they need to see the little certification to be able to eat it. They’ve basically decided to let someone else tell them what they can or can not eat instead of deciding for themselves. This is tragic as a lot of Muslims won’t eat at certain places even if they want to because the meat is not certified Halal. I can eat my whopper in peace with no guilt. Yay!
4. No 30 fasts in Ramadan and there is no punishment for breaking a fast
Fasting is something I hate doing. I was told as a child that if you break a fast you have to do 80 to make it up for each one broken. So I never broke a fast intentionally even when I was really uncomfortable. This is nonsense and the whole fasting issue is not completely clear to me any more as I peel off the layers of tradition.
All traditional Muslims pray a particular way. However, this ritual is not from the Quran. God wants us to remember him and call to him if we wants something. Nothing about performing rituals in the Quran especially not 5 times a day.
6. Zakah should be given all year round and not just in Ramadan
Zakha we are told should be paid once a year every year on our wealth. The Quran however talks about paying Zakha when we receive our harvest. For those who are not farmers, that is when you get your income. We must pay Zakha if we want our sins to be forgiven as Zakha also means to purify.
7. All Muslims should write a will
As Muslims, no body every encourages you to write a will. But the Quran demands it so we really should be a bit more financially responsible and write a will. There are even hadiths that indicate the prophet wrote a will before he died.
8. Hijabs are cultural dress and not religious obligations
The issue of hijab seems to be a growing topic. when I was a kid, very few people wore a hijab but now, 90% of the muslims I know wear one. After doing some research on the topic, it is quite clear that there is no such stipulation.
9. Friday prayer
The Quran does not mention any particular day in the Quran. It does however talk about a congregation and taking a close look, it’s quite clear that the purpose of the congregation is to discuss the teachings of the quran and community issues. Last time I went to a mosque on a friday, It was quite clear the sole purpose people were there was do do their rituals and leave.
10. Stoning adulterers and lashes for fornication
There is not specific punishment mentioned in the quran regarding adultary. The punishment for having sex in public (in front of 4 or more witnesses) is 80 lashes but two people committing an indecent act in private is not an issue for the Quran. The stoning of adulterers was added during Umur’s rule who, on the advice of his advisor’s decided to introduce the punishment as it was mentioned in the bible.
We are told that free mixing is a sin, girls and boys cant be friends and dating is definitely out of the question. However there are no evidence to support these assumptions. Men and women are equally responsible for their community so how can they do that if they are not allowed to work together. There are also no stipulations regarding arranged marriages in the Quran so how are tow people supposed to find a mate?
12. Alcohol, intoxicants & Gambling
The Quran warns us against intoxicants and gambling can lead to committing a sin highlighting there are benefits but the sins outweigh the benefits. The Quran also does not talk of any punishments associated with either drinking or gambling which is further evidence that the actions themselves are not sinful. Now I can buy my lottery ticket without having to hide it.
13. Muslim names
Having a muslim name is your number 1 clue that someone is a muslim. It was always emphasised that if you’re a muslim, you have to have muslim name. Some cultures even say it’s mandatory for boys to have the name Mohammed in their name so you have a lot of Mohammeds in the world. It’s a bit like a club or a cult where you’re not a real muslim unless you have a muslim name. There is not evidence to support this attitude and there is no such thing as a muslim name anyway as they are just arab names.
14. Circumcision male and female
circumcising your child has become a mandatory process if you consider yourself to be a good muslim. This is utter nonsense. For those who say it’s sunnah, ask yourself, ‘if the prophet was circumcised as a child then he was a pagan arab so aren’t you just continuing a pagan arab tradition?’ Aside from being a barbaric practice, you are changing gods creation thinking you know better and correcting God’s mistake.
Those of you who perform the ritual prayer will say this phrase many times every prayer, many times a day, every day until you die probably. However, I was very surprised to find that God has given himself 99 attributes but Akbar is not one of them. Why is that? Why do we use a man made attribute when god gave us 99 to choose from. A sheer sign of arrogance from mankind towards their creator I think.
This is just me thinking aloud trying to understand my faith. If you have anything else to add to this list them please list them in the comments. If you disagree with any of this, feel free to provide supporting evidence to support your argument.