Islam vs. Culture

Where does religion end and culture begin? I’ve been pondering on this topic for awhile now and there is just so much to talk about, at least in Sri Lanka there is. I still remember when I started learning about Islam I was shocked at some things because what I thought was Islam, was actually culture and what people practised as Islam, was again unfortunately culture. So I was thinking on doing a whole segment on this. What are your thoughts my dear sisters and brothers?

While I want it to be funny and entertaining (trust me some of them are pretty entertaining) I want it to be serious as well. I want Muslims and non-Muslims to understand what Islam is and what culture is. Being a revert is difficult, and most of this difficulty comes in this ‘culture’ aspect. At least it has been the case for me. We (reverts) are either misunderstood by Muslims because we practice Islam without any cultural modifications, or we are misunderstood by non-Muslims who are totally confused at what kind of hybrid Muslim kind we are. Eg. When I tell my mom I will stop at the most and pray before I miss my prayers, she looks at me like I’m crazy, why? Coz people think women don’t go to (or worse, aren’t allowed in) mosque ! At least most of the non-Muslims do.

So inshallah I hope this helps all kinds of people, new brothers and sisters, and those who might just want to learn a few things about Islam in Sri Lanka. But of course please know, I’m not a scholar so I have no authority to say what is right and wrong, I only base this on what I have learnt and I shall, inshallah, put all references to hadiths. I urge those who read it to double check, and if I am wrong, have the patience and consideration to correct me without going full out nuclear on me 🙂 I don’t claim I am anyway a Islamic scholar, like you I am still learning, so please don’t think I am claiming to be perfect. These are just my observations as a new Muslim. I’m not insulting Islam (I love Islam). I am saying sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. I encourage any sisters or brothers who have also noticed such Islam vs. Culture situations to share your experiences. We can all share and learn.