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A description of religion of building blocks of our society

Siddiq migrated to the United States in the late 1980s from Pakistan. Muhammad Uthman came to the United States as a masters student in the mid-1990s.

He studied computer engineering at a prestigious university, intending to return to his native Egypt. As it turned out, he met his future wife, a Syrian American, and decided to stay.

Mary Kief was one of two siblings born to an Arab father and an American mother. With very little contact with her paternal family, Mary thought little about her identity except as a born-and-bred American.

However, things began to change once she started attending college, embarking herself on a journey of self-discovery. The above three examples aptly characterize the diversity of Muslim families inhabiting the United States. Family in Islam The family unit is an important component of Islam, and all elements of a family are given due significance — from parents to children to spouses to kith and kin.

Parents The Holy Quran repeatedly reminds its readers of the duties children have toward parents, particularly in their old age. God says in the Quran: And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve any but Him, and goodness to your parents. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: A female companion of the Prophet once asked him how she should treat her mother who was not a Muslim and followed pagan tribal customs and beliefs.

In addition, parents must provide proper education to their children along with raising them to be morally upright and responsible individuals of society. Prophet Muhammad pbuh has said the best gift a father can give his child is good education. The Prophet pbuh also laid great emphasis on proper treatment of daughters and promised the reward of paradise for parents who raise their daughter s well.

At the same time, God calls for moderation in the Quran: Let not your wealth, or your children, divert you from the remembrance of Allah; and whoever does that, these are the losers. Like all great religions, Islam also emphasizes the institution of marriage.

Teaching Religion: Building Blocks of Faith

God says in the Holy Quran: Homosexuality References to marriage within the Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh are unmistakably heterosexual. In fact, homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Islam.

The story of Lot is repeatedly mentioned in the Quran and the behavior of his people is termed indecent, excessively sinful, lewd, evil, and shameful. While Muslims do not discriminate against gays and lesbians as human beings, they detest their homosexuality as something which transgresses the bounds set by God from the beginning of time. In this vein, orthodox Christianity and Judaism continue to strongly condemn homosexuality as well.

Click here to learn more about the Islamic perspective on sexual deviation. The Process of Marriage While the concept of dating does not exist in Islam and intercourse prior to marriage is prohibited, the Islamic notion of marriage recognizes the need to determine compatibility between future spouses.

For instance, when marrying their eldest daughter, Sarah, the Siddiqs made sure she and her suitor were given an opportunity to speak with one another with moderated supervision before either side made a commitment. Once they were engaged, the two continued a dialogue via phone and email. Spouses are selected in different ways. Through it all, the focus is on the immediate goal of marriage. In this way, Islam strives to keep the spirit of matrimony alive: Contrary to popular beliefs, Islam does not avow forced marriages irrespective of the gender; in fact, a marriage is incomplete without express approval by both the bride and groom.

In practice, arranged marriages in Islam refer to the process where a third party introduces two families with children of marriageable age. Yet, the essence of marriage lies in the nuptial contract signed by both the bride and groom after verbal affirmation to marry one another, which is overseen by two witnesses.

They take their cue from the following words of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh: Following this tradition, Mary Kief decided to keep her last name after marriage without any objections from her husband. Moreover, Islamically, the wife is free to keep her income since the husband is expected to provide for the upkeep of the home and family. In actuality, though, many couples maintain joint bank accounts and share the burdens of the home together.

Divorce, while discouraged, is a social reality which is accepted and legalized. The wife or the husband may initiate the annulment process, which involves months-long negotiations with arbiters from both sides in the hopes of mending the relationship before a final decision is reached. Polygamy Although polygamy is practiced by a minority among Muslims, it is by no means the norm.

Islam permits men to marry up a description of religion of building blocks of our society four wives at a time and this custom is more prevalent in some cultures than others. If a man chooses to have more than one wife, he must deal with all of them with justice.

Family: The Building Blocks of Society

Carrying the Legacy Forward Having children is often the natural next step for many Muslim couples although some choose to wait a few years before conceiving whereas others are unable to do so — as is pretty much the case with people all over the world. Naming the child can become a family affair with the involvement of grandparents at times, whereas some couples opt to name their own a description of religion of building blocks of our society.

Some couples live in a joint family system; others prefer to live as nuclear families and may reside in close proximity to either set of parents or a great distance away depending on job locations, chosen community, or preference of state. Nonetheless, frequent family reunions, particularly during summer holidays or weddings, are common. Many visit their countries of origin for this purpose. Conversely, families abroad also regularly visit their American counterparts.

The Siddiqs have been living in the States for more than two decades now and no matter how nostalgic Mr. Siddiq may get when they talk about Pakistan, their children cannot imagine a home other than America. Sarah, the eldest, is a teacher; Zafar is a software programmer; Haider is an architect, and Hala is just completing her dental college.

As a family, the Siddiqs are planning to visit Pakistan next year for a big reunion with their Pakistani relatives after many years. Muhammad Uthman and Eman have come a long way too. Uthman, a successful software analyst, routinely participates in community events hosted by his local mosque. Eman, a writer, chooses to stay home and works on a freelance basis. She also keeps herself busy in the philanthropic activities of the mosque, from organizing Quran study circles to participating in soup kitchens; she is an active member of their local public library as well where she volunteers her time on a weekly basis.

In addition, she teaches at the weekend Islamic school which their two children regularly attend. Mary Kief is now an accomplished doctor with a family of her own.

Religion is a building block not a stumbling block for the integration of Muslims

She has undergone quite a journey ever since her first year in college when she roomed with an amiable Muslim girl. She began doing her own research and started to understand her Arab ancestry. She was happy there but, somehow, not satisfied. She returned to her campus and began attending more and more MSA meetings, feeling truly at home with her Muslim friends. During med school and afterwards, she has stayed connected to the local mosque. Today, she is aware of her mixed heritage and proud of the fact that her own family is a melting pot of sorts, with one common strand: The families profiled in this article are fictionalized; however, their life accounts, in spirit, can easily be applicable to a wide variety of American Muslim families.