American Bedu

How do you Accurately Define a Muslim?

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An earlier post I wrote about the perceptions of Muslims in America continues to generate a dialogue of conflicting and emotional discussion.  What the comments from that post have highlighted is that there is not only fear, confusion and disagreement about Muslims in America but there is a lack of consensus or agreement on the definition of a Muslim!  The definition of a Muslim is not to be confused with a definition of Islam.

From Wikipedia a Muslim is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Qur’an, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. “Muslim” is the Arabic term for “one who submits to God”.

According to TurntoIslam a Muslim is someone who submits to Allah’s will. A person upon true monotheism, who worships God alone without associating any partners with him. A Muslim is someone who Bears witness that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. A Muslim can be of any background, race, country and gender.

Ask.com identifies a Muslim as a person who believes in and consciously follows Islam is called a Muslim, also from the same root word. So, the religion is called “Islam,” and a person who believes in and follows it is a “Muslim.”

So in the most “generic” of terms a Muslim is a follower of Islam and submits to Allah (God).  Most Muslims will likely agree that a Muslim believes Muhammad as the Messenger of Allah (God).  The disagreements begin when sects and/or categories are applied to Muslims.

The majority of Muslims are either Sunni or Shiia.  Sunni Muslims are further broken down and categorized by which school of law is followed. The four most popular schools are:

Hanafi:  followed by Muslims of Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Muslim areas of Southern Russia, the Caucasus, most of the Muslim areas of the Balkans and Turkey and parts of Iraq, all follow this school of jurisprudence. It is also the dominant school of Muslims in the United Kingdom and Germany.

Maliki: adopted by most North African and West African countries like Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Nigeria and others except Egypt, Horn of Africa and Sudan. Also, the Maliki madhab is the official state madhhab of Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Shafi’i: Muslims in Indonesia, Lower Egypt, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Coastal Maharashtra/Konkan and Kerala in India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Palestine, Yemen and Kurds in the Kurdish regions follow the Shafi’i school.

Hanbali: This school of jurisprudence is followed predominantly in the Arabian Peninsula.

Shia majority countries are Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Bahrain.[64] They also constitute 36.3% of entire local population and 38.6% of local Muslim population of Middle East.[65]

There are other minority Muslim groups known as Sufi, Ahmadi, Salafi or Submitters. A Sufi, Ahmadi, Salafi or Submitter considers himself/herself a Muslim the same as a Sunni or Shiia.

The purpose of this post is to identify the definition of Muslim and some of the ancillary names/groups associated in conjunction with a Muslim.  Saudi Arabia is the home of Islam’s two holiest sites and each year issues millions of visas for Muslims to perform the rites of Umrah and Hajj.  Are any Muslims turned away or prohibited from performing these pillars?

2 Responses to How do you Accurately Define a Muslim?

  1. markjuliansmith 06/05/2011 at 7:38 AM

    “..definition of a Muslim! The definition of a Muslim is not to be confused with a definition of Islam.”

    I really have to agree with sra. In Logic terms as with any societal template and those utilizing it either in portion or a whole the following applies:

    Muslim ethics =Islam text Ethics: Islamic text Ethic = Muslim Ethics;
    Muslim Ideas = Islam text Ideas: Islam text Ideas = Muslim ideas;
    Muslim motivation = Islam text motivation: Islam text motivation = Muslim motivation;
    Muslim action = Islam text action: Islam text action-=Muslim action;

    Muslims have been instructed to utilize two things as a template for life Islamic text and Mohammad’s attitudes and actions recorded in Islamic text.

    If the above did not apply you would not be a Muslim if you fail to be an Islamist textual adherent what ever pieces you pick or slightly alter.

    You may be referring to a degree of belief in any one of the facets which occur in any religion because of the difficulty of dealing with absurdities but the above still applies as well as the inherent bigotry (see Quran Chapter “THE COW” count how many words and phrases against other and consider the ferocity of them, consider each one as if you were referring to a close loved one –what would their reaction be – would they be rightly afraid?) and terror visited upon humanity by Muslims since Mohammed onwards.

    There is no getting out of it – own it it’s yours. Change the Islamic Text to get rid of the hatred of other and Muslim will no longer = Terror. You will then indeed be different but still an Islamist however you wish to color it.

  2. sra 05/05/2011 at 12:03 PM

    your definitions are really not correct at all.
    Actually when writing about such an important topic you are really ill-advised
    to just past and copy from some internet sources.
    Do you research first before you spread this nonsense.

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