Thursday 2 June 2011

InCulture Parent: Separating Faith From Culture in Islam

The newest edition of InCulture Parent is out now including my column "Seperating Faith from Culture in Islam".   This months column came about as a result of a discussion between me and my sis-in-law.  Please do take a look and leave a comment. An extract is below:

"I had an interesting conversation with my sister-in-law recently about an old friend of hers who had moved to the States and become a Christian, despite being raised in a practising Muslim household. It made me think about what aspect of her former faith led her to believe that Islam was not for her.

I have come across a small number of former Muslims who have converted to a different religion or become atheist. The pattern I have found is often these people come from very religious families who have tried to drill the faith into their children. The methods they have used however have meant a less than pleasant experience around faith for the children. Some of these methods I have experienced while others I have witnessed.

The first that comes to mind is the ‘hellfire and brimstone’ method of imparting faith, also known as the ‘everything is haram (forbidden)’ method. This is where parents raise their children as Muslims but only within the restrictions of what they can and cannot do—mainly the latter: don’t drink, don’t listen to music, don’t talk to members of the opposite sex, don’t have fun, ad infinitum. Often the ban on doing everything and anything comes without any explanation of why we should avoid these things. Where Islam has forbidden or discouraged something, the Quran or hadith ( the life and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)) have explained why through clear reasons. Often parents don’t take the time to learn the basis of what is allowed and what is not. Even when they do know, they don’t explain why to children, making bans seem illogical and unreasonable."

Read the full column (including about my 4-year old "haram police") here.


  1. I loved the comment about your "haram police" :)

  2. Assalam-alaikam Sis Washi,
    I wish you could meet my haram police, he gives out fatwa's the way you'd hand out sweets. Today he was ordering Aunty F who lives with us to stop cutting her hair (after he had finished pulling a brush backwarsd through it).

  3. very good article - i might send it to my friend, shame your haram police hasn't banned cartoons yet :)