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Brooklyn  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Brooklyn Replybullet Topic: Is converting to Islam really converting
    Posted: 29 April 2008 at 12:39pm
An Arab?
 
For the most part why does converting to Islam essentially require the person to convert to an Arab?  From the speech, mores, mannerisms, style of dress, culture, food, everything.  Is converting to Islam really just a form of forcing your cultural identity on other cultures?
 
I know a white Irish girl who converted to Islam which no one really cares about what religion people choose around our group of friends.  However it's comical how she really converted to becoming an Arab woman more than any noticeable difference in her spirituality.  I find that part pretty ridiculous.
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Emad  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Emad Replybullet Posted: 29 April 2008 at 12:42pm
It is not converting to an Arab.  In fact Islam says nothing about what one should wear, eat, talk, etc.  Only general guidelines are given, such as cleanliness, modesty, the food must not be prohibited in Islam etc. Example: we are not ordered to dress exactly as the Prophet dressed, that was the dress of 7th century Arabia, instead are to take the general guidelines from his dress, like simplicity, modesty, cleanliness etc.  Islam adopts the good in every culture and rejects the bad, therefore if someone converts to Islam and start behaving like an arab instead of a Muslim, that is their misunderstanding, it has nothing to do with Islam.

Edited by Emad - 29 April 2008 at 12:43pm
Verily, either we or you are rightly guided or in plain error. (Quran Saba:24)

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hamayoun  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote hamayoun Replybullet Posted: 29 April 2008 at 12:47pm
Salam

Yes, this topic keeps coming up.  All one really needs to do to understand the fallacy of this argument is to spend some time with Pakistani or Indian muslims.  I can assure you you won't see much of anything arabic, other than the language in which God is being worshipped.  Lol, I (a Pakistani) once went to lunch with Emad (a Palestinian)  in a Pakistani restuaurant, and I don't think the food (spicy) suited him!   I ended up eating his samosa!


Edited by hamayoun - 29 April 2008 at 12:48pm
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waheed1  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote waheed1 Replybullet Posted: 29 April 2008 at 12:51pm
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jana.z  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote jana.z Replybullet Posted: 29 April 2008 at 1:07pm
its understandable for ppl to think that, i certainly didnt become an arab. how could i?  i wear modest american clothing (yes there is such a thing).  the Qu'ran is in arabic and we try out best to understand it and if some of us are lucky we actually learn the arabic.
 
arabs actually make up the smallest numbers of muslims.....they just stand out more since the origins of islam are from arabia.
 
 
im sorry, i edited this to add that wearing hijab is not arab either.  that is actually part of islam no matter who you are or where youre from.


Edited by jana.z - 29 April 2008 at 1:53pm
And hold fast, all together to the rope of Allah and do not separate.Ē¬lí Imran:103)

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Misbah  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Misbah Replybullet Posted: 29 April 2008 at 1:21pm

Salaam

Oh my, yeah your telling me, when you get reverts converting they think they have to become Arab, sleep Arab, dress Arab, and try their best to be an Arab! lol, i find this funny! but also rather ridiculous.


Esp when a convert goes around bad mouthing these so called 'Westerners' esp when their whole family are still classed as westerners!

I feel what your saying Brooklyn, truly i do.

Make sure she doesn't migrate to Saudi Arabia only to find that the laws are very different over there esp. for us ladies.



Edited by Misbah - 29 April 2008 at 1:21pm
"Donít be so humble - you ain't that great."
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Misbah  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Misbah Replybullet Posted: 29 April 2008 at 1:27pm
Originally posted by hamayoun

  All one really needs to do to understand the fallacy of this argument is to spend some time with Pakistani or Indian muslims.  I can assure you you won't see much of anything arabic, other than the language in which God is being worshipped.


Yeah true, but you wont find this amongst born Muslims it's the reverts who do this mainly thinking that they have to be 'Arab' as much as possible to be noticed/accepted as a Muslim. Which is wrong, very wrong. Islam is for everyone and welcomes anyone and everyone, so....

Sorry but anyone and everyone who's been on this forum long enough knows how much i hate this and get pretty wound up about it!



Oh and once some revert said to me when i brought this up that 'your just jealous because I'm more of a Muslim than you'll ever be',

I thought hmmm yah, ok, whatever you say. Wear your little robe and niqqab and recite the verses from the Quran every time you pass a Muslim looking person, but whats between me and my God stays between me and him, not for show!









Edited by Misbah - 29 April 2008 at 1:35pm
"Donít be so humble - you ain't that great."
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Guests Replybullet Posted: 29 April 2008 at 7:56pm
Also, many things that are often misunderstood as being 'Arab' (such as the headscarf) were things introduced by Islam, and have nothing to do with being an Arab. Secondly something that's also often not understood is that the word 'Arab' now just means anyone who speaks Arabic, it doesn't refer to any specific race. There really isn't any such thing as 'Arab' culture, or if there was it would be so diverse as to be meaningless, like saying 'European' culture.

And Emad, you wimp man.
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Guests Replybullet Posted: 29 April 2008 at 8:30pm
Originally posted by Brooklyn

An Arab?
 
For the most part why does converting to Islam essentially require the person to convert to an Arab?  From the speech, mores, mannerisms, style of dress, culture, food, everything.  Is converting to Islam really just a form of forcing your cultural identity on other cultures?
 
I know a white Irish girl who converted to Islam which no one really cares about what religion people choose around our group of friends.  However it's comical how she really converted to becoming an Arab woman more than any noticeable difference in her spirituality.  I find that part pretty ridiculous.


I totally understand this.  When I was married, his family always seemed to try to make me into an Arab, in dress, in food, in decorating my home...  Arabic tv, Arabic music, everything Arab. 

But I'm American and this is my culture.  I'm trying to re-learn Islam as an American now.
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Nura  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Nura Replybullet Posted: 30 April 2008 at 7:30am
Alhamdulillah I am married to a "westernized" arab
 
Except of the hijab (which is islamic and not arab) I haven't changed anything else to "arab"...well yes, I like arab music more than other kinds, but this is just my taste. As for arab food, it's delicious, but nothing compares with italian food!!!! How can a veracious italian like me change her food taste?
 
Then the language. Since the Qur'an was revealed in arabic, many converts strive to learn arabic, to be able to read the Holy Book in its language.
Yesterday I saw a report on TV about Germans who convert to Judaism, and all of them were learning the hebrew language to be able to read and understand the Scripture, so it's the same.
Spare me the political events and power struggles, as the whole earth is my homeland and all men are my fellow countrymen. K.Gibran
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Emad  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Emad Replybullet Posted: 30 April 2008 at 12:05pm
Originally posted by Misbah


I thought hmmm yah, ok, whatever you say. Wear your little robe and niqqab and recite the verses from the Quran every time you pass a Muslim looking person, but whats between me and my God stays between me and him, not for show!

Wise statement sister, may Allah bless you and increase you in guidance.
Verily, either we or you are rightly guided or in plain error. (Quran Saba:24)

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yishmael  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote yishmael Replybullet Posted: 30 April 2008 at 1:30pm
I just got done reading a book by Irshad Manji (I'm sure that'll get mixed reviews here). For those who don't know, she's a faithful South Asian Muslim who is critical of extremism.

Part of her book dealt with this phenomenon. She feels that Islam should separate itself from Arab cultural imperialism.

This http://www.muslimsofnorwich.org.uk/ seems to be a good example of an authentically English mosque. It was built and populated by people who were all born in Britain.

There are historical references here and there to Scandinavian Muslims, who converted through contact with the Turks and Slavs on trading voyages. Christians wouldn't trade with Nordic pagans at that time, which explained the contact. Apparently there were a handful of mosques in places from Norway to Finland which were "conquered and converted by the sword" when Christianity was imposed in (still largely pagan) Northern Europe. I wish I knew more about them.

In any event, I don't think Islam should be seen as foreign to anyone, anywhere. Even a casual study of it suggests it was meant to join different peoples together, rather than reduce everyone into an Arab phenotype. Hence you've got Persia, Turkey and (in the past) Spain.
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jana.z  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote jana.z Replybullet Posted: 30 April 2008 at 2:44pm
but that is a misconception yishmael, that muslims are lumped into one big "arab phenotype". this is a non muslim idea completely.  as i said in an earlier statement.....arabs make up a small percentage of muslims.
 
 
an indian muslim, somali and an algerian muslim (et al) have different styles of dress and culture.  our islam is the same though. our hijab is the same.
 
 
if a person that is nonarab chooses to dress in arab fashion then thats their choice. some reverts dress this way because they think is what theyre supposed to do and it doesnt make it wrong.  maybe they like it!!  maybe their spouse and inlaws are arabs.  and sometimes its easier! especially for women.  its not always easy to find appropriate clothing in the west, especially in the summertime when all you see is tank tops and mini skirts.  so to throw on an abaya can be much easier!   we can dress in whatever fashion we like as long as we are covered properly.
 
 
anyway i doubt the lady from afghanistan that is praying beside me in the masjid wants to be classified as arab (not that its an insult...shes just not arab).  nor does the lady beside me from indonesia who is wearing her indigenous clothing.
 
point is......... new muslims, unless they ARE arab, do not classify themselves as sudden arabs.  but because non muslims identify islamic pieces as "arabic" , thats when the tags get applied.
 
 
And hold fast, all together to the rope of Allah and do not separate.Ē¬lí Imran:103)

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Islamaholic
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Islamaholic Replybullet Posted: 30 April 2008 at 3:07pm
Salam,
 
Personally, I think its alot to do with the make-up of Muslims surrounding that particular revert not that they're wannabe Arabs.   When one enters a new profession, they will learn and pick up habits from the professionals around them simply because they're not confident about their own practice.   In a similar way, many reverts in their initial stages will pick-up habits/mannerisms/dress codes etc from the Muslims around them (not necessarily Arab.)  However, once they begin to learn more they adopt their own Islamic identity which they are comfortable with.
 
For instance, a friend of mine frequented Cairo, she only knew Egyptian Muslims.   So once she converted, she started to wear her headscarf like a turban how some Egyptian women do.   Whenever she would speak about Islam she would always state '...but this is how the Egyptians do it.'  It was only when she went deeper into her studies that she realised that her style of covering the head wasn't necessarily the prescribed one.
 
ma'salam
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