The Culture of Islam | General Muslim Customs and Traditions

There are over billion of Muslims in the world living in different countries, speaks different languages but share one common Muslim culture. This culture ingrained in our common belief that “There is no Lord but Allah and Muhammad (PBUH) is His Messenger.”

By Muslim culture, we meant the culture which represents the consolidation of all the cultures formed by common beliefs and practices. The religious practices and beliefs of Muslims are centralized around the Islamic religion. Muslim’s literature is in Prophet’s language that is Arabic and most of this literature is religious.

‘Muslim culture’ represents many distinct Muslim cultural groups such as the Asian Muslims, the Middle Eastern, the African, the European and the American Muslims, all of them with their own divergence in customs and traditions. Some customs and traditions may be more motivated by culture than by religion. Though, some aspects of their religion or culture are accepted by all Muslims of the world. Such as, Muslims believe in the Oneness of Lord, the Holy Books, and all Prophets from Adam to Muhammad (PBUH) without discrimination, and the Day of Judgment. If we consider Cultural commonalty it includes giving charity, an expectation to maintain a balance between responsibility to the Creator and to their fellow man, and focusing particularly on the care, love, and respect for the elderly and younger. Islam is also seen as an all-comprehensive way of life relatively strict exclusive religious code because of its focus on balancing personal and public life.

The universal culture and traditions are based on the Quran and Sunnah while the variables are based on local customs and traditions of various people living in different societies. Some general Islamic customs, traditions, and etiquettes are given below:

  • Pronouncing Allah’s name before Eating or Drinking: The announcement of Allah’s name before eating or drinking has a double purpose. Firstly, as a recognition of Allah’s countless blessings upon us, and secondly as a supplication for the continuity and prosperity of these blessings in future. The Prophet (SAW) has stressed strictly on the obedience to this etiquette in a number of sayings attributed to him. The Prophet (PBUH) said in one of his sayings that: Whenever anyone of you eats, he should say: ‘[I begin] with the name of Allah’. If he forgets, he should then say: ‘With the name of Allah, at the beginning as well as at the end”.
  • Muslim Greetings and Response against it: At the time of meeting a Muslim should greet his brother with the words: “Assalaam –o-Alaikum. The addressees should later respond with the words: “Wa Alaikum Assalaam'”. These words are indeed a supplication for the addressee for peace and blessings. As a further etiquette of greeting others, the Prophet also said: “The young should take precedence in greeting the old, the passer-by should take precedence in greeting the one who is sitting and the smaller group should first greet the larger group”.
  • Reciting Adhan in the Right Ear of Newly born: Recitation of the Adhan in the right ear of a newly born personify, on behalf of the parents, that like their respective physical contributions in the formation of the child, they have also proposed the communication of their spiritual beings to the child, through the salvation of Allah’s message.
  • Blessing after Sneeze and its Response: A sneeze is a relief from a common temporary disorder in the human body. After being relieved from this temporary disorder, a Muslim should thank the Almighty with the words: “Al-Hamdulillah”. While those present around him, who hear him praising and thanking the Allah Almighty, should pray for Allah’s mercy and blessings for him with the words: “Yarhamukallah”.

These were some common tradition and etiquettes that every Muslim around the world is following. We should try to follow the customs and tradition as mentioned by Allah Almighty in Holy Quran and the ones Holy Prophet (PBUH) practically did in his life.