Sunday, February 25, 2018

Culture, tradition and religion

People often confuse culture and tradition in country with the religion of that country. Tradition and culture often predates religion and it is hard to get rid of the tradition and culture which is highly entrenched and often comes into clash with the religion and wins sometimes as the tradition and culture somehow envelopes the religion and makes it seems like part of the religion which it is not most of the time. I will give you some examples regarding how it is easy for the outside people to confuse tradition and culture being part of the religion. In Saudi Arabia, it has been a long standing taboo that women cannot drive a car but this was not part of the religion but part of their culture and tradition. They may have tried to convince people that it is part of religion but nowhere in any Islamic country, are women not allowed to drive. Driving a car by a woman driver is not taboo but part of the culture and tradition that is only being enforced in Saudi Arabia and not even in any Arab country.
Another tradition/culture I have read is in Yemen where people are eat Khat which is banned in some countries but legal in some African countries as well as in Yemen, where it huge. Again since it is a stimulant it has nothing to do with any Islamic values as tradition/culture dictates its consumption and since it a stimulant it may be banned in Islam. So does Child marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM), extravagant spending on marriages and so many others that people try to associate with a  certain religion but actually is not as some people try to distort certain verses in the Holy Book to their advantage. It is essential that people read the background of a certain culture and tradition and try to deduce if it is actually related to a certain religion. I know it is lot of work but coming to a conclusion based on little or nonexistent information is worse.

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