Many have a misconception that Islam is an Arab religion. It is true that Prophet Muhammad was born in Arabia but that does not make the ideology “Arabian”.
Is Hinduism an Indian ideology?
We all know that the Vedas and Hindu philosophies originated from India. Should we now consider “Hinduism” an Indian ideology and therefore should be restricted to India only? The fact that Swami Vivekananda and Swami Prabhupada preached Hinduism outside India shows that they never considered Hinduism to be “Indian”. If Hinduism does NOT become “Indian” just because it originated in India, why should Islam alone become “Arabian”?
What about Buddhism?
Buddha was born in India and Buddhism originated in India but the country that has the largest number of Buddhists in the world is China. Many countries like Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Burma, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore are Buddhist countries. If they see Buddhism as an Indian ideology, can they practice Buddhism?
What about Communism?
Communism propounded by Karl Marx originated in Russia. Do we call Communism a Russian ideology?
Difference Between Arab and Islam
Arab refers to an ethnic group, while Islam refers to a religion. Arabs are people who live around the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding areas. They speak Arabic. An Arab need not necessarily be a Muslim. Remember, not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. There are Arab Christians and Jews.
Common Confusions About Arabs and Muslims
There are several common confusions and misunderstandings about Arabs and Muslims. Some of these are:
- Assumption that all Arabs are Muslims, and vice versa. While the majority of Arabs are Muslim, there are also significant populations of Arab Christians and other religious groups.
- Assumption that all Muslims are Arabs. In fact, Muslims live in different countries around the world. More on it under the topic “Population of Muslims”.
- Many cultural practices in the Arab and Muslim world are often linked to Islam. For example, the wearing of traditional clothing, such as the Thawb (long white dress that men wear), is often seen as a religious requirement, but it is actually a cultural practice that varies across different Muslim communities.
Population of Muslims
Did you know that ONLY 20% of the Muslim population is Arab? 80% of Muslims are non-Arabs. This stat must tell you something!
Note: Islam was not started by Prophet Muhammad. “Islam” is a way of life that involves “Complete submission and obedience to God”. We believe all the Prophets of God right from the first human being Adam, taught the same way of life which is “Complete submission and obedience to God”. The last Prophet in the long line of Prophets is Prophet Muhammad.
Look for truth and rationale of the ideology
Every ideology originates from one or the other geographical location. It is incorrect to restrict any ideology to the place it originated from. We must look at the truth and rationale behind the ideology and not where it started from.
To learn more about Islam, click here, here and here.