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Family Life

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Family Life

Post  Admin on Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:33 pm

Most Muslims live in the developing world. Many of them live in villages, many tending the land. In these villages the mosque is the most important building.


It is usual for the men to meet at cafes or meeting places and women to meet together at one of their homes. It is rare for men and women to meet publicly. In the home visitors will be met by the man of the house, women stay in the background.

Children learn about Islam from birth. As soon as a baby is born the first words it will hear are the Shahadah (the declaration of faith). Muslim baby boys are circumcised whilst young. This is very often done at the same time as the head shaving ceremony. On the seventh day of a baby's life his or her hair will be shaved off and the equivalent weight of gold given to the poor. An offering follows. Two sheep if it is a boy and one if it is a girl. The meat is cooked and shared between the whole family and visitors.



Muslim children learn the faith from watching their parents. The rituals of washing and praying will be practised as soon as the child is old enough to take part. The fasting in Ramadam will be practised just for a day at the start and building up until by the time the child is about thirteen he or she can carry out their religious duties as well as an adult.



If the child goes to a muslim school then they will learn part of the Qur'an as part of their schooling, if not they will learn it in special classes at the mosque. They are expected to work hard in school, can be treated quite strictly, (especially the girls), and expected to spend time with their families.



Arranged Marriages
Arranged marriages are usual with in a muslim community. Most young people are happy that their parents will make a good choice for them. Family opinion, social standing, similarity of interests, background and personality will be taken into consideration when a partner is being chosen.

It is very unusual for a Muslim man to have more than one wife. He is able to have up to four but he must be able to provide fairly and equally for all of them. Occasionally it might happen that if a Muslim man's wife cannot have children or she becomes very ill and needs looking after, then the man will take a second wife but it is not common.




Marriage
The marriage ceremony is often held in the bride's home or the mosque. Muslims in different places around the world have developed their own customs, many of them are for fun and not necessary.
On the day of the wedding the groom will lead his family to the bride's home. The groom may wear a special head-dress of flowers. He gives a present of money to his bride. This is sometimes called a bridle price. Occasionally the men will go to one room and the ladies to another but this is quite rare now. In some places the bride might wear red and white the symbols for fertility and purity, in other places green for luck. There is no rule about dress people do what pleases them and their family. Often the ceremony is conducted by the imam, (a religious leader) if not it may be any of the men who knows the process. The bride is asked (very often three times) is she wishes to marry the groom. Then he is asked and he recites some words from the Qur'an. When everyone agrees the imam declares them to be married and they all sign the wedding contract. They are given a marriage certificate.

Once a Muslim lady become a wife her first responsibility is to look after the home and family. Traditionally she does not go out to work though very often in this country they do. In those cultures where women do not go out to work providing for the family is the responsibility of the husband. She will help to teach her children about Islam. These days many Muslim women work and have careers much the same as western women.

Divorce is not really acceptable to Muslims. It is considered to be the worst possible occurrence, it is distasteful and only allowed only in extreme circumstances though of course it is a legal option even if not a cultural one. If she is divorced a woman becomes the responsibility of the men in her family.



Death
Muslims are always buried and never cremated because they believe that their body will live again at the time of resurrection. Before the funeral the body is washed and wrapped in a shroud of clean cloth. Women do not usually attend the funeral but will often visit the grave after and take flowers.

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