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18 May '16

Understanding the Shia (Shiite) Muslims

Posted by Priyanka S in Islamic culture
The following are certain key facts about Shia Muslims -
  • Shias are the second largest denomination of the Islamic faith after Sunni Islam.
  • Shias believe that they adhere to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the religious guidance of his family whom are referred to as the Ahl al-Bayt,
  • Sunni Muslims believe that Shiites deviate from, and in certain cases even violate the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the religious guidance of his family.
  • Unlike the Mainstream Sunni Muslims, Shiites consider the first three ruling Sunni caliphs a historical occurrence and not something attached to faith. The word “Shia” refers to a follower of the faction of Imam Ali according to the Shia ideology. You can also buy islamic history books to know more about these details.

-> Shia Muslims believe that Ali was appointed successor by Muhammad's direct order on many occasions, and therefore he is the rightful leader of the Muslim faith.

-> The collection of Hadith venerated by Shia Muslims is centered around narrations by members of the Ahl al-Bayt, while some Hadith by narrators not belonging to the Ahl al-Bayt are not included (those of Abu Huraira, for example).

-> Unlike Sunnis, the Shia holy book Makalmaat-e-husainia does not hold the following in high regard: Anas Bin Malik, Abu Huraira, Amr bin Aas, Ameer Maawia (companions of the prophet) and Ayesha (wife of the prophet)

-> Shias constitute no more than 10% of the total world Muslim population.

-> Most Shiites reside in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India, and Azerbaijan.

-> The largest percentage of Shiites (Shias) population is in Iran (roughly 90

-> 20% of India’s Muslim population is believed to be Shiite as well.


Shias (Shiites) are divided into the following branches:

o    Twelvers (Ithna Ashariyya) – They recognize the following twelve Imams:

1) Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib - al-Murtadha (The Satisfied One)

2) Imam Hasan ibn Ali - al-Mujtabah (The Chosen One)

3) Imam Hussein ibn Ali - Sayyid al-Shuhudah (The Lord of the Martyrs)

4) Imam Ali ibn Husayn - Zayn al-�bid�n (The Jewel of the Believers)

5) Imam Muhammad al-Baqir  (The Spreader of Knowledge)

6) Imam Jaafer al-Sadiq (The Truthful One)

7) Imam Musa al-Kazim (The Patient One)

8) Imam Ali al-Ridha (The Accepted One)

9) Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (The Pious One)

10) Imam Ali al-Naqi (The Pure One)

11) Imam Hasan al-Askari (The One with an Army)

12) Imam Muhammad al-Mahd� (The Rightly-Guided One)

o       Ismaili

o       Zaidiyyah

o       Alawites

o       Druzes

o       Alevi (Sufi order)

o       Bektashi (Sufi order)

o       Kubrawiya (Sufi order)

o       Noorbakhshi (Sufi order)

o       Oveyssi (Sufi order)

o       Qizilbashi (Sufi order)

o       Hamadani (Sufi order)

o       Tijānī (Sufi order)

o       Fatimid (Sufi order)

Check out the collection of books on Prophet Muhammad's life

18 May '16

Muslim Marriage - Marriage in Islam

Posted by Priyanka S in Islamic culture

The Muslim marriage process is essentially comprised of some of the following steps - Rules related to Islamic marriage in Quran are also included.


This is the process by which a man and a woman become husband and wife. The short ceremony is usually conducted by an Imam. A minimum of two witnesses are required to be present in the nikah. The bride must always be accompanied by a Wali or guradian. During this ceremony the mahr (or marriage gift) that the groom gives to his bride is also decided. The Imam delivers the "Khutbah" of the nikah, which is a sermon with Quranic verses and Islamic speech. The Nikah process makes both the man and woman legal for each other as husband and wife. There is no requirement for special fanfare regarding elaborate parties, functions, wearing special clothing, etc. (See Islamic Clothing for Women here)


The Dukhlah (or Rukhsati as it is referred to in the Indo-Pakistan regions), is the process of "publicly" sending the bride and groom to live as husband and wife. In many cultures this is a very elaborate ceremony. Visit the Muslim Wedding section to review details of some of the traditions in various Islamic countries and cultures.


Walimah is an official lunch or dinner invitation by the groom and his family to their family and friends to declare the marriage. In most countries, Walima is followed within a day or two after the dukhlah.

Muslim Engagement

Before marriage, an engagement process is bride's and groom's intention to marry each other. Some Islamic opinions on this matter are included in the Muslim Engagement section

Marriage in Quran

Quran makes many references to marriage that can be found in the Quran on Muslim Marriage link.

The prophet Muhammad (SAWS) said: "When the servant of Allah marries, he has fulfilled half the (responsibilities laid on him by the) faith; so let him be God conscious with respect to the other half". (Mishkat) -

Get Muslim Marriage Islamic Books here.

See Islamic teachings for Muslim women

Maintaining a Healthy Muslim Marriage

Recent latest marriage research confirms that a quality marriage is one of the single most important investment that a person can make to live a healthy life. Those who have studied and practiced Islam know that the religion and the teachings and practices of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS),  are the best guide to enable Muslim couples to sustain a healthy relationship with each other.

As couples or as couples-to-be, every person knows that disputes and disagreements are bound to be present in every relationship. However, disagreement, disputes and conflicts are natural and healthy only if they are managed properly.

Experience and research also suggests that without investing your time and effort, relationship offer suffers – and unfortunately can become extremely draining on both partners. Muslim Marriage Excerpts from the Quran

And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful). (Quran, Surah An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #4)

And divorced women shall wait (as regards their marriage) for three menstrual periods, and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.
(Quran, Surah Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #228)

And those of you who die and leave wives behind them, they (the wives) shall wait (as regards their marriage) for four months and ten days, then when they have fulfilled their term, there is no sin on you if they (the wives) dispose of themselves in a just and honourable manner (i.e. they can marry). And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.
( Quran, Surah Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #234)

There is no sin on you, if you divorce women while yet you have not touched (had sexual relation with) them, nor appointed unto them their Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage). But bestow on them (a suitable gift), the rich according to his means, and the poor according to his means, a gift of reasonable amount is a duty on the doers of good. (Quran, Surah Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #236)

And if you divorce them before you have touched (had a sexual relation with) them, and you have appointed unto them the Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), then pay half of that (Mahr), unless they (the women) agree to forego it, or he (the husband), in whose hands is the marriage tie, agrees to forego and give her full appointed Mahr. And to forego and give (her the full Mahr) is nearer to At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness). And do not forget liberality between yourselves. Truly, Allah is All-Seer of what you do. (Quran, Surah Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #237)

Conditions for valid Muslim Marriage Contract

Question: What is the correct Islamic procedure for a marriage ceremony, I mean if two Muslims are married (legally) without the presence of a religious "person" (like imam etc.), does that mean the marriage is non-existent in terms of Islam?


All praise is due to Allah.

A Muslim marriage contract is valid in Islam if the following conditions are met, even if the marriage does not take place in a court, or in the presence of a Judge or the Imam of the masjid. In addition, it does not need to be written.

The wali (guardian) of the girl has accepted the proposal by saying, for example, "I marry you my daughter", and the one who proposed has replied, for example, by " I accept," or "I am satisfied" (i.e. with his acceptance). This takes place in the presence of two witnesses The woman is legally eligible to marry the man according to Islamic shari'ah (that is she is not a Mahram of the proposer [those to whom the proposer is forbidden to marry. etc.])

Allah knows best.

17 May '16

The Rise of the Ottoman Empire

Posted by Priyanka S in Islamic culture

The rise of the Ottoman Empire can’t be explained without doubt; however there are 2 main theories that are meant to explain it. The first of these theories is that the Turko-Mongol warriors had eventually grown strong enough to be able to start using direct force to get its position in the Arab communities. It is said that their good organizational skills lead to a number of victories that were exploited to help them attain even more victories, and subsequent land gain. The actual rise of the empire was a very slow one and took nearly a half of a century as the Ottoman’s sought to control Asia Minor, Egypt, The Middle East and Africa. It was in this that they succeeded by first defeating the Byzantines. They were able to utilize their own forces to help them get more and more land and then keep it.

The most popularly known cause for their Rise is due to the fact that their Muslim warriors waged a holy war against the Christian Byzantine Empire that was to the west of them. This is the more likely version of the rise of the Ottoman Empire but it doesn’t really explain how the empire continued its reign for the four centuries that it lasted. However, it is clear that after Ahmad I died, the barbaric methods used by his sons to keep the throne was to basically just kill one another off until the last one standing could restore order.

This may sound horrific; however, when this mode of killing stopped there were a whole new set of problems for the empire. As with most dynasties, position was granted to the eldest living son of the Sultan, but in order to try to prevent threats to the sultan the imperial prince was denied any involvement in public matters and held captive during his upbringing in luxury of course so that no threats to him could be carried out as no one knew who he was. It was common that once the heir finally did get the throne he was generally an alcoholic or lunatic. Holy war and land claiming rose the Ottoman Empire, but it was sheer inheritance that kept it going.

15 May '16

Muslim Weddings in Turkey

Posted by Priyanka S in Islamic culture

Although the majority of the population of Turkey are Muslim, the country has a long-standing tradition of secularism in many different practices. The bond of marriage is considered one of the most sacred religious customs of Islam and most religion, however, and so the joining of a man and wife still follow some of the customary Muslim procedures. There are important parts of the Turkish Muslim procedure which differ from other Muslim countries, however. These areas include:

Meeting a partner

Traditional Islamic practices in Egypt dictate that there is to be no dating or other types of interactions prior to a couple's getting married. However, there are still social occasions where Egyptian men and women have a chance to meet each other. Usually, this will take place at a school or in a place of work.


Style of dress. Both Turkish men and Turkish women have adopted Western styles of dress during the wedding ceremony. For the men, this includes tuxedoes and suits, while women favor white bridal dresses.
Government officiators. Turkish wedding ceremonies are presided over by civil authorities, rather than imams or other religious authorities. Often, the traditional passages from the Qu’ran are not read during the ceremony.
Shorter ceremonies. Because of the elimination of many of the rituals, Islamic weddings in Turkey are much shorter than ceremonies elsewhere.
Polygamy. In many Muslim countries, having more than one wife is a common occurrence. In Turkey, however, the practice is virtually extinct.
Pre-arrangement. Muslim women in Turkey are permitted to give consent to the conditions negotiated in their wedding contract.




Despite the strong bent towards secularism in Turkey, there are still several parts of traditional Islamic practices present in the wedding ceremony, both before the wedding and during the celebrations.

• Marriages between Muslims and those not adhering to the faith are discouraged.
• A Muslim man may take a Jewish or Christian woman as his wife, and she is not required to convert to Islam.
• Muslim women, on the other hand, are not permitted to marry a man of another faith. If they wish to marry a Jewish or Christian man, he must first convert to Islam. This is because the Muslim religion is passed down through the male line.
• Arranged marriages still take place, although the dowry is not as important in Turkey as it is in other Muslim nations.


Rural vs urban

As is the case in many Muslim countries, there is a wide disparity when it comes to religious practices and ceremonies among people who live in the city and those who live in the less developed areas. As a rule, rural weddings are more traditional. In Turkey, this means that:

• The input of the children is considered in most urban arrangements. In the country, on the other hand, consultation rarely takes place.
• Urban weddings will take place at hotels or other buildings with lobbies, while urban ceremonies and receptions will take place at the house of the groom’s family.
• The bride is escorted to the house of the groom by her party in the country.

After the ceremonies, the Turkish wedding will usually involve some kind of reception. Although segregation of the sexes does occur, it is not as extreme as in some very traditional Muslim nations. There is singing and dancing during the Turkish celebrations, during which men and women are present in the same room, but remain separate for the traditional folk dances.


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15 May '16

Muslim Weddings in Tunisia

Posted by Priyanka S in Islamic culture

As in most Muslim countries, Tunisian weddings involve several elements that includes regimented aspects before the wedding as well as at the ceremony itself.

Prior to the wedding

While most of Tunisia is now urbanized, there are still important regulations when it comes to meetings between men and women. In particular, those couples who wish to be married must be careful not to be seen as being intimate in any way either prior to their union or during their ceremony.

Many Tunisians will still be involved in arranged marriages, wherein the family of the groom determines whom they consider to be the best bride for their son. While traditionally the bride's opinion was not crucial to the process, today the young woman is often consulted as to her wished in the matter.

With an urbanized culture, there is more opportunity for men and women to meet in social settings. In these cases, a groom may meet a girl he deems suitable at school. In this case, he may ask a family member to interview the girl to see if she is receptive. If so, female members of the man's family will call upon the woman's family for a time of refreshments. During this time the behavior of the young lady is closely observed. If she is deemed suitable, the mother of the young man will begin discussions with the mother of the young woman, and both families will begin to inquire as to the other's social standing and reputation.

Formal proposal

In most cases, parental consent is not absolutely necessary for a union to take place in Tunisia, but few young people will go against the wishes of their families. When the engagement is agreed upon, there will be a party to announce it. This is the first opportunity to celebrate publicly, and that means that a lot of people are invited to participate. The wedding rings are given during this ceremony, and there is lots of food. Although the couple are now allowed to see each other due to the public announcement, they seldom get the chance, as they are busy with other preparations. These include building a home and acquiring money on behalf of the man (Tunisian engagements are typically long term events) and goods for the new house on the part of the woman. The groom will often bring his bride fabric and other pieces of jewelry.


Day of the contract

The signing of the wedding contract is the formalization of the Muslim union. The groom proceeds in procession with his family and friends to the bride's family home. The bride is dressed in her best dress, often the same style as those of Western weddings. She is also decorated along her arms and hands with intricate designs in henna. The bride, groom, and their parties then continue to the civil registry. The ceremony itself is short and succinct, with the rites being observed and the first page of the Qur'an recited by all present. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the groom may present the bride with a gift of money (mahr), which symbolizes his desire and his ability to take care of her.


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