Its quite interesting to observe today, how our very progressive down-under society, views Islam. To be honest, I would say most Australians are indifferent when it comes to Islam but you can't ignore the squeaky wheels in our society, such as Pauline Hanson, Cory Bernardi, Jacquie Lambie and others, who get the oil. They make the loudest noise.
Their arguments are so monotonous that they become predictable and irrelevant. But it's not only politicians who exploit Islam's vulnerabilities. Our media enjoys mocking and defaming Islam. In recent days the discussion was revolving around a Youtube video which appeared to be condoning violence against women and sparked widespread condemnation (by the media) and then there was the intense media scrutiny of a Muslim spokesperson who tweeted an insensitive tweet about ANZAC day.
Since, Islam as a religion was formalized in 623 CE, the West has been fixated with it. During the medieval ages, the French, Germans and English were suspicious of Islam and waged a Crusade that brought about a 200 year conflict in the Near East. But since then, Islam has never left the West's radar. In the 19th century under the title of Orientalism, Islam was lampooned by various philosophers and writers of the time.
Ironically, very little acknowledgement is given to Islam as the key contributor to the West's so-called Enlightenment which came about through the Renaissance. During the 700 year period of dominance in Spain during the Ummayad Dynasty, there was an avalanche of information and technology that was transferred into Europe. This continued during the Ottoman Empire's dominance in southern Europe and its influence in Western Europe through trade and diplomatic relations.
The medical theories of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and the scientific and philosophical works of Ibn Rushd (Averroes) were used by European scientists, philosophers and scholars. There are literally hundreds of written works by Muslim scholars that have been translated into Latin or English. The well-known mathematician Al-Khwarizmi's use of logarithms and algebra were a revolution in mathematics. The word 'logarithm' originates from his name (and of course algebra comes from Al-Jabar).
There are far too many contributions to mention in this article. Yet, ironically, today, in some of the most seemingly innocuous circumstances, Islam continues to contribute to today's society in ways we would not have imagined. People, and particularly Australians are crazy about Islam and the irony is that they don't even know it.
We all watched at least one episode of the no. 1 rating show on TV 'Married at First Sight'. This program works on the premise that couples without ever meeting each other before are joined in matrimony. Hello world! This is the Islamic arranged marriage and we've been doing it successfully for 14 centuries!
The concept of marriage in Islam is very important aspect of shariah or Islamic society. That is, marriage as in many religions is an important institution and regarded as a sacred union between a man and a woman. The normal process involves the parents arranging the marriage with the consent of the bride and groom. In most cases the bride and groom meet under a chaperone to get to know one another but in other cases the wedding day might be the first time the couple meet. The key component here are the parents, who use their superior knowledge of their children combined with the criteria for marriage to suitably match the bride and groom. In the case of the TV show, the parents are replaced by clinical psychologists who have all the details of each wedding candidate at their disposal. Sometimes they get it right and sometimes they get it wrong. It's not an exact science.
The fact that Australians have embraced the show, indicates that there is a fascination with this type of marriage. The important factor in this type of marriage is that both bride and groom have sincere intentions to make a go of their marriage and to have trust in their parents, their partner and their community.
I am not suggesting that arranged marriages will become a common trend in Australia, however, there is no denying that more and more couples are becoming dissatisfied with the present way of hitching up. Some people experience a lot of heartbreak before they end up with their soul mate.
But, wait! There's more. Only in the past two years, there have been a plethora of fad diets which have all had their proponents swear by them; the paleo diet, the South Beach diet, the macrobiotic, the low carb, the Zone and the Atkins diet just to name a few. However, one diet that has been proven to be the most effective for not only losing weight but for cleansing the system is the 5:2 Fast diet. This involves fasting on Mondays then having a break until fasting again on Thursdays. The fast involves not eating from sunrise to sunset. Sound familiar?
Well, the Prophet Muhammad had advocated this style of fast to his followers and has been used by Muslims for the past 1400 years. Muslims fast outside of Ramadan where it is the tradition to fast on Mondays and Thursdays.
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