Early Life

Muslims believe that a child is free from sin and that the child has a natural inclination towards goodness and virtue. The ceremony that is performed after a child is born is called Adhan which is also the call to prayer that is recited from minartes in Muslim countries. The baby is washed and then the father whispers the call of prayer (the Adhan) in his or her right ear. In the left ear the person whispers the Command to Rise and Worship called the Iqamah.

Aqiqah

Seven days after birth, a name given ceremony called Aqiqah is performed. Muhammad made recommendations for naming a child, saying that Abdullah, meaning “servant of God,” and Abdur-Rahman, meaning “servant of the Merciful One,” were the most pleasing names to God. The ceremony starts with the father reading from the Qur’an. Then the announcement of the name of the child follows the reading. Muslims can choose between a family name or one of Muhammad’s names. Then when the hair of the child is cut or shaved for the ceremony, it’s weight in silver is distributed to the poor. In most cases male circumcision called Khitan, usually takes place in the hospital.

Marriage

A Muslim marriage is a legally sanctioned union between a man and a woman designed to bring companionship and happiness to both parties. The hope of the Muslim union in marriage is the emergence of a strong family: a courteous, polite, and compassionate family whose members seek to know and live the will of God. A Muslim marriage is based on a voluntary offer and acceptance by the bride and groom. The parent’s role is to give advice and help select a spouse, but they cannot make decisions for the bride and groom. When a Muslim marriage occurs, two Muslims must witness the marriage, which includes the signing ceremony in a mosque or in their home with a imam or a qadi (a person authorized to solemnize marriages) who reads from the Qur’an and concludes the formal part of the proceedings.

Polygamy

Polygamy occurs when a person is married to more than one person at the same time. These kind of marriages can provide women with the opportunity to marry in societies when there are more women than men. It is also intended an opportunity for widows to remarry. According to Islamic tradition, a Muslim man can marry up to four wives. It is important to note that first a man must obtain permission from his wives before taking on another, and second, the vast majority of Muslims maintain a single marriage.

Divorce

While divorce is permitted within Islam, it is regarded as a last resort for a married couple. Even Muhammad discouraged divorce. But it is not in the interest of the Muslim community to force people to remain married if they cannot grow together productively.

Death

Muslims approach death with a sense of hope as opposed to fear. Their hope is to reach Paradise. Muslims believe that the burial should take place on the day that the person has died. When the bodies are taken to the gravesite, the people throw handfuls of earth into the grave while reciting chapters from the Qur’an that obtain to the day of judgement. After the burial, there is a three day mourning period. Muslims believe that the deceased is visited by two angels who question the person about his or her life, faith, and deeds, both good and evil, while on earth.

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