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LIFE CYCLE EVENTS - 14228_43

 
  
 
N U M B E R S . —   Moslems   attach   special significance to the number five. Five is used to represent the   five   pillars   of   Islam,   the   five   members   of Mohammed’s family, the five daily prayers, or the five fingers of Mohammed’s daughter, Fatima. GESTURES.—   The  raised  open  hand  is  a powerful  sign  of  good  fortune  and  the  ability  to overcome  evil. STYLES.—   The  beard  symbolizes  a  man’s integrity.  The  moustache  is  a  symbol  of  virility, masculinity,  dignity,  and  strength.  When  a  man  strokes his moustache in connection with an oath or promise, it is a sign of sincerity. It is an insult to touch or defame a  Moslem’s  moustache. Now that we have looked at the rites and symbols of Islamic religion and culture, let’s look at some of the major events in a Moslem’s life cycle. LIFE CYCLE EVENTS Private ceremonies in a Moslem’s life cycle include celebrations  at  birth,  circumcisions,  weddings,  and funerals. An event Moslems take great pride in is a child’s memorization of the entire Qur’an. After a child has memorized the Qur’an, the family holds a party to honor the student and the teacher, both of whom receive gifts. Weddings In Islam, the purpose of marriage is for a man and woman to build a home; live together in love, kindness, mutual  sympathy,  support,  and  companionship;  meet one another’s sexual needs; and rear children together. An Islamic marriage is a working partnership, with both partners assuming responsibility for their common life together. To  provide  a  home  and  maintenance  for  every woman in society and partly to make provision for other special  situations,  Islam  permits  Moslem  men  to  marry more than one woman. You should realize, however, that it is very rare for most ordinary Moslems to have more than one wife. Permission to contract marriage with more than one woman is contingent upon the observance of scrupulous fairness among the wives and the ability of the husband to support more than one wife. Although  divorce  is  permitted,  the  Holy  Prophet proclaimed it to be “the most hateful of all permitted things in the sight of God.” Marriages are often arranged by relatives. individual does, however, have the right to refuse. The In its simplest form, the actual marriage ceremony consists of readings from the Qur’an by the Imam, a sermon by the Imam  on  the  institution  of  marriage  and  the  couple’s obligations, and the pledges or contract by which the couple  seals  their  relationship.  This  ceremony  is performed  before  two  witnesses.  An  exchange  of  rings is  optional.  Dress  for  a  wedding  is  by  choice  although customarily  the  couple  will  dress  in  their  national traditional  style. Funerals A  Moslem  burial  and  funeral  service  occurs  as soon  after  death  as  possible.  A  deceased  Moslem servicemember  should  not  be  an  exception.  Unless the  family  or  the  dying  person  has  requested  the presence of an Imam, it is not imperative for you to call one. Islamic religious law allows for no change in the body  after  death. Burial  takes  place  before decomposition  begins.  Under  ordinary  circumstances, embalming  is  not  permitted.  Cremation  is  never allowed.  In  combat  or  situations  where  the  body  cannot be buried immediately or must be transported for burial, embalming  may  be  permitted.  An  autopsy  is  not allowed unless required by civil law. RESOURCE PUBLICATIONS AND CENTERS To understand Islamic life, law, culture, and the rites of  worship,  you  can  consult  several  available  resources. The   first   resource   you   should   consult   is   Islam Facilitation   Guide,   compiled  by  the  U.S.  Navy Chaplain Corps.    Other  valuable  resources  are  books, such as Essentials of Muslim Prayer Fasting Guide,  by Dr. Hosny M. Gaber;  Glimpses  of  Islam,  by  Mohammad Tawfik Owaida; Understanding Islam, by Harvey Cox; and What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims, by Suzanne Haneef. You  can  obtain  other  valuable  sources  of information   by   contacting   The   Islamic   Center, Washington, DC; Islamic Center of New York; Library of  Islam,  Des  Plaines,  Illinois;  Wadsworth  Publishing Company,  Belmont,  California;  and  other  publications by the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps. JUDAISM Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. From Judaism  grew  two  of Christianity and Islam. the  world’s  great  religions, 1-25


   


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