The Daily Life Of A Muslim
The teachings of Islam indicate a balance between the life of this world and the life of the next. While often seen as a radical or extreme religion, Muslims consider it the middle road. "Thus have We made of you a community justly balanced..." (Qur'an 2:143). Muslims do not live this life selfishly, with complete disregard for God. Nor do they neglect the world to devote themselves solely to worship. Muslims strike a balance by fulfilling the obligations of and enjoying this life, always mindful of their duties to Allah and to others. Extremity in either direction is frowned upon.
God-fearing people should be the best in morals and manners. Islam forbids any action which infringes on the rights of others or harms oneself. Forbidden to Muslims are: dishonesty, theft, murder, suicide, bribery, forgery, interest and usury, gambling, lottery, consumption of alcohol or pork, backbiting, gossiping, slandering, hoarding, destruction of property, cruelty to animals, adultery, fornication, etc.
While forbidding these things, Islam enjoins upon mankind the use of all clean, healthy and useful things, and asks us not to deprive our bodies of clean food and healthy recreation. Islam also encourages marriage and stable family life, modesty, generosity, hospitality, respect for parents, honorable treatment of women, helping those in need, etc.
The law of Islam forbids public nudity and orders Muslims to use decent and dignified dress. Muslims are called upon to practice moderation in this area as well. One of Muhammad's companions once said, "Eat what you wish and wear what you wish if you can avoid two things: extravagance and conceit." In dress and behavior, Muslims are to be modest. "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is Well-Acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should no display their beauty and ornaments..." (Qur'an 24:30-31).
According to the Prophet's tradition, no man should expose his body from the navel to the knees, nor should a woman expose any part of her body except her face and hands while in public. This is called "covering" and to keep these parts covered is the religious duty of every man and woman. Through this directive, Islam cultivates in its followers a deep sense of modesty, purity and respect.
Islam enjoins mankind to control and regulate sexual desires and seek its fulfillment only within the bonds of marriage. Marriage is a solemn contract, and the basis of a stable family and society. The Qur'an describes husband and wife as comforts for and protectors of one another. Divorce, while frowned upon, is permitted in cases where the marriage is irrevocably damaged.
Throughout our lives, we must always be respectful of our parents. They suffer and make sacrifices for us throughout our lives. Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said that "Heaven lies under the feet of mothers," so high are they in respect and admiration. Our duties to our parents come second only to our duties to Allah, and the majority of Muslim families have close extended family ties. "Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say, 'My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood'" (Qur'an 17:23-24).
There is no place in a Muslim's heart for racial, national, gender, or other prejudices. There is One Creator, and we are all His creation. The diversity of human life is one of the Signs of Allah, part of the beauty of His creation, and something to be admired and respected. "And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors; verily in that are Signs for those who know" (Qur'an 30:22). Righteousness is the only distinguishing factor among people. "O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Verily, the most honored among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is the most righteous. Indeed, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware" (Qur'an 49:13).
In dealing with non-Muslims, the believers are instructed not to be intolerant or narrow-minded. We must not abuse or speak ill of other religious leaders, nor say anything insulting. "Invite all to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious. For thy Lord knows best who have strayed from His path, and who receive guidance" (Qur'an 16:125). We must not seek dissention unnecessarily, but live in peace and amity. Nor can a Muslim pass judgment on whether someone will be to Heaven or Hell - only Allah is the Judge. "Those who believe in the Qur'an, and those who follow the Jewish scripture, and the Christians and the Sabians - any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness - shall have their reward with their Lord. One them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve" (Qur'an 2:62).
There is a special place in a Muslim's heart for Christians and Jews, whom the Qur'an calls "People of the Book," meaning people who have received previous scriptures. Muslims are encouraged to seek good relations especially with them, as they have more in common than with the pagans or atheists. "...nearest among them in live to the believers will you find those who say, 'We are Christians,' because among them are men devoted to learning, and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant" (Qur'an 5:82). When arguments or debates arise, Muslims are to treat them with kindness, try to find common ground, and if differences persist, to simply say, "Well, to you be your way, and to me mine."
Muslims are absolutely forbidden from forcing their faith on others; this negates the very idea of free will and choice. The Qur'an says, "There is no compulsion in religion..." (Qur'an 2:256). It is up to each individual to investigate religion, and personally make a decision as to its validity and their faith in it. Muslims are not in a position to force anything on anyone - the job of guidance belongs to Allah alone. "If it had been your Lord's Will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth! Will you then compel mankind, against their will, to believe?! No soul can believe, except by the Will of Allah" (Qur'an 10:99).