Essay Relgion in the Middle East

Submitted By Oztaylor1
Words: 484
Pages: 2

Religion in Middle Eastern Society “Orientalists and Islamists alike seem to agree that religion constitutes the most significant force shaping Middle Eastern societies.”1 Throughout the Middle East, religion plays a vital role in nearly every aspect of everyday life. Whether it be in the home and the method in which a husband and wife raise their children, or the manner in which the governing body of a country goes about diplomacy. The classical works of Al-Mawardi and Ibn Taimiyya state that the purpose of the Islamic man is the service of God, also known as ‘ibada’. This belief truly shaped the Muslim world over the past several centuries to become what it is today. Obviously, Islam is the overwhelming majority religion in the region, with Catholicism and Judaism making up a mere 5.61% of the population2. Distinguishing between religion and sect is essential in comprehension of Islam in contemporary Arab society. Religion refers to a system of beliefs, doctrines, rites, texts and practices with sacred objects as well as values of human life. Sect refers to the social organization of a community of affiliates; Druze, Shi'a, and Sunni. According to recent studies, sect seems to prevail in the eastern Arab world much more abundantly whereas religion has been in a state of decline. The religion of Islam has been a mechanism in various different facets throughout the Arab world. It seems to have served particularly as a method of control, instigation or reconciliation in across many Middle Eastern societies. In a positive sense, religion became a source of social integration, bringing people together. In a political sense, religion may be used by the ruling classes as a mechanism of preserving the social order which rewards them so lavishly at the expense of society. Also, throughout history we have seen Arab rulers use religion to discourage rebellion and dissent on behalf of…