10 Definition Essay Topics on Muslim Culture

Topics and ideas
Posted on February 29, 2016

If you need some solid info for your next definition essay on Muslim culture, consider the 10 facts below:

  1. A great deal of attention is drawn to the fact that many presume the veil prevents men from thinking impure thoughts about women, thereby associating women and their bodies with sexuality and sin. It was incorrectly assumed that “the veiling of women to protect men’s virtue and hence also the Christian emphasis on sexual abstinence and renunciation” (Barlas, 2009, p. 3). This in turn leads to the notion that “in traditional Muslim discourses, then, the veil is meant to protect men by hiding the impure, but enticing female body from them. However, the very power of this body to arouse men also makes it vulnerable to their sexual depredations which is why it must be veiled” (Barlas, 2009, p. 3).
  2. Islam literally translates to submission to the will of God. The religion is the second-biggest in the world and with over 1 billion people following the faith and its cultural implications today. Islam as a religion was revealed in Arabia over 1400 years ago. Those who follow the tenants of Islam are referred to as Muslims. Followers of this faith today believe that there is a single God, who is called Allah. God sent his prophets to man in order to teach them how they should live and follow his law. Some of the prophets of God include Abraham, Jesus, and Moses. The final prophet was Mohamed.
  3. As a Muslim followers believe that Islam has always existed but that the religion actually dates to the migration of Mohammed for practical purposes. Our laws are based on the holy book known as the Quran and we believe that there are five basic pillars to Islam. The five basic pillars include declaring your faith, praying five times per day, giving money to charities, fasting, and completing a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in your life. Among these tenants of faith there is no requirement to specifically share the message and convert those who are of a different face although many believers today do live by such a code.
  4. Today there are many religions in the world all of them believe in some form of deity which provides truths and codes by which they must live. But atheists do not subscribe to the idea of a god or gods and they live by the fact that creation is scientifically justifiable and supported and the creation. A God is not justified. But in any case it is imperative that believers of any face do not push their beliefs onto another group. The only way to truly understand the perspective, the rituals, and the belief system of another culture is to understand the history surrounding that culture, the current events surrounding that culture, and what the fulfillment of certain activities brings to those cultural beliefs. This is the foundation of cultural relativism and a better understanding and acceptance of all people.
  5. Homa Hoodfar is one author who has provided in-depth analysis of the history, purpose, and misunderstanding of the veil worn by Middle Eastern and African women. This author covers the influence of British Colonials on the Muslim culture and how their perception, although misconstrued, painted a picture of oppression for Muslim women. Hoodfar uses historical evidence to explain the social implication of the veil and its cultural heritage and to help the reader understand the political use of the veil by women. Although many mistakenly believe that the Qur’an orders the wearing of the veil (which means full body covering), the author provides insight into its misinterpretation by westerners and their subsequent assumptions that have created a defensive mindset for women who enjoy the comfort of the veiling and its role as a political tool for those who seek to bring change and improvements in their communities.
  6. There are many different types of religions in the world and they all believe in some form of deity from which they derive their truths and codes, however there is also one umbrella grouping, atheists, who don’t subscribe to the idea of god(s) but rather exists with the belief that creation by a god is not justified. The concept of atheism is that one does not believe in a God. This is the exact opposite a very devout religions around the world particularly the second most popular, Islam.
  7. Other religions are much more comfortable with the religious practices and customs of faiths from around the world in spite of differences they may have because all religions have some form of deity from which they derive their truths and their codes. And yet it can be a challenge for various people of faith to avoid imposing their ethnocentric beliefs upon atheist, and vice versa. Atheist do not subscribe to the idea of a God and they believe that the creation of a god is not justified and does not promote an excuse for action, in action, or beliefs and cultural practices that cause harm. It is the concert of cultural relativism that must be promoted in its fullness in order for members of devoutly religious groups to understand and accept practices of atheism, and for atheist to understand and accept the practices of devout religions. Supporting these beliefs and opinions is not necessary to be culturally aware but not imposing the beliefs of one system on another is.
  8. Cultural relativism is the concept that the beliefs of a particular culture and the practices of that culture need to be understood within the context of the cultures background, their history, and the current events which surround that culture. It is imperative that people do not ethnocentrically impose their beliefs and their opinions onto others because these beliefs and opinions are products of enculturation.
  9. Cultural relativism is not the same as moral relativism but it does require that people do not confuse their own feelings about a custom with a thorough understanding of a custom. People must investigate the meanings of customs for those practice them and the functions that each custom for fills with in a different society in order to truly understand them.
  10. Overlapping themes in many articles about Muslim culture include the veil as a symbol of oppression, used to evoke emotions of sympathy or contempt from the west. For some, the veil remains a symbol of oppression. “Muslim women are completely and utterly subjugated by men, and the veil is a symbol of that” (Bullock, 2002 p.13).

We hope these will help with writing an essay, please also check our 20 topics and 1 sample essay on Muslim culture as well as a complete guide on writing a definition essay.


Barlas, A. (2009). Islam and Body Politics: Inscribing (Im)morality. In Conference on Religion and Politics of the Body Nordic Society for Philosophy of Religion (pp. 1-12). Reykjavik: University of Iceland.
Bullock, K. (2002). Rethinking Muslim women and the veil: challenging historical & modern stereotypes. Herndon, VA: International Institute of Islamic Thought.
Hoodfar, H. (n.d.). The veil in their minds and on our heads: Veiling practices and Muslim women. Retrieved from http://www.umass.edu/wost/syllabi/spring06/hoodfar.pd
Kemper, Michael, Anke von Kügelgen, and Dmitriy Yermakov. Muslim Culture In Russia And Central Asia From The 18Th To The Early 20Th Centuries. Berlin: Schwarz, 1996. Print.
Ostle, Robin. Sensibilities Of The Islamic Mediterranean. London: I.B. Tauris, 2008. Print.
Reichmuth, Stefan, Jörn Rüsen, and Aladdin Sarhan. Humanism And Muslim Culture. Göttingen: V & R unipress, 2012. Print.
Syrjänen, Seppo. In Search Of Meaning And Identity. Helsinki: Finnish Society for Missiology and Ecumenics, 1984. Print.

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