The 6 Differences Between Being Arab And Being Muslim

It’s nothing out of the ordinary to hear often the associations made between being Arab and Muslim, as if it were something indivisible, as if both were variables dependent on each other or, directly, synonyms. This is, in part, due to centuries of orientalist scholars who (mistakenly) identified Arab ethnicity with the religion of Muhammad.

Ignorance is the big problem when confusing these terms. In Spain, specifically, the concept “Moor” is used to refer to any person who professes the Muslim religion or belongs to the countries that are part of the Middle East. In this article we will review precisely What are the differences between being Arab and being Muslim? so that it is clear that both concepts refer to very different things. Let’s start with a couple of basic definitions.

What does it mean to be Arab?

As paradoxical as it may seem, the fact of being Arab responds to a fundamentally linguistic and geographical cause Geographically, the Arabs extend from North Africa to Western Asia, where curiously some of the countries with the most Muslims, with approximately 90% of the population, are excluded from this category.

And here is where the surprise comes: in Turkey, almost one hundred percent of citizens of the Muslim faith are not Arabs. Indonesia, another exaggerated example of the same character, has 97% Muslims residing in the country. Pakistan or Iran are other the clearest examples of differentiation between Muslim and Arab

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And being Muslim?

The story is very different when it comes to religion. The prophet Muhammad himself preached an Islam without borders, as if it were a transnational organization, From there the term “Ummah” is born, which means the umbrella of the entire Islamic community worldwide, regardless of sex, origin, nationality or ethnicity, among others.

Nor should we confuse being Muslim with being Islamic. In this article on the differences between Islam, Muslim, Islamic and jihadist we already categorize what each specific case entails.

Differences between Arab and Muslim, in 6 points

These are the six basic differences that exist between being Muslim and being Arab.

1. Territory

It is perhaps the most distinctive element of all the rest. Islam does not conceive of borders, does not recognize the modern system of States and its followers do not pay homage to any flag or political ideology. Arabic, on the other hand, is well delimited geographically.

2. Culture

Culture is another reason to distinguish between Arab and Muslim. In itself, Islam offers patterns of behavior for very specific aspects of life, which strictly adhere to the parameters governed by the Koran, such as avoiding depicting naked human figures, or the prohibition of drawing Saints and Prophets. However, throughout the world, Muslims they live according to a whole series of cultural nuances and variations that make them a diverse community.

3. Music

There is a lot of controversy regarding music in the Islamic community. For some purists who are experts in the interpretation of Islam, music is prohibited. It distracts from prayer and the obligations of reciting the Quran. However, this is not a view shared by all Muslims.

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4. Culinary differences

The ban limits the culinary taste of Muslims. As can happen with vegans, for example, Muslims have strictly restricted their intake of pork, as well as other products derived from the same animal (candy, jellies, artisan pastries). But in addition to this characteristic, Arab culture is associated with a type of diet and cuisine that does not exhaust all the gastronomic possibilities that a Muslim person can choose from

5. Language

As we pointed out in the introduction, the fact of being Arab practically forces the subject to be knowledgeable and practitioner of the Arabic language in order to recognize this identity and integrate into the countries that are part of this group. Without it, for example, it is very difficult to find a job, in the same way that someone who does not know Spanish will have difficulties in Spain. On the other hand, a Muslim cannot be required to know Arabic.

6. Politics

As far as political regulation is concerned, Muslims or Muslim countries They are usually governed by Sharia, a very strict way of applying politics within society. However, Arabs in general, even within Islamic countries, tend to distance themselves from this trend by advocating cultural integrity, the secularity of the State and greater equality between the sexes.

7. Religion

It is another of the great differences between Muslims and Arabs. The Muslim, by definition, follows the precepts of the Koran, but not all inhabitants of Arab countries are Muslims. The Copts, the Druze, the Maghreb Jews and the Christian communities in general living in Arab countries are also part of this type of society.

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