Religion in the Faith Community & Family

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Birth Rites & the Nurture of the Young

Islam teaches that Allh created the world & everything in it. To muslims, every child is a gift from Allah & to have a large number of children is a sign of Allah's blessing. When a childs born into a muslim family, the adhan is whispered in arabic into the right ear of the baby & some parents may also say the iqamah into the left ear. this means that the first words the hears are; 'allahu akbar', 'allah is the greatest' . seven days later there is a 2nd significant muslim birth rite. this is the aqiah ceremony where the father announces the name of child to friends & relatives. this is religious significance that the baby is being welcomed into ummah; global family of islam. prayers are recited for allah's blessing & the child's future health, prosperity & spiritual growth. the baby's head is wiped w olive oil, then washed or shaved. islam teaches all babies are born free from sin. to celebrate the birth w whole community, the equivalent weight of the shaven hair, in gold or silver is given to the poor. 

the main feature of the ceremony is the namin of the child & there is enormous significance place on names. some muslims offer a sacrifice after naming the child. one sheep or goat is offered for a girl & two animals offered for a boy. all male muslim boys must be circumcised. the bismillah ceremony is significant. its the beginning of the religious education and takes place whent the child is four years old. the bismillah ceremony is a very happy & proud time for the child. 

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The Marriage Ceremony

Marriages are often arranged marriages in the muslim community, but only take place w consent of both parties. all muslims are expected to marry & the age they do depeds on the civil law operating in the country they live in. muslims may have up to 4 wives but all should be treated equally. divorce is allowed in islam, but only regarded as a last resort. marriage usually takes place in the home or mosque. during the ceremony, there are readings from the qur'an. 

the imam is lilely to pray for the couple & so will guests. the contract of marriage is spoken as well as written. the groom gives a sum of money, some property or another valuable gift to the bride. after the contract is agreed there will be refreshments & celebrations. 

sometimes the bride doesn't attend the ceremony, she may remain at home while the bridegroom foes the the mosque, & she appoints an agent & 2 witnesses to represent her part of the contract. they hear her affirm 3 times that shes willing to be married & they speak for her during the cermony. 

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Funeral Rites

When muslims hear of a death, they say to, 'to Allah we belong, and to Him is our return-'. this shows they hope the person will be claimed by Allah to live in paradise. the funeral rites for Muslims are not found in the Qur'an but in law books, so there may be differences in the way these are observed. rituals also vary according to the customs of the country. in britain, local authorities differ in the provision they make for muslim funerals. some areas have serperate burial plots in theur cemetries for muslims & the graves run so their facing right, towards the direction of makkah & the ka'bah. its important for muslims that the dead are buried & not cremated. cremation isnt allowed. when muslims are dying, thye says the words which muhammad is reported to have said. they pray for forgiveness & they also repeat the shahadah (declaration of faith): 'there is no god but allah; muhammad is the messenger of allah' 

the dead body is placed on a stretcher w the head in direction of the qiblah ready for the ghusal, a ritual washing, carried out by relatives of the same sex as deceased. the limbs straightened, then corpse washed 3 times, perfumed w scents, wrapped in a shroud, a single piece of unsewn cloth & placed in a coffin. sometimes the cloths worn on the hajj pilgrimage to makka are used. all bodies should be buried in contact w the earth. salah is performed in the house of the dead muslim or in the mosque. the body is carried as a sing of respect to cemetry by a procession of male muslims. the funeral takes place as soon as possible, preferarbly the next day. at graveside, funeral prayers are said. muslims are buried w the head turned to face mallah. 

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Funeral Rites 2

7 days after the burial, relatives often visit the grave of the deceased as a mark of respect. the experession of grief is acceptable. death is a sad event but its normal & believer should accept this fact w faith & trust. the sadness of seperation from the love one is tinged w happiness knowing the will of Allah is for the best. according to the qur'an those who believe & live by their beliefs need have no fear of death, nor should they grieve excessively. in some communities its thought that mounrning shouldnt last more than 3 days. muslims make sure that mounrners arent left alone during their time of mourning. 

there arent supposed to be impressive monuments in a mulsim cemetry; rich & poor are alike in death. the name of the person is the only deoration needed. many muslims consider donations shoudl be given to the poor rather than speniding money on extravagant tombstones. its traditional for the grave to be raised a little about the level of the ground but thats to stop people from walking or sitting on it. 

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