General Question

shrubbery's avatar

What do you think when you hear the words "Islam" or "Muslim"?

Asked by shrubbery (10326points) May 15th, 2008

What are the thoughts that come straight into your head? Please be honest. I won’t put examples here as that may influence what you think (possibly try not to glance at the tags) but just tell me what your automatic response to this is….. ISLAM…MUSLIM

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

103 Answers

wildflower's avatar

Religious folks. Just like ‘Christian’ or ‘Jew’...
Oh, and: countries I don’t want to visit because I couldn’t work on my tan there.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Islam I think of Israel and Muslim I just think of the whole middle east.

playthebanjo's avatar

unfortunatly I think “extremist” and “terrorist” I know that it is not a logical reaction but one born of the media.

LunaFemme's avatar

I think of an extreme religious person. Someone who believes fervently. For some reason, I have yet to meet a Sunday Muslim the way there are Sunday Christians. The Muslims I have met are all about their faith. Which, is cool with me, as long as they don’t try to convert me or blow me up.

mcbealer's avatar

I am reminded of the people I know who are Muslim, and how most of them follow the clothing doctrines despite the looks the secular world gives them. (I live in a fairly small city)

Mtl_zack's avatar

sand and the desert. i guess that refers to arab more than muslim, in a post 9/11 world dominated by the media, one forgets the difference between the two. i also think of the number 0.

Randy's avatar

Robe, turban, religion, middle east, Jesus, airplanes, boom, 9/11, bush….basically.

cheebdragon's avatar

the middle east

arnbev959's avatar

Islam or Muslims.

eadinad's avatar

I think of their clothes and their prayer poses.

LunaFemme's avatar

I just asked my house mate your question. Her reply was, “A tall, sexy, dark man.” I’m guessing that means she has a thing for the Arab look.

TheHaight's avatar

honestly, nothing came to my mind. :-/ boring answer but the truth.

richmarshall's avatar

Religion…plain and simple. I don’t mean to say it is a simple religion, just that what comes to my mind is plain and simple. Not to say that my mind is plain and simple….........ahhhhh, you know what I mean.

Bri_L's avatar

I believe that I am under educated. Not unlike many other things in this world including, unfortunately my own religion. But I am working on it.

hearkat's avatar

I think of a popular world religion and its followers, who do vary in their interpretations and practices.

phoenyx's avatar

Shi’a, Sunni, Muhammad, Mecca, Qur’an, pillars, Middle East

edmartin101's avatar

I think of turmoil, extremists Jihad, fanatics, 72 virgins each will get when they go to “heaven” after a terrorist attack, but I also think of good nature ppl because I have friends who are Muslims but not terrorists

aceoh's avatar

misunderstood; media bias; great history; ravages of European colonialism; new target for bigots

Allie's avatar

I think of my vacation last summer. I went to several countries in the Middle East.


iwamoto's avatar

i just think of a mosk, well, we do have a mosk like 3 minutes away from here, so that’s prettu obvious right?

indicatebound's avatar

Muslims follow Islam ..

TheHaight's avatar

mosque? Is that how its spelled?

wildflower's avatar

Yup, I believe that’s how it’s spelled (sorry, couldn’t resist – my grammar and spelling isn’t the best, but it was too obvious to pass up)

TheHaight's avatar

haha… Wildflower, damn isn’t that a little nitpicky of you?? :-/

wildflower's avatar

perhaps just a tad ;)

TheHaight's avatar

haha. Worse than Gail! Not just a tad. ( & Gail- I love it when you correct my there’s and theirs!) but now IT’S… Ay Dios Mio. I need to quit going on the phone then… Just for you Wildflower.

wildflower's avatar

hehe….you can type with the most shocking spelling for my sake, I’m just being cheeky :)

TheHaight's avatar

supercalifragilisticexpealidocious! Cheeky?? Hmm….

TheHaight's avatar

I know what cheeky means, Ms. Cheeky McCheekster. The word just reminds me of Mary Poppins, then that reminded me of super…..etc. But thanks for the definition.


delirium's avatar

Beautiful people and language.
Also: Religion.

wildflower's avatar

Aha – I missed that reference. Not sure I ever saw that movie without dubbing and/or subtitles…maybe that’s why (piss poor excuse, I know. I’m just not awake yet)

TheHaight's avatar

It’s okay, I forgive you W. I’m half asleep and have work at 6am.

Randy's avatar

@TheHaight- Good thing your not here then because its already almost three! Yikes!

wildflower's avatar

Coming up for 9am here…..and I really should get to that garden soon…...just one more cup of coffee…

TheHaight's avatar

yikes is right. Its almost 1am. 3 would be bad, and I’d rather be were Wildflower is.. Tending a garden and drinking coffee. Sounds way more fun then this madness.

Randy's avatar

Agreed! Wildflower, can we crash your place and lend some fingers in the garden? =)

wildflower's avatar

Of course!

stephen's avatar

black & bored!

gorillapaws's avatar

I just think of major world religion.

I’ve studied Islam in school and learned a lot of interesting things about the faith. One thing that many people may not know for example is that during the dark ages when Christian Europe was bleaching Roman and Greek manuscripts to reuse for religious purposes, the Islamic world was preserving, learning and expanding on that classical literature. Essentially, they had a renaissance much earlier than Europe did. The only reason we are able to read some of these great works of classic Greek and Roman literature today is because we have the records from the Arabic translations.

@Lunafemme, I had a roommate in college who was muslim. He wasn’t really a “sunday muslim” as you put it, because he rarely went to mosque, he drank and didn’t pray like he should. He did observe the month of Ramadan though. I think it’s actually fairly common for muslims to drink and not be very serious about their religion, it’s just that we tend to hear about the extremists and not so much about the regular guy who isn’t particularly serious about his faith. Think about how many Christians in America are like that, I think in many Middle eastern countries it is similar.

shrubbery's avatar

Thankyou gorillapaws. I have just finished studying Islam in school. If I was any good at getting my thoughts down in words I would say something along the lines of what you just said.

Cardinal's avatar

“extremist” and “terrorist”

phoenyx's avatar


There are a lot of Muslim bloggers, especially Iranian Bloggers, many of which write in English. (I’ve been trying to read blogs from other countries to overcome my cultural ignorance.)

scamp's avatar

The first thing that comes to my mind is fear. Sad but true.

theloveprophet's avatar

I think of 200 of them doing that freaky thing where they all bow at once and I shudder…

okc405's avatar

black dudes in bowties selling beanpies and newspapers on MLK ave

scamp's avatar

EEK! Look at the ad to the right!

richmarshall's avatar

@scamp, lol, the Google content network is picking this up. That is too funny.

scamp's avatar

That same ad shows up in the hijab question.

steelmarket's avatar

The religion of an angry god.

webmasterwilliam's avatar

I think of people who will always be at war with each other. I doubt there will ever be peace with these religions….EVER.

It is very sad that religion inspires so much hate. I don’t think that’s what the designers had in mind :-O

sundayBastard's avatar

Peace and one who submits to God.

Siren's avatar

@aceoh: I think along the same lines as you (scroll up wayyyy up near the top where the question is posed). I immediately think of mass media, and how it is portrayed/not portrayed. For better or worse, the only time Islam or “muslims” are talked about in the media seems to be when referring to bombings, suicides, anti-West sentiment or oil.

Perhaps there are not enough people interested in this religion in our society, or they have already, as a collective, made up their mind about the religion and people. Or they’re not interested, since it doesn’t really filter down to their everyday existence (except the person living beside the mosque).

tabbycat's avatar

Strong religious feelings. Fundamentalist beliefs, sometimes to the point of being scary. Women in burkas, and, yes, terrorists, even though I am well aware that that doesn’t describe all Muslims.

Johnny_Rambo's avatar

Rolled up towels and really spicy food….......and Sinbad.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

Fanatical, delusion, religion, violence, brainwashing, decapitation, misogyny, unreasonable, oil, AK-47, bombs, mythology…I could go on, but that’s enough.

hatinspace's avatar

I think a wordless sigh that acknowledges very real spirituality which has, it seems to me, been tragically encumbered, like all the world’s religions, with advantage-taking dominance games.

eupatorium's avatar

Awesome question. I tried to ask the same thing, but I phrased it differently and I got a really bad response. Fail.
I think peace. :)

Siren's avatar

@theloveprophet: I think we call it praying. I believe they are worshipping God, hence bowing their heads to a divine being.

Ya know like, when you courtesy for a queen?

JLeslie's avatar

Just another religion that at this point in history is being used to influence some of its followers to do evil acts in the name of God. Depending on the era you can find other religions that have done the same thing.

davidk's avatar

I’m sad for them. They are living a delusional life. Of course, this applies to the vast majority of “religious” people.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

Barack Hussein Obama

zenele's avatar

Terrorist.—Sadly. Keepin it real.

Val123's avatar

A religion that’s far older than Christianity, and from which Christianity sprang. Abraham was the father of Islam, the Jews and the Christians.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Val123 you’re kidding about Islam being older than Judaism right? While all 3 religions spring from the same origins, Mohammad wasn’t born until 600+ years after the death of Christ.

Val123's avatar

Let me look…

Val123's avatar

Yup! I stand corrected. Began in the 7th century. “Islamic texts depict Judaism and Christianity as prophetic successor traditions to the teachings of Abraham. The Qur’an calls Jews and Christians “People of the Book”—Wiki. Thanks @gorillapaws. So…what were they before Mohammed? Jews?

But I was part right, anyway. They trace their roots back to Abraham too.

JLeslie's avatar

Abraham was married to Sarah. When Sarah was unable to give Abraham children he had a child with a concubine, supposedly Sarah was ok with it all, I think her name was Hagar. They named their son Ismael. Then Sarah became pregnant, and had a son named Isaac. Now that Sarah had her own baby she cast out Hagar and Ismael. Isaac continued the traditions of the Jewish Religion. Ismael led people to Islamic beliefs. Jesus was born a couple of thousands years later more or less to a Jewish mother. He went on to lead a movement now called Christianity.

Val123's avatar

@JLeslie Thank you. (I’ve always wondered if Sarah was really OK with it too!) But…what were the Islamic people doing all of those thousands of years before Mohammed showed up in the 7th century BC? What did they call themselves?

gorillapaws's avatar

@Val123 historically speaking, many were Bedouin and they followed local tribal beliefs. Mohammed united many of these people under a common faith.

Val123's avatar

@gorillapaws Thanks! I learned some good stuff today! Thank you all. :)

Val123's avatar

OK…, basically Abraham’s wife and GF had the kids they had, one of which led to the Jews, which led to Christianity, and one that lead to Islam, which is why all three religions have the Old Testament in common, pretty much. Is that right so far @gorillapaws and @JLeslie? This is bringing up some interesting question. So the Old Testament predicts a prophet. A faction of the Jews believed that prophet was Jesus, hence Christianity was born. The rest of the Jews didn’t think that predicted prophet was Jesus, and they’re still waiting on the prophet. The fragmented original religion of Islam believe Mohammad (who unified them,) was prophet the Old Testament spoke of?

gorillapaws's avatar

@Val123 as I understand it, the story goes from Islam’s point-of-view, that God did the stuff in the old testament, and sent Moses down with his laws etc. But then the followers of those original teachings got it wrong so God had to send down Jesus to sort things out. Again, the disciples of the disciples (those who actually wrote the Bible) got their facts wrong (Muslims don’t believe that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God for example). They believe that the early Christian church perverted the original message that Christ was sent to teach, and so God sent down Mohammed to finally get it right.

The idea is that Mohammed was literally a stenographer for God and recorded verbatim EXACTLY what God said so there could be no mistakes. The text he recorded is know as the Quran. The other book that is important to Islam is called the sayings of Mohammed, which is like a book of quotes that people claimed Mohammed said throughout his life (these were not recorded by Mohammed himself). Because they believe that mankind has a propensity for distorting religious teachings, they carefully document the chain of who claimed each saying to be true, and the corresponding trustworthiness of that person (as well as everyone else in the chain) is well documented and debated.

Most of the fundamentalist propaganda is drawn from these sayings of Mohammed, however the particularly egregious passages are derived from the least credible sources, and are therefore discounted by most of Islam’s scholars.

Val123's avatar

Because they believe that mankind has a propensity for distorting religious teachings,…they got that right! Wow. This bears some more looking in to. But when you say “the disciples of the disciples (those who actually wrote the Bible) got their facts wrong are you referring to the New Testament, or are you saying they think they hosed up the Old Testament?

Val123's avatar

(Times like this I wish I wasn’t working so I could spend the next six weeks immersing my self into the beginnings of all three religions, and sorting them out like I did the Civil War, once upon a time, in a land far, far away. The land of the Unemployed. AKA Wisdm!)

gorillapaws's avatar

@Val123 I’m not really an expert, but I think that they believe there are errors in both the Old and New Testaments. But they believe in much of the same stuff: Adam and Eve etc.

Val123's avatar

@gorillapaws That’s the basis of every single religion, and every single spin-off of any religions….“The other guy got it wrong.” So…..I think I’ll hang with Confucius for a while!

gorillapaws's avatar

@Val123 That’s more-or-less true, but in this case the Muslims believe that the profits themselves (Moses and Jesus) were good guys and that it was their followers who got things wrong. This is a different twist than how many other “you’re wrong, I’m right” religious debates go.

JLeslie's avatar

It was once told to me that Adam and Eve was to convey that we are all related, all brothers, all family, all go back to the same line ultimately. I don’t know if that is a Jewish thing, or if all religions think that way. I just thought of it because you mention Adam and Eve.

Val123's avatar

@JLeslie Well…that’s literally true, too! But you’d have to go waaaaay back to find an ancestor common to us all. I seem to remember reading that they actually found a female gene from Xty hundreds of thousands of years back whose genes we all carry.

Going with the Bible, and not that far back either, we’re all descended from Noah.

shrubbery's avatar

@gorillapaws, @Val123,
Can I just say that while gorillapaws is right about almost everything up there, I just want to clarify one of his points and make a perhaps, ironic(?) observation (not sure if that’s the right word):

The idea is that Mohammed was literally a stenographer for God and recorded verbatim EXACTLY what God said so there could be no mistakes. The text he recorded is know as the Quran. The other book that is important to Islam is called the sayings of Mohammed, which is like a book of quotes that people claimed Mohammed said throughout his life (these were not recorded by Mohammed himself).

Mohammaded was illiterate. He couldn’t read or write. He didn’t write the Qu’ran, so even though they believe Jesus and Moses didn’t get it quite right, it’s funny that it still could have been a bit of a chinese whispers from God to Mohammaded to whoever he told to whoever wrote it down. Interesting stuff. I loved learning about Islam at school.

p.s. I had to look up “stenographer” and apparently it’s someone who is very good at using shorthand to record something, which, to me, contradicts the definition of “verbatim EXACTLY”, just saying :P

gorillapaws's avatar

@shrubbery I’m pretty certain they believe that Muhammad wrote the Quran verbatim from the words of God. The fact that he was illiterate is supposed to be proof that this was a miracle from God. Although there is some scholarly debate about how Muhammad could have been illiterate and yet he was a merchant prior to this event. The numerical system in use at the time used letters as numbers (similar to roman numerals), so it’s likely that he at least knew those letters. I really don’t think that it is believed that Muhammad took the words of God and then relayed it to a second, literate person to record.

I’m not really an expert though, so if you have some links I’d be glad to check them out.

shrubbery's avatar

@gorillapaws no no I’m just going on pre-tertiary religion class memories here so you’re way more of an expert than I am :P

JLeslie's avatar

@shrubbery Even if it was the word from God, the fact remains that language changes over time, and in the modern day interpreting the text would not be perfect. Jews get this. There are expressions like if you have 10 Rabbi’s you have 10 different opinions. Some Muslims and Christians seem to get this, but many don’t. They want to interpret the text as they see fit, and they also feel sure their understanding is correct. Christians Especially who read the bible in English, or any language besides the one the bible was originally written in have little to stand on; something is always lost in translation. I am assuming the Quran was written in Arabic originally? Although I would guess it is some sort of Arabic that has been lost. Similar to old English.

shrubbery's avatar

@JLeslie, oh yeah no I’m definitely not arguing with that. I like the fact that a lot of scholars sit down and try to interpret the readings for a modern day- it’s just that that doesn’t always come out the best either in some places.

Val123's avatar

Well….Jesus didn’t write anything down, either!


I hate to say this, but this is what I usually think—-“strict-mindedness and archaic values”, “ethnocentrism”, “backwardness”, and “oppression”. Sorry, but that’s what think when I hear “Muslim” or “Islam”.

JLeslie's avatar

@shrubbery What do you mean interpret reading for a modern day? I am saying they don’t know the meaning intended, even for back in the old days sometimes, because the language has evolved.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think of my best friend. I think of philosophy, of education.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Art and mathematics of the ancient world


I also think of “terrorists”, even though I know most Muslims aren’t terrorists. But with 9/ll and all, sigh!

Response moderated (Spam)
Response moderated (Spam)
lightsourcetrickster's avatar

I think of how much of a total moron Bush was at mentioning the ‘C’ word. You should never mention the ‘c’ word. psst…crusade
That man, whilst being comical in his own way – for nearly reinventing the English language as we know it, was a total pillock for saying what he did involving that word.
I know some truths about Islam and Muslims. I know they aren’t all bad, but unfortunately the press coverage they tend to get is profoundly negative.
In the UK they get a lot of it. Last year it was burning poppies on Remembrance Day, which was just ridiculous as to how they got away with that. Yet similarly one western woman was arrested and prosecuted for defacing a war memorial by taking a leak on it. My country disappoints me in this respect. It’s okay to be extremely disrespectful for them who have immigrated here, but for one person from this country that’s unacceptable? I don’t buy it, and I don’t like it. Plus I hate our government for being OH so very two faced.
That said, I love my Muslim girlfriend. She’s ace, ha.
I also think of the English Defense League….but I’ll limit my opinion on their stupidity – oh damn, too late. For them it’s just an excuse to start a riot, they clearly disapprove of anyone not British being here and since 9/11 I reckon they totally shifted from disliking African immigrants and other Asian immigrants and seem to largely concentrate on Muslims now, and I cannot possibly fathom how they are still running but they put us to shame as a nation no more than our government does!
I think of history (neatly tied in with the first mention of what Bush said), because the Crusades of the Medieval era are very interesting to me, I find that area of history very eye-opening, and if anyone should stumble across a book by Thomas Asbridge called “The Crusades”, it is the absolute bible on the subject in my opinion. Very well researched, very unbiased, and incredibly thorough. I’d recommend it to anyone wishing to read up on the subject.

planetsreign's avatar

So many Interesting Comments here. and I agree with most of them.

But I would Like to Say 3 things.

1. What a person thinks about Islam, All DEPENDS on how much they have studied the FACTS and DEPENDING on what FACTS they have studied. . A person Could think of Robes and another person who has been deeper in study, could think of the Historical Side of Islam.

2. A Poster Named ( JLeslie ) – STATED that ( ” Now that Sarah had her own baby she cast out Hagar and Ismael. Isaac continued the traditions of the Jewish Religion. Ishmael led people to Islamic beliefs. ”

But there is no Evidence that these Statements are true. The Ancient Scriptures Say that HAGAR and ISHMAEL were Tormenting, Persecuting and Hateful to Sarah and Isaac. And that Sarah never did anything Wrong or to hurt Hagar. Hagar Saw she was Pregnant and thereafter begin to treat Sarah with Contempt and Hate.

The Scriptures also say that ISHMAEL as well, Tormented and Persecuted Isaac and Mocked and tried to Hurt Him. So GOD Commanded Abraham to KICK Hagar and Ishmael out.

Sarah was RECORDED in Scriptures as STATING ** ” Gen 16:5 Violence / Evil / Oppression – Is Come Against or About. I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was DESPISED in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.

And Gal 4:29 – Stated that Ishmael persecuted Isaac.

My Third Comment would be that, NEVER in any biblical NOR World HISTORY is Ishmael NOR His Descendants RECORDED as Serving the God of Abraham. This ideology was Fathered By Mohammud.

The Scriptures Do Say that the ISHMAELITES Made WAR and HATE against the Jews and tried to EXTERMINATE and Destroy them and their Temples and Civilization.

Sarah is the eXample that God Commands Women to follow. She practiced Biblical, Godly polygamy and when Hagar Rebelled and Became HATEFULL and began to despise Sarah and Ishmael Hurting and tormenting Isaac. THEN. – God commanded Abraham to Kick these Horrible people out of His Home.

the FACTS Show that Ishmael Never LED people to Islamic beliefs.

And Islamic Beliefs were INVENTED by Mohammud . Before Mohammud, there were no Islamic Scriptures, Artifacts nor Evidence of Islam eXisting.

You Can Choose to Take Mohammud As Your Father, revelator and your Prophet – , concerning YOUR Faith. Or the Facts.

kritiper's avatar

Baseball and cloth.

answerbag's avatar

Niqab, space before and after punctuations, bad editing photos, but cute for some reason; beautiful sentences when it is translated; even if it is wrong.

kritiper's avatar

More cockamamie religion, actually…

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther