There is nothing extraordinary to hear often the associations between being Arab and Muslim, As if it were something indivisible, as if the two were dependent variables of each other or, directly, synonyms. It is, in part, for centuries that Orientalist scholars have (wrongly) identified the Arab ethnic group with the religion of Muhammad.
Ignorance is the big problem for confusing these terms. In Spain, in particular, the concept “Moorish” is used to refer to anyone who professes the Muslim religion or belongs to 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 the two concepts refer to very different things. Let’s start with some basic definitions.
What does it mean to be Arab?
Paradoxical as it may sound, being Arab it responds to a fundamentally linguistic and geographic cause. Geographically, Arabs stretch from North Africa to West Asia, where oddly some of the most Muslim countries to their credit are excluded from this category, with around 90% of the population.
And this is where the surprise comes: in Turkey, with around one hundred percent Muslim citizens, they are not Arabs. Indonesia, another exaggerated example of the same character, has 97% of Muslims residing in the country. Pakistan or Iran are others the clearest examples of differentiation between Muslim and Arab.
And be a Muslim?
The story is very different when it comes to religion. The Prophet Muhammad himself preached Islam without borders, as if it were a transnational organization, hence the term “Ummah” which means the encompassing of the entire Islamic community globally, regardless of gender, origin, nationality or ethnicity, among others.
We must not confuse being a Muslim and an Islamist either. In this article, we categorize the differences between Islam, Muslim, Islamic, and Jihadist and what each specific case entails.
Differences between Arab and Muslim, in 6 points
These are the 6 fundamental differences between being a Muslim and being an Arab.
This is perhaps the most distinctive element of all the rest. Islam does not conceive of borders, Does not recognize the modern state system and its supporters do not pay homage to any flag or political ideology. Arabic, on the other hand, is well defined geographically.
Culture is another reason to distinguish Arabs from Muslims. By itself, Islam offers models of behavior for very specific aspects of life, which strictly adhere to the parameters that govern the Qur’an, such as avoiding depicting naked human figures or the prohibition on drawing figures. saints and prophets. However, across the planet, Muslims they live according to a whole series of nuances and cultural variations which makes it a diverse community.
There is a lot of controversy regarding music in the Islamic community. For some purists who are experts in interpreting Islam, music is forbidden. Distract yourself from prayer and the obligation to recite the Quran. However, this is not a view shared by all Muslims.
4. Culinary differences
The ban limits the culinary taste of Muslims. As can happen with vegans, for example, Muslims have strictly limited the consumption of pork, as well as other products derived from the same animal (candies, jellies, homemade pastries). But in addition to this characteristic, Arab culture has associated a type of diet and cuisine that it does not exhaust all the gastronomic possibilities that a Muslim chooses.
As we pointed out in the introduction, the fact of being Arab practically obliges the subject to know and to practice the Arabic language in order to recognize this identity and to integrate in the countries which are part of this group. Without him, for example, it is very difficult to find a job, in the same way that a person who does not know Spanish will have difficulties in Spain. On the other hand, a Muslim cannot be obliged to know Arabic.
Regarding political regulation, Muslims or Muslim countries they are generally governed by sharia, A very strict way of applying the policy within the company. However, Arabs in general, even within Islamic countries, tend to distance themselves from this trend by advocating cultural integrity, secularism of the state and greater gender equality.
This is another of the big differences between Muslims and Arabs. The Muslim, by definition, follows the precepts of the Koran, but not all inhabitants of Arab countries are Muslims. Copts, Druze, Maghreb Jews and Christian communities in general living in Arab countries are also part of these societies.