The Islamic Garden
Islam in Thailand
means freedom and Thai people will happily tell you that their country
been occupied, even by
The king, who is loved by everyone, is now just a political figurehead of the country but he plays the important role of uniting the people. Despite being a Buddhist, he supports all religions and guarantees freedom of religion. There are many states in the south where Islamic family law is legally practiced.
22-year-old Thai student studying at Al-Azhar in
added, “There are many Muslims in
past, many Muslims in
At the same time, Thai culture grooms Muslims to be open and flexible and feeds in to the peaceful essence of Islam that coincides with Buddhist teachings. People generally agree that living in a modern world means that it is vital to gain knowledge; the same attitude exists concerning religion. There is now more emphasis on gaining sound Islamic knowledge. Nowadays, many Muslim youth go overseas to study the religion and are respected when they return.
is happening while Western culture is increasingly affecting Thai
Western culture can be seen in the way people choose to dress, the
fast food and materialism. Western influence started to be felt after
War as there was a
same time, it is usual and acceptable to have Buddhist friends and
Both religions have lived side by side for hundreds of years and
Muslims and even celebrate their special occasions with them, like
will share food, children will play together and everyone will
special occasion. Buddhists also understand that Muslims do not eat
drink alcohol and so they share halal
things with them. Farida, a 20-year-old student currently studying at
Another Thai student named Asma currently studying at Al-Azhar, said, “My mother wears the veil and lectures at the university. She teaches Buddhists every day and is respected by both Muslims and Buddhists.”
Growing up in
like everywhere else in the world, many children watch a lot of
television and spend
hours play computer games. However, the culture in
is generally co-educational; however, Islamic schools usually separate
and boys. Some Islamic schools choose to have separate rows for boys
or even separate class rooms. Islamic schools are cheaper but are known
a good standard of education. Sometimes teachers from countries like
It is generally considered very important to educate girls. This was not the case in the past; however, nowadays since people are learning more about Islam they are encouraging their daughters to finish school. Another point in favor of girls being educated is the economic pressure on families. This is especially so for city people as it is difficult to survive financially without a career. In more spiritual terms, there is a common belief that women have to be educated as they are the ones who will educate their children. The notion that it is not important for women to be educated because after all they will just get married and have children, is generally considered old-fashioned and traditional. Muslim women who are educated and have a successful career are respected both within the general Muslim community as well as the wider community.
How Modern Day Goals are Made and Achieved
international financial crisis is striking at economies all over the
When it comes to making decisions about work, education, career or marriage, individuals within Muslim families are mostly free to make their own goals and decisions. The role of the family is largely one of offering guidance and advice. Parents encourage the youth to study Islam when they are young and then when the child grows older he or she is trusted to go to university and retain his identity. Young people are encouraged to be the best; to be successful in their career and to make money but most often they are left to choose their own course in life.
Love and Marriage
Very few young people are forced to marry. Sometimes families or parents might recommend someone for their child to marry. While young people are relatively free to make decisions, they are also taught to take responsibility for that decision and they are taught to be responsible from a young age. Parents give general guidelines on how to choose a career or a spouse but in the end, the young person must make the decision. When it comes to marriage, there is not so much emphasis on social status and marrying within certain social groups; the concept of compatibility is more concerned with interests and personality.
If the daughter meets someone she would like to marry, she can tell her parents and ask them to meet him. However, she will be sure to secure the relationship first before bringing him home to the family. If the daughter is trustworthy the parents will allow her to go out with her intended along with a group of friends. It must be said that generally boys are freer to go out and socialize, while girls have a time limit and are under more supervision.
Thai people generally believe that love is fundamental in marriage; if there is love, there will be more help and support. If the marriage ends in divorce, remarriage is not frowned upon; it is considered normal that divorced people will remarry. Thai people are generally laid back and take things easy.
The family will support a divorced daughter and because of an ingrown sense of responsibility, and independence, people are capable of building up their life after marriage and divorce. Few people will return to their family home ashamed because of divorce.
A Culture of Joy and Peace
It is expected that all members of the household will work and contribute to the home. There are usually no maids. Even if children are working they will give money to the parents to help the family. As both happiness and sorrow are shared, family members reinforce each other. Thai culture is one of joy and peace.
people easily find joy because they live simply and are taught to be
the past, it was not important to wear clothes that have a designer
however, things are changing and the new generation is being more and
affected by Western materialism. Regardless, most people are modest and
and find pleasure in sitting with friends and neighbors and enjoying
things like eating together. Meals in
Parents mostly speak politely to their children and treat them with respect. There is not much hugging and kissing and children are not encouraged to be over-confident but they are taught to be responsible, sensitive and ambitious. It is not easy for a Thai person to ask for something and this fosters independence in the individuals.