Understand Difference

Culture Clash: Exploring Religion Communication and Marriage in Arab and American Societies

Religious Beliefs

Christianity and Islam as Religious Beginnings

Religion plays a significant role in shaping people’s beliefs, behavior, and culture. Two of the world’s most influential religions are Christianity and Islam.

Christianity, which originated in the Middle East over 2,000 years ago, emerged from the teachings of Jesus Christ. Followers of Christianity believe in one God, who created the universe and sent his son to redeem humanity.

Today, Christianity is the largest religion in the world with over 2.4 billion followers. Islam, on the other hand, emerged in the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century.

It is based on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad, who received revelations from Allah. The central belief of Islam is that Allah is the one and only God, and Muhammad is his final prophet.

Muslims follow the Five Pillars of Islam, which include reciting the Shahada or declaration of faith, praying five times a day, giving alms to the poor, fasting during Ramadan, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. With over 1.9 billion followers worldwide, Islam is the second-largest religion globally.

Difference in Religious Beliefs and Freedom

Although both Christianity and Islam are monotheistic religions, they have numerous differences in their beliefs, practices, and values. Christianity places significant emphasis on individualism, liberty, and free will.

In contrast, Islam values obedience and submission to Allah’s will. Furthermore, Christianity believes in the Holy Trinity, consisting of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Islam, however, rejects this belief as shirk or idolatry. Religious freedom is a contentious issue in both Christianity and Islam.

While Christians generally advocate for freedom of religion and conscience, Muslims follow the concept of Ahadith or the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. Ahadith is explicitly detailed in its instructions on how to live a life pleasing to Allah, and it leaves little room for interpretation.

Islamic countries have strict laws that make it difficult for religious minorities to practice their faith. In contrast, democratic countries generally allow for religious freedom and do not impose stringent laws on their citizens.


Territorial Language Dominance

Language forms a crucial aspect of communication in every society. It is a tool for expressing thoughts, opinions, feelings, and ideas.

Arabic is an essential language in the Islamic world. It is the primary language in 22 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and the UAE.

Arabic has a rich cultural heritage that spans decades, and it is the language of the Quran. Muslims worldwide use it as a tool for prayer, religious discussions, and religious education.

English language, on the other hand, dominates many parts of the world, including the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is the lingua franca or international language used for communication, business, and diplomacy.

Many countries, including those in the Middle East, teach English as a second language to their students to enhance their employment prospects and communicate with people from other cultures. Moreover, both Arabic and English languages are often used in international broadcasts and media outlets.

Differences in Language and Understanding

Language barriers create difficulties for people from different cultures, politics, religions, economies, and societies to communicate effectively. Misunderstandings can lead to conflicts and breakdowns in communication.

Arabic and English languages are structurally different, which can pose challenges in translation. Arabic is written from right to left, while English is written from left to right.

Furthermore, Arabic has different verb conjugations and grammar rules than English. In addition to linguistic differences, social and cultural factors also affect communication.

In Arab culture, it is customary to exchange pleasantries before getting down to business. Communication is more indirect, and nonverbal cues and gestures are significant.

In contrast, American culture values assertiveness and direct communication. They often get to the point quickly and may appear rude to people from other cultures.


In conclusion, Christianity and Islam are two vast and influential religions that impact millions of people worldwide. They have differences in beliefs and practices that shape how their followers view the world.

Similarly, Arabic and English languages have unique structures that may pose communication challenges. Culture and social factors also play a significant role in communication.

Understanding these differences is essential in building bridges across cultures, promoting understanding, and avoiding conflict.

3) Literary Study

English as Universal Literature

The role of literature in society is to inform, educate, and entertain. It also provides insight into the culture and values of a society.

English literature has become a universal language that transcends borders and cultures. It has become the go-to language for international communication, business, and diplomacy.

English works of literature have gained popularity in different parts of the world, penetrating cultures, and capturing the hearts of readers globally. English literature has a rich history spanning centuries.

It dates back to the beginning of the Middle Ages, with works such as Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales. The literature from England has had a vast impact on the world, with famous writers such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens.

Literature from the English-speaking world has become so prevalent that it is now considered a part of world literature. It is widely taught in schools across the globe as part of the curriculum.

Arab Literature Influenced by Islamic Religion

Arab literature has a rich history dating back to the pre-Islamic era, which was full of poems, songs, and orations. Islam had a profound effect on Arab literature, influencing the language, themes, and content.

The Quran itself is considered a work of literature that has had a significant impact on Arabic writing. Literature in the Arabic language has evolved into many different forms such as poetry, plays, and novels.

Islamic values are evident in Arab literature. Themes such as love, death, spirituality, and metaphysics are common in Arabic literature.

Arabic poetry often features an element of spirituality, with the writers often reflecting on the teachings of Islam. Arabic literature has grown in popularity worldwide, with translations of works such as One Thousand and One Nights, by Arab storytellers, for example.

The moral values and teachings of Islam have found their way into a wider audience through Arabic literature.

4) Press

Free Press and Media in America

Press and media play a crucial role in shaping public opinion in America. The free press is a fundamental aspect of American democracy.

The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, and it is the cornerstone of the country’s democracy. The media is free to report on any issue, including government activities, without fear of persecution.

The freedom of the press in America is considered one of the most robust in the world. The media landscape in America is diverse, with print, radio, and television as well as social media and the internet providing news sources.

With the growth of technology, it has become much easier for people to access information from a variety of sources. While the media in America is free, it is not without controversy.

In recent years, there have been criticisms of media outlets that are perceived as biased and unbalanced.

Moderated Media in Arab Nations

Media in Arab nations is predominantly controlled by the government and political elites. Most countries in the region are governed under monarchies and dictatorships that use media as a tool to control public opinion.

In Arab nations, the media is moderated, and government censorship is prevalent. The possible reason is the sensitivity of the Arabic culture that values privacy, respect, and loyalty to authority figures.

Media censorship in Arab nations is blamed for the prevalence of black propaganda, which is the deliberate dissemination of false information to achieve a particular political agenda. The media in Arab nations is beholden to the government, with very little room for critical reporting on government activities.

Many countries in the region have banned media outlets, or journalists are imprisoned for reporting on certain issues. Social media and the internet have brought new challenges to government censorship in Arab nations.

Some countries in the region have introduced stringent regulations and monitoring of online content to control information dissemination.


The role of literature and media in shaping culture, informing and educating people is undeniable. English literature has become a universal language, with Arab literature showcasing the influence of Islam on the Arabic language.

The media landscape in America is free but not without criticism, while the moderated media in Arab nations is regarded as a tool used by governments to control public opinion. Understanding the differences and similarities in the literature and media of the different cultures is essential to appreciate their values and beliefs, promote tolerance, and preserve diversity.

5) Marriage

Family as Central Part of Arabic Society

The family is at the heart of Arab culture, and it plays a vital role in shaping societal values and beliefs. In Arab society, the family is the primary social group, and it encompasses all aspects of a person’s life.

Family members have close-knit relationships with each other, and they work together to achieve common goals, such as raising children, caring for elderly relatives, and providing emotional support. Arab families are known for their strong ties and are considered collectivist.

These families share their joys and sorrows, and family members must adhere to established social norms and traditions. Moreover, families in Arabic societies are characterized by hierarchy, with the patriarch serving as the leader and decision-maker.

The extended family is also important, as children are expected to care for their parents in old age, and family gatherings are common.

Marriage as Societal Agreement and Legitimizing Intimacy in Arab Culture

Marriage is a societal agreement in Arab culture that brings together two families. Marriage is also a formalized contract between two people, the husband and the wife.

The role of the husband is to provide for the family financially, while the role of the wife is to care for the home and children. Marriage serves to legitimatize sexual intimacy and procreation, with children seen as a vital component of the family unit.

The couple is expected to adhere to established social norms and traditions, with the man being the head of the household. The groom’s family is required to pay a dowry, which serves to demonstrate the man’s ability to provide for his future family.

In Arab culture, the family’s reputation is at stake, and the wedding ceremony is an elaborate event that involves many people.

6) Profession

Collectivism in Arab Society

Collectivism is a fundamental characteristic of Arab society. In Arab culture, group activities and social responsibility take precedence over individual ambitions.

Collectivism is reflected in the way business and work relationships are conducted in the Arab world. Professionals in Arab societies aim for the common good of the organization, and working together harmoniously is highly valued.

The group is the primary unit of society in Arab culture, and they have been socialized to honor and respect the needs and interests of the group. This is true at every level of society, with groups ranging from family, tribe, and nation.

In group-oriented societies, such as Arab countries, personal achievement is measured more in terms of contribution to the well-being of the group, rather than individual achievement.

Individualism and Professionalism in American Society

Individualism is a central value in American society. Americans are valued for their individual accomplishments and abilities to carve out a career path.

However, Americans are also expected to adhere to certain professional standards and work ethics, as individual success is seen as linked to the success of the organization. The workforce in America is shift-oriented, which fosters a more individual approach towards productivity.

In monochromic countries like America, time is valued and is seen as a critical aspect of productivity. Productivity is measured through individual output, and professional merit is rewarded on the basis of an individual’s work and accomplishments.

In conclusion, culture plays a fundamental role in shaping social norms and values in different societies across the world. Arab society values collectivism, traditional family systems, and social responsibility, whereas American society is rooted in individualism, professional merit, and monochromatic working cultures.

It is essential to appreciate the differences and similarities in different cultures to build strong relationships, increase productivity, and foster mutual understanding. The article highlights the significance of religion, communication, literature, press, marriage, and profession in shaping different societies.

It explores the differences and similarities between Christianity and Islam, the role of language in communication, the influence of Arabic and English literature, the presence of free press in America and moderated media in Arab nations, the importance of family and marriage in Arab culture, and the contrasting values of collectivism and individualism in professions. Understanding these diverse aspects enhances cultural understanding, promotes tolerance, and fosters productive relationships.

It reminds us of the importance of valuing and respecting different perspectives and cultures to create a harmonious global community.

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