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The 6 differences between being Arab and being Muslim

The 6 differences between being Arab and being Muslim

May 19, 2024

It's nothing out of the ordinary to hear often the associations that are made between being Arab and Muslim , as if it were something indivisible, as if both were variables dependent on each other or, directly, synonyms. This is, in part, for centuries that orientalist scholars who (erroneously) identify the Arab ethnicity with the religion of Muhammad.

Ignorance is the big problem in confusing these terms. In Spain, specifically, the concept "Moor" is used to refer to any person who professes the Muslim religion or belongs to the countries that are part of the Middle East. In this article we will review justly what are the differences between being Arab and being Muslim so that it is clear that both concepts refer to very different things. Let's start with a couple of basic definitions.


  • Related article: "Types of religion (and their differences of beliefs and ideas)"

What does it mean to be Arabic?

As paradoxical as it may seem, the fact of being Arab responds to a fundamentally linguistic and geographical cause . Geographically, the Arabs extend from North Africa to West Asia, where curiously excluded from this category are some of the countries with more Muslims to their credit, with approximately 90% of the population.

And this is where the surprise comes: in Turkey, practically roaming around one hundred percent of citizens of the Muslim faith, 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 of the clearest examples of differentiation between Muslim and Arab .


And being a Muslim?

The story is very different as far as religion is concerned. The Prophet Muhammad himself preached an Islam without borders, as if it were a transnational organization, from there is born the term "Ummah" which means the encompassing of the entire Islamic community worldwide, regardless of sex, origin, nationality or ethnicity, among others.

Nor should we confuse being Muslim with being Islamic. In this article of differences between Islam, Muslim, Islamic and Jihadist we categorize already what each specific case supposes.

Differences between Arabic and Muslim, in 6 points

These are the 6 basic differences that exist between being Muslim and being Arab.

1. Territory

It is perhaps the most distinctive element of all the rest. Islam does not conceive borders , does not recognize the modern system of the States and their followers do not pay homage to any flag or political ideology. Arabic, on the other hand, is geographically well defined.


2. Culture

Culture is another reason to unmark Arabic with Muslim. In itself, Islam offers behavioral patterns for very specific aspects of life, which strictly adhere to the parameters that govern the Koran, such as avoiding representing naked human figures, or the prohibition of drawing Saints and Prophets. However, across the length and breadth of the planet, Muslims live according to a whole series of nuances and cultural variations that make them a diverse community.

3. Music

There is a lot of controversy regarding music in the Islamic community. For some purists who are experts in the interpretation of Islam, music is forbidden. Distracted from prayer and from the obligation to recite the Qur'an. However, this is not a point of view shared by all Muslims.

4. Culinary differences

The prohibition limits the culinary taste of Muslims. As it can happen with vegans, for example, Muslims have strictly restricted the intake of pork, as well as other products derived from the same animal (sweets, gelatins, artisanal pastries). But in addition to this characteristic, Arab culture has a type of diet and cooking associated with does not exhaust all the gastronomic possibilities that a Muslim person chooses .

5. Language

As we pointed out in the introduction, the fact of being an Arab practically forces the subject to be a connoisseur and practitioner of the Arabic language in order to recognize that identity and integrate in the countries that are part of this group. Without it, for example, it is very difficult to find work, in the same way that someone who does not know Spanish will have difficulties in Spain. On the other hand, a Muslim can not be required to know Arabic.

6. Policy

As far as political regulation is concerned, Muslims or Muslim countries they are usually governed by Sharia , a very strict way of applying politics within society.However, Arabs in general, even within Islamic countries, tend to distance themselves from this tendency by advocating cultural integrity, secularism of the State and greater equality between the sexes.

7. Religion

It is another of the great differences between Muslims and Arabs. The Muslim, by definition, follows the precepts of the Koran, but not all the inhabitants of Arab countries are Muslims. The Copts, the Druses, the Maghrebi Jews and the Christian communities in general that live in the Arab countries are also part of this type of societies.


What's the Difference Between Sunni and Shiite Muslims? (May 2024).


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