honor and shame
Muslims live in this biblical world of a shame/honor dialectic.
The word sharif (honor) is a common name for males throughout the Muslim world. The word for shame (ayb) is a dirty garment to be cast off by every effort. Women must acquire and maintain honor for the whole family; otherwise, they bring disgrace, which only their deaths may erase. In Japanese society, someone who is shamed must sometimes kill himself. But in a Muslim society, one who is disgraced must sometimes kill someone else.
Bob Blincoe U.S. Director, Frontiers Honor and Shame
An Open Letter to Evangelical Leaders
“Throughout the history of Christian outreach to the Muslim peoples of the world, Christians have faced tremendous struggles in knowing how to clearly communicate the gospel message. Most of the church’s efforts at communication have been received like water off a duck’s back. The message is proclaimed, and the hearers are completely indifferent, sometimes resistant, and occasionally reacting with hostility.
As Westerners shaped by logic, philosophy, rhetoric and a theological system developed by lawyer/theologians, our views are based on guilty vs. not guilty. Our presentation of the Gospel thus is laid out in legal system terms- guilt, redemption, paying the price for iniquity, etc. However, the rest of the world thinks much differently: Asian and Middle Eastern societies tend to focus on shame and honor, African and many tribal cultures focus on fear.
Over the years, countless misunderstandings have developed between Christians and Muslims. Muslims often view Christians as immoral idolaters and blasphemers holding to old documents of untrustworthy heritage. Many Christians are suspicious of Muslims, viewing them as dangerous, and unpredictable. Some go as far as thinking that all Muslims are violent and oppressive.”
Roland Muller Honor and Shame