I'm finding it hard to identify the boundary between "cultural practices" and, for lack of a better term, "applied Islam".
Question: What distinguishes "cultural practices" with "applied Islam"?
The distinction is important, because cultural practices are off topic
The following, however, are considered off-topic here except where they're shown to be directly relevant to the religion of Islam:
- Cultural practices and behaviour of Muslim communities ...
while, as far as I can tell, asking questions about how one applies Islamic teachings to one's life is on topic. Likewise, how communities as a whole apply Islamic teachings also seems on topic.
Complication 1: Many cultural practices in Islamic communities exist because they are believed to be part of Islam. A cultural boundary may exist based on an Islamic sect, and questions about sects are on topic.
Complication 2: Difference in scholarly opinion means that what's cultural practice to one scholar, could be part of Islamic teachings to another scholar.
Complication 3: It can be difficult to distinguish between:
- a group of Muslims do X, and X is allowed in Islam ("applied Islam"),
- a group of Muslims do X, but X is not allowed in Islam ("cultural practices"),
- a group of Muslims does not do X, but X is allowed in Islam ("cultural practices"), and
- a group of Muslims does not do X, and X is not allowed in Islam ("applied Islam").
This makes it difficult to ask about X.
Complication 4: There's fatawa on cultural practices.
Complication 5: It is beneficial to learn not only about "theoretical Islam" but how it actually exists in the real world, even though it differs from place to place.