Islam students at LUC

Archive for July 22nd, 2010

Quran

Posted on: July 22, 2010

Qur’an is a wonderful masterpiece. I am not Muslim, but I memorized some Surahs. One of my favorite Surah is Hamd. I love the meaning of this Surah. Quran contains many beautiful stories. Surah Yousuf is also one of my favorites of all Surahs in Quran, because it is very emotional. I also really enjoy reading the Surah in Arabic language, but I think it would be difficult to memorized all Surah. My opinion is that the Qur’an is meant to be read and understood. Like Torah and Bible, Quran teaches us so many good lessons which are necessary in our lives. Understanding of Surah in Quran and learning lessons are more important than reading the Surah. Some Mulims are only accustomed to read the Quran, because they believe that reading Surah are their obligations. But, do they really understand the meaning of these holy words? Do they really learn lessons from Quran?


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So far we’ve devoted 2-3 classes and multiple reading assignments to the life of the Prophet Muhammad.  As a non-Muslim, but a person who received a religious education for 14 years, I found the story to be thoroughly entertaining.  It contained many elements I could relate to such as, Muhammad’s devotion to those in need; his resolute attitude toward delivering the word of God, but things took a turn for me during the Night Journey.  I realize religion requires one to have faith, but the notion of Muhammad climbing up on a pegasus and flying to Jerusalem overnight was a bit much for me to digest.  I guess all, if not most religions require their followers accept the fantastic.  Additionally, the thought of Moses teaching Muhammad how to haggle with God over the number of prayers Muslims must say each day, well, made me chuckle.  I guess I was hoping for a reason to convert, but instead I got a nice story.

Islam

Posted on: July 22, 2010

I enjoyed the reading by Omid Safi. I am not Muslim, but I was born and grew up in an Islamic country. I still don’t know so many things about Islam. In Safi’s book, biography of Prophet Mohammad has been written in much more details than other Islamic book that I read before. I had always though if I am not Muslim, I will go to Hell. But now I know if am a moral, a just person at heart and believing in God, I do not go to Hell. It does not matter if I am Muslim or not.  At the beginning of Islam when Prophet Mohammad heard the voice of God, there were not a large group of followers. This religion started with a small group of followers who were persecuted and killed, but now there are so many Muslims all around the world. When I came to America, I met so many non-muslim who had negative thoughts and feelings about Islam. They told me Islam is a violent and bad religion full of injustice. At that time, I was not able to speak English fluently and could not explain my idea truly. I believe that Islam is not the problem, but the problem is the followers of Islam. Islam is a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, but there have always been so many people who used this religion to gain their power they hold in society such as Iran, Afghanistan, and other Islamic country. I believe in Islam and all other religions, but I will never follow the people who use the religion for their benefits.


I was amazed and shocked how quickly the Islam spread throughout the Arab.  First people who were converting to Islam were being killed or were boycotted from the food and other daily needs.  Some of them were even kicked out of their houses for converting to Islam.  Since, Islam was the message from God; Muhammad didn’t give up and spread the message throughout the Arab.  I think he didn’t needed a protection from Quresh or anyone else; being a prophet he should already have protection from God that’s why he was able to complete his task of spreading Islam.  I say he had protection from God, because God was the one to send him message to leave Mecca.  He took a good decision by signing the treaty which gives him the power to go to other cities of Arab and spread Islam, without being harmed.  He was successful in conveying the message of God to the Arabs.

I was also surprised by how intensely threatening Surah 56 was.  It does sound a bit inconsistent with the notion of a loving, forgiving God, and it seems especially ironic that the Surah starts with “in the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy!”  I couldn’t make sense of this at first, but then I remembered “Mercy: The Stamp of Creation.” That article spoke a little about the idea of justice and the “law of universal reciprocity.”  That idea of justice seems to say that punishment and rewards are not so much imposed upon us by God but rather that we create our reality (whether in this world or the next) through our own actions.  I found this theme in some of the other readings as well- that we actively create our afterlife with our good or bad deeds so that the same awaits us.  In “Mercy: The Stamp of Creation,” it sounds like we get what we are worthy of, and if we act in an unworthy manner, we are simply incapable of receiving blessings.  This also relates to the idea of gratitude- if we shut out God’s blessings, we can never receive them. Although Surah 56 definitely sounds like God acts as a supreme judge and punishes mercilessly, it might make sense to consider that Surah 56 presents the time when the internal condition of the soul becomes the external reality that a person must live with.

Our reading of the Surahs from the Qur’an sort of showed me the two opposites sides of the Qur’an. On one hand we had the story of Joseph, which I see as an example of good prevailing over evil. Even though his brother tried to get him away from his father, he still managed to be a person that achieved power with the help of God. He was still able to be with his father in the end, and even cure his eyesight problem. In the other Surah,(Surah 56) it seemed a little bit more scary showing what will happen to the non believers. Having you thinking of drinking scorching hot water and burning in hell, seems to be sort of a warning for those who do not have faith in God. Like another blogger mentioned they sort of seemed like sugar coated versus the scary truth. I am sure there are many other stories in the Quran that have happy endings but, having stated what the consequences will be for the nonbelievers is also something that I believe would be good to know.

I was just thinking about that same thing–how brave all of these new converts must be because I know that I would have probably waited it out a bit as well. But then I begin to think that the Final Prophet was sent here to deliver a final message, a final reminder to the world about the mercy and other attributes of God and judgement day. The reason Muhammad was sent was because society needed this reminder because of the cruel happenings (infanticide, domestic abuse, unnecessary conflict) that were escalating. So my point is that people do have consciences and they must have been feeling that something was going wrong but perhaps they didn’t know what to turn too. This is where Muhammad comes in–it is because many of these people feel uncomfortable with the practices of his or her culture that they absorb the Prophet’s message and therefore accept it over anything else. So converting might be the best decision for one’s conscience, and therefore eases any other emotional/physical pain that accompanies this revolution.

Also, converting while there is a messenger in one’s midst (even if it is doubtful) and a revolution occurring as opposed to, let’s say, tomorrow where there is no revolution or messenger/prophet is significantly different. So who knows?