Islam students at LUC

Archive for July 30th, 2010

Forgive me for the length of this post, but I am so disturbed this evening as I creep numerous facebook pages to discover some of my grammar school classmates have joined the group  “No to the Mosque at Ground Zero”.  For those who haven’t been to this site, it is filled with photos, videos, and commentary meant to evoke the horrible feelings of grief and anger that filled the air on September 11, 2001.  Being a native new yorker, I get it.  I understand the grief.  I moved to Chicago on September 13, 2001, just 2 days after the attack.  Coming from a blue-collar neighborhood in Queens where a majority of police and firemen lived, I left my city not knowing whether some friends were just missing or dead.  BUT the sole purpose of this site is to inflame people who are still looking for someone to blame.  The narrow-minded creators of this site cannot separate the attackers from their religion.  They choose to defame an entire religion by exploiting those who died that day, and I do mean exploit by showing some pretty graphic footage of the events that day.  Haven’t we all seen enough of that?  No one has forgotten it, I’m pretty certain of that. I flew back to NY on the 1 year anniversary of the attacks so I could finally move on and “get some closure”.  I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge that day, through lower Manhattan, and north to my mid-town hotel.  It was an emotional day, but one of the most moving images I saw was a bed sheet hanging out of a window in the Village with the saying, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” painted across it.  I snapped a picture of it that day.  Today it sits in my cube, where I spend most of my waking hours.  Occasionally it grabs my eye, and I find myself nodding in agreement.


Posted on: July 30, 2010

Many non-Muslims have some misconceptions about the word “Allah”. They believe that God and “Allah” are different. In Islam, “Allah” is the proper and supreme name for God. This word used by Muslims all over the world. For Muslims, “Allah” is the one who is the creator, the owner, all powerful, and merciful. They believe that “Allah” created the world and provides everything on the earth. Muslims prefer to call the Supreme being “Allah” instead of using the English word god. Unlike the word god and other names, the word “Allah” is the name of a unique creature. “Allah” is one and singular and characterized by neither feminine nor masculine. Muslims do not add “s” to God because it makes the word plural, but in the English language, the word god is often plural. Muslims also do not add “dess” to the word God because it becomes Goddess which can be a female God or male God.


Posted on: July 30, 2010

This class provides an introduction to historical development of the religion of Islam. I really like in-class discussion of readings. The professor knows how to mix lecture and discussion exceptionally well and amazing. He adjusts course to meet student needs and interests. I watch and enjoyed some films, the documentary about Islam. I had little knowledge about Islam, but this class helps me learn more about Islam. Islam is a world religion with approximately 1.3 billion people. The Prophet Mohammad taught people not to be worldly, not to fight, not to kill each other and not to worship anything but God. Islam today is the largest and fastest growing religion in the world. Now, more and more people are converting to Islam. Prophet Muhammad delivered God’s message of Islam to all mankind. He left the Quran for the entire human race as guideline in a correct way of life which was a revelation from God to Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel.

Encompassing the central teachings of the religion of Islam is the “Hadith Of Gabriel”, which is taught as a questioning of Muhammad in the company of his followers by a stranger who appears to be on intimate terms with him.

Islam means to “submit”, and to submit one declares one’s loyalty to the only true God Allah, and that Muhammad is God’s messenger. The Five Pillars are also a part of submission because in order to honor God one must pray and fast, help the poor, and make a pilgrimage to the Ka’ba.

Faith is also a central concept in the religion of Islam because in order to confide and have trust in something you cannot see you must believe in it first. For the religion of Islam there must also be “faith in angels”, “Muhammad the Messenger”, the “Day of Judgment”, and in the “good presiding over evil”.

“Doing what is beautiful”, in my own understanding, is about living morally and ethically. A conscientious life striving for the good, and living thankfully and gratefully for the life God has granted you.

“The Hour and Its Marks” of the judgment each and every one of us will experience, and the responsibility we are obliged to take for our actions. Even the Prophet Muhammad admits he has no knowledge of when this time will come, but ultimately God will reveal himself to us and there isn’t anything we can hide from him.

It is interesting to note that the Quran places special significance not just on its original Arabic language but in the way in which recitation itself brings about the religious and spiritual experience. To truly interpret the scripture of the Quran one must learn it in its original tongue, and anything other than that is merely interpretation. The Quran is “the word of God” and reciting it is itself a part of the spiritual experience.

Taught traditionally in most Muslim families, the importance of reciting the Quran in its Arabic tongue is about an experience of God, of bringing one “closer to God”. Historically all texts originate orally and are then recorded to preserve their teachings. In it’s Arabic tongue, the recitation of the Quran is supposed to convey it’s original context and meaning, something easily lost in translation. But most importantly, what I find unique is the plethora of meaning that can be gathered through learning and reciting the Quran in Arabic, which is supposed to be literally versatile.

This book is rather interesting as well. Unlike the other books, it relates the Qur’an directly to what Muhammad was teaching and its influence. I personally liked the passage on page 56 that stated “Rather, the Qur’an offers is that the suffering of the innocent will never be forgotten, for God witnesses all things. Those who persecute the righteous are offered the opportunity to repent- God’s justice is not simple retribution”. This directly relates to the time in Muhammad’s life when the Quraysh refused to let Muhammad proceed with his teachings and tortured any of his followers. Muhammad told his followers that God would not forget those who suffered.

All of this is a rather fascinating story.