Islam students at LUC

Archive for January 2011

Post #1

Posted on: January 31, 2011

Class:
In class we discussed the Islamic idea of “No god, but God.”We made lists of things that people allow to dictate their lives. Some of these included, drugs, celebrities, status, andpower. In my opinion, money is one ofthe largest desires of man and more worshiped than God. Although the idea of capitalismis not bad in itself, there are many who worship money and do a lot of terrible things just to get it putting money higher than God. The class really opened myeyes to viewing what people enslave themselves to and how most don’t live the life through God and succumb to thesefalse gods.
Book:
The book “In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the life of Muhammad” by Tariq Ramadan, speaks of the Prophet Mohammed being a manof virtue, patience, and morality. The book starts off by telling about Abrahamand the story where Abraham is told to sacrifice his son and compares the taleof Abraham with that of Muhammad . Tariqtells of the start of Muhammad’s life beginning as a poor orphan and rising tobecome the Prophet of God. Muhammad was a man that had mercy for all. The book spoke about the beginning of Muhammad;Ramadan speaks of the persecution of the Muslims and of how Muhammad planned a pact to stop theconflict arising in the tribes of Mecca.
Islamic Protest:
A huge protest took place in eastern Lahore after anAmerican official shot and killed two Pakistani men. Over 15,000 people showedup to try to stop the man from being extradited back to the United States. TheU.S. official stated that he killed the men in self-defense as they had weaponsand he was being robbed. Many protesters called for the American to be hanged. TheU.S. government claims that the man has diplomatic immunity, yet the Pakistani governmentrefuses to release the man until they do a full investigation. This controversymay have an effect to inflame anti-American sentiments.

Advertisements

CLASS: I always find it interesting when American students are called to discuss the concept of America. In last week’s class we were often very cynical and self-deprecating when putting together a list of ideas/concepts/things that “make” America, America. All the groups were quick to write down things like: money, materialism capitalism, success driven, and fast food. I found it rather sad that the corner stones of our nation- equality for all, freedom of speech/religion, and opportunity- were not themes that immediately sprung to mind.

READING: I enjoyed the completeness of the life of Muhammad. Many of the Muslim students in class commented that they like the extra focus and commentary given on the life of the Prophet prior to his revelations. Not being Muslim, I was not familiar with any aspect of Muhammad’s life. I found Memories of Muhammad to be a very accessible book that didn’t assume everyone knew anything about the Prophet, but from reading other Muslim blogger responses, they still felt like they learned new things about their religion.

ISLAM: I read an article about an Indonesian pop star who was fined $25,000 and sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison for two leaked homemade sex tapes. I was blown away to learn that the anti-porn law that was invoked here carries a maximum sentence of 12 years! This discount form American culture is unbelievable; American celebrities increase their stardom from sex tapes. I was also surprised to learn that Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world- I assumed a country in the Middle East would hold this title. The article can be found here: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=12799560&page=2

 

Class Material:

The discussion we had in class was a very interesting one. I loved the way we talked about paradigm and how it affected the way we understand things in our world. Each group of people has their own way of thinking on a matter that may or may not be incredibly similar. I loved the way we split up into groups because evidently we saw exactly how each person in the group had a different interpretation, or way of thinking, or even further a paradigm.

Reading Material:

I thought the reading was pretty interesting overall. I never knew too much about the history of Abrahamic religions and it was a very intriguing subject for me to grasp an understanding in. In particular, the way one of the books described how the different Abrahamic religions viewed each other and the strong comparisons between them. The readings also provided a good history of the prophet Muhammad’s life and his ultimate preachings on Islam – the ideas of peace and mercy and how they are incorporated into the religion.

Other Comments:

Relative to today’s world, discussions like the one we had in class, and an understanding of the religion of Islam is very important. The people that consider Islam to be a very violent religion and one that urges killing, should take an honest look at the foundations of the religion before they question its true preachings. The religion itself seems like a very peaceful one that is based on true submission to God, not the lowercase gods that we find in our daily lives. I look forward to more interesting discussions like the one we had in class last Thursday!

In class material-

It was interesting to view religion through the lens of a paradigm. It made it easier to undertand the material when you can relate it to everyday addictions such as food, shopping, power, and fame. I found it most interesting when we related this all to the Islamic religion. Identifying these desires and everyday luxuries, and then recognizing the fact that followers of Islam turn to God to fulfill all these desires instead, is vital in understanding their lifestyles. Followers of Islam make a great commitment to their religion and choose to put God above all else. They believe in the coming day of judgement, and the final prophet Mohammad. With these beliefs, they choose to surrender to God and put religion above all else.

In Reading:

The most interesting of the text was the portion in Memoires of Muhammad that describe the sources for the life of the prophet. Due to my lack of knowledge in the Islamic Religion, I was intrigued by the sources behind the prophet of Muhammad. Most importantly, I learned that the Qur’an is actually not seen as the words of Muhammad, but seen as the words of God through the prophet himself. There are no miracles in the Qur’an but it is itself seen as miraculous by its eloquence and power.

The rest of the story of Muhammad is attributed to the Hadith, the statements attributed to the prophet, and the Sira, narratives created by Qur’anic references. Together these sources make up the guide for which followers of Islam deem most valuable.

Issue related to Islam-

The post by giantsteps 23 really caught my attention, especially with the past debate of a Mosque being constructed blocks away for Ground Zero. I remember hearing this story and being caught completely off guard by the topic. It is one that sparked much controvery, including internationally. As little as I know about the Islamic religion, I can safely say that all religions have extremists that should not be representative of the religion as a whole. The events that took place on 9-11 are forever seen as tragedies. The mentality of our nation was altered on that day, and the effects are still being felt today. If we allow these debates to continue, we will never see an end to injustice and prejudice.

It was very intriguing to think about the different paradigms of America. I never really sat down and thought about how America was viewed or how others around me viewed America. Moreover, I also found the discussion about what humans make as their gods very interesting.  As we discussed how some are pleased with buying materialistic objects, and how others please and seek comfort in popularity or fame.

From the articles we had to read for our first paper, I found the article “Mercy, The  tamp of Creation” very insightful. What caught my attention specifically were the various stories about the Prophet’s(peace be upon him) mercy. One particular story amazed me, it was about how the Prophet ( peace be upon him) and his army approached a city with a very large army, and noticed a wild dog on the roadside nursing her young and the Prophet ( peace be upon him) posted one of his companions to stand guard near her so she would not be disturbed. I learned even more about the Prophet’s( peace be upon him) mercy from this article.

In my opinion, the riots in Egypt have some pertinence to Islam, being that the majority of the population in Egypt are Muslim. Furthermore, after watching the news and observing the media, I was sadden when I heard of the looting and stealing going on during the riots. I just wish for once people could protest peacefully, for Islam teaches about peace and mercy towards others. I feel many have forgotten this lesson from the leaders of nations all the way to down to the everyday citizen.

 

 

Class Material:

First and foremost, I learned a new word: paradigm. The way Pr. Mozaffar used it was very enlightening and educational. The concept of “no god, but God” was very insightful. There are many “gods” in our world: money, sex, vices, status, and especially material goods. I never thought of all these things as being a god, but if you take into account the meaning of “worship” then it makes sense.

Reading Material:

Both the readings were very interesting. Safi makes several points about how Islam and Muhammad are presented and thought of in the present world. I really liked his comparisons of the Muhammad/Islam bashers of today and how Jews were persecuted and demonized pre-WWII. Ramadan approaches Muhammad from a more academic view and begins by going over his legacy and life. He presents Muhammad more historically and recounts his ancestry and his own family.

Related to Class:

I feel today, more so than ever, religion itself (especially Islam) is being demonized and attacked. When ever i watch a show or the news, theres always something making religion seem imperfect, misleading, or just plain stupid. It annoys me when theres always a portrayal of a horny priest or dumb christian girl and main character(s) scoff at religion as if they were way too cool for it. It seems like religion has become “uncool” in hollywood… be it Christianity or Islam…

I enjoyed the class discussion about “There’s no god, but God”. It can be so easy to lose control over our lives in this society. The idea of living life for nothing but God is sent from God to avoid losing yourself in this world. Much of our population loses themselves to addictions to money, work, materialism, etc. Islam’s idea of living for only God makes sense. It can also be applied to idea of looking for purpose in life. It can be hard to find purpose in a world of working aimlessly, making money to just pay bills, etc. but living for God can fulfill that purpose. This is why it doesn’t surprise me that Islam is such a widespread religion. Obvious millions all around the world find purpose and meaning to live for God and nothing else.

I absolutely loved the reading by Omid Safi. As a Muslim I still learned so much I didn’t know and I love reading about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). What I found interesting though was some of the historical information that was given about pre-Islamic Arabia. Being a Muslim myself, it has always bothered me because I’ve felt like some stereotypes about the restriction of Muslim women and the intense focus of honor in a typical Muslim family can be true. I was always somewhat confused because I know Islam is such a peaceful religion and I used to wonder why and how such things as honor killings, or womens’ oppression became a small part of some Muslim cultures. Reading how the restriction of women and the idea of honor is a concept that existed even in the pre-Islamic era felt oddly good to me. These concepts are part of the culture of that area and have been for a long time. The religion, the economy, and lack of resources may have somewhat slowed the “modernization” of thought in these nations, but the emphasis on honor vs. shame and the restriction of women did not originate from Islam.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/arts/design/30mecca.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&hp

I thought this article related well with our discussion in class also. It talks about construction projects happening around the Holy Mosque and how many are trying to profit from being located near the mosque through valuable real estate prices, tourists, etc. More and more I’m hearing that the area around Mecca is getting increasingly commercialized. Some friends went for the Hajj this year and were telling me that the hierarchy was so obvious. The rich were being given so many preferences, yet those that would usually be considered middle class were literally sleeping in the streets. The hotels, restaurants, and marketplaces around Mecca are getting increasingly expensive making it almost impossible for anyone other than the elite class to complete their Hajj. This is so sad to me. The main idea of Islam is to not get caught up in the obsessions of society, yet even the areas around what’s considered “the house of God” is becoming filled with corruption, money, etc.