Islam students at LUC

Archive for February 2011

Class: Instead of going to class we went to the 30 Mosques in 30 Days presentation. It was hilarious! But more importantly it shed light on just how diverse, widespread, and how long ago Islam has been in America. It was interesting to see how many different types of Muslims there are in America. There are groups of Muslim Bosnians, Somalians, and many more. On top of that, Muslims have been in the United states for centuries and have also built mosques in such places as North Dakota!

 

Readings: The readings discussed some of the fundamental teachings of Islam. The five pillars: Shahada, Salat, Siyam, Zakat, and Hajj. That is declaration of faith, prayer, fasting, charity, and the pilgrimage. It also speaks about the chain of narration, called Isnad, and the method of correct pronunciation of the Quran, called Tajweed.

 

Other: Well, Muslims are all over the news. First Tunisia, Egypt, now Libya and places such as Syria and Bahrain. The world is changing in crazy ways. This makes me wonder, if the world is reaching tipping points. I believe it is. The world is reaching tipping points physically, economically, spiritually and politically. This brings upon the question… what is going to happen next?

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So this week the class attended 30 days and 30 mosques, the speakers were wonderful and very entertaining. More importantly though, I enjoyed listening to all of their stories of various mosques. The most intriguing aspect of the presentation was in my opinion learning about muslim from the Ottoman Empire arriving in the United States during the 1800s in North Dakota. The presentation opened my eyes to different muslims all across the United States.

From the readings, I came across something I’ve heard many times in the past but was never able to get details on probably due to laziness. The revelation Qibla, this revelation changed the direction Muslims pray in from praying towards Jerusalem towards the Kaaba in Mecca. This story portrayed again the relationship and closeness between and Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

As many have heard riots and protests in Libya have also began. Yet another Muslim country in which protests and riots have begun against the leader. This presents to the world the corruption that has plagued Muslim countries for years, and this same corruption still pertains in many Muslim countries around the world. I hope leaders learn from these protest happening in these countries and decided to change their ways. May All(swt) protect the people of these countries.

 

Class comments: This week we went to the “30 Mosques in 30 Days” LUC presentation and it was AWESOME.  Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq took a Ramadan trip and visited 30 mosques all around the country for the thirty days.  I had heard about the idea, but never actually looked up their blog (which I did after the presentation!).  The presentation was great, funny and very informative — I would’ve never thought that the first mosque in America was built in a tiny population 50 town (Ross) in the middle of North Dakota, or that the oldest stands in Iowa.  I thought the two guys’ idea was brilliant, very nicely documented and personally, I cannot wait to see what they will do next (30 countries, different mosques etc.) It’s definitely a cool idea and I will make sure to follow them around this time.

Reading comments: This week we read about the five pillars of Islam, shahadah (creed), salat (daily prayers), sawm (fasting during Ramadan), zakat (almsgiving) and and hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca).  I found it very interesting that every able-bodied Muslim who can afford the Mecca pilgrimage must participate, during the final month of the Islamic calendar, and everyone must find someone to do it for them, if they themselves cannot.  I think it’s a beautiful religious tradition.

Other: This week was crazy for the Northern African country of Libya.  After protests continued their crazy dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, armed pro-government protesters (who were probably paid people, like Mubarak did) and let Libya become an open fire…basically a massacre.  Parts of his ridiculous speech at Tripoli’s Green Square can be viewed here: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/02/2011225165641323716.html  Here in America we are taught that a leader has to protect its citizens but Gaddafi is doing the exact opposite… the worst video (and most graphic) that I saw coming from the protests once Gaddafi armed his people and gave them the green flag to shoot away was of a little girl who had just been shot in the head.  Simply horrific.  Hopefully Gadaffi steps down soon, and stops blaming foreign countries (really, Canada?!) and other factors for the uprising, and the Libyan people get the right leadership.

Class (I was absent)

Readings:

I love how the author narrates little stories here and there into the book.  It serves as a great introduction into the content, keeps my attention, and helps me retain and understand the new Islamic content that I have read.  It was so interesting to see the “Isnad” or chain of authority that was passed down to Reem after she successfully completed her instruction on proper recitation of the Qur’an (Tajweed).  The Qur’an is so important in a Muslim’s life because “it is at the center of ritual life.”  It is recited in practically every worship and special occasion.  In the readings fasting is one of the pillars of Islam that is brought to light.  Fasting is basically to “heighten one’s awareness of God.”  The Qur’an is revered in Islam and respected.  One of the essential duties of any person is to be in a state of purity before touching it.

Islam:

There is so much excitement going on in this point in history for the Islamic world it is astounding!  I am very happy for the Muslims in these oppressed nations to finally have a chance at attaining their freedom.  I believe that in Libya, for example, their hopes have not been crushed by Qaddafi’s bizarre stunts.  Although he is being a merciless dictator, the Libyan people feel a strong unity and their desire for freedom is in fact growing more passionately in spite of Qaddafi’s tyrannical rule.  Power to those oppressed around the world, we are all watching and will not let oppression continue to go ignored.

Class: In class we attended the event 30 Mosques, 30 Days, 30 States. The event was quite interesting learning about all the different communities and their backgrounds. I think the most interesting one was the oldest mosque ever it was in such a random out of the way spot and it was so small. The other interesting one was the one that was used as a filming spot for movies. I never thought they would do that I thought they would always CGI things like that so that they didnt get any fatwas.

Readings: This weeks readings discussed the Five Pillars of Islam. They included: Shahada, Salat, Siyam, Zakat, and Hajj. For Muslims in order for them to fulfill their duties they must do all of these to their full capabilities or perform a substitute form of worship so that they can enter heaven. For example a muslim must perform Hajj in their lives once, however this is only if they are financially and physically capable if they are not they must have someone do it for them or perform some other act.

Islam: Well as everyone can see the middle eastern world is changing as we speak. Everyone is tired of living their lives hindered by dictatorial regimes. I dont know if any of you guys have seen this line everywhere but i believe it is the going to be the most memorable idea of this year : “I was born in Tunisia, lived in Egypt, went to Yemen and Bahrain and today I am fighting in Libya. I will grow in the Middle East until I make my way to Palestine. My name is…FREEDOM!!!” Inshallah all countries that are living under corrupted leaders get their freedom and become wealthy and prosperous and successful in all ways possible.

(Ch 4: “Blessed Words: The Qur’an and Culture):

In a small part of this chapter, Mattson talks about the idea of possession. She states that the Qur’an does not directly discuss the concept of possession, but the difference between jinns and humans is clearly laid out in the Qur’an. Regardless, the idea of possession was widespread in the “premodern Muslim culture,” and shockingly or not, this idea still exists today. I personally know someone who believes in possession to such an extent that she actually believed her son to be possessed at one point in time. I think it is important to acknowledge that the words of the Qur’an are so powerful that if one ever feels threatened or unprotected by non-human forces, then one can recite verses from the Qur’an. And these verses work sort of as a force-field, protecting one from any sort of harm. Not only that, but if one is going through physical illness, then one can also recite Qur’anic verses for the improvement of health.

(30 Mosques in 30 Days):

I have to say, this was probably one of the most memorable lectures I have been to at Loyola. I thought it was amazing how two guys could turn a casual conversation about doing something into reality. How many of us sit around with our friends saying, “Oh my god.. dude, we should totally do this!” and actually make it happen. And the fact they were actually able to travel to 30 different mosques in 30 days is amazing. I personally felt a connection with the story they told of meeting the Cambodian community in California. The community sounded like it was really tight-knit, like they really looked out for each other. And the fact that a South Asian cab driver felt more comfortable at the Cambodian community’s mosque than at his own local one, speaks volumes about the communal divide that exists within so many mosques across the country. Overall, I thought this lecture really opened our eyes to how far and wide Islam has spread across America and how even an unexpected state such as North Dakota contains a part of Muslim history.

(Marriage):

Marriage is a really hot-topic among my circle of friends, since most of us will be graduating this year. I think it is insane how some of my friends’ parents are already pressurizing my friends to either think about marriage or to get married! And I feel like this mentality about getting married young is deeply rooted in religion. I guess a lot of times parents are scared that their kids will stray and do “bad things,” so their solution is to get them married ASAP; or I guess as soon as they have their bachelor’s degree. I guess I understand the parents’ logic but I really don’t think forcing your kids to think about marriage at 21 is the best idea. And I wonder how rooted arrange marriages are in culture vs. religion. Because I feel like religiously, a girl and guy for that matter have a lot more say in what type of partner he/she wants then he/she is actually given. But the whole concept is kind of crazy because I don’t think it’s the easiest thing to talk about with one’s own parents. Basically my point is arranged marriage and Islam have a deep connection, since it is the “halal” way of meeting a girl/guy.

Class (I was absent)

Readings:

I love how the author narrates little stories here and there into the book.  It serves as a great introduction into the content, keeps my attention, and helps me retain and understand the new Islamic content that I have read.  It was so interesting to see the “Isnad” or chain of authority that was passed down to Reem after she successfully completed her instruction on proper recitation of the Qur’an (Tajweed).  The Qur’an is so important in a Muslim’s life because “it is at the center of ritual life.”  It is recited in practically every worship and special occasion.  In the readings fasting is one of the pillars of Islam that is brought to light.  Fasting is basically to “heighten one’s awareness of God.”  The Qur’an is revered in Islam and respected.  One of the essential duties of any person is to be in a state of purity before touching it.

Islam:

There is so much excitement going on in this point in history for the Islamic world it is astounding!  I am very happy for the Muslims in these oppressed nations to finally have a chance at attaining their freedom.  I believe that in Libya, for example, their hopes have not been crushed by Qaddafi’s bizarre stunts.  Although he is being a merciless dictator, the Libyan people feel a strong unity and their desire for freedom is in fact growing more passionately in spite of Qaddafi’s tyrannical rule.  Power to those oppressed around the world, we are all watching and will not let oppression continue to go ignored.