Islam students at LUC

Archive for April 2011

Class: Today in class we attended a very interesting lecture. I thought the lecture was thought inspiring and very provocative. It caused me to look around and assess my life. Haha no it actually caused my brain to die and then i started to look around to stay awake. Later the only thing that kept me awake was watching the professor play on his iphone and fall asleep. It was quite entertaining.

Readings: Continuing on with chittick and murata i noticed that they pointed out many commonalities with the western world and how the western world was causing the middle east and Islam to diminish. Yes chittick and murata are correct in some points but i believe they are over looking the middle east and if you visit the middle east you will notice that yes there is a group of the new generation whose minds are going to waste but with the revolutions that are going on i believe that there will be a revival coming up in the societies.

Islam: Today the case of Planned Parenthood and abortion was brought to court. Being the tea party member in class i was appalled with the lawyers/lobbyists work.  However if there is one thing liberal about me it is that the common man (ignorant/arrogant/angry white man) should not decide whether or not i want my spouse to get an abortion. I believe that is my own rational moral ethical thinking should do so or my religion. If i am against i shouldnt do it simple as that. Why does the white man have to have his hands up everyones butt seriously not all of us need a puppet master only some of the uneducated folk do.

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Class:In class today we discussed the three levels of faith Islam, Ihsan, and Iman.The first level of Islam is the one that most muslims are stuck at. Our faith is brought to us through communication and socialization. It brought to us through teachings and learning from our mistakes and interaction with the world. The next level Iman is about being in a state of faith in which you are the reminder to others of Allah and faith. Rather than needing interaction to remind others you are the thing that others interact with to be reminded. The last level Ihsan is a state in which a person feels like a sufi. You are in constant communication with Allah. A leaf falling off a tree is Allah telling you a message.

Readings: In the chittick readings something really caught my mind that corresponded with what I am learning in my other Islam class. Chittick says that we should stop worrying about western ways and go back to the prophets time and become that way to be better muslims while in our class we are learning about Tariq Ramadan, Muhammad Asad and Iqbal who all say that we should correlate western ways into how we should reform Islam and truly better ourselves and fix the problems that the radicals are causing for us.

Islam: In the news this week one thing became apparent. People in the middle east some 30-50 years ago were completely flabbergasted with the idea of having a well working government.  They allowed irrational people to run their country and lives, and also run them into the ground. My parents say that the problems started some many years ago when the British stuck their noses where it doesnt belong and well the conspiracy theorist part of me believes it. The stories in the news that made this apparent were Bashar Al-Assad further attacking people rallying for democracy, Ghaddafi still attacking people, and Bahrain taking away peoples freedom of speech.

Reading- None
Class- We mostly talked about jinn and then we discussed some last questions about Islam. I was most intrigued by the Prophet’s marriage to Aisha. I had always heard from Muslims that she was 6 years old and so was shocked at the possibility that she may have been 19. The context of the situation was really interesting and really goes to show how we should really study and look at the context of a situation before assuming its meaning. I’m really glad we talked through some of our questions and I wish we’d done this before in the semester as well!

Islam Today
I was getting annoyed by the amount of negative articles on Islam. It’s ridiculous that all the news has to talk about are the stereotypes of Islam. After lots of searching, I found an article by a Muslim female journalist from Qatar who recently came to Chicago. She was speaking of her experiences as a Muslim immigrant and how many Americans had reacted to her. She spoke of how she was very fearful coming here post 9/11. Once she arrived here, she became somewhat of a spokesperson for Islam, because often strangers on the el trains or elsewhere would ask her about Islam and why she wore a hijab. She complains she got many scared, angry, and rude behavior towards her, but then many were just genuinely curious and making an effort to understand. She talso says how Chicagoans often made her also feel very welcomed as well. For example, often she’d heard someone say “Asalaam Alaikum” or a male would switch his seats with a female to make her feel more comfortable. I thought i’d write about this article, because often people ask me questions about Islam, but then they continuously also apologize for asking questions. I’m always glad when others ask questions, because it shows they want to hear from a real Muslim rather than rely on believing the fake ideas the media throws around about Islam. I’m also glad because some of the questions they ask are those that I myself may have never considered, so in this way, by answering questions I myself am growing and learning as well. Anyway, to anyone reading this long post, just know it’s good to ask questions. Most Muslims are pleased to answer questions. Too bad not enough questions go to us, or else there probably wouldn’t be so many ridiculous stereotypes or fear of Islam.

Class: In class we started by performing one more skit and then talking about practicing religion. In religion the idea of form vs. spirit. What i thought about this is that some people do follow religions form but not spirit. The practice of religion to them became just another motion to them. This makes us seem like robots and truly promotes the crazy conspiracy theorists ideas that we are all conforming to the MAN’s ways and are becoming mechanisms in the machine like parts to an engine.

Readings: Ihsan. An idea that is complex and even more difficult to achieve. This is a state of living in which the person is in a direct connection with Allah. In Islam every persons goal to reach the state of Ihsan and become as good as they can be. In order for a person to reach ihsan they have to surpass and excel at the first two states being Islam and Iman.

Islam: WOW NATO!!!!!! Today Ghaddafi single-handedly setback NATO’s work to gain ground for the rebels. Overnight him and his troops took over miles of coastline and took over a stronghold coastal city and even got to Brega one of the most important eastern cities. All i have to say is wow NATO way to half ass this and not complete your job. Fighting a maniacal warlord is not a 9-5 thing its an all day all night thing you cant just stop. You have to act as if the enemy never sleeps.

Class: In class we told the story of Prophet Yousef in a comedic manner. We all had our own interpretations and were allowed to reflect our inner characters. Some of us were iconic feminine boy singers, others molesting male deceased singers, and others gangsters from the hood waiting to kill a brotha’ steppin’ out they place. In the end it was quite interesting witnessing how one person can impose their imagination upon the other students this i felt was somewhat synonymous with some religious leaders and how they take their interpretation of religion and impose it on their constituents as if they are the only ones that are right.

Readings: In the readings this week we learned about Tashbih and Tazbih. One idea, Tashbih, was about our closeness to Allah (SWT) and how with our tasbeeh, prayer, and other ways of worship we get closer to Allah and with constant remembrance we are able to truly reach that aspect of religion we all wish for. The other topic Tazbih talked about our distance from Allah it said that we truly cant gain that closeness without being in constant reminder of him and have him on our minds at all times like sort of taking the sufi way of life and sacrificing our enitirety to Allah so that the shaitan cant get to us.

Islam: Gaddhafi is still murdering people left and right and is getting funnier and funnier with his rants. He is making him self seem prophetic and altering the religion to promote his governance over the people. It actually is making him seem more arrogant and stupid. I dont get how anyone in their rational mind can still follow him. But then again most his soldiers are money hungry greedy little *expletives*!!!!

Reading: In light of our discussion on jinn, I decided to go back into the Chittick/Murata text and see how their definition and our discussion line up. According to the glossary, jinn are beings created out of fire, which means they share the light of angels, but also the clay (absence of light) of bodily creatures.  We covered how Iblis (Satan) is a jinn whose sin was hubris, and there are jinn who are truth-concealers, but there are also faithful jinn who follow the prophets.

Lecture: This week, we took time to discuss any last-minute questions we had about Islam.  We spent most of the time discussing jinn and their influence on other conscious beings.  We also addressed concerns about the afterlife, organ donation, and the continuum of Muslim existence.  Muslims believe that there is a considerable period of time (four months, if I remember correctly) where the soul/consciousness exists before it enters the mother’s womb.  As much as we’d all like to avoid the abortion discussion, I’m still curious as to what this means for the justifiability of abortion.  Wish we could have gotten to it.

Other: According to an article on newyorktimes.com, the infamous Qur’an-burning pastor, Terry Jones decided to bring protesters to City Hall in Dearborn, but their hateful speech was largely drowned out by Muslim and Muslim-supporting counter protesters.  While Jones is fully within his first amendment right to broadcast his stupidity, he could not have picked a worse location.  Granted, the best way to counter Jones is to refuse to give him the attention necessary to his cause’s survival, but this is easier said than done.

Posted on: April 29, 2011

One of our discussions on forgiveness was interesting. Some people believed that forgiving others should be mandatory in religion and society.I think this defeats the purpose of forgiveness. Forgiving someone is basically saying you are ok with what occurred, and realize that it doesn’t matter to you anymore and you don’t feel any more negative emotions toward the person you forgive. A lot of times you hear someone say “I forgive him, but I can’t see him the same way anymore”. I think this is contradictory. If you can’t see that person in the same light anymore, then have you really forgiven him or her? So, related to this, if we force people to forgive others, is it really genuine? We would only do it because we are forced to.

One of the readings by Murata and Chittick talked about how our actions effect our souls. It said if we do things that are bad, it effects our soul in the same way, and creates more darkness in our soul, but when we do things that are good, or “beautiful” it does the same to our souls. Thus, any good action we do doesn’t affect God, but rather it effects our souls and soothes the soul. I think this is a very logical opinion because God doesn’t need us to do good things. God needs no one and nothing, so when we do these things that are considered good or beautiful, we are only benefiting ourselves.

I wanted to talk about how Shirk is an unforgivable sin. I don’t understand this. I understand that it isn’t unforgivable if the person knew better, but rather it is only unforgivable when someone truly believes that God is the only supreme being but even then associates others with God. I still am struggling to get in my head this concept of unforgivable sin. If someone does this, but truly repents afterward, why wouldn’t they be forgiven? I’ve been told that God has the love of 70 mothers, and most mothers would forgive their children for nearly ANYTHING. So if God is 70 times more loving than that, how can there be anything at all that’s unforgivable? If someone is truly sorry for doing what they did, realizing that they were ignorant for associating others with God even when they knew they shouldn’t, if they understand what they did wrong, acknowledge it, and truly strive not to do the same thing again, why wouldn’t they be forgiven?