Islam students at LUC

Archive for February 2012

Last week in class we delved deeper into the differences between Sunni, Shia, and Ibadi. It was interesting to note that for the most part they are the same, there are few religious differences between them. The differences arise from the politics that were a  result of differences in opinions between certain groups of followers of the time.

The readings that were assigned for this week revolved around the concept of good and evil. As human beings, we have the free will to do as we please, but that leaves us to commit actions that may be good or evil. It is important that a person always strives to commit the best of actions in order to build an inherent goodness from within.

Today there was an event held by Hillel called “The Ethics of the IDF.” This event was very disappointing because it affirmed how brainwashed some people can be as to what is actually occurring in the Middle East. There are lies and propaganda spread everywhere. There was a part when the IDF soldier spoke about how Israel was the only democratic county among the other Muslim nations. I was confused at to why Israel loves to point this out in all their debates, while they themselves do not abide by the rules of democracy in their own government?

In response to lollipopsgumdropsandsunshine, it is true that Muslims do pray towards the Kaba in Mecca as the Qibla. However, this does not mean any direction can lead towards that direction. For example, in Chicago the direction is Northeast, which means if you go the opposite direction in the world, Southwest, you would reach the same place. But if you faced North or South, that would be very off from Mecca.

Last week in class we discussed the three different sects of Muslims (Sunni, Shia, and Ibaadi) and how they differ based on their different sources of guidance. We also started watching Mooz-lum which depicted Muslims in a way that deviates from the traditional view of Muslims. For instance, Tariq, who attended an Islamic school as a child, went to college and began to reject his identity as a Muslim as he began drinking and laughing at cruel jokes made about his own religion. I am really interested to see whether Tariq will turn back to his faith and what/who will motivate him to do so.

Reflecting on Chapter 6 of The Story of the Quran, I thought Zainub’s argument with Abu Jafar about misogyny was particularly interesting. At a funeral, Zainab and other women had been crowded around the coffin which prevented Abu Jafar from moving closer to the coffin. He insulted them by calling them companions of Joseph because of the Quranic story of the women of the court who had admired Joseph’s beauty and placed him in a morally compromising situation. She responded with the fact that the women had treated Joseph more nicely than the men because the women had gave him food and drink but the men threw him in a well, sold him into slavery, and then put him in jail.

I recently read an article on titled “Why Syria’s Christians are angry” and it focused on how the new Syrian constitution is requiring every presidential candidate for Syria’s government to be a Muslim. The Syrian Christians are outraged due to this controversial article of the constitution. The writer argues that Christians make up 12% of the population so even if a Christian did run for the presidential position there is a small chance that he would actually become president. This reminded me a lot  of our class discussion a few weeks ago when we talked about whether religion and politics should be connected and the benefits and consequences associated with both arrangements.

In response to beatlesbeatlesbeatles, the idea behind the Islamic concept of fitra is that humans are inherently good. I think that although humans sin and stray away from righteousness, they can often return to their inherent goodness by embracing religion and attempting to interpret holy scripture and apply it to their lives. This also reminded me of one of the last couple pages of the book, The Story of the Quran, in which Mattson states that humans are flawed creatures, but God has a purpose for putting humans in charge of the earth.

In the previous class, we had an overly stressed “discussion” about the reality of religion.  For some odd reason, the “discussion” became more of a debate and people unnecessarily started getting defensive which kind of made me tune everything out and get bored and annoyed.  But then we started watching “Mooz-lum” which seems like a really interesting movie, can’t wait to finish it.

“The Story of the Quran” seems like a really intriguing book so far.  I  love history and Mattson’s presentation of the history of Islam and how it has affected practicing Muslims today is very insightful.  It really brings religion and society together and weaves them together seamlessly.  The text does a good job of showing how Islam really is the main fabric of the lives of so many.

In response to the story posted by thethingstheycarried728, I think the fact that a case like that would even make it up to a legitimate court is beyond ridiculous, good thing the case got dismissed.  Just today I saw a cartoon of the movie “Tangled” which shows the characters dressed as Muslims, personally I think it’s cute, not offensive.  People around the world seriously just need to chill.

Speaking of the world, it is round.  As we have learned, Muslims usually tend to pray facing the “qiblah” or towards Mecca where the Ka’bah is located. Usually, a compass is used to determine the direction ( in Chicago, we tend to face northeast).  But, if you think about it, since the world is round, there really isn’t one direction in which to pray, because if you follow a circular path, either way you end up facing Mecca, although it might not be the most direct path, what goes around, comes around.  I think it’s quite insightful of an idea.

in class:
I was not in class last week. But from other posts I see that I missed the discussion of why people believe in God and what proof is there for God etc etc. Fortunately, I remember having this discussion last semester in Intro to Qur’an so I know where it probably went. I think that since it’s the question about faith, you don’t need proof. It is what it is because that is what faith is.

I read about the good and evil and right from wrong. Muslims are held accountable for every action they make and beacuase of that they need to know right from wrong so they can lead to the right path and establish a clean “fitra” , which means nature or instinct. All humans are born innocent and sinfree but decisions that come along life may break a persons route to the straight path.

outside class: I was really happy that Sharmeen Obald Chinoy won her first Oscar for her documentary, “Saving Face”. Not only was it the first for her but also the first for Pakistan. No one has ever won an Oscar from Pakistan and this was big deal to the country. There are so many rumors and misunderstanding with Pakistan and the Muslims living in the country, so winning an OScar, brings out pride for them.

response to zel19:
That is ridiculous. I cannot understand what it is with people trying to burn down mosques. I mean no one is distubring others by having a mosque. People need to start respecting other religions and the fact that everyone has every right to practice whatever religion they choose and be able to pray however they want especially if there is a facility built for praying, such as this mosque in China.


Posted on: February 29, 2012

In class we had a long debate; some people’s proposals were more logical than others.  I think the whole class is very open to what others have to say about their faith but have a very strong belief that isn’t going to be changed over one debate.  We started to watch Mooz-lum which is interesting.  There was a lot of symbolism in the movie so far.  I’m interested to see what becomes of T and which path he takes on his religious journey.

 It seemed like the readings were from My Name Is Kahn; there are good people and bad people.  The filtra helps us life our life in a positive manor.  Also that people are not born good but basically prove them self good.

Read an article that the NYPD are reviewing whether or not to look at surveillance on muslim neighborhoods and if there are any cases of civil right violations.  There were databases built showing where everyone lived, bought food, or went out to eat.  However there is a lot of talk saying this is just a baseless article (the NYPD).

Reccos14  That idea is not STRICTLY promoting prejudice.  Prejudice may be a result of it but obviously unless there was a conspiracy it would not be a main goal.  “Random” searches at airports are necessary and I don’t doubt that for a second.  I understand it must feel horrible going through that and the people who are acting out on prejudice are ignorant individuals that need to wake up.  Main point: stereotyping- protective,  prejudicial acts/laws – not ok.

This week we spent a large portion of out class time discussing whether or not there truly was and “Adam”, and why we either did or did not believe so.  I felt that some of my classmates made some valid arguments, while I felt others were somewhat irrational.  Whether or not I agree with everyone’s opinion though, I thought that this was an interesting exercise, and thought that learning about different people’s perspectives on religion was interesting.

This week;s reading discussed a central topic in the Islamic religion, the difference between good and evil.  When reading this, my thoughts returned to the movie, My Name is Khan, and his belief that there are only to types of people in this world, good people and bad people.  The majority of people have “fitra”, which is an inherent goodness, and therefore, their decisions reflect this.

I read an article this week that described how NYPD officers were infiltrating different Muslim student organizations at universities in New York, including Columbia, by going undercover as students.  The claim is that this surveillance was being done as a precaution against any future terrorist attacks.  In my opinion, this action is simply racist.  You cannot target a single group of people, and claim that  it is being done for the protection of the rest of the city.  That is practically the definition of prejudice and racism.  When the dean of Columbia found out about this, he was furious, but Mayor Bloomberg stuck by the action.

In response to 195theo, that sounds like a very interesting article to have read.  Much of the racism and prejudices that Muslims face inAmerica today are fueled by the media.  President Obama is correct, Islam and America should not be in competition.  Muslims in America should not have to feel a struggle between their national pride and their religious identity.

I have to admit that I am pretty surprised that so few of our classmates believed in evolution and the big bang theory. Likewise, I am surprised that so many believed that Adam was the actual first human on Earth. That being said, it was an interesting discussion and I could debate topics like those all-day every-day. I am not sure what to think of the movie yet, but the father is definitely creepy. If I was his son I would expect to want to abandon Islam (or whatever religion he happened to be) just because of that fact alone.

The title of the chapter we were supposed to read this week is Listening for God and I was immediately curious as to what that is supposed to mean. The chapter goes on to explain that there are two different kinds of verses in the Quran – those that are “definitive” or “concise” and those that are “ambiguous” or “allusive.” It is then mentioned that you skeptical of those who claim to have special insight into the latter verses. I appreciate this comment because I am always irritated by those who claim to have the definitive understanding of any scripture

I read this

article the other day and I enjoyed it. It is written by an Egyptian man who essentially calling for people to live by the values of their religion instead of focusing on the dogmatic rules.

In response to thethingstheycarried728: I think you are a little optomistic in your assessment of the career options of Donal Glover and Even Ross. I think they are lucky to get any acting roles they can get and aren’t too picky (can’t be too picky) about the quality of roles they expect to get. They are probably just grateful to get the gig.