Islam students at LUC

Archive for April 16th, 2012

I was just thinking about last week’s discussion about the five pillars and the levels of faith. When Mozaffar said something about connecting to nature, to God, to the Prophet, and to the community, I thought of one of my absolute favorite movies called “The Color of Paradise” for some reason. It’s an Iranian movie about a blind boy named Mohammad whose father is trying to get remarried and sees his son as a burden. He thinks having a blind son will cause the marriage to fall through. The movie does not talk about the specifics of Islam but you can tell that the presence of God is present.  The movie shows the beauty of God in nature and implies that God’s light brings hope, even if the story seems tragic.  There are scenes where the grandmother rubs prayer beads and there is a visit to a Muslim shrine.  And it’s evident that father doubts and questions God because he feels God has dealt him a bad hand. But his son Mohammad is optimistic and enjoys life.  I wish we had watched more movies like this one where faith plays an important part in the story line.  It really gets to the point about the divine. It gives a good understanding about God without having to literally mention Him. It’s a really great movie.

In response to asifmerchant, I agree that sometimes Ramadan does feel like a chore. But at the same time I get excited for the month. I think that in order for us to not think of it as a chore, we just have to keep remembering that it is a time for us to practice good manners and habits. That self-control will help us sympathize with those in the world who have little to eat every day. And I’m glad that those upcoming 16 hour fasting days will help you focus on the spirituality of fasting and of seeing it as a form of strenghtening your iman.

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So, I am really behind in my blog postings (obviously) and need to catch up, so like everyone else, I am going to post a really long blog to make up for what I have missed. First off, in response to daisysimple, maybe I am just misunderstanding what you’re saying but I am appalled by Loyola’s actions. I had absolutely no idea that this was occurring and that those changes had already been made for Fall 2012. I guess I can understand where you’re coming from on Loyola’s motivation for changing the curriculum however, doesn’t that make it kind of counter-intuitive? In the grand scheme of things, they shouldn’t be trying to compete solely with other midwestern Catholic schools, they need to be competing with all midwestern universities alike. No offense to anyone, but I did not choose Loyola because of the religion or Jesuit values it holds. Sure, it makes Loyola an extremely well-rounded school, but I came here for the academics, education, and the diversity I found alluring on my first college visit. Not only religious diversity, but cultural diversity as well. I couldn’t agree more with daisysimple, and I think ultimately this is just taking Loyola a huge step backwards and is completely segmenting out a target audience that they desperately need to keep enrollment up. Not only is it hard enough to get into classes as it is, let alone trying to get into one of TWO classes offered to fulfill a core requirement? I don’t think so. I think this is a huge detriment to Loyola and I feel as if this step backwards limits diversity on our campus rather than embrace it.

 

Last week in class we spoke about Ramadan, which I had never heard of before Thursday.  The month of fasting and reflecting fascinated me.  I find it highly respectable that Muslims are willing to give up so much in order to better themselves through tests of hunger and fatigue.  I spoke with a classmate who participates in Ramadan and she explained to me that it was a time looked forward to because of the quality time she got to spend with her loved ones.  She informed me that you must fast all throughout the day, but can eat, drink, and continue your daily habits at night.  I was very intrigued by this month of reflection, and I could not help but wonder how I would react in this situation. 

            In response to therealgretchenweiners, I really enjoyed reading your viewpoints and found this statement in particular quite interesting: “It’s almost as if we as Americans need someone to fear or else something is wrong.”  I definitely agree that Americans are always fearful of something, whether it be trivial or vital.  Sadly, I believe that due to our past history, we have always had a group of people to fear.  Although this is true, I think that is unfair to alienate an entire population due to a small group’s decisions.  Each race of human is a necessity in the world, and they each contribute something that others lack.  Consequently, I believe Americans will always be discriminatory in some way and I do not see that changing.

I am not sure if we have discussed this in class, but my recent quiz was heavily based off the Islamic culture that revolves around the Qur’an. I brought up examples of the Qur’an in funeral prayers, cleansing rituals, and more. It’s actually quite interesting. I know I’ve seen people do specific things with their holy books, but only in Islam do I see so much emphasis on preserving the holiness of the Qur’an and incorporating it into everyday life.

Two good examples are the Ingrid Mattson text and the American burning of Qur’ans. I recall Mattson pointing out that when one goes into a Muslim home, they will almost always see passages from Scripture hung higher than human height. This elavation reinforces the connection of Qur’an to Allah. It makes sense why there was such a public outcry when an American soldier “accidentally” burned a Qur’an in Afghanistan; these people live and die by the Qur’an. It is almost as if their heart is literally within the pages.

Last week in class we talked about Ramadan. As a Muslim, I personally don’t get excited for Ramadan. I know I should but I see it as a chore. I tend to only look at it from a literal standpoint–how I need to not eat or drink for a whole day and how it negatively affects my mood and work. However, I think it’s more of a matter that my Iman stage is either not strong enough yet, or I haven’t reached it at all. Ramadan is a beautiful festivity that should be looked at as a joyous occasion rather than a chore.

 

I did some research on the specific dates and timings of Ramadan. Turns out there are going to be some 16 hour fasting days this time around. This might be the best time for me to accept this challenge because it will give myself the opportunity to start focusing away from the actual fasting and start zoning in on the ibadat and prayer that can essentially strengthen my faith.