Islam students at LUC

Archive for October 2014

This week in class we had a class discussion on dignity. We debated on whether dignity was earned or automatically granted. A few people felt that dignity should be automatically granted because we should each inherently have it as a human being. People also feel that dignity is a matter of self-respect. The example for this was Ray Rice and his wife. We debated on whether the wife has dignity or not because she decided to go back to her husband despite the domestic violence. Some students felt that his wife had no dignity or self-respect because she returned to him. However, I agreed with a fellow classmate that judging her character based on going back to Ray Rice is not fair because cases of domestic violence are delicate matters.

I agree with hmluc that dignity is correlated with self-respect. However, I also feel that a person’s character is a more important indicator of dignity than self-respect. I do not think that a person who has bad character would have dignity (such as intentionally hurting others, rudeness, lack of kindness, etc). I do feel however that everyone should be treated with dignity, regardless of whether I feel they have dignity or if they don’t.


Blog 9

Posted on: October 31, 2014

In this week’s class, we covered and cleared up some questions about shariah and Islamic law. In the Islamic tradition, shariah is law that the followers of Islam must abide to. The more formal definition provided in class is that it is the “path that leads to water,” water as in relief. According to this definition, shariah makes life easier than it would be without it, which I found rather interesting since so many people including Muslims think of Islamic law as something that makes life complicated. I myself have been guilty of this in the past, but this lesson was a great reminder that the lessons in the Quran, etc. make life much easier because these lessons keep individuals away from harmful acts. For example, the prohibition of alcohol protects individuals from making ill-decisions and protects them from diseases of the liver and alcoholism in the future. Perhaps Islamic laws may create some short-term problems for some individuals (like not fitting in or less joy at that moment) but it most definitely provides more advantages in the long term, something that most people would feel is the greater benefit. 

In response to isleepingbeauty, I also had never thought of “dignity” in such a deep respect before either. I always thought of dignity as respect, more specifically as self-respect, since you might hear people say things like “where’s your dignity?” or “Kim Kardashian has no dignity.” However, after this past lecture I think of dignity in a similar but more detailed manner. After hearing my classmates’ personal definitions of dignity it got me thinking that there is no one definition. I now believe that there are multiple levels to dignity and every single human, no matter how bad of an act they may have committed in the past, still has some amount of basic, human dignity left. By this I mean, even if someone committed a murder, it is not right to torture that person because of his act, because they are still human. Yes, maybe they should be imprisoned or exiled, but they should still be treated with some minimal amount of dignity. Thus, I think dignity is something that everyone can start off with, and perhaps lose some based on misguided actions committed. You don’t have to be Oprah or modern day honest Abe to be dignified, in my opinion.

This week in class we discussed aspects of law and spirituality. We also discussed Shariah law and how the real purpose of it was to make life easier. However, this is often not the case. We discussed the three levels of spirituality: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. Islam: believing in the five pillars. Iman: belief in Allah (SWT), the prophet, angels, and the day of judgement. Ihsan: the most deep form of spirituality where you see God in every aspect of your life. In addition, we talked about usul, maqasio, and urf. Another part of the of the class was about dignity. I thought it was a very interesting topic, it showcased how everyone had their own definition of what dignity is. While one person thought dignity was automatically given and not earned, others believed that it must be earned by the way you act.

In response to hmluc, I totally agree with you. I do believe too that dignity is basically having self respect. When you think of dignity the first thing that comes to mind is respect and this respect is one that you have for oneself. For example, do you have enough respect for yourself to not steal from a baby? Are you that low that you would have to become a thief? Dignity comes from the way you act and that correlates to having self respect. One thing that we must not do is jump to conclusions about someone without knowing them well enough. The way we subjected Oprah and how we thought more ill than respectful of her didn’t sit well with me. We dont know what Oprah’s true intentions are and even after even if we were showcased her true good-will intentions there will always be people out there that think low of her. I thought our discussion was very eye-opening and hope to have more insightful conversations like these in the future.

This week in class we discussed law and spirituality. Both of these concepts are needed for Islam; law is the external actions and spirituality is the internal heart/mind. We mostly discussed sharia which is the combination of the Qur’an, Hadith, and then either the companions of the Prophet or imams. We also learned about the three ways this can be interpreted. The first is usual which is the direct interpretation of the verses. The second is maqasid which is the whilst interpretation of the text. And the third is urf which is the local culture. Together, all of these are combined to keep the stability of the sharia. We also discussed dignity in class and this part I found really interesting. It was hard to come up with a good definition of dignity and even to come up with people who we could agree upon that were dignified or lacked dignity.

In response to theyounggoonsofly: I had a hard time deciding whether I though Oprah was dignified. I think I do agree with you that you can tell if someone is dignified by how they carry themselves and interact with other people, not just by knowing them personally. While I’m sure Oprah has her “public face,” Oprah has done a lot to deserve respect and is definitely seen with non-humiliation. The comment that was made about dignity coming up the most when talking about prisoners was interesting. We often think about treating prisoners with dignity and respect that all people deserve, but we never think about celebrities or other important people as being dignified unless we bring that word up prior to asking. I completely agree with you that we need to learn to hold ourselves with respect and confidence. There is too much negative in the world; negative thoughts of ourselves and others, and negative actions.


Posted on: October 31, 2014

This week in class we discussed sharia, and how differences in thoughts about sharia come along. We also had a brief discussion about dignity. Students in class mentioned what they felt dignity was, how some people lose it. The entire discussion was interesting, especially to see how different students had different opinions on dignity. Later in class we watched a movie about a girl living in Saudi Arabia. The girl lives in a society that is based a lot on custom. The girls in the society do not ride bikes, and cover themselves. They also stay away from men. The custom is based on religion but the women in the movie do it based on culture. It’s a very interesting movie to see because women in the U.S have more freedom than the ones in the movie.

In response to isleepingbeauty, I agree with you about the movie I’m also really enjoying it so far. gender inequality is  a big issue in other countries, including the US. The movie sheds light on how even little girls may feel the pressure made by society. I agree with you that the main girl’s scarf would be sliding off and she wouldn’t be bothered by it. She was persistent o getting a bike even though it is not accepted in her culture. I also hope she is able to get it by the end especially since she is taking part in the competition to earn enough money for it.

I found our discussion on dignity very interesting. I never really thought about dignity in too much detail prior to our discussion. Personally, I always felt dignity coincided with respecting another person and their accomplishments. When a person gives back to the community and does honorable acts to improve society, they are considered a dignified person.However, after hearing other people’s definition of dignity, I realized how there is a lot more to the definition. Classifying someone as dignified varies from person to person. For example, some may consider Oprah Winfrey a person of dignity whereas others will not. In my opinion, there are many levels of dignity. Some may be at a higher level than others due to their socially praised acts whereas others are frowned upon for their decisions. Everyone, regardless of level, has a basic human dignity. I believe there is no individual, who has absolutely no dignity. This can be seen in people who are executed, where even though they do acts that are considered disgusting and wrong, they do still have the right to privacy, which in itself is a form of dignity.

In response to , I agree on your opinion on the movie. I’m really enjoying it so far. I think this movie does a really good job is illustrating the gender inequality that exists in different cultures. Personally, I felt it was to the point where women felt oppressed and forced to dress and act the way they do. I say this because I noticed a lot of times, the main girl’s scarf would be sliding off and she wouldn’t be bothered by it. If she was around men or in a place where men would be able to see her, she didn’t feel ashamed or worried that like the other girls who would shy away. It illustrated a rebellious side to her character, which I enjoyed watching. Moreover, I was really upset to see how the girl constantly strives to purchase a bike, but wasn’t able to. I really hope she is able to get it by the end especially since she is taking part in the competition to earn enough money for it.

This week, we discussed a lot about dignity. Being dignified has many definitions, and I noticed one of the main problems we ran into in class was the fact that we never stuck to just one. Those who are dignified, or in my sense of the word, self respecting show a certain character and are known as individuals who are able to respect themselves and as well as others. I thought it was interesting on who thought who was dignified in our society. For example, there is a hadith of the Prophet that mentioned a prostitute who entered heaven simply because she gave water to a thirsty dog. Most people I know would have seen who she was and assessed her as someone who was not dignified, but in the eyes of god she was. Our opinions were very diverse and well explained by each and everyone of us, but I feel as though if our intentions are pure then we never know what really is the best of characters because we never know what people are actually thinking.

In response to hmluc, I dont think that everyone is dignified by doing nothing. There has to be some intention of good behind some action that you do that makes you a dignified person, but i do feel as though everyone has a bit of dignity in them simply as being a respectable human being (in its most generic sense of the definition ie respects cultures and others on a day to day basis). Though there is no universal meaning to dignity, it was interesting to see how others defined it or were able to perceive it as in their own minds.