Islam students at LUC

Archive for September 2015

During the presentation of “How Islamic is the ‘Islamic’ State” I enjoyed how he talked in detail about the history of other empires and the idea of a caliphate. It’s important to analyze the historical perspective in this case because it truly lends a hand to discussing the sustenance and longevity of a group like ISIS or the Daesh. I never truly thought of what ideas or applications keep institutions thriving until we wrote the paper on Muhammad. Thus, when the professor brought up the multicultural successes needed and seeing the parallels to Muhammad, it’s valid to understand the importance of the history behind a caliphate. Through this study, we see a beautiful representation of people coming together, granted not all happily, but learning to live in harmony with other groups or ideals. To discover a world in which tolerance is truly adapted into the practice of daily living is a model worth imitating in today’s world.

In response to theoblogger95 watching the movie Kinyarwanda brings up interesting perspectives of tribal groups in relation to their religions also trying to live harmoniously with one another. The movie highlights how during a time of need, the two main religious groups in the movies could put their ideal differences aside to better and sustain the community at large. In connecting that to today’s presentation, it is sad to see in similar situations, rather than coming together to help those falling victim to ISIS, there is a fear having developed of Islam. Looking to the past as stated above, we see a clear model worth following of what it takes to sustain a community. Why, then, are the outsiders looking into Islam still questioning the ideals because of a flag and man’s actions based on his/her ideals? We ought to turn to those victims, regardless of their religious practices, to come together and create a place of safety and assurance rather than develop a fear of miscommunication and misinterpretations.

Today, our class was able to attend a lecture from a history professor who specializes in Islamic and Middle Eastern history. The title of his lecture, “How ‘Islamic’ is the ISIS?” really caught my attention when I first heard about it. The media refers to ISIS as an extreme Islamic group, which reinforces the fear many Americans have towards Muslims. In the lecture, he referred to the people of ISIS as Daesh, which means “to trample down and crush” and “a bigot who imposes his views on others.” I think this is a much more appropriate name for the group because the group is not related to the true Islamic faith. As voiced by a few members of the audience at the end of the lecture, many Muslims are frustrated with ISIS because they are not portraying true Islamic values, but many people, who only get their information from the news, see ISIS as Islamic. I think the idea of rebranding or renaming the group would be an effective way to weaken Islamophobia, which grows stronger when the media associates beheadings with the Islamic faith. Additionally, I think the name ISIS is not fair because it does not represent the Islamic people or function as an Islamic state.

To echo the views many other posters have mentioned such as 

The past class with the reading of the 12th Surah of Joseph was especially difficult for me. I think the most difficult part was distinguishing the different acts and scenes. A lot of the time, I would thing a certain area consisted of a scene while others in my group thought otherwise. What I got out of it was that it’s mainly dependent on perspective and how you see the story cohesively fit together. I’m not familiar with the biblical story of Joseph so I look forward to reading it and comparing and contrasting the two. I did find the betrayal by Joseph brothers to be interesting because Islam seems to be such a peaceful religion so to read about such a story in the Koran involving this kind of behavior seemed a little strange to me. But then again, I feel all religions involve stories of mischief, lies, and deceit to teach its followers more about why they shouldn’t participate in these kind of things and what consequences can arise if they do.

In response to @theoblogger95, I too very much enjoyed the movie Kenyarwanda. I had heard about the Rwandan genocide but was never exactly sure about the cause and what actually went on. I feel this movie is providing a very good representation of what the lives of those affected must have really been live during this time. It’s also interesting how the movie is showing the perspective of various different individuals. I don’t quite understand why they call the pirest, a cockroach priest. Is that because he is Tutsi and this is a demeaning term towards them? Maybe the movie will explain later. I did find it interesting, though, how the priest asked one of the men who had been staying in the mosque for protection if he trusted the Muslim people. It shows that people can still be prejudice even in the worst of times while they, themselves, are also being prejudice against. I’m interested in continuing the movie and seeing how it progresses.

This past week we read Surah Yusuf. I found this assignment challenging as we had to break apart each ayah and analyze the text. This lesson was a nice refresher on the meaning of the surah. I thought it was interesting how the entire surah was one continuous message and unlike other surah’s it was chronological. The movie that we are watching in class right now, Kenyarwanda, is really interesting and makes me think of the hardships that people face throughout the world. The movie is really well made as it tells the story out of order. With each piece of information revealed, the audience slowly begins to tie together the message the director is trying to portray. In class we talked about how all of the movies we watch are sad but I am okay with that. I think most movies that pull on the heart strings of its viewers are the ones that we remember the most. Movies that evoke raw emotion are the ones that we turn over in our minds over and over again. I am looking forward to class this week because I am really interested in this movie.

In response to theblogger95, our group also struggled with the class assignment. It was difficult to break apart the surah into acts and scenes and then analyze each section accordingly. We have to work on it outside of class because we did not know where to begin when we first started the assignment. I think this is a lovely surah and I am glad to be given this opportunity to begin to understand something in depth from the Quran. Like with most stories and lessons from the Quran, this intricate surah forces its readers to stop and think about the words written on a page. Its depth allows people to become more curious about the text.

In last week’s class, we read Surat Yusuf and were assigned six questions to answer. Before answering the questions we had to identify the different acts, it was a little challenging to pin point where each act started and ended. The Surah is very captivating; it has a lot of plot twists and various fascinating themes. Although I have read this surah in Arabic, it sounds more like a story in English than it did in Arabic. Arabic is a very rich language and as discussed in class, words have different meaning and interpretations so it is not as cut and dry as the English language. Moreover, the surah was revealed in the year of sadness, it was after the prophet lost his wife and uncle. In addition, he also had trouble in his “dawah”, through such a difficult time Allah sent down this Surah to be a source of peace for the prophet Mohammed. The purpose was to remind the prophet that despite all the difficulties that were faced by Yusuf, he still persevered through them. There are many fascinating lessons we learn from Yusuf’s story like the reality of jealousy and sibling rivalry. Jealousy can drive people to horrible things, like when Yusuf’s brothers wanted to kill him. Another lesson Is the protection of our chastity and being conscious of Allah and Yusuf’s strong commitment to piety. All in all, the different Surahs in the Quran provide guidelines for a just society and proper human conduct.

In response to punjabinextdoor, I also had trouble with the structure, it was challenging to identify the different acts and scenes. I’ve never thought about splitting the surah into different acts or anything like that. I liked this exercise, because it allowed me to meticulously read the Quran with great concentration as well. I completely agree with the common themes found by Punjabinextdoor, the context in which the surah was revealed is very important. It helps us understand and realize that, whoever is conscious of Allah (has taqwa) and is patient, then Allah will never waste the affairs of the righteous and they will be rewarded in full.

I asked a personal friend of mine, who is of Christian faith, to recall the Biblical version of the story of Joseph in order to compare and contrast it to the Quranic story. After he told me the story, I noticed that some of the minor details in the story were different between the two texts, but the major themes in both excerpts remained in tact. Where the two stories differed is the Quran stated that all of Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him for the attention he received from their father and all of them equally wanted revenge for it. The Biblical narration says otherwise and according to my friend it states that Joseph’s eldest brother made the suggestion to throw him into a well rather than kill him because he secretly made a plan to rescue him once the rest of the brothers left. The major theme of the story is consistent in both passages however. According to my friend the moral of the story in the Biblical version is to have faith in God when facing adversity which overlapped with what the Quran emphasized.

In response to earofvangogh, I do agree that one rends to zone out when reading any sort of religious text. A reason for this is because a majority of religious excerpts are very dense which makes it difficult to comprehend. A common characteristic of religious passages though (Quran included) is that they are repetitive in nature. I believe that is to emphasize on certain themes/morals of the story. This does help me tremendously because I too tend to space out for a little bit while reading but may pick up on what the theme is in a later portion of the text. Reading aloud or reading a little slower are things I do to get myself to focus when I find myself spacing out too frequently.

I never really thought of myself as someone who knew the bible very well. I went to a Christian high school where it seemed like everyone knew the biblical proverbs and stories much better than I did. Reading the surah about Joseph let me know that I’m not nearly as bad at recalling my Sunday school learning as I thought. While reading the surah I couldn’t help but compare it to the story I learned of Joseph. The two largest differences where how the story was told and its focus. In this story telling the narrative is framed as the angel Gabriel telling the prophet Mohammad the story of Jospeh so that he may share it and teach its lessons. The version I know of is told through 3rd person narrative and follows Joseph directly. Joseph is the main character and his story is not being used as a means to educate anyone else. The most important difference is that lack of information given on any of the other characters. I know the governor who takes in Joseph as Potiphar, and he and his wife (referred to as Potiphar’s wife) were given much more attention. Overall I think it’s interesting the way this narrative is framed to benefit the Prophet Mohammad.

In response to @derrickrose1, I agree about the scene with the father and his daughter’s Qur’an. The amount of respect Muslims have for the Qur’an is impressive, and from what I can tell must stem from the fact that each Qur’an is copied word for word from the original.