Islam students at LUC

Archive for November 22nd, 2015

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Posted on: November 22, 2015

During last week’s class, we talked about justice within the context of Islam. We discussed four different categories in the Islamic paradigm. The first two paradigms which are Shelter/ sustenance and trade/ travel, they explain that reasonable access to healthy shelter and sustenance is just as well as fair trade and easy travel. Those two are kind of obvious and correlate with most of people’s morals and values. Although the more secular a society is the more they tend to deviate from those values. They tend to exploit less fortunate or powerless people and the environment for sake of “efficient” business. Moreover, we also highlighted the concept of Riba and interest is frowned upon in Islam because it is considered to be a form of exploitation and therefore it is unjust (although there are a few exceptions). However, I was a little surprised when I understood how Islamic banks functioned. I was disappointed to learn that their way of doing business does not completely align with the Islam’s concept of interest. After learning about the whole Islamic banking system in class, I have become more interested in the topic. I started doing some research on it as well as talking to people who have a deeper understanding about this than I do.

In response to @Uncategorized, I went into this movie thinking that this is another black rights movement kind of movie. However, I started learning more about each characters core values but more particularly Malcolm X’s mentality and values. I was kind of repelled by the way they regard Elijah Muhammed, I think that it’s a little too much. Also, I feel that Malcom X’s approach is a little too aggressive, and Islam definitely does not promote racism or aggression. All in all, I am interested in learning about the theological aspect of the Nation of Islam and comparing it to the values of Islam.

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Similar to Sagwa, I also found the system of loaning very interesting. Even more interesting was the activity done in class with how many of us would borrow money and then how much would we want to return. It was interesting because many of us stated that we would like to return the money with interest, which according to Islamic paradigm is unjust. That definitely puzzled me since living in America, every time we borrow things, its almost like we have to pay it back with interest, which is what is considered “just” here. However, in Islamic paradigm that would be considered unjust or exploitation.

As we continue to watch Malcolm X, it’s interesting to see the development of Malcolm X as a staunch leader during the civil rights movement. Its different for me to see how Malcolm uses the teachings of Islam to support the civil rights movement in a manner very different than the way MLK did. I feel that way because it seems like the values and sentiments he talks about are completely different from the values of Islam. While I know very little about Malcolm X, I do know he was a supporter of using violence in order to accomplish the goals for Nation of Islam, and I am eager to see that portrayal in the movie hopefully.

This week in class we discussed justice in reference to Islam paradigm. We first discussed the definition of justice as an equilibrium or a way of putting thing in their “proper place”. I use quotations around this because we also discussed how not everything has an exact proper place and a lot of what is considered “proper” can vary from person to person. Continuing on, we discussed shelter & sustenance, trade & travel, security from fear, etc. One thing that really stuck out to me was the break down of how citizens go hand in hand with society. Society is built by citizens – these citizens are a government made up of people. The society that these citizens build are in fact for the people of this society. It all sounds so confusing, but if you really think about it, it makes sense. People decide society for not only themselves, but for other people, too. I like this concept because it really puts into perspective how we have all the deciding factors in our hands to run a society, yet sometimes we still cannot properly do it. By not properly doing it, I mean we still have so many feuds, misunderstandings, etc. Another thing that really stuck out to me in class this week was something Mozzafer said to us,”because everyone is doing it, it’s a “victimless” crime” – this basically meant that because everyone else is doing it (ie: doing something that is unfair), you’re not harming anyone. I liked this because it is so real and so true. Sometimes people think that just because everyone is doing something, it is okay to follow the crowd. This quote reminds me a lot of that one psychology experiment (Bystander Effect) that has to do with a person crying out for help in the middle of a crowd. They cry out for help and observers see who actually go to help that person. If people see there are more than just a few around to help, they assume it’s OK to simply move along and not also help the person in need. In other words, people tend to ignore responsibility even if it’s the right thing to do. Justice can play a similar role because if a person sees something unjust occurring, yet others are also ignoring it or even doing the unjust act, then it seems normal and not needed to be taken care of.

 

In relation to @echo9893 , I didn’t receive too much information about Malcolm X either. I learned a lot of the civil right movement, MLK  Jr. , Harriet Tubman, and a bit of Malcolm but not nearly as much as I would have liked to. I say this because after watching some of the current movie, I’ve realized the huge role he played in the civil rights movement. I kinda wonder who and how it is decided what important people from movements like this are taught in schools. Who decides that MLK Jr. will be discussed in greater detail than Malcolm X and why did they decide that way? I realize the the movement isn’t an easy or short topic to cover, but I feel as though even more time of it being taught should be spent too. Cause comparing to how much we learn about US history and all that, I feel like we don’t even come close to covering civil rights stuff as much.

This week in class we continued watching Malcolm X. I don’t know much about the Nation of Islam or its beliefs, but this movie gave me a little bit of information. To be honest, I’m not quite sure about the group’s theological beliefs and how much it has in common with other mainstream Muslim sects. From the movie, it seemed like followers of the Nation of Islam hold Elijah Muhammad to a great honor. Is he seen as a holy figure? The movie also showed Malcolm X and the other followers of the Nation of Islam having a very strict view of race. They believed in complete separation of the two races and viewed every single white man as the devil. This rhetoric didn’t seem very in line with Islamic values to me. Are followers of the Nation of Islam only black? I am interested in learning more about this sect of Islam.

In response to serendipity923, I agree with you about how it was very nice to learn about social justice in the Islamic paradigm. Like you, I also enjoyed learning how it is the responsibility of each Muslim to push for justice and fulfill this tenant to what is in their capacity. This concept is also pretty scary to think about because I don’t know if I’m doing what is in my capacity to push for social justice. There is so much more that can be done. I know many of my peers who are very great activists and do so much to raise awareness. I have so much to learn from them. I think it is very important that this topic was covered in class because in times like these people don’t see that Islam promotes justice for everyone. They don’t realize the importance social justice is given.

 

This week we continued the movie on Malcolm X. Although I read his autobiography already, watching the movie helped visualize it. I have always been interested in the transformations Malcolm goes through throughout his life. The movie portrays him as a white pleasing black man who acts tough in front of his friends. He even goes after the white women over his black girlfriend because he strives subconsciously to be one of them. Then he realizes this flaw when he goes to prison and learns about the Nation of Islam where he does a 180 transformation. After that, although we didn’t get to that part of the movie yet, he goes to Mecca and finally turns to the true Islam and ditches the Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammed. It is inspiring to see how much he struggles with each part of his life and how eventually he found his way to a way that he fully accepts and realizes is the truth about Islam.

In response to asaphamzi, it was interesting to learn about the different ways Islam responds to loaning and interests. The word arabic rabi meaning interest, and how Islam looks down on that. I knew that Islam looked down on interest payments, however, I didn’t realize that even one dollar interest could make such a difference, but it does. It is a form of exploitation, even if both parties agree to it. I thought that was interesting to learn. Even if it seems as if no party will be hurt in the transaction, there is still wrong in this deal because down the long term, someone is going to be exploited, even if the deal is mutually agreed upon. This is still true even though in society today loaning with interest is not considered to be that bad.

This week in class we watched the rest of the Camp x-ray movie. Overall, I liked the movie. I thought it was interesting to see both sides of story, the prisoner and the guards. In the end, the movie wants the audience to sympathize with the prisoners, rightfully so, even when this is not a popular view to hold. This issue is really important especially today because it addresses the whole race and religious stereotyping issue. Guantanamo bay has been controversial for a while, however it has yet to be closed. Many of the detainees that are being held in Guantanamo bay are known to be innocent and held unjustly, however they are still there. This movie did a good job of bringing these issues to light when this point of view is rarely shown.

In response to @iwishihadpizza, I also agree that media has a way of only showing western cultures as important and overlooking other issues at hand that are just as serious if not more. This is relevant recently with the Paris attacks. Although that was a tragedy that should never have happened, there were and currently are tragedies going on all over the world that are far worst, yet they are not shown in the media at all because they are not western countries.

This week in class, we watched the Malcolm X documentary. It was very interesting to watch the approach the Nation of Islam took. The organization had a great draw to the oppressed people of the time. I think the organization advocated for something that was very important- equality. But there were some things that I found unnerving. They changed a lot of the fundamentals of the Islamic religion. For example, they did not believe in the afterlife, but this is a huge part in the belief of many Muslims and it is explicitly talked about in the Qur’an. Furthermore, Malcolm was depicted praising their leader, Elijah Muhammad, like he was God. Lastly, the people that were shown converting to the NAtion of Islam seemed to do so because of their approach towards demanding equality, not because of a genuine interest towards becoming Muslim and all that being a Muslim actually entails.

In response to  , I agree. I believe that the teaching of the Nation of Islam were, in essence, very hateful. Yes, they had every right to demand for equality, but in doing so they also preached zealous hate of the white man. Islam advocates for peace. I felt like the Nation of Islam just took away aspects of the religion that suited their cause, which is a disservice.