Islam students at LUC

Archive for November 23rd, 2015

In class this week, we talked about three different levels of beliefs/character. Islam (no will power) to Iman (radiating security) to Ehsan (perfection and beautification). From Islam to when you reach the level of Iman there is no way you can’t pray or you can’t fast and when you reach Ehsan level you’re constantly praying. Furthermore, we talked about characters at these levels, Iman –reliable character and Ehsan- influential character. At Islam, you’re the product of your environment moving on to Iman, your believes our strong and everything around you reminds you of God. The third level is all about communication that is the communication with God. The person at the level of Islam is praying for joy, at the Iman level the person is praying because you are keep getting reminded of praying and at Ehsan level everything is praying (everything is an interaction with the Divine).  All these levels are for someone striving to get close to God. Basically, your faith and your character is increasing. Your selflessness is also increasing and your narcissm is decreasing. Today, we also finished the movie in class. I just wanted to say an absolutely amazing movie. Denzel Washington is an amazing actor.

In response to sunkissed23, I really liked how you thought of Ehsan and Muhammad. Since, we talked about communication with God. He was His Messenger and Prophet. It is a great way of thinking. Later, you also mentioned that the Prophets are an even higher level. I’m a Muslim and I find myself at the level of Islam and it would be my honor if I could ever reach up to that level of Ehsan. Be able to form that communication with God. I do have that believe, but I think its different to actually live it and be able to form that interaction.

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Last week, I was not in class so I finished watching Malcom X.  I think Denzel Washington did an exceptionally amazing job potraying Malcolm X. I can’t really speak about the accuracy of the movie since I don’t have that much knowledge about the history. As a film, it was great. Spike Lee kept the movie fast-paced and vey interesting. Making sure the viewers are into it. The movie is not about just Malcolm X, it is not a one man story. It actually tells the story of the struggle of a race. The film traced him from a young kid to his Nation of Islam days to his death. His beliefs were different, but he never compromised himself. X was a leader in his own right. His ideas weren’t that different from King’s. His approach was honest and a response to the times. Denzel shows every emotion in his face that seemed to formulate in his mind. I seriously thought of him as Malcolm. He really had to earn people’s respect from the background he came from and I liked that.

In response to derrickrose1, I agree with you that instead of paying money at some point. It is best to work hourly and the pay the money. Paying it back at some point will make a person lazy and having a deadline will make one work hard to pay it off at the right time. The next thing you talked about is keeping the money if you don’t have to pay it back. I don’t think I will still take without any reason for it. If it is given to me for absolutely no reason I wont. But, that’s just me. I believe one should not be dependent on anyone and be strong enough to support your family.

In class today we discussed the 3 levels that individuals are at in terms of religion. In Islam, the three levels are Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. I found the Ihsan level to be interesting and immediately thought about Muhammad as belonging to this category because all of his actions, big or small, related back to God. He also communicated with God and that is how all of God’s messages were passed down to everyone else, through the prophet Muhammad. Thus, I was surprised to find out that the prophets, including Muhammad are actually at an even higher level of religion than Ihsan is. If I had to relate these levels to Hinduism, I would say that I would be at the first level because I pray when I can but I do not absolutely make it a mandatory thing in my life to interrupt whatever I am doing in order to pray.

In response to @ball1023, I agree that watching Malcolm X transform himself completely from a complete thug and wrong-doer to such a righteous individual that preaches religion to all those around him is incredibly remarkable. I think he speaks so eloquently and this is one of the main reasons that many individuals are willing to give Islam a chance and are wanting to learn more about it; if Malcolm X was not as powerful when speaking, individuals might have just ignored him and not explored Islam. All in all, I’m excited to continue watching Malcolm stand up for the black community and excel as a civil rights leader.

In his article “Malcolm X and Youth Culture,” Richard Turner highlights Malcolm X’s influence on hip hop music. Specifically, he shows that contemporary rappers, such as Mos Def and Common, rely on Malcolm’s message of black unity and human rights. As an avid listener of hip hop, I have noticed the ways in which rappers reference Malcolm. For example, Common, a rapper from Chicago, writes in his song Be: “I wanna be as free as the spirits of… Malcolm, Coltrane, my man Yusef… I just wanna be.” The implication is that Common reveres Malcolm X, specifically his capacity to find freedom amidst turmoil and unrest. Relating this to a line from the movie Malcolm X, Malcolm’s mentor in prison claimed that Islam could free Malcolm from “the prison of his mind.” In fact, Islam liberated Malcolm from his incarceration, ultimately empowering him to voice messages which still resonate today:

“We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary”

In response to @pizzaluvr5 and @echo9893, the reason why most educators focus on Dr. King instead of Malcolm X is because society has labelled the former as non-violent and the latter as violent. This labeling, however, fails to capture Malcolm’s transformation before his death, when he gravitated more toward peace and humanism. In other words, the young and militant Malcolm is not the same as the older Malcolm who performed hajj and travelled throughout Africa and the Middle East. Without recognizing this transformation, we tell only one narrative of Malcolm X: a man who deeply loved black people and deeply hated white people. Malcolm’s experiences abroad, however, revealed to him that people could unite across race and ethnicity; the lines between hate and love blurred. If both Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King had more time to live, I think they would have united in a common cause — fighting injustice and spreading universal love.

In class, we discussed the idea of Justice within the Islamic paradigm. We also did an activity in which Professor Mozaffar asked students if they would take a certain amount of money from him with different scenarios about returning the money. I found this activity to be really intriguing because of all the people that raised their hands for different situations. I believe that it’s really hard to pinpoint exactly what is perfectly just behavior because to one person, it may seem just to pay back someone by working off their debt for 100 hours but to another it may seem just to pay back the same amount of money they borrowed to the person they borrowed money from. According to our lecture, justice is the act of putting things in their proper place, which is a very subjective idea to each person because of what they each consider to be “proper”.

In response to alkoko1, I also didn’t understand how Malcolm X and The Nation of Islam portrayed Elijah Mohammed. It appeared to me that they almost worshipped him rather than God because of how they kept quoting him and speaking about him. I was confused about how their religion is still considered Islam because a central aspect about Islam is the idea that there is only only God, Allah, but it seemed as though they regarded Elijah Mohammed as their God. In addition, alkoko1 also talked about how Malcolm X was bluntly against integration, which I also had questions about. Doesn’t Islam promote the idea of treating others with kindness, even though they have done to you? In the movie, when a white college student comes up to Malcolm X and apologizes for her ancestors and offers him help, he bluntly rejects her offer and walks away, which is behavior that does not seem acceptable in Islam.

This past week we spent some time talking about justice in Islam. Professor Mozaffar defined it as a sort of equilibrium. Justice puts things in a proper place. It is an ideal. Justice is almost impossible to have fully. It’s a process of which humanity should strive to work towards every day. As I am writing this post, I can’t help but feel saddened with the fact that justice is impossible. Human rights, which in theory seem like common sense, are so difficult to enforce. Social media feeds are flooded with posts on Syria refugees, racist presidential candidates, and racism on college campuses. These posts burden the heart and evoke action. For the most part, people dream of a world where fear is not an issue. I wish striving for justice was not a process but it was something that just was. In class, we talked about Muslims’ views on Riba. Riba is interest and in Islam and interest is an exploitation of the borrower. I really appreciated this lecture as I was always unsure on this topic. I learned that paying interest on life necessities like education, houses, and cars were allowed.

In response to @hashir1211, I too am enjoying the movie we are watching in class right now. I think he brought up an interesting point about how Malcolm X did not portray traditional Islam values. In my Theo 107 class, we talked a lot about the reasons behind people’s beliefs and practices. The movie is set during a time where the United States was going through extreme racial issues. Because the African Americans of the time were feeling suppressed and were angry at the White Man for stripping away their identity, this is how they fought back. They created a Nation of Islam and leaders like Elijah Mohammad and Malcolm X preached how White man was evil and used Islam as a tool for their Civil Rights movement.

 

So this week we had continued to watch Malcolm X. I noticed one very symbolic thing about this movie. This can be seen in the part in which during the scene when the three characters took cocaine and were messing around. It was this fact that I noticed that he was changing his characteristics and going more towards the more wild side of things. However, the thing that caught my attention was when he had the gun and he was pretending to shoot it. I find this scene particularly interesting because it shows that he knows the power he is beginning to obtain through everything. For him to point a gun at the person that had made him into that shows the greed he is beginning to obtain from everything. Someone can be handed power, however very few people know how to handle it well. This was the point where I could tell that Malcolm’s personality was going to take a huge shift in things.

 

In response to Sagwa. The particular thing you mentioned about the view of the both sides is something that had really caught my attention. There are often many times in society that both sides are not treated equally, but more that only one side is emphasized. In the movie that guards are kind of portrayed as people that are just following orders, not good nor bad, however, it becomes more crazy when the guards relationship with the inmate becomes more strong. It shows that the guards have feelings and start questioning to why someone is encapsulated in this controversial place. However, it shows that maybe the reason some of them are even in that situation is not because of their actions but more because of the way that they look and represents themselves. People really should learn to educate themselves better about things like this and life would be much.