Islam students at LUC

Archive for November 28th, 2015

In class we talked about the three levels that exist within Islam. Islam is doing acts because an external force is telling you to do so. For example, people only pray however many times they are required to do so because there is an external force telling them to do so. Then there is Iman which is doing something because you want to do it. The same example can be related because the person prays because he, himself wants to pray not because he is forced to. Then theres Ihsan which is communicating with the divine. Everything you do means you are communicating with God.

In response to @aahmed0494 I also thought it was interesting thing that as one approaches the level of Ihsan the person’s character increases as well as selflessness. A person becomes more concerned about the people around him then himself. They become more self-centered about their life and more interested in others. Basically everything doesn’t revolve around them.


This week in class, we learned about the different levels of religion within Islam. The three levels are Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. Islam is when a person does religious acts as a result of extrinsic motivation, in other words, they feel obliged to perform the religious acts. The next level of religion is Iman, which is when a person has intrinsic motivation to perform a religious act, and cannot imagine not doing it. In the example of fasting during the month of Ramadan, a person in the Islam state fasts because he or she feels that he has to. A person in the state of Iman fasts during Ramadan because he wants to, and because he couldn’t imagine not doing so. I think most Muslims would fall in one of these two categories. The last category, Ihsan, is when a person views and relates everything back to God. What struck me was the professor’s example of this that a person in this state would view his conversations with other people as God speaking to him through those other people.  This is the hardest level to reach, and the level which the least people belong to.

In response to skhaleel1, I agree that Malcolm X is an incredible and moving film. Watching the transformation of the character is unreal. At first, I did not know we were watching Malcolm X and thought it was legitimately a film about gangsters. However, the scene where Malcolm was in jail and learned about Islam is where I realized what movie it was. By the second half of the film, it is incredible to think that Malcolm was a small time gangster. The film was definitely moving and makes me want to learn more about Malcolm X. Denzel Washington did a great job portraying Malcolm, and the ending where he was killed was truly tragic.

We went into the three different levels of of religiousness this week: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. We also talked about the level under Islam which is hypocrisy. One of the points made during class that really stuck with me was when we learned about the difference between Islam and Iman with the fasting example. The person in the level of Islam fasts because they are expected to fast. There is some external force that makes them fast. The person in the level of Iman fasts because they cannot imagine not fasting. This comes internally. I think it makes sense that the vast majority of Muslims would fall into the level of Islam. Ihsan is even higher than Iman and I instantly thought of some people when we learned about what exactly Ihsan is. People that reach this level relate everything to Islam and faith.  Every thing that happens reminds them of Allah and Islam. I liked the fact that as one reaches higher levels, they become more selfless. They start becoming better people because they care about others more and are less selfish.

In response to Punjabinextdoor, it has been very interesting to see how people on social media and on the news in general have responded to the attacks in Paris. It is sad to see how so many people of this faith are generalized and more hate has been the response to the hateful and tragic attacks in Paris. The media was quick to blame the attacks on refugees from Syria, which led to big debates on whether refugees should be accepted in America and other countries as well. The attackers in Paris were all European Union citizens from either France or Belgium. It is just sad to see how Syrian refugees were being blamed for the attacks when they are the ones that were running away from violence and terrorists in Syria. It was also sad that there was practically no media coverage about the attack in Lebanon the day prior to the attack in Paris, which killed over 40 people.

In class this week we discussed the different levels within Islam. We covered three levels; Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. The first level is submission, where you merely do the actions to do them. The second level corresponds to radiating security, which is when you can’t resist doing the required actions. The third level is perfection where everything is interaction with the divine. In terms of character, at the first level your character is just the same as everyone else’s. At the second level, you have a person with sound and reliable character. At the third level, you have someone whose character influences those around him. The cool thing is that all of the prophets are considered to be on a level higher than Ihsan, which is known as authoritative. An interesting thing to note is that as one moves through the various levels within Islam, you become less selfish and your self-lessness is increasing as well. This means that you focus less on yourself being the center of attention.

In response to skhaleel1, I agree that the transformation that Malcolm X underwent was quite moving. Looking at how he ended up being, it’s hard to imagine that at an earlier stage of his life he was a criminal and a drug-addict. What stood out to me was that Malcolm preached what he truly thought to be correct and was doing it from his heart even though he was misguided at times. As the movie progressed, so did Malcolm’s view on what the problem was. He initially thought that white people were the problem, but then overtime realized that there was a problem within his own black community. Race was not the issue but rather there was no understanding amongst people in general. Even though I’m not entirely sure how historically accurate the movie was, it was quite informative and does make me what to learn more about Malcolm X’s viewpoints and what he stood for.

Because our Wednesday class did not meet this week, I want to discuss our at-home movie called “What a Billion Muslims Think” that elaborates upon Gallup polling conducted in the Muslim world. The topics discussed are incredibly relevant in the wake of how the West has responded to the Paris attacks. In the two weeks since the attacks, there have been incidents of mosques being burned and defamed, hijabis being assaulted, and “Muslim-looking” people in general being targeted.

Gallup reported some startling statistics that I honestly found quite discouraging.

  • 54% of Western world participants responded “no” when asked if they respected the Muslim world.
  • In 2002, 54% of Americans knew nothing of Islam.
  • In 2007 (after invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan), the percentage rose to 57% of Americans knowing nothing about Islam.

The Western world has dehumanized Muslims and vilified Islam, and its consequences have proven to be violent or even fatal in some cases. In the face of this dehumanization, I really commend Gallup for taking their polling for this film to a personal level. Polling directors actually went into homes and spoke local languages to deconstruct the stereotypes that exist about the Muslim world. It is incredibly worrisome knowing that the Muslim community is being demonized, when in reality, statistics show that it is like the ignorance is spewed by people who know nothing about Islam. This film is from 2010, so I would be interested in how polling and opinions have changed in the past five years.

In response to bagels4evr, you bring up a great point in comparing Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. I have been reading up on Malcolm X for a while now, and I have to say I really admire him. He was a great orator, and Denzel Washington does Malcolm justice in this film. Through this film, I have recognized how talented Denzel must be to bring such an influential (but still controversial) figure to life on the big screen. Granted, my admiration for Malcolm X comes from his post-Hajj experiences, not during his times as part of the Nation of Islam. I think educators focus too much on his time with the Nation of Islam and completely disregard his post-Hajj work. Malcolm’s view of Islam is a powerful testament to the beauty of Hajj and its unification of the Ummah. Islam is indeed a unifying factor that welcomes all races and ethnicities, and the Nation of Islam perverts this inclusive nature of Islam entirely.

This week in class, we discussed the levels of religiousness in Islam.  As the level of Islam became greater, so did the level of selflessness.  At the first level, the person is living life and not very spiritually involved in thinking of God frequently.  On the second level, a person thinks of God through things in life that they do regularly, which is at the level of Iman.  At the third level, a person devotes all of his or her time to God and is living for the sole purpose of God.  I found this lesson very interesting because I was easily relating these aspects to people I know who practice Islam.  This lesson was a bit easier for me to understand compared to Non-Muslims in class because I was able to think of people as example of each of the levels.  For the second part of class we continued to watch Malcolm X.

In response to @maebualoy, I feel that it is hard for someone to be at the Iman to Ihsan level on a daily basis and that is why it may not be true to be consecutively on the Iman and Ihsan level.  Especially living in a country that is not of the native religion, it is even harder for someone to incorporate Islam at the level of Iman and Ihsan, but it is definitely possible to do so on an occasion. What I find interesting in what @maebualoy wrote that contrasts Islam and Catholicism was the fact that in Catholicism the levels of people are a way to be “closer” to God by being more involved in the community.  In Islam, being “closer” to God is practiced through selflessness and seeing God through everything that one does or thinks of to come closer to him, which is interesting to analyze.

This week in class we learned about the different levels of religion in Islam. The higher the level the closer you are to god. The levels are Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. This correlates with Submission, Radiating, and Perfection. Submission is to be a good Muslim you have to do it so you do it. Radiating security is coming internally. God is the first thing you think of. Perfection is constantly in a state of prayer. It is a continuation. The people around them are receiving communication with God not just him. Prophets are a level higher then all of this. This in all, is someone who is striving to get closer to God. These are the levels people go through.

I agree with @lucrambler7249 the transformation of Malcolm X was a site to see. He went from being someone that needed to count on others to being the most well respected black man in his community. He went from being a follower to a leader. He became knowledgeable to the Islam faith. He was for equality. He wanted to make everyone equal. He knew that when he went up to the podium that night that something was going to happen but he knew it was something he needed to do. He had the courage and strength to get up there in front of his community even though it was his last day. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and would recommend it to others.