Islam students at LUC

Author Archive

This week was dedicated to the interpretation of  Rumi’s “The Book of Love.”  I find the book to be very spiritual and as well as challenging.   We were assigned the beginning chapters of the book. At the beginning, Rumi is seen to be fighting with lust. It seems that in one poem he seems to be trying to find God and in the next he is again distracted by lust.  He must defeat his inner animal. In his poem about wines,  or the many forms of lust that one could come in contact with. He says in his poem that there are many types of wines but you must choose the right one. As the book progresses, he seems to be making more room for God in his heart. He seems to be in much more control than he was earlier. He talks about his lust not that frequently.

 

            I really liked a bashfulofsalt’s interpretation of one of Rumi’s poem where he describes humans as dogs.  It really puts into perspective how insignificant us humans are compared to God. I liked how the poem was interpreted to be that we will always be longing for God and will always need God not matter what. Longing comes from within and I think many of Rumi’s poems interpret to be that God lives inside our hearts. He stresses that it is not easy to connect to God on a higher level but once that level is achieved, you don’t need anybody. He says suddenly, the world will stop understanding you because they have not reached that level and you will stat to speak a language that is foreign like bird calls.  Although it takes a few rereads to get each poem, I think Rumi’s book has many meanings and lessons contained within it.

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I was absent from class last week, but I would like to talk about politics in the religion of Islam. I once listened to a speech by a scholar by the name of Dr. Tahir Qadri talking about how Islam and politics are integrated.  He said there are two types of intentions. If one does something with the intention of gaining salvage at judgment day, it could be interpreted as religion. And if one does something with the intention of bettering people’s life on earth, it is politics. Both intentions are part of submission to the creator. This shows how integrated Islam and Politics can be. In class it was also discussed that Shariah law is a path that leads to God.

 

I think politics are ways to handle people’s affairs too.   Giving equality, justice are embedded into politics. The same ideas can also be found in religion.  If you take out religion from politics, everyone would have their own idea of justice and equality. Eventually, everyone would start to do things differently and the world would loose order.  I found obsidianbutterfly 13’s comment about how in class they found that state could do everything religion could do.  I also believe that religion and politics are integrated.  They both create order.

Last week i learned that Iranian movies have bad endings. Just kidding. I think there was no end because the end was not important. It was what came before the end. I think the movie sent lots of powerful messages to the audience. One message was how strong the women of Iran have become.  The houseworker, Raziah started to work when her husband lost his job even though she was pregnant. She argued with the judge to let her husband go. At the end, at her house when all the creditors came as well as Nader and his wife, she refuses to go out and swear on the Qu’ran. This shows that even though the women are strong, they are still nothing in front of God. She wont swear on the Qu’ran for something she isnt sure about. This shows how much she values the Qu’ran.  It gives this message that even though women are strong and independent, it doesnt mean they have weak faith and also if someone is religious and wears a hijab, it does not mean that she is oppressed.  

In class, we debated about authenticity of sources. It was the growth of sources that led to the growth of questions of authenticity of such sources. I agree with @catlover1415, that it is incredible to see how important the exact wording is as well as the message.  The authenticity of the word of the Prophet shows the importance of the Prophet and how he is a model for all Muslims. Huge steps are taken to prevent alteration, especially for the Qur’an which remains unchanged after over 1430 years. In the Qur’an, God says that He personally will  protect the Qur’an from corruption and man’s alteration.

The documentary “What a Billion Muslims Really Think” was  informative. Many things in the documentary were informative but one that I was able to fully comprehend pertained to media.  The fact that the west believe that Muslims are terrorists and fanatics is because of the media.  It is true that media shows a very small part of a population and has  that represent a whole faith. It was a shock to know that 57% of people representing Islam in the media are militants when in reality militants are only 1%.  I think the media fulfills its responsibilities well.  If an average American gets his/her daily dose of news from a media that portrays Muslims in only a negative light, he will form a negative opinion of them.   I also loved the part about a Hijab taking away attention from the exterior and focusing it on the interior. I think in times where women are objectified, Hijab solves that. Ironically it does the opposite of what some may see as oppressive. Wearing a Hijab liberates a woman and allows her to showcase her intellect and prevents her from being objectified.

I agree with swats1224 in that the movie is putting into light how liberated women  really are in Islam. I think it is one of the main misconceptions about Islam that needs to be cleared.  There are muslim women in the workplace all over the world.  I also think it was important to note that Islam gives women the right to initiate divorce.

This week in class we took a field trip to an  Islamic art exhibition. There was lots of calligraphy all around.  Because of Qu’ran’s important role in Islam, the art of calligraphy became popular in Islam.  Even in modern times, handwork is respected over machine-work.  A wonderful artist did calligraphy of students’ names by hand on pieces of white  tiles. They came out beautiful. There was also a henna stall  In class, we discussed form and spirit. At first I thought that spirit was more important than form. But after some thought, in order to follow a religion you have to have correct your form too.  Following sunnah, such as having good hygiene, is respected.  If youu go to a mosque with dirty clothes, it is frowned upon.    Form is intertwined in spirit in the religion of islam.  For example, performing wudu, an act of washing, is important before prayer.  This must mean that form is important too.  I guess when breaking down the forms in the religion and recognizing their importance you come to realize that form as a whole is important.

I agree with ts88.  As a muslim, I have known about the pillars of Islam all my life, but I never knew the concepts of time behind it. For example the Shahada meaning a moment for God, prayers signify being connected to God on a daily basis and Ramadan signify being connected to God on a monthly basis etc.  It was an eye opener when the professor went over the concepts of time.  I am glad I am learning so much about the religion of Islam.

Last week’s class was one of the most challenging discussions so far. The questions were difficult to answer. One of the questions I found to be challenging was ” could war be altruistic. I’ve thought about this question and keep going back and forth between yes and no.  We also discussed  whether deeds could be considered selfish or not.   I think good deeds could be considered selfless if you don’t expect a specific benefit back. If you do a good deed in the hopes that maybe one day they will do something good back then its okay. I think this  just means that you have enough faith in humanity that you believe someone will help you back when you need it. But if you help someone to make them feel obligated to do something specific that you have in mind, then that IS selfish.  It all depends on your intentions. I  also think that if people start thinking that people help each other for their own benefit then people will stop doing good deeds.  Just the other day me and my brother were discussing how even when someone tries helping us, we think they’re doing it for a purpose of their own. And we thought it was pretty sad how society has primed us into thinking like that.   

 

 

I agree with abashofsalt, in that I would also feel comfortable around a person that has attained the Iman level. I would feel a sense of security because I know they will have my back . It would encourage me to better my actions and they would become my role model.  I would seek advice from them when I need to make a right decision.   It  is hard to believe that there are people who have not sinned but there may be people who sinned but asked for forgiveness and they then achieved the Iman level.

Last week was a lot of fun. I think all the groups did a great job.  It was very entertaining.  I also found out how difficult it is to act. But what surprised me the most is the calm laid-back atmosphere. No one seemed to be nervous.    Even though the skits varied, everyone had the moral of the story. The best skit was Jerry Springer because it was so unpredictable. Who would have thought that you could make a Joseph story out of it?!  The funniest part was the tests when they came back. I also think it was a good idea to separate the winning skits into two parts; one an entertaining one and one that covered the story brilliantly.  It wouldn’t have been fair if only one won. I also agreed with the best actor being Khan and also Sleepy! She was hilarious.

 

As far as the judges are concerned, I think people are being so critical because they don’t know that the judges too were playing a role.  I believe one of them was playing Simon.    Everybody was acting and nothing should have been taken seriously.

 

In response to swat1224:

 

I completely agree with you when you said that Joseph holds a special place in our religion.  Presenting it in such a way did give a better understanding and a light hearted one. It grabbed everyone’s attention and gave an understanding of the moral of the story that everyone can understand.