"Words without poetry lack passion; words without passion lack persuasion; words without persuasion lack power."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Behind my red reporter glasses: personal thoughts on Muslim belief

Currently, I am writing a series for my student newspaper entitled Student belief. In each article I explore and present a certain type of religion/belief, as well as illustrate the spiritual journey of a particular student who holds the given belief.

The religion I most recently wrote on is Muslim belief. I thought I would share the main elements of Islamic belief, since prior to my research I really had a non-existent grasp on the essence of the belief.

ISLAM is derived from the Arabic root "SALEMA": peace, purity, submission and obedience according to Jannah.org, a web source for Islamic belief information. 
The religion has two halves. the first half had five main components which are essential to being a part of Islam. The components include: belief in one God "Allah." Belief in the angels. Belief in the prophets such as Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, and the prophet for Islam, Muhammad being the last. Belief in the holy books: The Quran, Bible and Torah. The last element is belief in The Day Of Judgment.
The second half of the religion, from my perspective, is the application side of Islamic belief. people who practice the Muslim faith must pray five times a day, and are required to abstain from all substance use and premarital sexual relations. They must not curse, and are urged to be extremely moral with clothing.

I found the moral side of the religion very intriguing in context of the college years.The years following high school are often deemed with the period of time where people "find themselves," or explore spiritually, and I find it incredible that many people in the Muslim religion continue to withhold from straying from the faith, or joining in on culture's version of the college years.
Here is an article that presents another point of view on Muslim college years:http://www.jannah.org/articles/dating.html.

When I spoke with an Islamic student, I asked her if it was hard to keep the moral code, and if she has ever questioned her faith. She told me that some of the moral standards  are hard to maintain when an individual is saturated in mainstream university culture, but she overall has not had trouble with it. She was quick to say that she has never doubted her faith and believes very strongly in it, despite the fact that she is occasionally publicly chastised with comments like being called a terrorist.

The strength of her faith, and the other people I interviewed, honestly stopped me in my tracks. It's so unique to meet people who are so rooted in what they believe. I am not claiming that all of the reasons why their faith is strong to be pure, but I can say that it was different and striking to hear the confidence in their voices.

While I do not profess Islamic belief to be my religion, and am in fact rooted firmly in truth I have found, it was amazing to research and learn about the religion.
I encourage everyone to learn about different belief systems and new concepts.
Even if you do not agree with other concepts and belief systems, it will strengthen what you believe to challenge your beliefs with difference and opposition. I do not mean challenge as a form of rebellion, but to find truth. However, if you do challenge what you know I believe it is important to have a good grasp on what you have found to be truth, so you do not lose all sense of self in the midst of different philosophies and beliefs.  

Additionally to perhaps strengthening your current belief, speaking with people about there beliefs can help you "meet them where they are." Whether you agree with them are not is not the purpose, but instead, to love them well.
we don't have to be tolerant, but open-minded to the point of genuine care for souls. 
They are people.
So, then, we must love.

Check out my article on Student Belief: Muslim college students article under the  'Silly little reporter girl' section in the right column.

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