My talk is divided into _3_ parts. First I will talk about the basic tenets of Islam, what are the challenges facing Muslims and our common American values in general, and what can we do about it on a united front.
I am going to start by greeting you all – Assalamo alikum – I greet you all with the universal greeting of all the prophets – which means – peace be upon you. The root of the word assalam is “salm” which is also the root word for Islam – meaning peace. The followers of Islam – “Muslims” (with a soft s) – therefore means somebody who is at peace with the will of God..
6 basic pillars of faith in Islam. Belief in One God, in angels, in prophets, in holy books, Day of Judgment and divine destiny.
Belief in one God – Allah in Arabic – not subject to gender specification or plurality
Muslims believe God created angels who have no gender and free will.
God chose virtuous people as prophets to spread the word of God. – they all brought the same message, they can educate but they can’t impose. There is a verse in Quran – ch 2 verse 256 “Let there be no compulsion in religion”. Jesus pbuh the word of God, spirit of God born to virgin Mary pbuh but not the son of God. Actually Mary is the only female identified by her very name in Quran and there is an entire chapter that is called Mary. God chose her above all females and Jesus is identified as son of Mary.
Moving on to the next tenet is Holy Books given to these prophets – Psalms of David pbuh, Torah of Moses pbuh, Bible, – we believe in all of them. Quran is the word of God – given to Prophet M through archangel Gabriel.
Concept of Day of Judgment – good deed will be compensated 10x – 700x – infinity as God is merciful. Bad deed is just 1x and will be excused if one repents.
Divine destiny –everything whether good or bad is from God.
Praying 5 times a day –
Hajj, which basically is a visit to Mecca. There are many other rituals in Islam which basically where we re trace the steps and practices of prophet Abraham and that’s a great common link between us and people of the books.
It is said that there are 3 keys to heaven – believe in one God, believe that u will be judged based on your deeds and do good even if apparently it seems not to benefit anyone.
Ch2 verse 177– It is not righteousness that u turn ur faces towards east or west but it is righteousness to believe in the pillars of faith, to spend of ur substance out of love for Him for ur kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask and for the ransom of slaves, to be steadfast in prayer and practice regular charity, to fulfill the contracts u have made and be firm and patient in pain and in suffering, and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God fearing)
Hot button issues:
Muslim women are oppressed – while in Islam men and women r equal – men is the boss of the household and provider. EDUCATION – FOR BOTH, can work but money is theirs to keep, free to choose spouses. There are some cultural overtones where women are not allowed to drive or forced to dress in a particular way – but those practices are cultural and not religious.
- Hijab – Muslim men & women are expected to dress modestly, keep their gaze in check and have appropriate body language while working with opposite sex. But it cant be forced on a woman – There is no compulsion in religion!
- Sharia Law – It’s a misnomer because Sharia means Law so basically it means Law law. However again There is no compulsion in religion and the concept of Free will in Islam prohibits one to force anybody to follow any of Islamic practices.
Ch. 109 verse 6 “To you be your way and to me mine”.
Problems facing Muslims:
40% of Republicans agree to a muslim registry and 30% atleast want Muslims ot have some sort of ID and 65% of republicans agree on Muslim travel ban. Polls also show that 50% of Americans view Islam negatively but this number reduces to half if u know just one Muslim.
Polls show 49% of Americans are afraid that they will be victim of a terrorist attack though in reality it is highly unlikely.
Reza Aslan: “Data doesn’t change people – bigotry doesn’t reside in the brain – it resides in the heart. Its not related to statistics – it is related to fear. Fear cannot be conquered by data but by relationships”.
However a lot of good has come out of it Ch 94 vs 5 “Verily with every difficulty there is relief”:
Steps we can take: 2 Faiths 1 Friendship workshop – tool box:
- Become genuine friends – mixers & dinners
- Grow deeper in understanding of each other’s faiths
- Serve your local community together and build peace.
I will end with a verse form the Quran ch 3 vs 186 “You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Book and from those who worship many gods. But if you persevere patiently and guard against evil – then that will be a determining factor in all affairs”