Peace be with you

Or, as they say, As-Salāmu Alaykum.

I’ve been thinking a bit about Islam. I know, loaded topic. People in my social circles don’t have much contact with Muslims, so I’m the go-to gal for info on “how They really are”. Besides laughing at the idea that I’m somehow a reliable source of information on Islam, I have to chuckle at the obvious ethnocentrism inherent when someone uses the capitalized T in they.  Not the “they” of “you know what they say”, but the “They” of “They’re so strange” fame.

So research is always in order (story of my life), but I have to say that Muslims have been, without exception, some of the nicest students I’ve had. Sure, you can say that’s because their religion is about submission, and as an authority figure perhaps I was worthy of respect, but I doubt it. And there’s certainly tenets of their faith I think commendable- especially their stance on giving to the poor, and their cheerful acceptance of God’s will (inshallah).

In a recent combox (which I won’t link to ’cause I’ll call down the thunder), a diehard Catholic told me that “one cannot judge a church by its abuses”. With which I’m totally in agreement- even dealing with the horror that is the Church’s abuse. And Islam is perhaps the same- one cannot judge it by the fundamentalist wackos that explode themselves in markets full of their neighbors.

My point to the commenter, and subsequently my point now, is that one has to judge a religion by its belief system- or by its theology, if you’re dealing with a theistic one. And the thing is, most of us have very little idea about Islam, unless, of course, you’ve got reason to do your homework.

So my question is: what does anyone out there know about Islam? And what has their experience been with Muslims or with the religion itself? Have you had reason to look into it?

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9 Responses to Peace be with you

  1. Emily says:

    http://catherinemcniel.blogspot.com/

    She should be able to help you. She’s done a lot of reading on this.

  2. Ink says:

    My understanding is limited and gained mostly through work interactions, as you describe.

    And now I want to see the feisty combox!

  3. Evenshine says:

    Emily- you misunderstand. Info on Islam can be found all over the internet, and in quite a few excellent books. I was asking about YOUR experience. Thanks for the link.

  4. antropologa says:

    Sure, all the Muslims I’ve known have been very nice people. As have most of the other people I’ve ever met. It’s religious leaders that tend to get problematic–of any religion.

    I know probably a bit more about Islam than the typical person, from school, but not a ton. It’s just as, well, illogical and silly to me as any other religion.

  5. evenshine says:

    And you don’t think there could be a connection between religion and “all those nice people”? Easier to say they’re all silly?

  6. Catherine says:

    Hi evenshine – I’m happy to “meet” you! Thanks for your comment earlier this afternoon. I do study world religions as a hobby, and I studied a lot about Islam about a year or so ago (and blogged some about it). I’d love to talk more if you want to!

  7. evenshine says:

    Hi, Catherine! Looking forward to it! Welcome.

  8. faemom says:

    From the pitifully few Muslims I’ve talked to and have been able to manuver the conversation toward religion, they are very adimant that their religion is about Love and God. JUst like how we deny that our religion started the Crusades. (Stupid Popes) One friend was on a mision to discover and understand her faith and wanted to start wearing the headdress (it’s late, so sorry if I can’t come up with the word), but her mother was deathly opposed because in America it would attract very conservative men, which the parents did not want for their daughter. I also attended an interesting lecture about the Abrahamic religions and how the eldest and baby religions had more in common than that strange middle child Christianity. I plan to learn more about the religion when I have some free time because I’m so intrigued by religion.

  9. evenshine says:

    It’s great that you’re open to it, Fae. I think a lot of us are less so.

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