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?