Today’s guest post is by Mohammad Yassin, a sophomore at DePaul University, studying in the College of Commerce. Mohammad serves on the E-Board of DePaul’s Muslim Student Association, United Muslims Moving Ahead (UMMA), and as an Interfaith Scholar. He is looking forward to occasionally writing for this blog about religious topics in order to help others learn more about Islam and other faith traditions.
Yes, you heard me right, Islam is not a religion. Why Not?!? Well, first let me introduce myself before I elaborate.
My name is Mohammad, and I’m currently a sophomore at DePaul University. I am a board member for my university’s MSA (Muslim Student Association) as well as an Interfaith Scholar in our University’s interfaith group (not including my other involvements on campus). Thus, when Nic gave me the opportunity to contribute to the DePaul Interfaith blog I found it very difficult to pass up.Getting back to the topic of discussion, I’d like to quote dictionary.com on their definition of religion:
“A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.”
Like I mentioned earlier, Islam is not a religion. It is not just something one just believes in and then forgets about, or practices just once a week, or solely performs on special occasions, or only remembers when one’s in dire circumstances or finds others in dire circumstances, or even devotes an aspect of one’s life to it separate from the rest of their life. This is why Islam is not a religion.
This is because Islam is not just a set of beliefs or practices like the definition above. Instead, Islam is ANYTHING and EVERYTHING and it encompasses one’s entire lifestyle. It is something to be lived, not just believed in or performed. You see, when a person is a Muslim, it includes the beliefs and practices of Islam, but is not limited to just those exclusively Islamic beliefs and practices. For example, a Muslim exercises their faith by learning, playing, eating, socializing, sleeping, cleaning, teaching, even smiling and having intercourse (between husband and wife) are seen as acts of charity! Islam discusses and covers ALL aspects of a person’s life. This is why I love it and this is why it means EVERYTHING.
Without Islam, I find that there’s NOTHING worth living for and thus, I would find myself completely and utterly…LOST! Islam teaches me and gives me reason to give charity, to always be happy, to behave well and be forgiving and merciful with others, to be kind to animals, to take care of the earth and not be wasteful, to live for others and not just for myself, to make a difference in the world, to be the best that I can be in whatever task I’m put to, and much, much more.
Islam is ineffably beautiful and rational and spiritual and IT JUST MAKES SENSE. I have not only experienced this myself, but have witnessed others experience this as well. To illustrate my point, on Friday November 5th, after the Friday sermon, a young man (who appeared to be in his early twenties or late teens) approached the microphone and declared his Islam. When he was asked as to why he converted, his response was that his previous religion did not make sense, and that Islam did. This same statement was made back in late August when a man declared his Islam after the Friday sermon and was asked the same question. But that’s not all, my sister-in-law, my friend at school, and the chaplain of DePaul’s MSA (not to mention an entire myriad of people around the world) answered the same question with the same statement (of why they became Muslim): my previous religion didn’t make sense and Islam does. Now you know why Islam is the fastest growing faith in the entire globe.
I could go on for ages, but that’s not the point here. The point was to translate what was in my heart onto paper. If you would like to learn more about Islam, I recommend reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Islam by Yahiya Emerick; or if you’d like to discuss Islam, here’s a hotline: (800) 662-4752. I hope that this article reaches you all in the best of health and circumstances, and I wish you all the best throughout life’s endeavors.