by Sarah Mushtaq
Take a second and think about this: When the world ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslim’ is mentioned, what comes to your mind? Images of men with beards threatening to blow up the West? Some kind of wild fanatics?
Or one of your best friends? A student in your class? A contributing member of Canadian society?
My name is Sarah and I was born and raised a Muslim. I’m in second year Arts and Science here at UWindsor. I’ve lived in the West (namely Canada and US) my whole life. Contrary to popular belief, as a young woman, I love being Muslim.
For me, my religion has been an integral part of my life. My parents moved to the States to give us better opportunities educationally – which included religious education. Leaving our religion was not part of the equation – increasing in our good deeds was, which was done by being a productive member of society.
Islam has many similarities to other religions. I always felt people made Muslims look like they were some kind of aliens, practicing this crazy religion which had no place in the 21st century. I feel it definitely is one of the most misunderstood religions.
To understand Islam, one must understand what it is about. Islam based on a simple principle: There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah* and Muhammad is His final Messenger. That simple sentence is our declaration of faith. The whole religion is based simply on that.
With that being said, Islam shares its Prophets (and history) with Christianity and Judaism: Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Adam, and many others. We worship God. We have similar commandments (the 10 Commandments carry over!). In this time when the media has us focusing on our differences, turning to our similarities gives comfort and ways to a great relationship.
I’m truly honored to be a part of this project because I believe students at university are the most prone to new ideas and actually asking about something they don’t understand. Religion, in general, gets a bad rap and I hope through this blog, we can appreciate each other’s differences and work towards an understanding society.
*Allah is Arabic for God and it is the same word used by Arab Christians as well