Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Muslim Next Door

Tomorrow is Qur'an Sunday. The text will be Surah 6:74-79 where Abraham considers the stars, sun, and moon and realizes that God is beyond them all.

For April, read Surah's 6, 7, and 8. The following summaries are from Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur'an.

Surah 6 "The Cattle" is from the late Meccan period. "The nature of Allah and the method by which He reveals Himself are first expounded, and the weakness of Paganism is exposed." p. 293 It contains the story of Abraham considering the stars.

Surah 7 "The Heights" is similar to the Surah 6 in terms of chronology and argument, "...but it expounds the doctrine of revelation and man's spiritual history by illustrations from Adam onwards, through various Prophets, and the details of Moses' struggles, to the time of the Prophet Muhammad, in whom Allah's revelation is completed." p. 344

Surah 8 "The Booty" contains the lessons of the Battle of Badr and touches on "(1) the question of war booty; (2) the true virtues necessary for fighting the good fight: (3) victory against odds; (4) clemency and consideration for one's own and for others in the hour of victory." p. 413.



Recommended reading:
The Muslim Next Door: The Qur'an, the Media, and that Veil Thing by Sumbul Ali-Karamali. (Ashland, OR: White Cloud Press, 2008).




Synopsis: "What if you could sit down at a kitchen table with an American Muslim mom and ask anything you wanted about her faith and religious practice? The Muslim Next Door clears away the misconceptions about Islam and why they flourish--media distortion, confusion about what is cultural rather than religious, the language barrier, and the old tall tales that still persist after thirteen centuries."

This is an excellent book that I read over vacation. She addresses the stereotypes, media images, and answers honestly and forthrightly questions that non-Muslims have about Islam. She concludes her book with this:
I live inside my religion because it is sensible, simple, and it teaches good things like forgiveness, generosity, tolerance, and compassion. I live in America because I believe it can be a nation of many faiths. As people of all religions have urged, it is time for genuine understanding and dialogue, not media hysteria and anti-Islamic racism. If we can separate the daily distortions from the reality, perhaps we can break out of that medieval framework of domination and hostility. Instead of working toward a "clash of civilizations," perhaps we can avoid a "clash of ignorances." (p. 247)
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