Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What is Islam?

My diversity class this semester has really forced me out of my comfort zone and caused me to critically think about my life and the way I view other cultures.  This class, as well as going to India has really allowed me to see the value behind every culture and religion so I made it my goal to learn more about the other cultures this semester.

I had my first opportunity a few weeks ago at the Saudi Arabia event going on in the Union.  I will admit, my first reason for going was to try some of the food, but it led to a long conversation about food, culture, values, and dress.

Speaking with some of the girls there, they explained why they wear abayas which cover their whole bodies and even sometimes their face.  I always made the (wrong) assumption that it was because Islamic men viewed women as their property, not wanting anyone else to look at her, as well as because they wanted to be dominant and silence her voice by not letting her show her personality.  What I found was the complete opposite.  These girls loved wearing abayas and being covered from head to toe.

They said it let them express their personalities even more because when people speak with them, they get to know them for who they are without assuming things based on their figure.  they also really enjoy the fact that men do not simply looking at them because of their bodies, they know that people truly like their personality.  How many of us can say that those around us like us 100% for our personality and not because of the way we look and the way we dress.

Now I am not saying we all need to change the way we dress, I do see truth in the fact that God created us in beauty and that we shouldn't hide it, but what it has taught me is that we need to step away from our assumptions and get to know the truth behind other cultures.  I also see great value in dressing modestly and not flaunting your body so that those around you like you for you and not because they like to look at you.

Another interesting thing I learned was who they believe Jesus is.  Fascinatingly enough, they believe that the Virgin Mary was the mother of Jesus and that Jesus preached the truth about God.  They do then go off track and say that he is simply a great profit and not the Son of God, but still, I didn't realize the similarities.  At the bottom of a pamphlet I was given, it describes their religious views and I must say, they have a strikingly similar outlook on life.

...."Surrender your imperfect and fickle will to the perfect will of the Power that is greater than you.  you will then find the peace and freedom that only the Creator of all things can provide.  Then you must do what is right and good to your fellow creatures"....

To anyone who actually reads this post; I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and go somewhere that you are the minority.  Go in with an open mind and you will be so amazed at what you may learn. 

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