Ramadan a time for spiritual conversion

The month of Ramadan begins Tuesday or Wednesday depending on what part of the world you are in, and what … Continued

The month of Ramadan begins Tuesday or Wednesday depending on what part of the world you are in, and what method of determining the start of the month you use (calculations or moonsighting).

With its dawn to sunset fasting, and extra emphasis on the human-Divine relationship, Ramadan is a time for reflection, self-improvement, and spiritual development. This year there is much for the Muslim world to reflect upon — from the horrific slayings of doctors in Afghanistan this last week, to the spread of Wahhabi-style views into traditional liberal and tolerant communities, to rampant misogyny, homophobia and racism within our communities.

The most important challenge as I see it is for moderate, liberal, secular, and progressive Muslims to set aside their differences in approach, their different legal views and differing spiritual practices, in order to work together to articulate and promote our common view of Islam as a religion of peace and lasting values — compassion, equality, justice, honesty, humility. As long as we remain divided among ourselves, those who are promoting extreme views will continue to win converts to their cause.

The second challenge is for those of us who live in America to continue to advocate for America to live up to her values. As long as America is seen as a country on a vendetta against Muslims, extremists will have ample fodder for their campaign to win Muslim hearts.

The essential element to both of these agendas has got to be engagement and education. Many moderate Muslims look with suspicion upon progressive Muslims, accusing us of trying to change the faith, and upon secular Muslims, feeling that they are not committed to Islam. Progressives and secularists in turn are likely to view moderates with the fear that they are closet Islamists or extremists. In the Christian world, interfaith dialogue began wth talks between different branches of Christianity. Muslims need to do this as well. While there have been some attempts to do so among Sunni and Shi’i Muslims in America, our efforts to cohere as a community need to be far more wide-reaching and intensive, crossing not only the Sunni/Shiia/Sufi divide but also philosophical divides within those groups.

So too, we need to reach out to our American neighbors, again, to engage and educate. The more Americans know Muslims of different stripes, and of the mainstream, the more they will learn that there is nothing to fear. The more American Muslims engage in this society, the more effective we will be, both at communicating that message and at influencing policy decisions that impact America and its relationship with the Muslim world.

There are, of course, hundreds of thousands of people engaged in just this sort of initiative, both Muslim and non-Muslim. To these good folks, I say keep up the hard work. For the rest of us, let us use this Ramadan, this time of spiritual recommitment and personal rededication to the Divine, as a time to extend ourselves a little more to our neighbors, both Muslim and non-Muslim.

  • Nabihah

    please check out

  • HarshK

    This is a good joke- describing Islam as peaceful, tolerant, progressive and secular. With prophet Mohamed married to 13 women, including a 6 year old child and his own daughter-in-law, and participated in 28 raiding, looting and killing missions…Read Wafa Sultan’s A God Who Hates to understand Islam.

  • AKafir

    Pamela,One of the Sahih Hadaith from Muslim:”Book 019, Number 4345: It has been narrated on the authority of Salama (b. al-Akwa’) who said: We fought against the Fazara and Abu Bakr was the commander over us. He had been appointed by the Messenger oi Allah (may peace be upon him). When we were onlv at an hour’s distance from the water of the enemy, Abu Bakr ordered us to attack. We made a halt during the last part of the night tor rest and then we attacked from all sides and reached their watering-place where a battle was fought. Some of the enemies were killed and some were taken prisoners. I saw a group of persons that consisted of women and children. I was afraid lest they should reach the mountain before me, so I shot an arrow between them and the mountain. When they saw the arrow, they stopped. So I brought them, driving them along. Among them was a woman from Banu Fazara. She was wearing a leather coat. With her was her daughter who was one of the prettiest girls in Arabia. I drove them along until I brought them to Abu Bakr who bestowed that girl upon me as a prize. So we arrived in Medina. I had not yet disrobed her when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) met me in the street and said: Give me that girl, O Salama. I said: Messenger of Allah, she has fascinated me. I had not yet disrobed her. When on the next day. the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) ag;tin met me in the street, he said: O Salama, give me that girl, may God bless your father. I said: She is for you. Messenger of Allah! By Allah. I have not yet disrobed her. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent her to the people of Mecca, and surrendered her as ransom for a number of Muslims who had been kept as prisoners at Mecca.******************************Find out what was done to the mother of that girl and why. Find out what was done to that girl before she was traded to the Meccans. And then fast in the honor of your prophet.

  • AKafir

    From Ibn Ishaq (pg. 980): Zayd also raided Wadi-l-Qurra where he met Banu Fazara and some of his companions were killed; he himself carried wounded from the field. Ward b. Amr b. Madash one of B. Sad b. Hudhayl was killed by one of B. Badr whose name Sa’d b. Hudhaym. When Zayd came he swore that he would use no ablution until he raided B. Fazara; and when he recovered from his wounds the apostle sent him against them with a force. He fought them in Wadi-al-Qura and killed some of them. Qays b. al-Musahhar al-Yamuri killed Mas’ada b. Hakama b. Malik b. Hudhayfa b. Badr and Umm Qirfa Fatima was taken prisoner. She was a very old woman, wife of Malik. Her daughter and Abdulla b. Mas’ada were also taken. Zaid ordered Qays b al-Musahhar to kill Umm Qirfa and he killed her cruelly.How cruelly? Well Tabari tells us:Tabari Vol.8:Page.96Allah’s Messenger sent Zayd to Wadi Qura, where he encountered the Banu Fazarah. Some of his Companions were killed, and Zayd was carried away wounded. Ward was slain by the Banu Badr. When Zayd returned, he vowed that no washing should touch his head until he had raided the Fazarah. After he recovered, Muhammad sent him with an army against the Fazarah settlement. He met them in Qura and inflicted casualties on them and took Umm Qirfah prisoner. He also took one of Umm’s daughters and Abdallah bin Mas’adah prisoner. Zyad bin Harithah ordered Qays to kill Umm, and he killed her cruelly. He tied each of her legs with a rope and tied the ropes to two camels, and they split her in two.And do find out about the Daughter as well. For anyone who knows Islam and its history, your ignorant statements are truly nauseating.

  • Elizabeth Tenety

    test

  • ThishowIseeit

    Ms Taylor, just to let you know that there is a cure for your advanced case of over-optimism and theodicy, from a free-thinker.

Read More Articles

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

shutterstock_186566975
Hey Bart Ehrman, I’m Obsessed with Jesus, Too — But You’ve Got Him All Wrong

Why the debate over Jesus’ divinity matters.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.

shutterstock_186090179
How Passover Makes the Impossible Possible

When we place ourselves within the story, we can imagine new realities.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

This Passover, We’re Standing at an Unparted Red Sea

We need to ask ourselves: What will be the future of the State of Israel — and what will it require of us?

pews
Just As I Am

My childhood conversion to Christianity was only the first of many.

shutterstock_127731035 (1)
Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church?

In an age of rising singlehood, many churches are still focused on being family ministry centers.

2337221655_c1671d2e5e_b
Mysterious Tremors

People like me who have mystical experiences may be encountering some unknown Other. What can we learn about what that Other is?

bible
Five Bible Verses You Need to Stop Misusing

That verse you keep quoting? It may not mean what you think it means.

csl_wall_paper
What C.S. Lewis’ Marriage Can Tell Us About the Gay Marriage Controversy

Why “welcome and wanted” is a biblical response to gay and lesbian couples in evangelical churches.