What do you Like about Islam?

My journey to Islam

This is the most commonly asked question I’ve ever had!

I am fascinated there are 1.93 billion Muslims in the world today making up 25% of the world’s population. Amazing number indeed! I knew nothing of Islam myself. I worked with many Muslims, in fact, my first serious job was at an embassy run by Muslims.

I am a revert to Islam. People say “revert” because in Islam it’s considered one is going back to the “original” religion. I haven’t really given much thought when I reverted to Islam to be honest. I’ve done it so my husband and I can share the same religion. I do not consider myself super religious. I don’t know what that means.

I am learning about Islam and the more I learn the more I think it’s the most amazing religion in the world. For revert Muslim women there’s a group called New Muslim Women Group at the London Central mosque. It’s a group of revert women from all walks of life who get together to talk about various subjects, inspirations and support one another. What an amazing initiative!

Knowing I know very little of Islam here are a few things I’ve learned so far.

Kindness

I know in all religions people are kind. All religions based on love. However, I don’t know why but the muslims are the kindness people I have ever met. A handful of examples, my mother in law, the first time I’ve ever met her she said: “Hello, I love you!” No-one has ever greeted me in the world like that. Sure, one can argue I was to become her daughter-in-law but she didn’t have to be so kind at the door step?

A woman I used to work with (years ago) I have never seen anyone more kind hearted than her. She would give money, food and so many presents to friends, family and everyone who needed it. In Islam it’s considered the more you give the more it will be given back to you. I used to share a flat with another muslim woman who’d have even more generosity towards others.

Bear in mind these women are not the richest but the way they gave it would appear as if it comes from the richest people. A man in a shop would give away some sweets and his own dates (because he’s not selling dates) to a man who’s about to break a fast during Ramadan and wouldn’t ask for any money. It’s a shop! I grew up a catholic and I haven’t once seen this kindness in people.

Education and Learning

If you look at Islamic history, you will find astrology, algebra, mathematics, medicine and science were introduced by muslims to Europe. Muslims love education and learning and improving themselves. I have always believed without an education a person is nothing.

Education is one of the most important things in life.

It’s a simple but important and significant right for any human being.

In Islam everyone has to learn to read and write. Islam praises on education and learning. There’s so much evidence on this subject. One of the examples, is Andalusia in Spain. It was known as the biggest and brightest part of Europe — Cordoba, Granada & Seville! These cities were leading in education, libraries and medicine in Europe.

Compared to London and Paris hadn’t even had toilets and didn’t wash themselves let alone have an education or know how to read and write! I’d highly recommend watching a documentary by Simon Sebag Montefiore Blood and Gold: The Making of Spain

Religion

I had a unique opportunity to go to a mosque. In London where we used to stay for a little while, a mosque was on my doorstep. I went. I didn’t understand the prayer but it was so beautiful. All women stand next to each other; it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor you are the same as the person next to you. It’s humbling and empowering at the same time.

People I’ve never met would be so welcoming and nice to me in a mosque. They’d fix my head scarf or show me how to wear my dress properly. Even if we don’t speak the same language. I grew up as a catholic but I’ve never had such kindness and attention in a catholic church. I never really understood catholic religion it made no sense to me.

I don’t know how or why but this religion gives everyone peace. After all Islam is based on peace. The greeting itself is Asalam Alekum ‘may peace be upon you!

It’s a religion based on action rather than a blind belief that “God will guide me” I often find a few catholic friends of mine would only rely on ‘God will guide me’ and do nothing; wouldn’t take action on anything in life! It made no sense to me. I couldn’t argue with someone who doesn’t understand a simple effect of an action.

There’s a story in Islam. A man prayed to God to look after his camel. But if the man doesn’t tie the camel no matter how much he prays it will not have a desired effect. If one doesn’t act on what one wants, for example, tie your camel, the God cannot help you.

Islam is a religion of action, doing and learning.

Muslims pray five times a day think of how much ‘doing’ in just one simple thing! Muslims don’t sit on their ass and expect things to happen. They work hard in creating and making something.

Reality

Muslims don’t have a good press, hence, the view of religion is tarnished. There’s Islamophobia and growing dislike. I have witnessed an attack on a woman during Ramadan in London. A man walked up to her and pulled her headscarf off. It’s sad. Spain literally is writing out Islamic history of their history books.

We went on a tour in Toledo, Spain. Toledo is a super Islamic town but there’s so little mentioned about Islam. Islam was for over 800 years in Spain. It has left a huge impact on food, clothes, how people live and behave in Spain. I wish people saw Islam as light and brightness rather than a threat.

My learning of Islam is only a beginning. I have signed up for online Quran lessons at Maryam Institute. What an amazing initiative! These classes are for free. Did I mention Muslims love learning and improving themselves…? I hope Islam touches more people because it encourages to be better selfs. It makes you a better person. I wish the world be a place where we all live together without judgment, resentment and anger.

I leave you with this for food for thought….

Love and light!

I am a writer who learned to code! I write about personal experiences within a humanist and global context. Find me on Twitter & Instagram @erikachaudhary

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