I grew up in a catholic european country and became interested in Islam through marriage.To me Islam is an extension of christian belief, sort of like an "upgrade". Jesus (peace be upon him) being actually God, in the sense of the creator of the universe, fall into place.Being a Muslim to me means that I do my best to surrender to God and put God first before anything else.I listen carefully inside my heart and follow the path of peace, love, mercy, justice, and freedom.Sixteen Muslims, in their own words, speak about the delights and gravity of Islam's holiest month.
We created a dynamic map that allows you to read each Muslim's essay and see the broader geographical context.The movements of prayer are a daily exercise and one feels connected to the greater universe out there.Unfortunately, for many muslims it is a tradition they are born into and they do not grasp the deeper meaning of the religion. My advice to people coming into Islam always is:"Focus on the basics, the Quran and Sunnah, do not look around you what other people are doing."What I find beautiful about Islam is many things: a direct contact between a believer and the One God unencumbered by clergy; the Quran's intense and repetitive emphasis on social justice and strong rights of family and kinship; simplicity and lack of formality of its prescribed ways of worship; the obligation of paying charity (zakat) based on not on your income but your accumulated wealth--which in turn encourages circulation of wealth; beauty of its prophetic traditions that serve as guiding lights in everyday life; its demonstrable commitment to racial equality that goes back a millennium and and half; its utter prohibition of excessive consumption and wasteful ways of living; and the depth of meaning, and the linguistic and literary treasures contained in the Quran.Furthermore, the rise of consumer culture in the Muslim world that inhibits contemplation, is likely to further expand this gap by making religious thinking the sole property of the mullahs who tend to favor the more restrictive meaning of Islam. I prefer to live in a secular society where everyone is equal, have same rights and obligations.
In the end, I'd like to share one of my favorite verses from the Quran (Chapter 2, Verse 177)7 It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. I don't want anyone to impose a way of life on me, I just want to choose whether or not to put hair scarf for instance.I find my faith guiding my actions in almost every sphere of my life.