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Islam and Dispelling Misconceptions
Islam influences “your thought process, your dealings, and your daily activities from the moment you wake up. You cannot be guided by your own instinct but are controlled by teachings. A practicing Muslim follows the instructions of God and abides him in his daily life.”
Shahid Aziz, Shahid Abbas, and Mashood Yunus, all part of the administration team at the MCC School, presented fundamental differences and principles of Islam that they thought everyone needs to understand. Islam is a religion that means to submit; Muslims are the submitters to God. Those unfamiliar with Islam often define Islam is as followers of Mohammad, but as the Shahid Aziz explained, although “Mohammad was our prophet, the last prophet, and his teachings is Islam… we are not a follower of a person and we take great offence to being called Mohammudans.”1 As Mashood Yunus continued, “in comparison to other religions, things have dramatically changed” but the rules of Islam have stayed the same. While the rules of lent in Christianity have changed over time, the Month of Ramadan, 30 days of fasting from sunrise to sunset, has stayed the same.
As Mashood Yunus, both coordinator of the MCC School and secretary of Building Blocks, an organization dedicated to community advancement and outreach programs, emphasized and expressed repeatedly, “We hold our faith very close to our hearts.” Islam is not just a faith, but also a way of life. As Shahid Aziz explained, Islam influences “your thought process, your dealings, and your daily activities from the moment you wake up. You cannot be guided by your own instinct but are controlled by teachings. A practicing Muslim follows the instructions of God and abides him in his daily life.” Continuing, he expressed that “world views are shaped by religion” and impacts “how to behave in a community and a nation at large.”
We hold our faith very close to our hearts.
“Some people take issue with the five prayers,” Shahid Aziz continued, “but this is the only way for us as individuals to communicate with our God. The form and method allows us to talk to our creator, it is a direct communication… we fully submit in prayer when our face is touching the ground.” Prayers are essential to Islam, praying five times minimum as prescribed by the Qur’an and stated as the second pillar. Although Islamic practices are more structured, the intentions and purposes of these practices resonate with those of other faiths, as other faiths use prayers and other practices to communicate with and show devotion to God or a higher being.
All quotes from Interview with Shahid Aziz, Shahid Abbas, and Mashood Yunus, 30 April 2016. ↩