Q. What are some of the greatest personal insight that you have gained through the Islamic faith?
A. Great question! Islam has given me a sense of peace. Peace is obtained in many ways through Islam and being Muslim. Interestingly, in the Arabic language (which is the language of the Quran and therefore the language of Islam) all words come from a 3 letter root which defines the meaning of the actual word. The interesting thing is that root for the word Islam, is SLM, and this root means 'peace'. You may notice that the root for Muslim is also SLM, and if you understand Arabic, the M in front of the word indicates 'the one who'; therefore, Muslim broken down is M-SLM, and its definition is 'the one who has peace'.
1-Islam requires that the Muslim prays at minimum five times everyday. The Muslim prayer requires a ritual cleansing prior to prayer which takes about 3-5 minutes, and the prayer itself can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes or more. This means that the Muslims takes at minimum 8-20 minute breaks from life, five times a day, to forget about life and to pray to God. These breaks from the daily activities give us a chance focus on what is truly the only importance, God. These breaks from life, give me peace.
2-God teaches us that he is in control of the world. As humans we are given free choice to do as we please; however, God is in control of what happens to us-Good and Bad. Those things that are given to us and we consider as Good, are given to us as gifts from God. We must thank him for these by saying, "Alhumdillah" -Thanks be to God in English. On the flip side, those things that are given to us and we considered as Bad, are given to us as tests from God. We are tested during the 'bad' times. To be successful during tests we are to remember the 'good' things that God has given us by saying, "Alhumdillah". This thankfulness for our goods during times of bad, give us a sense of peace as we are constantly reminding ourselves of the good given to us - even as we deal with the bad, we are not completely focusing on the bad. It is interesting living in the Muslim community because it is rare that you find people who will listen to your complaints for very long, instead they ask God to give you strength, say Inshallah (God Willing) things will improve, and Alhumdillah as remembrance for you. I have peace because I know that everything happens for a reason and not to get too anxious when things don't happen as I planned-I know that there is a better plan being presented by God.
3-Peace is also reached because we know that whatever God has instructed us to do, has validity. Nothing God teaches us or asks from us goes against the nature of the universe or the nature of the human being. In the Quran, God teaches us many scientific facts about the insects, animals, humans, nature, earth, our sun, the galaxies. There is nothing in the Quran that contradicts current scientific laws (remember the Quran was given to us 1400 years ago when scientific thought was proven incorrect hundreds of years later-think about it-how obvious it is that a book. The Quran, written 1400 years ago has accurate data describing accurate science?)! There is also nothing in the Quran that prescribes the Muslim to do anything that they are not capable of doing and what does not make sense. Even if we don't understand initially why something is asked of us, once it is applied to the Muslim life, the reason becomes obvious. I have peace knowing that God knows everything and I can rely on the Quran for guidance.
4-Peace from knowing that God forgives me for what I do not know and for my repented sins. As a Muslim, we are expected to learn and educate ourselves about Islam in order to apply it in our lives. We are expected to fall from the path from time to time, but to repent, and work towards becoming a better Muslim. Muslims know that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) by the Angel Gabriel over a span of 23 years because God knows that his people cannot change over night, and that it takes time for a Muslim to learn about and apply Islam to his or her life. I have peace knowing that I am not expected to be perfect today, but I am expected to learn, apply, and work towards the perfect.