My Experience with Muslims

on Sunday, September 1, 2013

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world; perhaps due to the fact that it appears to be the most accommodating faith in developing countries where most of the world’s inhabitants are found. Conversely, it is not as stigmatized as Christianity that has the dubious reputation of being associated if not unfairly, with colonialism. As a Christian, I look at all faiths as equal because in school, we were taught to respect other faiths by virtue of the fact that God will favor you as long as you are an ardent follower of your faith. 

I grew up in a society that comprised diverse faiths, races and ethnic groups. I could be termed a ‘moderate’ because I relate to anybody that I share things in common with. My respect for other faiths helps me to gain a valuable insight into their beliefs, and I sometimes think that if I wasn’t a Christian, I would most probably be a Muslim. This is because The Bible and Quran share striking similarities in material, and the divergent views may not be too far fetched as some may think. Secondly, a major similarity in Christianity, Islam and Jewish religions that cannot be changed is the use of the Old Testament as referred to in the Bible. It is a pointer to the common origin of man.

Based on such perceptions, there is not much of a difference between Christianity and Islam, save for the New Testament where Jesus Christ is referred to as God the Son, whereas he is regarded as a Prophet in the latter. In my view, most of the other divergent views are brought about by the politicization of faiths. I find this dangerous because man has a weakness of diluting the facts when it comes to the interpretation of faith in order to achieve personal gain. Otherwise, we cannot help but admire Muslims for their manner of worship.

Which other religion in the world commits to praying five times a day or fasting during the Holy month of Ramadan. Even those harboring anti-Islamic sentiments will admire the strictness and discipline practiced by its followers; something that is rarely found in other faiths. Other than Muslims banks, which other banks desist from charging interest on credit facilities? These examples bring out the human face of Islam as opposed to its detractors who prefer to create negative stereotypes about its followers.

Ever since the end of the Cold War, we have witnessed a resurgence of Islam because the once dominant superpowers have had to face growing competition from the Islamic World that controls most of the world’s oil reserves. I would not have it any other way because I don’t think the world would be better if the control was vested in the hands of purely capitalistic nations. The Islamic approach to doing business has probably made oil more affordable than it could have been. These are some of the key reasons why I can’t help, but few Islam in a positive light because it has contributed a great deal to equality and respect for fellow men by helping to reduce poverty all over the world. Moreover, in my country, there are numerous Islamic Charity organizations that contribute to the needy through the establishment of educational institutions and hospitals, for example. These have helped thousands of people to gain skills and receive medical treatment that would not be easily found in the region immediately after attaining independence from the British colonialists. As a matter of fact, I was born in the Aga Khan hospital.

My sister-in-law married a Muslim. She was a Christian but converted to Islam without any complaints whatsoever. Every marriage has its challenges, but theirs has not been due to her conversion to Islam. I have schooled and worked with Muslims. I have lived in their midst. What is the difference between two men of different faiths? Believe me, not much. Apart from the fact that their religious beliefs may differ, they are basically the same.

So, it is not for me to judge in my perception towards Islam because my faith teaches me not to pass judgment on others, but God with good reason. Islam should be appreciated because of the important role it plays in the world today.

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