Why Study Islam?

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota.

“Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is much worse.”
–Nigerian proverb.

A couple of years ago, I was in a training session in Edina.  The instructor, who was from Texas, went out of his way to be nice to me during the session.  Every now and then, he would pause as though he wanted to ask me a question that wasn’t training-related, but he would change his mind.

Toward the end of the session, he found the courage and came to where I was sitting to ask me what was on his mind.  I pointed to my hijab, as I thought he was going to ask why I wear the hijab.  So I prepared myself to answer that question.  I was a bit surprised when he blurted out: “Are Muslims trying to take over America?”

I discussed the matter with him, but he kept mentioning Qur’anic teachings he’d heard that tell Muslims to dominate non Muslims wherever they are.

Later, I exchanged emails with him and promised to email him with information to help clarify his concerns, particularly his belief that the Qur’an teaches hatred and violence.

Below are the email exchanges between us.  Information that might point to his identity has been removed, and I also changed his name to John.

“Hi John, I am the Muslim woman in one of the …training…You asked regarding Muslims and coexistence and I told you then I would send you an article regarding the issue.I got busy as my father recently passed away and I just saw the note regarding emailing you the document.

It is attached and may answer questions you have.

If you are ever in need of a speaker for a group locally – we can send a speaker or we can refer you to someone in Texas to answer questions.   Coexistence requires dialogue.”

He then responded to me …
“Please accept my sympathies for the passing of your father.Thank you so much for remembering me and the information.It might be interesting for you to read a paperback by Mark Steyn (I think) called America Alone. Lots of statistics and his prediction of the growth of Islam in Europe. He has received a lot of negative press, but there is probably some truth in everything.

Thanks again, and I hope to see you in another class some day. –John”

I responded.
“John,Thanks for your kind words regarding my father.If you check Steyn’s website – it is very self-promoting.  In times like these, a lot of people rise up and pretend to be heroes wanting to save the world or their group from whoever.  They throw some truths here and there and voila – they prophecy doom and destruction and incite fear and hatred – and they are superman, if only people will listen.

My faith teaches me, that if the day of judgment arrives, the believers are building trees.
Because truth is not bits there and here, but a light that allows us to listen and understand reality one layer at a time when we are emotionally and mentally centered and not incited.

Why not stop at a Muslim center and engage Muslims instead face to face and drink some tea and coffee and discuss your fears or concerns if you have any?”

That was my suggestion to John, and this is my suggestion to anyone who has fears or concerns about Islam taking over the world.I have been informally studying and reading on Islam for 19 years.  I am not an expert or a scholar and I intend to continue to study Islam.  I am not qualified to give fatwas or refute them.  Some verses are clear to every Muslim to understand on his or her own.  Yet, some verses require me to go to scholars to understand and get clarifications.  Some verses require intensive study and research to understand.  Some verses are not within my scope of knowledge to understand, but I intend to learn and study when the time permits.
I advise that it is essential to first understand the spiritual dimension, to truly begin to understand Islam.  I encourage people to study and seek knowledge on Islam and their fears and concerns will be clarified, layer by layer, over time.

One thought on “Why Study Islam?”

  1. Fedwa Wazwaz….
    Not sure this goes to you, but I just want to thank you for your work and effort in aiding the understanding and empathy between concerned Muslims and concerned non-Muslims. I have known your brother, Steve, while he was here in Elk River, Minnesota. I had him talk at Central Lutheran Church when I was still a pastor there. I commonly say “They don’t know because they don’t care…or they don’t care because they don’t know.” Thanks for helping those of us who care to know more. Bless You.

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