Monday, August 17, 2009


I hadn't planned to write about Islam; it's just that certain events come along to change the habitual flow of events.

As an intructor for the community colleges, I'm exposed to a wide, often conflicting array of religious, political, and cultural ideas. In fact, my students represent so many different beliefs that I can hardly keep track. Occasionally students talk to me about religion with just a hint of conversion motives. Usually they preach some variety of Christianity, but tonight was different. My student spoke to me about Islam.

The conversation began simply enough. He had taken a practice test for the GED and asked me to review his mistakes. As I explained some of the basic principles of American democracy, he began to talk about his home country of Saudi Arabia. Maybe he sensed my desire to be a good listener, but the floodgates opened and he began a 30-40 minute impassionaed monologue extolling the virtues of Islam. We had never spoken like this before, but he became strangely urgent in his manner, leaping from his chair and pacing the room in a flurry as he recounted the revelation of Muhammad.

I was stunned.

By the end, I learned more than I ever imagined possible about the prophet, scripture, sin, salvation, judgment, and the end of times. The conversation ended when I had to close my classroom for the end of my shift. My young student followed me to my car and urged me to study Islam.

Again, I was simply stunned.


Oklahoma Girl said...

What a wonderful encounter!!

Studying another religion/belief does not mean conversion or the wish to convert. It is simply a way to better understand the world in which we have found ourselves. I have several versions of the Bible that I read, The Koran, books on Tao(I read a lot of writings on Buddism). I read the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa. I read everything I can find on my Native religion. In these readings I have found more similarities than differences in the beliefs. My Mother is agast but in my search for Enlightenment I have found I cannot be closed minded. From each reading I take a way a treasure.

blessed be...

Barry Moses (Sulustu) said...

Donis, you are so right. Like you, I cherish every opportunity to learn and understand the religious beliefs of others. And like you, I also see many similarities.

On the other hand, let us not forget that I was a missionary for several years, and I know a conversion vibe when I feel one. This has happened several times before in my teaching career when a student mistakes my desire for understanding with a desire to convert. In these cases, I always have to face that awkward moment when I say, "I really apreciate your religion, but I'm not going to join your church."

Oh well, I've never lost a friend for this reason, so I'm sure everything will turn out okay.

Oklahoma Girl said...

Very true, Barry! There is a certain vibe. Always causes an ackward moment to be sure. But I know that you handle it with grace, love, understanding & great tact.

Wouldn't it be nice, though, if someone would see your desire for what it is (a learning/understanding experience)& not for an opportunity to convert.

There is so much misunderstanding of Islam that I can see his zealous & his need for others to study his beliefs. As with Christianity, so much has been said that is simply not true.

This all seems to be a part of the mission you are embarking upon right now. In some way it ties in with your dreams but I am not totally sure of the connection right now. But, I will report back when I am. ~smiles~

I have pondered your dreams for several days now. They are a part of a new awakening. Prophetic but not a premonition. It is also important to ask for the message when others are present in the dream, i.e. the departed souls who were there. They were truly present in a form you would accept & have something to say to you. But I keep getting the strong sense that you have to ask, specifically ask, for each one's message. And they each have a different one.

Anyway that is all I have for the moment.

Have a wonderful week, dear one!!

blessed be...

Barry Moses (Sulustu) said...

Thanks again Donis.

Yes, I will certainly do as much as possible to handle the situation with tact and grace. All people deserve to tell their stories on their own terms.

And yes, there must be a reason for this and every encounter. Understanding is an important mission in these confusing times.


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