Wednesday, January 11, 2006

An American Converted to Islam

By Michael Wolfe, 22 August 2005

Key Extracts:
I wanted access to a spiritual dimension, but the conventional paths I had known as a boy were closed. My father had been a Jew; my mother Christian. Both faiths were profound. Yet the one that emphasizes a chosen people I found insupportable; while the other, based in a mystery, repelled me.

I was looking for a framework I could live with, a vocabulary of spiritual concepts applicable to the life I was living now. I did not want to "trade in" my culture. I wanted access to new meanings. The religion I wanted should be metaphysics as metaphysics is to science. It would not be confined by a narrow rationalism or traffic in mystery to please its priests. There would be no priests, no separation between nature and things sacred. There would be no war with the flesh, if I could help it. Sex would be natural, not the seat of a curse upon the species.

Finally, I did want a ritual component, daily routine to sharpen the senses and discipline my mind. Above all, I wanted clarity and freedom. I did not want to trade away reason simply to be saddled with a dogma. The more I learned about Islam, the more it appeared to conform to what I was after. The Qur'an, caused Goethe to remark, "You see, this teaching never fails; with all our systems, we cannot go, and generally speaking no man can go, further".

Did You Know:
  • 650 million Muslims, with a majority representation in 44 countries, adhered to Islamic teachings.
  • 400 million more were living as minorities in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
  • Assisted by postcolonial economics, Islam has become, a major faith in Western Europe.
  • Of the world's great religions, Islam alone was adding to its fold.
  • Historically, a Muslim sees Islam as the final, matured expression of an original religion dating back to Adam.
  • It is as resolutely monotheistic as Judaism, whose major Prophets Islam reveres as links in a progressive chain, culminating in Jesus and Muhammad.
  • Essentially a message of renewal, Islam has done its part to return the forgotten taste of life's lost sweetness to millions of people.

Read the details here.

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