Wednesday, May 23, 2012

#54- On Islam



Around June of 2010 I finished reading a Yusuf Ali English translantion of the Qur'an.  I read the whole thing because a Muslim friend of mine challenged me to do so because he feared that I was going to hell.  The mix of sincerity and admonition propelled me to do so.  It took me a while to finish it but I am glad I did it.  Before I continue, let me give you a brief timeline on my experience with Islam.

-7th grade (circa 1992)

I meet my first Muslim.  He was a Haitian peer and told me about his religion as my Jewish English teacher was passing out chocolate eggs on Easter season.

I saw "X" by Spike Lee.  My mind was blown.  I learned about the self-hatred that Black people felt for themselves.  Malcolm was saved by Islam.  He was killed after having a second awakening after visiting Mecca.

Wu Tang Clan was all in that 5%er type noise
I was just starting to get into Hip Hop and the 5% movement was strong.  I learned to identify their coded messages and picked up their trail whenever I could.  Back in 1992 Hip Hop was a very cerebral movement.  Being knowledgeable made you "HIP".  Anyway, I strongly considered "converting" to what was being positioned as the "Black" man's religion.  But I knew that would not fly in my Haitian house hold.

I learned about Islamic architecture and just enough data to make me seem smart.  When word came that they treated women bad and that they spread their religion through violence and coercion just like Christians did I paused my zeal.  Just like Malcolm was mistaken maybe I was too.  I decide to look into it more because I always cared about knowing the facts of an organization I joined.

-9/11/01

My hero Malcolm X
Noble Drew Ali
I was in the math lab of Miami-Dade College North when I got the call from a frantic friend.  The world changed after that.  Islam was named as the culprit.  After that every thing bad was Islam related.  I met a young man at St. Thomas University who explain to me what "Jihad" was.

I had a classmate who was part of that now old movement of 5%ers type of movement.  He tried to shed some light into that whole thing but he was a weed head and was not very credible.  I managed to learn about Noble Drew Ali from him.

-2003

I got called up to go to war.  I asked a Chaplain for a Qur'an.  My platoon mates thought I was turning on them.  This was around the time that a Muslim soldier supposedly through a grenade in a tent.

Muslims performing Salat (prayer)
I went to Jordan and Iraq.  It was then I started to read the Bible. Jordanian Muslims are different from Iraqi Muslims.  This part of my journey has too much to discuss in it now but suffice it to say I  met some "authentic" Muslims during my tour. Most of them had never heard of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz or Malcolm X.
Dude with a Kufi on his head

-2006

Our spot in Iraq
I met Ryan who did not become Muslim til later.  He introduced me to some other cool Muslim dudes.  I seen him date an Indonesian Muslim girl who flew all the way to Florida to meet him.  I witnessed them pray at the mall...in public...outside...on the grass...as I watched semi-embarrassed.

Other highlights...

---I met 3 Muslims at one of my last jobs.  They are super cool.
---I have spoken to several Imams from Virginia to Sunrise, Florida








Fard Muhammad


---I've called Islamic hot lines and spoken to various people.
---I've visited numerous mosques in my local area.


My crowing achievement was completing the entire Yusuf Ali Qur'an.  Now I had a good basis to discuss what I found in the book with Muslims.  Reading the Qur'an did not make me convert but it gave me valuable insight into how some Muslims operate.

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