An American Answering a Second Call to Re-Study Islam - -
Sat, Nov 9th - 5:08PM
How I First Learned About Islam (And Now)
I've been a student of Comparative Religion for over 16 years now by Self-Study. When I was young, my parents weren’t active Christians, and also never had any interest in discussing Islam or the life of Malcolm X with us in our inquisitive years from about 1970-1976. So I only knew of what I later learned was a stereotyped, false image of him and Islam by the media in his original activism within the Nation of Islam.
After pursuing church on my own, I studied Christianity dedicatedly in various sects and on television with what became known as Televangelists, over the years from the early 1970s-through-1985. But as I advanced in learning the Bible from 1985-through-1995, I became increasingly frustrated that I wasn’t getting either any answers at all, nor the proper answers that I should have, from assorted Elders and Preachers in various churches I was an active member of, whenever I saw something was amiss in their teachings-or-something was wrong in church politics that I could see was hurting the regular church members and/or the Sanctuary itself in various ways.
After twenty-five years of active church study, I chose to leave church membership altogether in 1995 and get my Bible lessons at home personally from God Himself. By 1997 I realized I had exhausted my Biblical Knowledge and needed to respond to a powerful desire to begin to study Comparative Religion on my own. This made me a very well-rounded, diverse person because I learned that when all these religions were practiced in the original manner that they were intended—without contamination from society’s personal hang-ups--that “All Paths Lead Back to the Holy Creator”. I studied several religions before finally being presented with the “Calling” by God to study Islam.
I didn't go into an in-depth study of Islam back in the late 1990s like I wanted because of a lot of arguments I began to have with male Muslim friends who were failing miserably in proper practice of the Quran that I was catching them in, just by my moderate study of it on my own. I was grateful that I had the common sense NOT to let any of them teach me anything about Islam, or I would have been led down a very dark path.
Separate from them, I did manage to find one Islamic family (Thank God!) who owned an Islamic supplies & bookstore in the back of their dry cleaners business. They were foreigners and to my amazement, I found them to be the most kind and loving people I had ever met in my entire life at that time! The entire family possessed an Inner-Peacefulness in their Auras that was admirable. The wife & children assisted in the store. The wife & husband, upon seeing I truly wanted to learn Islam properly, were very happy to share some of their Faith with me, and were very patient in explaining some of the basics of the Muslim lifestyle to me. Their children were smart, well-behaved & polite. They showed me clothing & various items used in worship, and I purchased from them a full-sized English-Arabic Quran, prayer mat, an outer mid-weight coat that fit my tall frame perfectly, and additional full-size study books that I unfortunately, never got to use. But for me, their lifestyle was a testament to what the TRUE Islamic religion was all about, and through-out the years I've never forgotten them—not at all.
Fast-forward to today, with all the religious mess going on in the world, I just got a Calling in the last week of October 2013, to re-enter my former studies of Islam, but in an in-depth format this time around. Since I deeply believe in religion being an extremely personal relationship between an individual & the Holy Creator, I refuse to allow other people to put their dogmas & judgment upon me when I clearly see that no one is perfect in any of these religions out here in the first place!
I loved what I learned on my own about Islam back in the 1990s and could see that the issues involving the subjugation of women was and STILL is, strictly a societal / socio-economic problem of sexism, domestic abuse, and poverty, rather than what the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) & the Original Quran actually stated about women—-from Mary Mother of Jesus (pbuh), to the average woman of the day in Muhammad’s lifetime(pbuh). So I happily go forward in my pursuit of this Higher Knowledge with the Holy Creator by my side every step of the way—but I WILL also remain free of the mess, dramas, & dogmas of other people.
Ah Salaam Alaykum. :)