"God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches you by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly -- not one."

Spiritual Wellness

Our newspapers are full of news about Islam in this era. We hear about the beliefs and actions of some radical Muslims, and we hear about a growth in Islamic consciousness in countries like Iran and Afghanistan. Yet many non-Muslims know very little about the second most populous faith on earth (Christianity being the first), and not many blogs for Christian women ever provide their readers with much information about it.


Islam continues to grow, both in the geographical areas with which it is traditionally associated, and in Europe and North America. While some Muslims have been connected with terrorism and radical politics, Islam's manifestations around the world are as varied as the cultures in which it is located. For example, have you ever read any of the beautiful motivational spiritual quotes from the Sufi mystic Rumi? Perhaps one of his most popular saying is:


"God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches you by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly -- not one."


As you can see, it's worthwhile for non-Muslims to take some time to learn about Islam. Here are seven facts about Islam that everyone should know:


1) The History of Islam


The recorded history of Islam began relatively late in religious history, in about 610 A.D. According to Muslims, that is when an angel appeared to Muhammad and told him he was the messenger of God. However, Muslims also believe that their religion is the original monotheistic religion that includes all other legitimate revelations of God.


2) The Prohibition against Images


It is forbidden to create images representing Muhammad, who is considered by Muslims to be the last prophet of God. This is connected with a general prohibition against idolatry and is supported by a specific statement attributed to Muhammad.


3) Islam and Important Christian Figures


Abraham, Moses and Jesus are important prophets within Islam. However, Muslims do not consider Jesus to have been divine. In fact, there are no divine persons in Islam, though Muhammad is considered to have been sinless.


4) The Arabic Qur'an


The Qur'an, the sacred book of Islam, is considered authentic only in its original language, Arabic. While translations exist, these are not considered to be the equivalent of the Arabic original. Accordingly, all Muslims are expected to be able to read the Qur'an in Arabic, even if that is not their mother tongue.


5) Ramadan


During the Islamic month known as Ramadan, Muslims practice a strict fast: no eating or drinking from dawn to dusk. If a person breaks the fast for one day, an extra day of fasting must be added to the end of the month. Certain groups, such as pregnant and nursing women, are exempted.


6) The Pilgrimage to Mecca


All Muslims who are able to do so are expected to travel to Mecca, the holy city of Islam, once during their lives. As a result, over two million people make this pilgrimage every year. Specific ritual actions are prescribed for those who make the pilgrimage, corresponding to key events in the faith tradition (such as repeating certain actions attributed to Abraham).


7) Islam and Indonesia


The country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia. The approximately 170 million Muslims there represent about 13 percent of the worldwide total.


Spiritual Prayer 


I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:

“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong.We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.  We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you.  The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;  we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.  All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.  “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.  You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.   Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.  The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.  “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.  Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts,turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill.Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.  “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.  Give ear, our God, and hear;open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”