Friday, October 17, 2008

My secret life as a Muslim

It has recently come to my attention that, according to the standards of many sites and e-commentators, I have been living a secret life as a Muslim.


  • I have said the Shahada (the proclamation of faith) in Arabic three times [The 1st pillar of Islam]

  • I know and understand the five pillars of Islam and the Arabic words for them

  • I have read the Qur'an on numerous occasions

  • I have read Sunna and Hadith

  • I have read and written an exegesis on Rumi's poems

  • I have fasted during Ramadan; I have also read the ajiza' during Ramadan

  • I have taken Arabic classes in Cairo taught by Muslims and have conversed with Muslims in Arabic

  • I learned about Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic property law in Cairo taught by Muslim scholars

  • I have applied and analyzed Islamic jurisprudential commentary

  • I have been to lectures at Al-Azhar; I have been in the mosque and madrasahs at Al-Azhar

  • I went into Al-Hussein Mosque, one of the holiest Islamic shrines in Cairo

  • I read multiple volumes on and have been taught about the history of Islam and Islamic law

  • I know the theological differences between Sufi, Sunni, and Shi'a Muslims

  • I know the history of and differences between the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence

  • I have taken part in a Sufi dhikr

  • I have Al-Jazeera feeds on my Google Reader

  • I have read all of Osama bin Laden's published "letters"; I have also read the writings of the core Islamist figures

  • I own and display a Qur'an written in Arabic (only) - meaning it is the word of Allah

Aside from being named after Muhammad's grandson and having a non-practicing "Muslim" father, I should be "more Muslim" than Obama. Moreover, Andy Martin and Fox News would certainly brand me a member of al-Qaeda given the texts on my bookshelf and the presence of Al-Jazeera in my feeds.

The foundation of Islam is rooted in the submission to Allah and the very words of the shahada.
The Shahada can be declared as follows:


The English translation is:

"I bear witness that there is no deity (none truely to be worshipped) but, Allah, and I bear witness that Mohammad is the messenger of Allah",

However, it would not be sufficient for anyone to only utter this testimony oraly either in private or in public; but rather, he should believe in it by heart with a firm conviction and unshakeable faith. If one is truly sincere and complies with the teachings of Islam in all his life, he will find himself a new born person.

Being a believer isn't some sort of balancing test where the existence of enough facts will tip the scale towards a certain faith.


JamesEJ said...

Did you recite the shahada with the proper intent? If you did, how are you not a Muslim? And if you said it insincerely, why would you do such a thing?

Neal Schuett said...

It was said during an Islam class. The entire class said recited the shahada at the behest of the instructer. As I came to know the teacher better later, he jokingly refers converting his classes without their knowledge.

JamesEJ said...

I have to say that is pretty screwed up. Who was the teacher? He should really know better than to trick students into basically converting them. I realize the lack of intent should impair the conversion, but still ... Could you imagine if a teacher had their students take communion without first explaining the implication?