Monday, March 2, 2015

Islam in Short Shorts

Want to know how strict a particular Islamic society is?  Just look at the women.

During my time in Southeast Asia, I met many young Muslims who were clearly not practicing Islam as historically prescribed.  They were also doing things that are clearly listed as sins in Islam - sex before marriage, getting drunk, dressing immodestly, etc. Normally, the last thing to go, interestingly enough, was eating pork. I always say that it would make more sense to me to start with pork and work my way up, but I guess that's just me.

It's important for us to realize their incredibly difficult situation. There is no guarantee in Islam you can be forgiven even if you are perfect from today forward. Additionally, legalism has little power for inward transformation. So this idea in the gospel that you can KNOW you're forgiven is extremely attractive. I've literally seen people risk their lives for it. Personally I've never felt the gospel so relevant and palpably freeing as I have while sharing with Muslims.

I'm linking to the article below to provide some insight from a young lady desperately clinging to her Islam even though she knows Islam rejects her.  For those of you who are familiar with postmodern attempts to believe whatever they want and Christianity at the same time (a la the Emergent church), it may interest you to see a postmodern attempt to do the same with Islam. It just doesn't work and the attempt is sad to witness.

This article was posted on Facebook by a young Muslim girl I know. She's a friendly young woman who identifies with the writer.  She's also trying to reconcile who she is with Islam.  Please pray for my friend and for the writer as you read. Pray that she will remember the gospel she heard years ago through a student ministry and pray that she will believe. Also, pray for the millions of young Muslims throughout the world who don't know the grace of Christ and whose only choices seem to be radical legalism on the one hand and outright liberalism on the other.


The scenario I'm about to describe has happened to me more times than I can count, in more cities than I can remember, mostly in Western cities here in the U.S. and Europe.
I walk into a store. There's a woman shopping in the store that I can clearly identify as Muslim. In some scenarios she's standing behind the cash register tallying up totals and returning change to customers. She's wearing a headscarf. It's tightly fastened under her face where her head meets her neck. Arms covered to the wrists. Ankles modestly hidden behind loose fitting pants or a long, flowy dress. She's Muslim. I know it. Everyone around her knows it. I stare at her briefly and think to myself, "She can't tell if I'm staring at her because I think she is a spectacle or because I recognize something we share." 
I realize this must make her uncomfortable, so I look away. I want to say something, something that indicates I'm not staring because I'm not familiar with how she chooses to cover herself. Something that indicates that my mother dresses like her. That I grew up in an Arab state touching the Persian Gulf where the majority dresses like her. That I also face East and recite Quran when I pray.
"Should I greet her with A'salamu alaikum?" I ask myself. Then I look at what I picked out to wear on this day. A pair of distressed denim short shorts, a button-down Oxford shirt, and sandals. My hair is a big, curly entity on top of my head; still air-drying after my morning shower. Then I remember my two nose rings, one hugging my right nostril, the other snugly hanging around my septum. The rings have become a part of my face. I don't notice them until I have to blow my nose or until I meet someone not accustomed to face piercings. 
I decide not to say anything to her. I pretend that we have nothing in common and that I don't understand her native tongue or the language in which she prays. The reason I don't connect with her is that I'm not prepared for a possibly judgmental glance up and down my body. I don't want to read her mind as she hesitantly responds, "Wa'alaikum a'salam."

For the full article, click PRACTICING ISLAM IN SHORT SHORTS