13 Things I Like About Islam Revisited

13 Things I Like About Islam Revisited August 17, 2011

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 around the corner, I’m considering old and new articles to share. This is an old one, but if a little good-natured interfaith understanding is all I share for 9/11, I will be content.

Originally published September 10, 2010.

13. Algebra

So maybe I don’t like algebra but I definitely respect it. Muslim scholars made significant contributions to mathematics. Well done!

12. Cat Stevens

Now known as Yusuf Islam, this is an artist that has had a lot of influence in my life.

11. Idries Shah

This Sufi hung out with Gerald Gardner and Robert Graves. Makes him pretty awesome in my book.

10.Dave Chapelle

I’ve only ever seen clips of his television show but I enjoyed his work in movies. I really respected his decision to step back from his career and re-evaluate his life.


9. Greater Jihad

The word jihad makes us think of terrorists, but the most important jihad, called the Greater Jihad, is against the imperfections within yourself. That’s a powerful thing.

8. The Moors

Just the word conjures up exotic images of swashbuckling men and graceful women in colorful, rich clothing in sunny Andalusia. Anytime I hear the word Moor I feel something exciting and unusual is about to happen. In The Cowboys I always shiver as Jebediah spins the tale of his father, a brawny Moor, who took a castle all by himself.

7. The Satanic Verses

Can you blame me? I am a polytheist after all! I think the story of the Satanic Verses is an important look at how monotheism and polytheism interacted at first. While Judaism built up walls of proscriptions to keep polytheists out, Catholicism made small compromises to convert people away from their indigenous faith. It fascinates me to see a somewhat similar story in Islam.

6. Music

This reminds me of the high lonesome sound of bluegrass and old time music.

This just sounds fun!


5. Sufism

I love mysticism and Sufism is a beautiful mystic tradition, and like Kaballah, can be practiced by those outside it’s “parent faith”.

4.  The Alhambra

One of the most beautiful architectural creations on earth. Before I die I want to see the glowing halls of the Alhambra in Spain.

3. Modesty

Yes, I am a Pagan and I believe that there is nothing wrong with the nude human body, but I do recognize modesty as a sense of decorum, of pride and of having a sense of who you are. Modesty may be wearing nothing but sandals and a sarong around your hips at a Pagan festival or being covered head to toe in cloth. Really, modesty is in your actions and how you carry yourself. Clothing choice is simply a by-product of your actions. So I support women who freely choose to express their values and faith through their clothing.

One of my favorite films about this, and other aspects of conservative religious culture, is the movie Arranged, about a Muslim and Jewish teacher who become friends.

2. Prayer

I can sometimes find it hard to pray once a day, much less five times. Islam’s devotion to prayer is admirable.

1. Hafiz

How do I love Hafiz? I cannot even begin to count the ways. This joyful, ecstatic and mystic poet is said to have learned the Qur’an by heart by listening to his father’s recitations. Hafiz sings of his love of God and God’s love for him and of how he and God often scheme together like old friends. I love Hafiz with all of my heart and soul.

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