Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Perspective: What happens when tragedy strikes Muslims during Ramadan | Sarah Pulliam Bailey


Muslims are supposed to face death with a sense of stoicism and not be overwhelmed with emotion, he said, because they are going to a better place with God.

A man prays near to where a van was driven at Muslims in Finsbury Park, North
London, Britain, June 19, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]
Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Washington Post
By Sarah Pulliam Bailey | June 20, 2018

[Excerpts]

News of two recent attacks on Muslims spread quickly as they unfolded within a 24-hour span. On Sunday, a teenage girl’s body was found in a pond near her mosque in Virginia. Another attack took place in London on Monday when a man drove a van into pedestrians outside a mosque.

Vigils for Nabra Hassanen, the teenager killed in Virginia, will be held in several cities this week, including New York, Philadelphia and Dallas. Fairfax County police said her killing was probably a “road rage incident,” although many Muslims, including her father, believe she was targeted because of her religion.

The attacks took place during Ramadan, a month considered holy by Muslims, who are expected to fast from dawn to sunset, pray, recite the Koran and give charitably.
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Those who died while leaving their mosque would be considered martyrs in Islam and are elevated in paradise, said Azam Akram, an imam at As-Sadiq Mosque in Chicago.

Some extremist groups have distorted martyrdom to mean those who die while carrying out acts of terrorism, but Akram says a martyr is someone who dies because of their faith.

Islam, he said, came at a time when people were losing life and property, and the Koran gave them guidance for how to cope with a constant state of loss. Muslims also look to the life of Muhammad, who some say lost up to 13 children. Persecution, Akram said, is at the heart of Islam, as many of its early converts were killed.

“Gone are the days when things were civil, due to ignorance, because people don’t know what we believe,” Akram said.

Ramadan, he said, is a time when God’s mercy is more pronounced, the gates of hell are considered closed and Satan is chained. Families find comfort in the idea that one of the many gates to heaven is for people who die during Ramadan. There’s a heightened sense of spirituality during Ramadan, even for many Muslims who don’t pray during the year, he said.
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When someone dies, many Muslims will cite a verse in the Koran that reminds people that this life is temporary and that while they are here on Earth, they should lead a meaningful life, said Akbar Ahmed, chair of Islamic studies at American University.

“It reminds us of the inevitability of our own mortality, to see that we’re here not permanently but here for a short while,” Ahmed said.

Muslims are supposed to face death with a sense of stoicism and not be overwhelmed with emotion, he said, because they are going to a better place with God.

“Tragedy effects us all in the same way. You can’t read a verse and assume you’ll feel better,” Ahmed said. “What religion does, what philosophy does is helps us try to make sense of it and overcome the tragedy.”
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Read original post here: Perspective: What happens when tragedy strikes Muslims during Ramadan | Sarah Pulliam Bailey


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