Post Ramadan Reflections: Christianity Saved Me and Islam Guided Me Aright
I don’t often take the time to write from my own personal experiences, mainly because of the journalist in me, but also because I write most of my personal essays when journaling and it’s such a private form of expression for me. Ramadan is usually one of my active journaling periods because reading the Qur’an and fasting triggers so many reflective moments, and one such moment this year allowed me to realize a special truth contained within my journey to Islam (and I call it my journey to Islam because I am constantly striving to submit more completely and thoroughly to the will of Allah (SWT) in peaceful submission on a daily, moment-to-moment basis).
This truth struck me with such force and with such an intense sense of interfaith connection that I feel compelled to write about it. The media often paints a picture where the inevitable “Clash of Civilizations” is destined to occur between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but what do the scriptures say about this? I have yet to discover such an understanding during my readings of the Bible and the Quran, and on the contrary, I have found that in my life, Christianity in many ways has saved me and Islam has guided me aright, day-by-day and moment-by-moment.
I was raised by Christian parents, attended Catholic school during the formative years of my education, but didn’t fully discover what it meant to call myself a Christian until college – and that discovery rescued me from many of the mistakes that I saw my peers making around me. College was an exciting time, but also a volatile period filled with various paths and new philosophies, some of which could have led me to first mental, then spiritual and physical destruction. Reading the Bible and praying regularly saved me from many of the pitfalls buried around me and ignited a fire with a hunger for knowledge inside of me.
A hunger with questions like, is there a God? What does God want us to do? Why was the earth created? Many of these questions were answered for me, at least in part, within the Bible and that which I couldn’t find in the Bible, I sought elsewhere. The library had always been a place of refuge, but it became a sanctuary of sorts. Seeking knowledge started out as an irresistible need and the more I learned, the more it became the elixir for the obvious ailments in my mind and logic. The not so obvious ailments, however, lurked beneath the surface of my consciousness.
Knowledge is power, and like all such things, must be wielded with a temperate and balanced hand. In retrospect, I can admit that I became a little too cocky and failed to humbly approach my reality and although the Bible warns to rely not on your own understanding, I began to do just that. The things that had once seemed so clear to me became blurry and distorted . . . then I found Islam . . .