Better understanding Islam to build understanding among us

Our world is very complicated and confusing. In today's world, Islam hits the headlines practically every day, but so many in the West have little understanding of this faith belonging to about one billion people. The unknown creates uncertainty, anxiety and often fear. This place of learning is meant to make the unknown known, resulting in less confusion and fear. Welcome to LUNIS--Learning to Understand Islam.

The Big Feast

Every year Muslims celebrate two feasts. Because the Muslim world is very large, with Muslim majority countries stretching from Morocco in the West to Indonesia in the East, with adherents and believers coming from a wide variety of backgrounds, practices during and even names of this feast...

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The Muslim Gospel

I'm really enjoying the course I'm teaching online--What Muslims Believe about Jesus. (See: https://lunis.online/p/jesus-in-muslim-sources) In the course, we're exploring ḥadīth about Jesus. We've seen some that are in the classical six collections of ḥadīth (mostly in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī) and are...

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The Feelings of Ramadan

I'm giving a talk tomorrow on the subject of Fasting. In preparation, I wrote this blog post about the feelings that can often be experienced during the month of Ramadan. Most information about Ramadan talks about the mechanics of the month of fasting. This post focuses more on what feelings many...

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The birthday of Muhammad

The Celebration of Muhammad's Birth The celebration of the birth of Muhammad is a controversial subject. There are two reasons for this: one is logistical and the other is on principle. Logistically, the date of his birth is unknown, yet the day of his death is widely acclaimed to have been 8...

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Refugees

Photo: The Secure Portal by Shared Studios at the #AARSBL17 (Academy of American Religion/Society of Biblical Literature 2017 Conference) in Boston, MA which enabled communication direct with a refugee camp in Irbil I just spoke to refugees from Mosul in Irbil, Iraq. Rami and Sami are two...

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Ramadan

The month of fasting has begun. In fact, for 2017, we are more than half way through the month of Ramadan. This year, Ramadan began at sundown on Friday May 26. For Muslims, the day usually begins at sunset with night being the first segment of a day's cycle. This is similar to Jewish tradition,...

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Giving - Zakāt

Zakāt When the Qur'an mentions the obligations of a believer, almost hand in hand with prayer comes the idea of giving charity to the poor. The word used for this in Arabic is zakāt. A typical example of this in the Qur'an is found in the sura entitled al-Baqara (the Cow). Verse 277...

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The Ritual of Prayer

Entering into PrayerThe act of prayer in Islam is a very intentional and orderly activity, required of followers five times a day, resulting in prayer being a very regular and prominent part of the life of a Muslim. Following individual preparation for prayer through ritual purification or...

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Getting ready to pray

Preparing for Prayer In many religious contexts, preparing to pray has a certain ritual to it. In Christianity, for many, posture is important. Many Protestants will bow their heads and close their eyes; some may kneel. In Judaism, men and women will cover their heads in different ways as a sign...

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Five prayers a day

Negotiating with God the number of daily prayers Muslims pray five times a day. If a Muslim is sincere in his or her faith, it is prescribed that he or she is obligated to perform a prayer ritual five times a day. The Qurʾan speaks specifically about prayer in a few places. For example, in the...

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