Letter to the Editor - Aug. 22

August 22, 2011

Taking time to appreciate Muslim experience

To the editor:

It was interesting to read R.M. Brown’s letter on Aug. 2. It appears that she did not read my letter with an open mind. First, my letter was not a defense of sharia law as such, but its misuse of it by politicians to score a chip point.

I would like to ask her which sharia book she is basing this comment on. She seems to be knowledgeable about sharia laws, as practiced by some misguided Muslims. I would like to take this opportunity to share some of my knowledge: “Never degrade another person’s religion. Do no harm. Do not seek faults on each other. Do not lie. Wish on others what you wish on yourself.”

I can go forever, nonetheless, it would be appropriate to finish my response by quoting a letter written by a Christian, published in the Edmonton Journal about her feeling about Ramadan, the month in which Muslims are currently celebrating it during the month of August:

“I am not a Muslim, but I wanted to experience Ramadan — a month of fasting from dawn to dusk — out of curiosity. Yes, curiosity. Why would anyone punish themselves this way? What does it feel like? It really did not seem to be that daunting of a task at first. I did not realize what it means to go without food or water during daylight hours.

“I was soon to learn that the days are much longer than we imagine. I learned that each day is a gift — to appreciate each minute that goes by I learned how often unkind words would slip from my mouth. I learned what my body feels like when I do not eat or drink for hours on end. How difficult it is to do the simplest things like speak when your tongue will not move because your mouth is so dry. I learned how my mind functions when it is deprived of essentials. I learned that loving a child and having that love returned is pure love. But mostly what I learned is to be grateful for what we do have, for each other and for this world that we live in. Any of us could fast for a day. Mothers, look at your children and imagine what you would feel if you knew they were slowly starving to death and that, just because the sun is setting, you have no way of providing food or clean water for them.

“Regardless of our religion or our history, we are mothers and a mother’s pain is no different, regardless of how we honour God.

“To me, Ramadan is an opportunity to look within myself, to cleanse, to purify my thoughts. I realized just how insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things. My issues became shallow and I was able to better understand my purpose on this earth.

“I became acutely aware of how often and easily we think and speak less of others and feel justified in our thoughts. Judgment of others is unkind and cruel. Is it cruel that God expects this of Muslims? No, it is a gift that he bestows upon them, a chance for deep reflection.”

Thank you so much friend for showing us the way to live in harmony.

S.V. Yumlu

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