I came to Islam through the notion of cheap grace. I first heard of the term in the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor and theologian who was executed by the Nazis. In his book, The Cost of Discipleship (1948), he explained cheap grace this way: “Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like a cheapjack’s wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at [...]
You could argue that Allah uses our feelings of regret and guilt to get us to return to Him, not to crush us in a cycle of self-recrimination and self-loathing.
One thing I like about Islam is its realistic attitude about human nature. Muslims are not asked to be perfect, we are merely expected to live our lives as best we can. Another thing I like about Islam is its emphasis on acquiring knowledge. Allah knows that we need to continually learn about our faith and how to practice it. But that is not to say that we can ever reach perfection. In Christianity, the [...]
You don’t know how many times I’ve wished for a magic spell to make me perfect. I used to envy Samantha on “Bewitched.” She could achieve perfection with one twitch of her nose. I completely missed the message that humans aren’t perfect.
Muslims see the New Year as an opportunity to reflect on where they are in life, what kind of Muslims they’ve been and how they might do better.
I joined the stream of women rushing up the stairs. We were almost late for prayer. I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was doing, so I just blindly followed the women who had brought me. I took off my shoes outside the door to the prayer room and then wondered how I’d ever find them again. Then I wove through the mass of bodies till my friends found a spot large enough for [...]
Muslims and Christians differ strongly when it comes to the concept of “sin.” I’m no theologian, but here’s how I see the differences. When I was a Christian , I was constantly told that there was nothing I could do to remove the stain of sin from my soul. That God is so offended by sin that we are like filthy rags to Him when He considers our sinfulness. That’s why it was necessary that [...]