Interview of My Friend About His Islamic Beliefs

Category
Topic
Words
2817 (6 pages)
Downloads
36
Download for Free
Important: This sample is for inspiration and reference only

Most of my friends are atheists and my parents and relatives do not participate in religious activities, thus I did not have a lot of choices on who to interview. I decided to interview one of my friends who were religious since he was one of the few I kept in contact with. On July 29th of 2019, I started to interview one of my closest friends about his belief in Islamic religion. His name is Azzy and he is a twenty-three year old student in Bangalore, India. I met him on an online game (MMORPG) seven to eight years ago when I was still a teenager.

He is one of my closest friends since we often play a variety of games together and chat in voice calls for long periods of time. He and I know each other very well to a point where there is hardly any taboo subjects. Thus why I believe he would be a perfect choice for this assignment, since I could ask about anything and trust that his answers are truthful. Occasionally, we had touched upon the subject of religion, however we had never had the interest to talk about it in-depth. I conducted this interview through a few voice calls and video calls on Discord since I believed it would be better than through text chat.

Islam came to India by the form of Arab traders in the around the early 17th century. (Islam in India) Although Islam religion came to India during this time, it was not widely popular yet. One of the main reasons that Muslims have a strong influence and popularity is that after the 8th century when the province of Sindh was conquered, many Muslim rulers continued to rule for a long period of time in different parts of India. (Islam Religion) Islam spread quickly under the rule of the Delhi Sutanate and the Mughal Empire. The Sufi tradition also helped the spreading of Islamic beliefs throughout India. With the large population of Muslims, India also had two Muslim presidents and serveral cabient and state cheif ministers since their independence. (Islam Religion)

In modern India, Islam is one of the largest religion groups with about 138 million people practicing it in India according to a government census in 2001. (Islam in India) The amount of followers has been steadily growing with majority residing in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Bihar. (Islam in India) India also happens to be one of the countries where most Muslims reside in the world. Muslims are what they are commonly known as and due to the popularity of the religion, it has been woven into many local cultures.

Azzy started practicing Islamic religion ever since he was a young child. His family is extremely religious and practiced many rituals such as the Namaz. Once Azzy grew up he believed naturally followed in their footsteps. When I mentioned if he thinks his family and society would have accepted him, he stated that they certainly would not have accepted him if he was not religious. He also mentioned that he had some doubts about his religion, but could not voice it since he did not wish to be alienated. “You are not supposed to question Allah, or God, it is your duty to believe and worship him” were his following comments. His comments made me wonder how would an atheist survive in their society if there happened to be one, so I asked him about it.

His reply was “Even if someone were an atheist in these parts, they would have to at least pretend to be religious on the outside and still attend all the gatherings, or else they really couldn’t live in peace.” I was curious of his definition of living in peace, and what I got was that connections within the community are very important to the society there, thus if someone is alienated he would thus be avoided and be the subject of scrutiny. The Indian government has not officially recognized irreligion or atheism and that might be a major factor why atheism is looked down upon.

Muslims believe in one God, Allah, the most merciful as confirmed by Azzy. Allah is the same as God in Arabic, however it is preferred because it is neither masculine nor feminine and Allah does not have a plural version. (Islam: Basic Beliefs) This is important because one of the common practices of Islamic religion is Shahadah which is that one must testify that there is only one God (Allah).

The five common pillars, or practices of Islamic religion are Shahadah, Salat, Zakah, Sawm, and Haji. Azzy described that one of the five common rituals observed is Namaz, which is a prayer, done five times a day while facing a specific direction. According to him, he also has to fast during the month of Ramadan, go on a pilgrimage to Hajj (Mecca and Medina) if he has adequate money at least once in his lifetime, and pay Zakat (money) to the poor and needy. The practices he described are of the five common pillars of practice. Salat is the practice of a ritual prayer done 5 times at specific times of the day facing the direction of Mecca. The word Salat is converted into Namaz due to sociological reasons since Namaz is widely used in India and Pakistan by Urdu speaking people.

Zakah and Zakat is the process of giving 2.5% of one’s wealth to the poor and needy. Zakat is regarded as a type of worship and of self-purification. (Religions - Islam: Zakat: Charity) The benefits of Zakat apart from obeying Allah and helping the needy, are freeing oneself from greed, money, and being selfish. Zakat also serves to help oneself behave honestly and help oneself acknowledge that Allah choose who is rich or poor, thus the rich should help the poor, or in other words the fortunate should help the less fortunate.

Swam is the tradition when Muslims fast during the day on the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar called Ramadan. (Islam: Basic Beliefs) When I asked Azzy if only food was given up, he mentioned that any sort of substance are given up along with smoking and sex. “Muslims who are physically or mentally unwell may be excused to some of these, as may those who are under twelve years old, the very old, those who are pregnant, breast-feeding, menstruating, or traveling.” (Religions - Islam: Sawm: Fasting) When I asked Azzy what exactly was the purpose of Swam, he told me that it is so the rich people and share the experiences of the poor people. He gave me two cases of two rich people meets an old, starving lady on the streets whom is begging for food.

No time to compare samples?
Hire a Writer

✓Full confidentiality ✓No hidden charges ✓No plagiarism

One was rich from inheritance, one who never lifted a spoon in their life and have several servants to dress and feed him. He never starved and gotten everything he wanted in life. Another one was a hard worker who went bankrupt and lived on the streets for a few months before someone was kind enough to help him. He then got richer off his hard work and great inventions. Who would be more willing to help the lady? The answer is pretty obvious and the point of Swam is for the rich to understand the suffering of the poor so that they are more willing to help the less fortunate. It is in a way similar to Zakat.

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and it involves a pilgrimage to Mecca to the Ka’bah at least once in their lifetime. (Islam: Basic Beliefs) The common belief is that Ibrahim (Abraham) and one of his sons was the ones who built Ka’bah, then it was restored by Muhammad to worship Allah. (Religions - Islam: Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca) To the people of Islamic faith, this place is very sacred to them due to that. Again, I asked what is the purpose of this ritual to Azzy since I did not understand. He described that his dad, whom had went multiple times, told him people wore simple white clothing to show that they learned to be non-materialistic and also because white symbolizes the holiness of the place. Azzy explained that his dad told him all Muslims are gathered there also have many rules to follow such as they may not shave, kill, hunt, fight, argue, or use scented soaps or oils. While Hajj happens only on specific dates, he also added that extra visits to Mecca and Medina is possible and are referred to as Umrah. When I asked if he knew the importance of Hajj and Umrah, he replied that it is designed to help us bond with others of our own religion. This once again emphasized how important their communities are to people of Islamic faith.

Apart from the five pillars, Muslims also observe a total of 5 special holidays according to Azzy. They are Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, Shab-e-kadr, Shab-e-barat and Muharram. Azzy mentioned the first two were the most important ones. He said that Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated after the fasting during Ramadan month and Eid-ul-Azha is celebrated with the sacrifice of a two-toed animal on the day of Eid as a special offering to Allah. Eid ul Fitr means the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast and marks the end of Ramadan and the first day of next month, Shawwal. (Bentley) Eid ul Azha is another holiday in which the name means Festival of Sacrifice. It commemorates Ibraham’s willingness to sacrifice his own son, who was miraculously replaced by a lamb. (Bentley)

Another subject that I want to touch upon is the subject of witchcraft and sorcery. I was interested if Muslims shared any supernatural beliefs or beliefs in certain unseen forces. I brought this up with Azzy and he informed me that some locals do indeed believe in curses, black magic, ghosts, karma, and luck. He said they influence people’s daily lives despite no mention in the official religious scriptures. I was curious about forms of curses or black magic and asked Azzy how is black magic or curses are done. He replied that it is usually done with runes that is written in Arabic. He doesn’t know much about what the words are to write a curse or perform black magic, but he does know what they are believed to have effects on whoever is cursing or blessing them.

This is a form of karma that the Muslims believe that if one is doing harm to another, it’d have effects on themselves. I did not know black magic could be used to bless someone, I highly believe he was referring to magic in general. I confirmed with him that they believe both good and bad magic exist and all magic are essentially together as a whole. It depends on the user’s intentions which determine the magic to be black or white. He said that “using black magic to try to kill people isn’t exactly out of the norm.” which shows that Muslims believe that magic is also very powerful that it can not only curse someone, but also kill someone. While talking about this, Azzy brought up that there is a special amulet that Muslims wear for good luck and also to protect themselves from curses, ghosts, etc.

Religious beliefs and practices greatly influence one’s behavior and have psychological and social functions for oneself and their society. Psychological Functions of religion is to help people cope with hardship and provide people with the confidence to keep living. One perfect example of this is the case of death. I spoke to Azzy about this and asked if he was afraid to die his reply was, “Yes I am afraid, but I also feel safe that Allah will guide me into the afterlife.” When I inquired a little bit more about afterlife, he stated that Muslims see this life as a test and as a preparation for the afterlife.

Afterlife to Muslims is similar to heaven to Christans. To both religions, God or Allah will judge each person based on the good and bad deeds they have done and also death to both religion are seen as a transition, not the end. The Muslims believe that in the afterlife they will be resurrected and judged based on their actions and Allah would either punish or reward them as Allah see fit. This provides a psychological function for Azzy since he, while still afraid of death, can feel safe and secure knowing that Allah will guide him into afterlife. People fear the unknown and by knowing what will happen when one dies, they feel a sense of peace. Religion helps to provide that sense of peace. It also helps the family of the deceased cope with their loved one’s death since they know their beloved are on their way to a better place.

Another example of a psychological function of religion is the Ta’wiz. As I described above, it is an amulet that Muslims believe will bring good luck and protect them against evil forces. Without religion, the amulet would be nothing but a decorative necklace. Religion and the people’s beliefs are what gave the amulet the power to protect its wearers. As stated above, people are afraid of the unknown so by knowing that the amulet will protect them from evil unknown forces that wish to harm them. It provides the wearer with a sense of confidence and safety which affects them psychologically.

Religion as serves the society and oneself socially. Social functions are rules about how people are to treat one another. Recall the five pillars of Islamic belief. Zakat is a process where one donates 2.5% of their wealth to the poor. This promotes the idea that everyone should help out the less fortunate since everything comes from God. It also enforces the idea that materialistic things cannot go with oneself to the afterlife, so thus they should value it less than another’s wellbeing. Swam and Hajj are all gatherings that unite all Muslims together. Swam’s fasting helps the rich experience the suffering of the poor, so they treat them better. Hajj promotes the idea that all are equal in the eyes of God, thus stripping people of social barriers such as race, class, and culture. As a result of this, people will unite together and bond with one another.

I feel that my interview and assignment went very successful. I know that I would feel very awkward and wary to question a stranger whom I did not know much about their religion because I did not want to accidentally offend them in some way. That is why I am very glad I was able to find someone I have known for a while to question. I did not encounter any difficulties during my interview and even received a lot of information that was not related to my questions. If Azzy had never told me about the amulet that was used to ward off evil, I may never knew about it since different cultures may use herbs or drinks to ward off evil. I did not alter my method of interviewing since I conducted my interview in a very casual manner, similar to how Azzy and I talk about a game. Since we have known each other for so long, we are very open with each other, so whatever I asked, he answered. To Azzy, the information he shared was common knowledge amongst his people, thus he was not unwilling to answer any of my questions.

I am an atheist so I ignorantly thought religion would be extremely boring for me. The more I learned, the more I was interested. I feel like I tired my friend out with all of the questions. After he answers one question, two or more pops up and I ask about those. I liked both the interview parts and the researching parts since by interview, I was able to get examples and more personal information. Then by research I was able to confirm and learn more about the subjects that are present in the interview. I was then able to ask my subjects more questions if I needed to.

The parts I love most are the parts that were in regards to the Muslim beliefs of supernatural forces such as witches, magic, karma, etc. I originally did not know that they had any at all, but the person whom I interviewed confirmed that there was. I then started to wonder about what types are there and why do they exist. That is followed by their five pillars. The only other religion that I knew something about was Christianity, and as I found Islam more and more interesting as I started to see the similarities between the two religions and how they worked in society. I never thought I would like to write about religion before, but now I found that I thoroughly enjoyed learning and writing about Islamic religion.

You can receive your plagiarism free paper on any topic in 3 hours!

*minimum deadline

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below

Copy to Clipboard
Interview of My Friend About His Islamic Beliefs. (2021, February 22). WritingBros. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/interview-of-my-friend-about-his-islamic-beliefs/
“Interview of My Friend About His Islamic Beliefs.” WritingBros, 22 Feb. 2021, writingbros.com/essay-examples/interview-of-my-friend-about-his-islamic-beliefs/
Interview of My Friend About His Islamic Beliefs. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/interview-of-my-friend-about-his-islamic-beliefs/> [Accessed 16 Jun. 2024].
Interview of My Friend About His Islamic Beliefs [Internet]. WritingBros. 2021 Feb 22 [cited 2024 Jun 16]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/interview-of-my-friend-about-his-islamic-beliefs/
Copy to Clipboard

Need writing help?

You can always rely on us no matter what type of paper you need

Order My Paper

*No hidden charges

/