Muslim Voices — Sohaib Sultan
0:00:06:>>MANAF BASHIR: Welcome to Muslim Voices. I'm your host Manaf Bashir. It's not difficult to find misunderstandings about Islam. A Google search uncovers page after page of misinformation about the faith. Like any religion, there are facets to Islam. People may practice in different ways. But the core beliefs of Islam are the same no matter where or who you are. To learn just what Muslims believe, producer Rosemary Pennington spoke with the Princeton University Chaplain Sohaib Sultan.
0:00:40:>>ROSEMARY PENNINGTON : Sohaib Sultan has worked on university campuses and done public outreach for years. No question asked about Islam surprises him anymore.
0:00:49:>>SOHAIB SULTAN: My general experience is that people ask questions truly wanting to know and they don't ask it out of wanting to offend or anything like that. But now I've received so many questions, no question really catches me off guard.
0:01:02:>>ROSEMARY PENNINGTON : Sultan is a Muslim chaplain at Princeton University, as well as the author of two books - "The Quran For Dummies" and "The Quran and sayings of Prophet Mohammed." Sultan says there are six core beliefs in Islam but the one that defines the faith is the belief in the oneness of God.
0:01:21:>>SOHAIB SULTAN: That's sort of at the foundation of all of Islam. When it comes to Islamic spirituality, the oneness of God is essential. When it comes to ethics, the oneness of God is essential. So I would pick that out as being the entire message of the Quran really if you think about it. And then to message of Islam that there is no God but God. There's no deity worthy of worship except the one God.
0:01:42:>>ROSEMARY PENNINGTON : He says there seems to be a lot of confusion over Allah in the minds of some outside Islam. Sultan says there are even those who think Allah is a pagan Moon god, which is not the case. He says Allah is simply the one God and was never anything else. Confusion over Allah is far from the only misperception of the faith. Probably the most widely held, Sultan says, is the idea that jihad equals holy war.
0:02:11:>>SOHAIB SULTAN: We know that there's a great misperception around the concept of jihad. The idea that jihad is this, you know, wanton violence, that it's vigilante, kidnapping, and bombing and so on so forth. Whereas, Jihad just means to struggle. It means to struggle in the path of God and just takes many, many different forms. Anything from building a soup kitchen to, you know, raising a family, this is all part of a struggle to attain the good pleasure of God.
0:02:38:>>ROSEMARY PENNINGTON : That's not to say jihad can't entail armed conflict. But, Sultan says, it's a defensive measure, not an offensive one. A jihad that only a state or government can perform. And he adds jihad should never be used as a defense of terrorism. Sultan says that kind of vigilantism is not condoned anywhere in Islam. Which brings Sultan to the one thing he hopes people will understand about Islam if they understand nothing else, that the faith is one based on peace.
0:03:13:>>SOHAIB SULTAN: Islam is about creating the internal peace with God. And it's about creating a system - a social system that allows people to live in safety, and security and peace. And this is what the vision of Islam is all about. This is what the ideal of Islam is all about.
0:03:30:>>ROSEMARY PENNINGTON : Sultan says that message can get lost. But, he says, he feels certain if people dig deep, if they look past the stereotypes of Muslims and Islam, they'll see the faith for what it really is. I'm Rosemary Pennington.
0:03:52:>>MANAF BASHIR: Sohaib Sultan talking about what Muslims believe. The Princeton University Chaplain is the author of "The Quran for Dummies," he's also an Indiana University alum. This has been Muslim Voices, a production of voices and visions in partnership with WFIU public media from Indiana University. Support for Muslim Voices comes from the Social Science Research Council. You can subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or join the discussion on our website. Find us online at MuslimVoices.org.