I studied Islam for three years. I have to say that although I began with thinking and even hoping that Islam was the answer I was looking for, it was pretty obvious pretty soon that it was not.
I loved the simplicity of the Pillars-but there were BIG problems with them.
The Salat was short and sweet: There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet (or words to that effect)
Then there was the Prayer which was five times a day. I liked the rhythm of that idea and the set movements, words and having a mat to create a holy place wherever you went.
Alms giving-no problem with that.
Hajj or pilgrimage. Every Muslim must make a hajj to Mecca once in his/her lifetime if possible. Now despite being Catholic I had a few problems with this. It was the stone at Mecca itself. It seemed like a daft story-go and visit a stone just because Abraham had something to do with it. Okay so we have relics and if it had been on the same level as that I could have grasped it. But to HAVE to visit it?
Finally there was jihad. Now then, this was years before we had 9/11 or Osama bin Laden. These were the days when the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem had been forgotten and the Crusades were because of those nasty greedy Christians. But even here I was taught that Jihad was by the sword.
The life of Muhammad is clear-he went around with an army getting things done. This was no inner spiritual battle. Blood got spilt, and a lot of it was innocent blood.
I liked bits of the Qu'ran but the more I studied Muhammad even in pc terms-the more I thought he was a pretty horrible person and no way could I follow him.
The final straw was the killing of the Jewish community when they would not bend to Muhammad's will.
Since then I have learned more about this religion from less pc sources. I have less respect for Muhammad than ever.
I love my Muslim friends though and pray for them.
I admire those who are trying to reinvent the faith to be more peaceful-but I think they are going to fail.
Muhammad sent his followers out specifically to kill people. He sent them to attack a merchant caravan, rob it and kill the owner. That's just murder and robbery. And it was done in God's name!
Meanwhile Sr Mary Kate was still with me and I decided to look at the Church -was it really what God wanted me to be part of and should I be a nun?
I have to say this was a mixed up question. What I really wanted was to live with Sr Mary Kate and have her take care of me. I was not called to religious life. Heck, I hardly knew what religion I wanted to be!
Finally I went out into the big wide world and came across various protestant ideas.