This last week I conducted an interview for my Understanding Islam class. Through a connection that Lena had with Texas Instruments and “a friend of a friend of a friend”, I set up a meeting with “Sasha” to ask her questions provided by my professor on her beliefs and experiences with Islam. I was a little nervous as this was really my first face-to-face encounter with a Muslim person. Not that I thought she was a terrorist in disguise or anything, but I wasn’t sure what sort of questions she might have for me, and I so much wanted to represent the Truth of Christ to her in a way that would not be offensive. My professor had given us strict instructions to steer clear of politics and our own beliefs unless we were specifically asked.
Sasha and I met at a Starbucks and I went through my list of questions. I had sent them to her ahead of time, and I was really impressed with how well prepared she was. I could tell that she had put a lot of thought into the questions, but she wasn’t just repeating what she had been taught all her life or the answers she had memorized. She was sharing what she truly believed. She was very knowledgeable about the Muslim faith and I could tell she also practiced her faith.
I was struck by the depth of knowledge that she exhibited and was a bit convicted of my own faith. If someone where to set up an interview with me, would I be able to answer with the same amount of knowledge and thought on Christianity? Do I truly know what I believe and why I believe it? Sasha made the comment that she was thankful to be born into a Muslim family because practicing Islam came easily for her. Yet she knew that she might take some things for granted because she was so familiar with it all, and lacked perhaps the passion of someone who made the decision to convert to Islam. I think this is true of many Christians as well. I know that I grew up in a Christian home and so much of our faith is familiar and I probably do take things for granted. Doing this interview with Sasha helped me to look at my own life and faith in a different light.
I also really appreciated hearing the perspective of someone outside of our textbook reading and the videos and other materials we have looked at for class. Recently we watched a video on hajj, the Islamic ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca. This is required for every Muslim to perform at least once in their lifetime. Sasha is planning to go to Mecca next year and as she was talking I was able to picture her there based on the video that we watched.
Even though I will probably not see her again, I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have met her and experience this interview. I am praying for Sasha, that she will come to understand the truth and experience the hope that is found in knowing that God has a place in heaven for us. I can also now pray with more understanding for Muslims around the world and here in the Dallas area, as I continue to learn more about their religion.