Islam in Three Words: Interview with Muslim Students

Religion doesn’t just live in sacred books or buildings. Religion lives in people. Therefore, I believe that one of the best ways to understand Islam is to get to know its people. Knowing few Muslims, I set out to find some and ask each of them a simple question: If you had only three words to describe Islam, what would they be?

I started with Muslim students on this campus. One evening during Ramadan, I went to the kick-off meeting  of the Muslim Students Association and talked to a few students. I found them very friendly, open, and sincere with their answers. The audio clip below contains answers from six students and a visiting fellow (in the order of their voices):

  1. Adnan, a freshman from Milwaukee who moved from Pakistan to the US with his family seven years ago
  2. Maria, a junior from Texas
  3. Zairah, a fifth-year student
  4. Bilal, a sophomore majoring in Economics
  5. Anum, a freshman from Watertown, Wisconsin
  6. Hening, a visiting fellow from Indonesia
  7. Hiba, a first-year graduate student majoring in Educational Policy

Putting all their words together, the range of themes reflects that a religion is both personal and unifying.


What words would you use to describe Islam? If you are of a different faith, do you find any word above that also describes your faith?

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