At this point, many people have come to understand that the foreign-looking Muslims in their land are not the crazy terrorists the media makes them out to be.
You see them grocery shopping, celebrating birthdays, mowing their lawn, and you’re pretty sure that somewhere underneath all the strangeness that you don’t understand, they’re just as human. So you talk to them. And that brings on a whole new set of misconceptions that even Muslims aren’t aware of in some cases.
The U.S has a Christian history. Rarely will you be able to exist on American soil without knowing who Jesus is and what prayer is, and that’s why sometimes as Muslims, we rely on this foundation and say that we pray 5 times a day.
The reality though is that praying in Christianity is completely different from the Muslim version of praying. The 5 mandatory “prayers” we do each day are actually more of a meditation that we do daily.
We say certain specific things repeatedly, and it is structured, organized and timed. That’s why the more accurate term would be meditation and not prayer.
The equivalent of the word prayer would be dua, which is the unstructured dialogue you have between yourself and God at any time, without any structure or rules.
So many people know about fasting, especially with intermittent fasting being a trend now and all. The issue though, is a lot of people don’t understand when we start and when we stop the fast. And that we can’t have water at all during the fast. Yes, not even a sip.
And also they don’t understand why one year Ramadan is in June and the next it’s in September. Islam follows the lunar calendar, meaning we follow the cycles of the moon. Ramadan is actually the name of a month in the Islamic calendar, the same way June is a month in the Gregorian (solar) Calendar that everyone uses today.
So essentially, Ramadan starts when it’s supposed to start every year, but because the lunar calendar is shorter, it falls on a different date in the Gregorian calendar.
And the fast doesn’t last the entire month, it’s simply from sunrise to sunset. One of my coworkers legitimately used to think that I fasted from the start of Ramadan and broke my fast at the end of the month! Lol can you imagine if that were the case?
Islam is an Abrahamic religion that believes in Jesus. The main difference is that as Muslims we don’t believe that Jesus (or anyone) is the son of God.
This brings me to another point, God and Allah (swt) are the same. The only difference is that Allah is the Arabic word for God. If you were a Hindu that speaks Arabic and wanted to say God, you would say Allah. If you were an Atheist and speak Arabic you’d also say, Allah (swt). Allah is not a Muslim thing, it is an Arabic thing.