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1. Is religion or spirituality important to you in your daily life? If so, how? As an observant Muslim, faith serves as the lens through which I understand, navigate and accept life. During times of difficulty and hardship, my spirituality is a source of strength that allows me to keep moving forward with courage and confidence. Amid confusion, uncertainty and doubt, my faith extends clarity and insight that helps me make sense of the seemingly incomprehensible. And in times of ease, my faith reminds me to be grateful as well as humble. 2. How has your understanding of “God” evolved throughout your life? In the Islamic tradition, Muslims believe in the one God of Abraham who enjoys ninety-nine names that help describe His attributes. These vary from "The All Seeing" and "All Hearing" to "The All Forgiving" to "The Wise." By learning His names, Muslims can strengthen their relationship with Him by enhancing their understanding. As a child and in my youth, I understood God primarily as a Judge. In other words, I knew there would be a spiritual reckoning for my actions in this life and/or the Hereafter. While I continue to fear God and strive to realize a healthy consciousness of Him, I have a greater appreciation of His Beauty, Mercy and Love today. As my knowledge grows, so does my understanding and appreciation of His awe-inspiring magnificence and grace. 3. What do you think about religions other than your own? While research shows that most Americans prefer to view their religion as unique, I believe there are similarities across faith traditions that can help us achieve greater acceptance, respect and understanding of one another. A local Imam recently shared an insight that resonated with me, "If you look for a seashell, you will find a seashell. And, if you look inside you will find a pearl." I imagine that saying has multiple meanings, including, "You will find what you are looking for." If you approach scripture or people from distinct faith backgrounds in search of a fault, you will find it. But, if we recognize that each of us has conscious and implicit biases and actively work to overcome them, the pearl may be the friendship we discover. 4. Can you share a time when your faith helped you understand a significant event in your life? It is difficult to single out one occurrence because my faith impacts my perspective consistently. There are numerous verses from the Qur'an, the holy scripture Muslims consider the literal word of God, that remind us that ostensible trials may in fact be blessings in disguise for a spectrum of reasons. I often draw upon those teachings to make sense of events - from political developments to personal ones - and they help me place trust in Him alone. 5. What is your faith in one word /phrase or image? Islam. •••••••••• Read more OnFaith 5 member responses here: https://www.onfaith.co/a/onfaithfive

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