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Exploring Islam: Myths and Realities

All-Day Program

Full Day Lecture/Seminar

Saturday, November 19, 2016 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2871
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)
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Nusretiye Mosque, Istanbul (Photo: Ihsanyildizli)

During the last two decades Islam has become the most controversial religion, increasingly associated with violence, intolerance, and misogyny. According to Pew Research Center’s 2010 report, 1.6 billion Muslims make up 23.2 % of the global population. Thus, the face of Islam is as diverse as the people who live in our world. And although Islam has been hijacked by some of its members, the religion is a source of spirituality and peace for the overwhelming majority of Muslims.

In a thought-provoking all-day program, explore the faith of Muslims from different perspectives with Islamic scholar Salih Sayilgan.  

9:30 a.m.  Foundations of Islam

The foundations of Islam: the Qur’an, the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad, and Shari’ah, the Islamic law. Interpreting the Qur’an, Islamic scripture, and its controversial verses. The role of the Prophet Muhammad in the life of Muslims and the meaning and practice of Shari’ah today.

11 a.m.  Beliefs

The articles of faith in Islam. Exploring the existence of a Muslim God and the Muslim belief, if any, in the creation story. Islam’s position with regard to other religions: Who is saved? Are there angels? Are there a heaven and a hell? And how does Islam explain the existence of evil?

12:15 p.m.  Lunch (participants provide their own)

1:30 p.m.  Practices

What the daily life of a Muslim looks like. Living within the framework of the five pillars of Islam: testimony, daily prayers, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage.

3 p.m.  Myths and Realities

Explore some of the controversial areas in Islam. The meaning of jihad. The status of Muslim women and of religious minorities in Islam.

Sayilgan, a teaching fellow at the Catholic University of America, teaches courses on Islam and world religions.