Why Islam?

I have this nasty habit of thinking that anyone that disagrees with my way of thinking must be an idiot. If they just listened to me and did everything my way, the world would be a much better place.

Of course, intellectually, I know this can’t be true. But something deep in my soul believes that really, I am better than most of the people I come across.

I chose to experiment with Islam to help correct my arrogance. The term “Islam” is often interpreted to mean “submission to God.” I believed that a religion built on submission could surely help me develop some humility. | Expand



  • Islam was founded circa 7th century CE by the Prophet Muhammad in what is now Saudi Arabia. Muhammad is considered to be the final prophet of God and that the Koran was revealed to Mohammad directly by God.
  • Though the term “Jidad” is often interpreted as Holy War, it is also now used to refer to the internal spiritual struggle we all go through.
  • At a talk about religious views on capital punishment, an Imam said Islam is okay with capital punishment, however, if the sentencing judge executes the wrong person, he would be punished in the after-life. It is one of the more creative “checks and balances” rules I’ve heard of.

Read More

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Islam

islamThis gives an excellent overview of Islam, and offers surprisingly deep insights about the religion. This was my primary reference text

The Heart of Islam

islamThis isn’t really so much a book as it is a collection of aspirational quotes from various Islamic sources (Quran, Rumi, etc.). It offers good food for thought, and places an emphasis on Sufi values.

The Illuminated Prayer: The Five-Times Prayer of the Sufis

islamVery poetic guide to Salat. It helps you see the deeper significance of Salat.


The Hadith

islamHadiths are “sayings of the Prophet.” Though some may be apocryphal, they contain excellent advice and lessons on how to conduct oneself in various situations

In a Modern World...

One of the self-help genre’s favorite topics is “building confidence.” We read articles and take seminars and learn how to become more confident and to convey confidence or watch TED talks on the virtue of power poses. But taken too far, confidence leads to arrogance. Perhaps we can learn to counter-balance this trend with the ancient Islamic remedy of humility.

My 30 Day Experiment

My Practice: Pray five times per day

  • Intro to Month 4 – Islam for Humility
  • Islam: Day 1 – The inconvenience of prayer
  • Islam: Day 2 – I’ll turn in my homework…God Willing
  • Islam: Day 3 – The Three-Fold Journey
  • Islam: Day 4 – You should believe in heaven and hell
  • Islam: Day 5 – The Case Against DIY Religion
  • Islam: Day 6 – Islamic Stoics?
  • Islam: Day 7 and Week 1 Recap
  • Islam: Day 8 – Conference Room Prayer
  • Islam: Day 9 – Beyond the Confidence Gap
  • Islam: Day 10 – Detachment, Islam Style
  • Islam: Day 11 – Friday Prayer (Round 2)
  • Islam: Day 12 – Does humility signal strength?
  • Islam: Day 13 – Morning prayer boosts creativity?
  • Islam: Day 14 and Week 2 Recap
  • Islam: Day 15 – Should we all wage Jihad?
  • Islam: Day 16 – Is Sufi Mysticism the Solution to Worldly Excess?
  • Islam: Day 17 – Is your life coherent?
  • Islam: Day 18 and 19 – Campground Mysticism
  • Islam: Day 20 – Were you really born for this?
  • Islam: Day 21 and Week 3 Recap – The real reason why we’re unhappy
  • Islam: Day 22 – On criticism and gossip
  • Islam: Day 23 – Slut Shaming: Moral Criticism Gone Awry
  • Islam: Day 24 – Dog Walk Mysticism
  • Islam: Day 25 – It’s risky to not be religious
  • Islam: Day 26 – Should we practice arranged marriages?
  • Islam: Day 27 – My workplace ethical dilemma
  • Islam: Day 28 and Week 4 Recap – Cynical Asshole Syndrome
  • Islam: Day 29 – The Company Staff Meeting Revisited
  • Islam: Day 30 and Month 4 Wrap-Up – What I Learned from Praying 5 Times a Day
  • Some (Islamic) advice on keeping your New Year’s Resolutions