In the Islamic Republic of Iran, you could get in big trouble for drinking wine or eating pork. Eating pork is "Haram". Unclean. The Qur'an says so. So nobody eats it. They want to do the right thing.
In Indonesia, everyone covers their head when they pray -- in order to show respect to Allah.
In many Muslim countries, 12-year-olds have learned to recite the Qur'an by heart. They think that Allah will be pleased if they do.
All over the world, Muslims go on Hajj because they believe that by doing so they are honoring Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) by following in his footsteps.
When it comes to practicing our religion, Muslims seem to just love upholding all those picky little details of worship that are mentioned in the Qur'an. But how come some of us forget all this piety completely when it comes to the big things?
"Muslims do not kill non-Muslims unless they are attacked first," says the Qur'an. "And Muslims must NEVER kill Muslims." Period. This, not the eating of pork or the wearing of veils or the memorization tests, is the heart and soul of the Qur'an.
You want to be a true Muslim? You want to please Allah and honor the Prophet (PBUH)? You want to follow the letter of the Qur'an? Stop worrying so much about sweating the small stuff and concentrate on the true essence of Mohammed's (PBUH) teachings.
Muslims! STOP KILLING MUSLIMS.
Yes, I know that this is easy for me to say while sitting in the safety of my California living room where the only danger I face is that cat hair might get on my prayer rug. Yes, I am aware that the Muslims of Afghanistan and Iraq have survived on only minumum amounts of water and food and electricty for almost two years. And, yes, I know that it is hard for them to watch their children be blown up and tortured without wanting to strike back in anger at someone.
But killing innocents and killing other Muslims is not the Islamic way.
PS: "Christians" need to start practicing their religion too. THEY need to start following the teachings of the Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and stop killing Muslims as well.
I'm currently reading the new Kathy Reich mystery, "Cross Bones". A section of it is about a monk who believed that the entire Christian religion was based on the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus and if someone could prove that this never happened, the whole religion would fall apart.
The soul of the true Christian religion is one simple sentence. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." We worship Jesus, not because He performed miracles -- although miracles are nice -- but because he made us face the fact that human beings have the capability to change, become better and evolve. He gave us hope -- and the courage to live in peace with our neighbors. That is His true miracle.
And Mohammad (PBUH) has offered us that same miracle too. Let's go for it.