Multifaith Musings: Reflections from Mahrukh Khurram ’19

Posted on June 7th, 2018 by

by Grace Love ’19

Mahrukh Khurram

Islam is one of the largest world religions, practiced by over 20% of the world’s population.  It began in the 7th century CE and now has followers on almost every continent. This monotheistic religion is based on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad which are written in the Qur’an (holy Scripture) and the Hadith (traditions and sayings of the prophet Muhammed).  According to Islamic tradition, the messages of Islam have been conveyed to humanity by God’s prophets and messengers, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.  The Islamic holiest city is Mecca and its temples are called mosques. 

Mahrukh Khurram (’19) believes that religion is a code of life, and that if it makes you happy, you should follow it.  Islam makes her happy and gives her a sense of fulfillment.  Islam is peace.  Praying helps her feel relaxed and calm.  Prayer is one of the ways she connects with God.

So far, what her religion has taught her she appreciates and likes to practice.  She knows that at first glance Islam can seem rather demanding but finds that often the prescribed do’s and don’ts are for the greater good.  She prays five times a day and starts her day early to do so.  This helps keep Mahrukh organized; she has a set time for everything.

“I don’t view God as someone who would punish you, because he is the one who created you.” Mahrukh believes in a God that loves us and is always there for us.  For her, God is a guide, helping us find the right direction. She is still exploring what God says the right direction is.  This exploration is something she loves doing and she enjoys finding her own unique way within her tradition.

Mahrukh is a feminist.  Fighting for and learning about women’s rights are a passion for her.  She sees educating herself as her sacred duty in Islam, an obligation that is mentioned in the Qur’an.  She also knows that sometimes people believe that Islam is against women’s rights.  After doing a lot of research, Mahrukh has found that a lot of different sacred texts can also be interpreted as against women’s rights and in other controversial ways.  In the case of her own religion, she wants to find out, “Is this something God actually said or have people twisted the meaning?”

Interfaith connection is important for Khurram because she sees so many similarities between religions. Mahrukh has enjoyed connecting with people at Gustavus from many different religious backgrounds. She says that while different religions have different roots, we are all heading towards the same goal.  We are all trying to connect with God, we are just taking different routes.  Everyone has their own interpretation and that’s what makes us unique.

Mahrukh wants to help people connect.  She wants to help people in general. She says, “As long as I see people who are nice, who are generous, I don’t feel different from them.”

“Service is the greatest way to show devotion to God.  It is (itself) an important act, but it is also a profound act of worship.”



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