Study confirms Muslims have the highest life satisfaction

12117700-0-image-a-21_1554931243403It is believed that no barometer or measuring tool can be used to quantifthe bliss a person feels in any given moment in their life. However, a new study conducted by German psychologist, Dr Edinger-Schons, found that measuring life satisfaction is as close as you can get to quantifying happiness. He found that the overarching sense of ‘oneness’ is used to envisage the overall contentment in the life of a person.  

Over 67,000 were gathered to complete a survey and after dividing the respondents by religion, Muslims were found to feel the greatest sense of oneness, leading to a greater sense of well-being. [1] 

Furthermore, a professor at the University of Illinois created a scale for happiness, or the ‘satisfaction with life scale’ (SWLS).[1] It consisted of five questions in order to determine how satisfied a person is with their life. Each question had a ranking from one to seven, and according to this, the higher the score, the more satisfied you are with your life. 

Another survey in 2016 concluded that “highly religious” people are more likely to be ‘very happy’ in life.1 90% of these ‘very happy’ people were Christians; though, now the German psychologist has concluded that the idea of oneness is the common denominator that runs through people with a higher level of spirituality in their respective faiths. 

Over 67,000 non-students were surveyed by researchers at the University of Mannheim in Germany to determine how oneness affected life satisfaction across different religions. Due to the belief that they were connected to something larger than themselves, it was found that Muslims were most likely to be the ones with a higher life satisfaction over other faiths. Oneness as a personality marker can be used to distinguish between people who seek and make more meaningful connections with others, the world around them, and the almighty entity of God. 

FULL ARTICLE FROM ISLAM21c

 

Stoning Gay People to Death in Brunei Is an Outrage and Not My Definition of Islam

THNAKBRUNEI-RELIGION-ISLAM-LAWI WAS 13 years old when I first heard of the Sultan of Brunei. The absolute ruler of a tiny, oil-rich kingdom in Southeast Asia, Hassanal Bolkiah was the subject of a much-discussed TV documentary by the British filmmaker Alan Whicker in 1992. As a young teenager, sitting in front of the television, I was in awe of this Muslim king. He was the richest man in the world! He earned a quarter of a million pounds every hour! He owned more than 150 cars!

Today, however, I’m filled not with awe but with disgust. Brunei has become the first country in Southeast Asia to impose capital punishmentfor “crimes” such as adultery and gay sex.

LGBTQ Bruneians, who are in particular danger, have been fleeing the kingdom. Can you blame them? According to the Associated Press, “Homosexuality was already punishable in Brunei by a jail term of up to 10 years. … But under the new laws, those found guilty of gay sex can be stoned to death or whipped. Adulterers risk death by stoning too, while thieves face amputation of a right hand on their first offense and a left foot on their second. The laws also apply to children and foreigners, even if they are not Muslim.”

This is barbarism, plain and simple. How can a punishment rightly described as “cruel and inhuman” (U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet), “vicious” (Amnesty International), and “medieval” (Human Rights Watch) be considered appropriate or acceptable in the 21st century? Has the Sultan — who isn’t exactly a paragon of moral rectitude himself — taken leave of his senses?

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INTERCEPT

My holy envy of other faith traditions

How my attraction to other religions deepened my love of my own

pluralism_drawingEarly in my tenure at Piedmont College, a student who had taken my Religion 101 class decided to become a Jew. As anyone who has tried it knows, this is not the same as deciding to become a Christian. Judaism actively discourages converts, since a person does not need to be Jewish in order to be righteous in God’s eyes. Why take on so many extra responsibilities if you are fine with God the way you are?

The student, whom I will call Natalie, persisted. When the rabbi called Natalie by her new name, placed a large Torah scroll in her arms, and welcomed her to the Congregation Children of Israel, I sat there feeling very happy for her.

I also felt a little jumpy—not because Natalie had become a Jew, but because it was possible that Religion 101 had played a part in her decision and that was not in the course plan. I was focused on teaching the basics of five major world religions, not helping students decide which one was right for them, yet that was clearly what a number of them were doing. Another student decided to be baptized for the first time after a class discussion on the difference between infant and believer’s baptisms. Another got a tattoo of a yin-yang symbol on her forearm during the unit on Chinese traditions. When she showed it to me after class one day, she asked if I could steer her toward the nearest Taoist church.

These students were the exception, not the rule, but they reminded me that there is more than one way to respond to religious pluralism. The Christian majority may have been raised to ignore the truth claims of other religions, but others are strongly affected by what they learn. Some, like Natalie, make a conscious decision to convert, either to another world faith or to another branch of the one they grew up in.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY 

THE TRUTH ABOUT ISLAM AND DEMOCRACY (WITH ANWAR IBRAHIM)

timthumbHUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF MUSLIMS the world over live in democracies of some shape or form, from Indonesia to Malaysia to Pakistan to Lebanon to Tunisia to Turkey. Tens of millions of Muslims live in — and participate in — Western democratic societies. The country that is on course to have the biggest Muslim population in the world in the next couple of decades is India, which also happens to be the world’s biggest democracy. Yet a narrative persists, particularly in the West, that Islam and democracy are incompatible. Islam is often associated with dictatorship, totalitarianism, and a lack of freedom, and many analysts and pundits claim that Muslims are philosophically opposed to the idea of democracy. On this week’s show, Mehdi Hasan is joined by the man expected to become Malaysia’s next prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, and by Dalia Mogahed, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, to discuss Islam, Muslims, and democracy.

 

Anwar Ibrahim: We represent Islam the sense that is has to tolerant, liberal, plural, and even accept some of the values of the west.

[Music interlude.]

Mehdi Hasan: I’m Mehdi Hasan. Welcome to Deconstructed.

It’s a never-ending debate. Why do so many Muslims live in undemocratic countries? How do you get more freedom in the Middle East? Does Islam have a problem with democracy? They’re age-old and often quite cliched questions. So, on today’s show, I want to do a bit of debunking and deconstructing, with the help of a very special and a very relevant guest.

AI: You have corrupt, oppressive, tyrannical states and they use the label Islam.

MH: That’s my guest today, the renowned Malaysian leader and former political prisoner Anwar Ibrahim, who is on course to become the country’s next democratically-elected prime minister. I’m also joined by Dalia Mogahed, the American Muslim writer, scholar and former White House adviser.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INTERCEPT

Arkansas High School Students Use Art to Learn Islamic Faith

191102170_WC-FHS-ISLAM-003_ORIG_t800BY DAVE PEROZEK, Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — A high school art project helped students gain a new perspective by connecting them with people of the Islamic faith.

 

Fayetteville High School students in Ashley Grisso’s advanced placement world history classes worked in groups of two or three. They interviewed Muslims in the community, then told their stories through art.

The students’ work was on display recently at the University of Arkansas‘ Kittrell Art Gallery. Each piece of the “Putting a Face on Islam” exhibit was accompanied by a one-page artist statement about the work. Students and their subjects gathered one evening for a reception at the gallery.

 

“It’s really great to be able to understand a person from a different culture, because you might see stuff on the news and read about stuff, but there’s like, a person right there,” Peter Herman, a Fayetteville High School junior, said to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Herman worked with classmates Robert Benafield and Grady Cape. They interviewed a man identified in the statement as only Amel. He was born and raised in the Comoro Islands, off the east coast of Africa. Amel is pursuing a master’s degree in public health at the university.

 

The boys’ piece of art is a collage on paper, divided in halves. The left half, with a purple background, depicts some of the negativity Muslims feel from America. A quote from Amel — “I was so scared to show my religion to America” — is at the center of that half.

The other half, with a white background, was meant to showcase Amel’s jolly personality. It includes a picture of him with a broad smile standing on the university campus.

The high school students met their subjects during an event arranged by Cynthia Smith, assistant director of outreach programs in the university’s department of International Students and Scholars.

Islam as statecraft: How governments use religion in foreign policy

The discussion of Islam in world politics recently has tended to focus on how religion is used by a wide range of social movements, political parties, and militant groups. However, less attention has been paid to the question of how governments—particularly those in the Middle East—have incorporated Islam into their broader foreign policy conduct.

On January 8, the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted the launch of a report titled “Islam as Statecraft: How governments use religion in foreign policy,” authored by two senior fellows, Shadi Hamid and Peter Mandaville. Geneive Abdo­—resident scholar at the Arabia Foundation and author of several books on Egypt, Iran, and the broader Middle East—joined Hamid and Mandaville on the panel. Executive editor at the Pulitzer Center and Boston Globe columnist Indira Lakshmanan moderated the discussion.

SAUDI ARABIA: HAVE THINGS REALLY CHANGED?

Following introductions by Suzanne Maloney, senior fellow and deputy director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, the event began with a discussion of Saudi Arabia’s export of Wahhabism. Mandaville pointed out that while the Saudi government plays an active role in disseminating its ideology abroad, there are also a number of smaller actors, such as Islamic charities, that have been involved in the same sort of activity.

FULL ARTICLE FROM BROOKINGS 

The Creeping Liberalism in American Islam

Mustafa Akyol

00Akyol-superJumboSince 9/11, a recurrent theme in the far-right circles of America has been “creeping Shariah.” It reflects the fear that Islamic law will silently spread through the land of freedom to ultimately overtake it — to put all women in burqas and all adulterers to death. In this scenario, American Muslims, who make up only 1 percent of the population, will pursue this grand scheme because they are here not for freedom and opportunity, but to form a fifth column in it, as Steve Bannon seriously claimed in 2016.

Those with deeper knowledge of American Muslims, a minority that is much better integrated than some of their counterparts in Europe, can easily see such sordid fantasy as paranoia. Those with some knowledge of American history can also see that this new calumny about Islam has precedents, in the McCarthyism of the Cold War era and the anti-Catholicism of the 19th century.

But here is something even more ironic: When you examine the internal discussions among conservative Muslim leaders or pundits in America today, they don’t come across as concocting some “Protocols of the Elders of Mecca.” Instead of cheering for any creeping Shariah, they seem worried about a creeping liberalism within American Islam.

Read Mikaeel Ahmed Smith, for example. He’s an imam in Virginia who has titled an internet article “A Spiritual Disease in American Muslims, Making Them Gods Above God.” His criticism targets a new genre of Muslim bloggers and writers who he says “challenge or outright reject the traditionally normative Islamic view on social issues and Muslim life.” These young people care less about traditional religious texts, the imam warns, because of “a rejection of any authority other than one’s own intellect.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES