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In the name of God, the merciful.

I first have to apologize. I am not someone who can tell you much about the "Muslim world." I was born and raised in America. I barely know any language other than English. I studied math and computer science -- so I did not even study much about the "Muslim world" either. So please accept my sincerest apologies if I waste anyone's time with this.

I can, however, talk a little bit about what “being Muslim” means, to me. To put it short, it means going through life with a constant consciousness of the creator. But this state of mind, alone, is not enough. Islam is a balance between knowledge and action: the knowledge of the creator is a pre-requisite, but the actions (prayer, fairness and justice in one's affairs, charity, etc) should be logical conclusions of that knowledge. What “being Muslim” means, at the simplest level, is to accept that there is one God, and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent as a messenger, and that the Qur'an is the word of God, transmitted through the Prophet.

If you truly, in your heart, accept these things, the implications are so much more than I can begin to write about here, but I'll try to list a few. If you accept the Qur'an as true in your heart, then you start to see the blessings in so many things. In the very ability to see and walk and breathe, for example. And when you look at the world, you see all things as creations, which necessarily remind you of the creator. So when you see a tree, instead of seeing its physical properties, you are reminded of a verse in the Qur'an: “Do you not see how Allah has made an example of a good word as that of a good tree: whose roots are firm, and its branches are in heaven? It gives fruit at all times, with the permission of its Lord...” (14:24-25).

Having Islam in one's heart in this way, and viewing the world in this way, allows you to see the true beauty in the world. It causes you to reflect upon just how much more unimaginatively beautiful the creator must be.

Right now, as I am preparing myself for Ramadan, it is imperative for me to constantly remember God through his creation. During Ramadan, when we fast every day from early morning until sunset, we are reminded of our own physical limitations by being constantly confronted with hunger and thirst. But this confrontation causes us to think about the higher things – about things that are eternal, that don't simply go away once we have the food and drink that we so desperately need. We realize that the problems we have are just so temporal that we cannot obsess too much over them. So when I think about what it means to be Muslim, it's hard to find an answer better than, “Constantly remembering the eternal in all our daily actions.”

I apologize if this was unclear, as it's hard to really capture this in one short piece. If I have said anything correct or profound in any of my words, it is only by the will of God, and if I have said anything wrong, it is purely my own error.