"Everything in Islam is Covered"

EWI News:

from Shane's Muslim Connect

I lie the most regularly on Sunday mornings. 

“Hey, Shane, how are you?” 

“I’m fine. You?” 

“Fine. Thanks.” 

And in my mind, “Father, please forgive me for lying!” I’m often not fine and odds are decent neither is the person asking. Of course, there are social constraints and a sermon starting soon that limit vulnerability. Maybe you can relate: I have to push for openness. It does not come naturally. 

A couple of days ago I was sitting with nearly thirty awesome, fresh-off-the-Michigan-farm high school kids, listening to Imam Hamza of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh. Hamza seemed really smart, and he is probably one of the nicest guys in a whole city of pretty nice people. 

As he winsomely explained Islam (I’d warned the kids earlier that converting was not allowed!), he said something I’d not heard before: “Everything in Islam is covered up. We cover up the good stuff we do, rather than doing it openly (Jesus commended this). We cover up the bad stuff too.” Wow. That’s honest. And tremendously sad. He went on, “You don’t ask your friend, ‘Hey, where are you going?’ because you don’t want to uncover what he’s getting ready to do - either to expose his sin or to compel him to lie to you about some bad thing he has planned.”

This idea of covering everything up, Hamza said, is woven into the fabric of the Islamic faith. I imagine it’s a facet of a shame/honor worldview

It raises two responses in me: One is empathy. It’s hard to live with huge hunks of your life hidden away. It also, sadly, spawns caution: What is being hidden in this conversation? This relationship? Given this, how can we love like Jesus encouraged,: dove innocent and snake smart?