Thoughts about Islam
I'll rephrase it to make it broader. I don't find Islam particularly inspirational, although there's certainly some good stuff in it. I learned a lot about it years ago, and it's not for me. Unfortunately I didn't read the Quran in full, and as I'm completely out of my Islam phase, I don't think I'll do it anytime soon, but who knows. It would be good in order to gain a better understanding of it, although I think reading about the Quran (and the hadiths and the life of the prophet) is necessary, rather than simply reading it with no understanding.
Keep in mind my list may contain inaccurate information (it definitely contains imprecise information), and I'm mostly basing this on what I remember from back when I was very interested in this religion, which was a while ago. Feel free to correct me.
EDIT: See comments for corrections and more info from @Hasham-dev :)
1. Killing one man is like killing the entirety of humanity + Saving one man is like saving the entirety of humanity
Same verse. Pretty cool.
2. The Quran is not explicitly homophobic
Which isn't to say Islam is cool with gay stuff. The Islamic world is known for being pretty homophobic (at least when it comes to the laws, although you can say this about some very Christian countries as well), but it seems that the Quran is not as explicit about it as the Bible (it mentions something but it's not clear). However, there seem to be a few hadiths condemning homosexuality.
I think Muslims are supposed to give 10% of their earnings to charity? I might be getting the number wrong. That's cool, I like that. Now that I think of it, was there an income tax back then?
4. Praying 5 times a day
This just feels like too much. It makes the religion unappealing to me. Especially when you have to wake up at 4 or 5 am or whenever it is. A lot of Muslims don't respect this rule, but they're supposed to.
I like the concept, although I'm not sure about the "no water" part. It's nice for the whole "think of the people who are actually hungry and poor", but health-wise, I'm not sure it counts as a healthy type of intermittent fasting. Also, if it's a way to think of people who are struggling (that's part of what it is, isn't it? I could be wrong), I prefer the Stoic concept of practicing poverty.
I like this idea of pilgrimage. Interesting that it's one of the five pillars. You have to visit Mecca at least once in your lifetime if you're physically and financially able. This made me wonder about the percentage of Muslims who have actually done so: It's pretty low.
And apparently, it would be impossible for all Muslims to do it.
It's also interesting that Saudi Arabia issues special Hajj visas.
7. Word of God
There is a big difference between the Bible and the Quran: The Quran is supposed to be the literal word of god (told by Muhammad and transcribed by others, I believe), whereas the Old and New Testament are more like stories from a bunch of different people. I feel like this creates a difference in how Islam is practiced.
8. Profession of Faith (shahada)
I googled the 5 pillars of Islam because I couldn't remember them all. Thank you to the Met Museum for the info.
While Islam sounds like a bit too much work (especially the prayers), it is super simple to become a Muslim: just say "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God", and bam, you're a Muslim.
When I was a teenager, a former classmate from Turkey posted something like "I bet you won't copy/paste this and post it" with something written in Arabic. I did it for some reason (without getting it translated) and I was told I was Muslim. Funny. Of course, you have to say it with conviction. I also heard there need to be two witnesses or something, not sure if that's true.
Some of the Quran is... a tad violent. Some will say that the verses must be understood in a certain context, and that therefore it doesn't actually call for violence. For example, this verse: Surah 2:191: "And kill them (non-Muslims) wherever you find them … kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers (non-Muslims)."
Supposedly, it specifically referred to a battle between Muslims and "disbelievers" and it's about killing soldiers or something, I don't know. I vaguely remember such an explanation. And maybe that's true. But it still sounds messed up, especially if it's supposed to be the literal unchangeable word of god or whatever. Then again, I bet there's intolerance and violence against disbelievers in the Bible; not sure if it's comparable or not.
10. Difference between the Medina verses and the Mecca verses
I vaguely remember learning about this. Apparently, there are the Medina verses and the Mecca verses. One category consists of quite peaceful verses, while the other category is more violent. Supposedly because at some point, Muhammad was at war or something. Because there are things in the Quran that seem contradictory, some say that the most recent verse is the one that counts (if you compare it to an older, contradictory verse). I remember learning about this in the context of peaceful VS violent verses.
I did a quick google search and found this.
11. Final thoughts
I used to be quite critical of Islam. I had my Richard Dawkins & Bill Maher years. Nowadays, I don't really care. I'm sure that if I got interested in it again, I would have some new positive things to say about it. But it's not my cup of tea.
Now let's just pray the AI image generator doesn't generate a picture of Muhammad.
EDIT: Unless Muhammad was a businessman, I think we're safe.