As an institution grounded in the Roman Catholic tradition, LMU actively supports the spiritual growth of all its students from all faith traditions.
Muslim Student Life, as an office in Campus Ministry, regularly engages in interfaith dialogue on campus. This includes education around the similarities and parallels between the Islamic tradition and the LMU mission.
We actively seek to promote LMU’s mission of:
- The encouragement of learning
- The education of the whole person
- The service of faith and the promotion of justice
The first part of the LMU mission is the encouragement of learning. For Muslims, this reflects wisdom from the Islamic tradition and from the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim and Whoever travels a path in search of knowledge, God will make easy for him a path to Paradise. Islam therefore acknowledges the pursuit of knowledge as an act of worship and an expression of faith. Such a commonality with the LMU mission makes a Jesuit institution like LMU the ideal environment to grow in both education and faith for a Muslim student.
The second part of the LMU mission is the education of the whole person. Based on this, LMU strives to provide students with the means to balance mind, body, and spirit to develop men and women for others. This vision reminds Muslims of the verse in the Qur’an that says, Seek the life to come by means of what God has granted you, but do not neglect your rightful share in this world. Do good to others as God has done good to you. Do not seek to spread corruption in the land, for God does not love those who do this (Qur’an 28:77). The balance between striving to do good in the earthly life while seeking paradise in the hereafter reflects the balance of mind, body, and spirit that is so critical to educating the whole person.
Finally, the third part of the LMU mission is the service of faith and the promotion of justice. We often point out that the mission speaks of the service of faith but does not specify any faith in particular. The goal, therefore, is for all students to develop and grow in their personal faith journeys with LMU providing the space and environment to do so fully. We find that this third part of the mission has the most overlap with Islamic principles from the Qur’an. Regarding the service of faith, the Qur’an calls Muslims to, Say, I have been commanded to serve God, dedicating my worship entirely to Him (Qur’an 39:11). The mission’s emphasis on the promotion of justice is another major theme that is also found in the Qur’an. The Qur’an’s verses that call Muslims to justice include:
- You who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to God, even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or your close relatives. Whether the person is rich or poor, God can best take care of both. Refrain from following your own desire, so that you can act justly- if you distort or neglect justice, God is fully aware of what you do. (Qur’an 4:135)
- You who believe, be steadfast in your devotion to God and bear witness impartially: do not let hatred of others lead you away from justice, but adhere to justice, for that is closer to awareness of God. Be mindful of God: God is well aware of all that you do. (Qur’an 5:8)
- God commands justice, doing good, and generosity towards relatives and He forbids what is shameful, blameworthy, and oppressive. He teaches you, so that you may take heed. (Qur’an 16:90)
Furthermore, the very mission of the Prophets in Islam is to call mankind to justice for the Qur’an says, We sent Our messengers with clear signs, the Scripture and the Balance, so that people could uphold justice (Qur’an 57:25). The pursuit of justice is therefore an intrinsic aspect of faith and another form of worship. It reflects the common belief in a Just God.
LMU, being grounded in its mission as a Jesuit university, serves as the ideal environment for a Muslim to grow in their faith and to learn. The parallels between the mission and Islam serve as a strong foundation of common values born out of faith that Catholics and Muslims can use to build upon and forge a better future together. Indeed, the Qur’an calls us to do just this when God says, Say, People of the Book, let us arrive at a statement that is common to us all (Qur’an 3:64). Students at LMU have an opportunity to be part of a rich and diverse interfaith community where they can develop into leaders committed to Ad majorem Dei gloriam or For the greater glory of God. Likewise, Muslims are called to, Celebrate the glory of your Lord and be among those who bow down to Him (Qur’an 15:98).
One of the key elements of Ignatian Spirituality that LMU students learn is how St. Ignatius emphasized that we must find God in all things. A similar sentiment is expressed in the Qur’an: The East and the West belong to God: wherever you turn, there is His Face. God is all pervading and all knowing. (Qur’an 2:115). LMU’s values, as outlined in its mission of the encouragement of learning, the education of the whole person, the service of faith and the promotion of justice, call students to feel the spirit of God all around them.
We in Muslim Student Life believe that there are significant parallels between Ignatian Spirituality and Islam, as we have outlined. This leads to a natural overlap between Ignatian values and Islamic values.
We often tell our students that a Jesuit education best positions one to transform the world for the better because of the Ignatian values that are promoted in the LMU mission. It provides one with a moral worldview that is so needed to tackle and solve our modern challenges. Who better to do so than one who is Jesuit educated?