Essay by dallas50High School, 12th gradeA+, November 2014

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That conversation came crashing back to me after a discussion with my biology teacher a few years ago. I had asked her if she thought I should go to a six year medical program or not, and she responded to me "well, I mean you're not going to have any vacation time, you'll be extremely stressed out, and waste away the best years of you life. I wouldn't recommend it." At that time, I completely agreed with her and started to really wonder what exactly it was that I wanted out of my young adult life. And then I realized that my life was going to be different than the average American. For me, my prime years were not going to be spent "living it up" because for me, every moment would be a moment to seize, to make the most of, and to enact change. There wasn't going to be some cap or some limit to my being able to enjoy life.

In my mom's words, we'd be "partying it up until we died". Not in the literal sense of the word, but more so that we would be traveling, living, experiencing, laughing, and worshipping all the way until we were six feet under. That's because the Western fear of old age and esteem for youth has no place in Islam; the older I get, the cooler I'll be-minus the gray hair, of course.

The part about Islam that most people can't really get a grip on (even me most days) is that it's a faith of extreme moderation. For the average American, moderation doesn't mean much more than being watchful about one's calorie intake at a party. But for us as American Muslims, moderation means that we curb the desire to always be instantaneously satisfied. That we don't...