What attracts Pi to Islam?

Pi is attracted to Islam as a faith of "brotherhood and devotion." Pi's humble baker friend, Mr. Satish Kumar, is a Sufi who teaches the boy about Islam.

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At fifteen, Pi meets Satish Kumar, a Muslim baker who lives in a rundown home near the mosque. Kumar shares some bread with Pi one day, and the two become friends.

Because of Kumar, Pi is attracted to Islam. He learns about the faith through this Sufi mystic and attends the mosque with him. In the company of this quiet but faithful friend, Pi experiences the beauty of Islam.

Islam, Kumar teaches, is the religion of "brotherhood and devotion." At the mosque with Kumar, Pi feels the beauty of the faith practice when he prays and touches his forehead to the ground, stating that it "felt like a deeply religious contact."

Because Mr. Kumar is a mystic, he is trying to achieve union with God. He tells Pi, "If you take two steps towards God ... God runs to you!"

Although Mr. Kumar's home is a "hovel," Pi finds it a holy place. The two pray together and recite the ninety-nine known names of God. Kumar is a hafiz, a person who knows the Qur'an by heart, and Pi, though he does not know Arabic well, loves to listen to Kumar recite verses. Pi ends up having a mystical experience of unity with God and the universe due to his interactions with Mr. Kumar.

Pi's knowledge of and deep appreciation for Islam is a part of his multicultural religious education in India, in which he learns to value a number of faiths.

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