Posted: September 6, 2013 in Personal
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To state that I believe in God is true, and yet not entirely so. On a level that can be simply understood, I like believing in God as most people do because it’s what my human mind can easily grasp and deal with, and it makes me feel better. I like to believe that I have a close relationship with God, although not in a very religious sense. Sometimes doing religious things makes me feel personally closer to God, and other times all I really need is to keep up a conversation in my head addressing Him and trying to feel His responses.

I regard all religion as a guideline on how to live a fruitful, happy life; teaching you to respect and care for yourself, as well as respect and care for others (and by others I mean every other life in this world). Religion, to me, is never about coercion or expectations – for the very fact that forcing someone to believe in something renders faith redundant. 

I have much to learn, and I do want to learn, about religion. My own and every other religion out there. I was brought up by parents who chose a path of higher consciousness, and then I left home at fifteen years old to go to my mother’s family and struggled with adjusting to a different lifestyle with a different set of life rules.

My family has never been strictly religious.My grandfather always says to never take things so literally, and always pursue knowledge, while my grandmother rather likes taking things literally from the Quran.

What saddens me most though, is how many people choose to interpret religion in a manner that promotes all the negative things. I am not qualified to make any statements of ‘truth’ regarding Islam, but I truly believe that it is a beautiful religion of peace and love, and that every ‘rule’ laid down in it is there for a beneficial reason to every individual which makes everything and everyone work together to produce the best possible outcome for everyone.

What little I do know, I do my best to find out the logic behind it and if that logic still applies in this day and age, then it is one that I am happy to adhere to. 

It saddens me that situations have occurred throughout my life that have made me nearly disown my religion, and filled me up with a whole lot of negative impressions; leaving behind a trail of destruction. 

For the last three years of primary school, I attended a little school in the village nearby. We were all required to be fully covered up in our school uniform and while I adhered to that, the moment I got out I would take off my headscarf and the other kids would rally around and call me kafir. As an impressionable kid growing up, it made me feel that Islam was an intolerant religion and I did not want to be a part of it. 

My first relationship was with a Danish boy whose family was Catholic. Not very religious, but still Catholic. My family didn’t have a problem with it, as most of the women in my family have married foreigners who converted to Islam. However, his father, upon discovering that I was Muslim, strictly forbade him from having anything to do with me. 

I suffered through this complicated on-off secret relationship for roughly two years, and the amount of hurt and damage caused by this situation is still evident in the scars on my left arm. The irony of it all is that I believe, given the permission, the relationship would have run its course and we would have broken up sooner rather than later. 

This also occurred during my time in boarding school, where Muslims were not allowed in the canteen during Ramadhan and were required to go for terawih prayers. I refused, as I still do, to be coerced into performing anything religious as I wanted to discover faith in my own time and do everything as sincerely as I possibly could. I strolled into the canteen during Ramadhan and ate my meals as I normally would. I stayed in my room and did prep while everyone else went for terawih prayers, and I went to Morals class instead of Islamic Studies.

No matter what I do though, I would never force my mindset on anyone. I also have a huge amount of respect for the truthfully religious because I have been admonished by great people who sincerely wanted me to better myself and advised me in a beautiful and respectful way. I also respect every single person who recognizes that faith is between the individual and whatever Higher Being he chooses, or doesn’t choose, to worship. 

I do not respect bigots, hypocrites and crazed fanatics who shove their opinions down people’s throats. 

There is no conclusion for me to end this post with, but I suppose if anything, the conclusion is that my religious growth is exciting to me and I am eager to learn more and see how much I will continue to develop. 

  1. Bonnee says:

    I’ve really got to agree with what you’re saying about respect and the relationship between the individual and their Higher Being of choice. Each person’s journey of discovery of their faith is uniquely beautiful, even if it’s not complete. I’m not religious, but I strive to understand how the religions around me work and thereby understand people who associate themselves with them, thus why I’m studying World Religion in philosophy this year. Keep doing what you’re doing 🙂

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