Somewhere in my spiritual journey a few years ago, I began questioning so many of the things I, and the other muslims around me did. Mistreatment of gays/lesbians, calling certain races superior or inferior to others, not mixing with people of different muslim sects, etc.
Why, I wondered, did we do all this? Especially when in certain cases, I knew that what was happening wasn’t right at all. To do something that is inherently wrong because my religion “commanded me” to felt confusing, and it tugged and pulled on my conscience as I tried to reconcile with this idea.
How could I lockdown at and mistreat the gay boy in my class who’s so understanding and accepting of me, why do some of my muslims friends say that I’m not supposed to talk with non-muslims, do the girls in my class really need to be lashed several times because of what they did over this weekend?
How could Allah (swt) want me to do something so inherently wrong in so many of these cases? I mean really, not to talk to non-muslims in a place that is 99% non muslim? Why would such a thing be not permissible??
And I guess as my mind raced with questions, I began to research more into the religion I was born to, but never truly met or got to know on a personal level. The deeper I dove, the more I realized something my naive self hadn’t seen before; many muslims aren’t actually muslim. The things they told me about Islam weren’t actually muslim things. My religion didn’t require me to do as other muslims did; it required me to read, to know, to think on my own, with the help of others, what the right thing to do is.
The fusion of culture and tradition with Islam makes it so hard to discern between the two, yet once I finally realized this, once I was finally able to remove the fog of culture and tradition blurring the view, it not only gave me much more peace with my religion, but it also formed a new appreciation for it that hadn’t been there before.