Muslimah by heart and by card (An old competition entry)

Assalamualaikum warrahmatullahi wabarrakatuh…

Truthfully, I was once in reverse; A Muslimah by card, but not by heart. I pretended to follow the Islamic rules. Call me a hypocrite if you want, but when you are someone who don’t believe in a faith but surrounded by those who do, you feel both alienated and threatened. Much so when I knew how those who turn will be treated with despise or out casted. If you were born as someone in a different faith it is fine, if you are a convert, that is better, but if you are in this faith and decided out, you’re as good as dead.

Silently, I thought myself as a freethinker. The loopholes unanswered, the reactions, both verbal and actions by those whom are considered pious, seems to me very strict and radical, and most of all what I hate the most, is the way they always seem to belittle others they consider kufr or badmouthing. I mean, for sure, people make mistakes, but for you to keep mentioning it as if doing something stupid once is a big sin. I hated them, but again, as they have many followers, I kept my silence. I hoped and hoped of getting into university, in hopes that I could be more open of my faith, or in other words, non-faith.

True, in university, people are more open to that. More often than not, I found many that admitted themselves not believing their faiths. I thought I found my place. But, something was missing. I still have my rationality, I wasn’t restricted ( though my family don’t know of my plans when I went to university ), there was still something missing. I wasn’t putting hopes on my initial faith, because the missing feeling was from before too and I was hoping it diminishes when I am free. So, despite me being against it, I decided to give one last try. I don’t know why I decided on that, but I don’t have any regrets now. I joined an usrah at my university. Truth to be told, I still found those that act the way I dislike in the usrah, including those whom considered famous and respected, but I also found those, who show me Islamic way of life have a true sense within it.

We were taught and grew with the thinking that we can defy all sorts of conditions, but we forget our fitrah. Something, despite being in our control, could also be out of our control. If we had a control in it, what we desire to change could be out of the norm, something that isn’t fair for us to have or don’t have yet others don’t or do. We are short-minded humans; growing only through the complexities of knowledge and experience. I shared my thoughts, my fears with some of them. While some reveled in disgust, shocked, and detest, in that some say I am beyond help (shirk, kufr, anything you can call as bad and will receive the tortures of hell), but many are also as acceptable.

They showed me that Islam is not in the secular sense; there is no such thing and career life, personal life, and religious life divided, like secularism. Islam teaches us the way to live, work, play, in ways that we can only see the goodness years after. It is we who are not patient, when so many times, we were taught to be patient, and patient, and patient. They told me of the different mazhabs and khilafs, what a scholar thought can differentiate with the others. I can form my own understanding, with the mind gifted from Allah s.w.t. , not necessarily just follow and obey blindly as the first experience I have.

I guess, that is the difference between following Islam with knowledge, as those I found within the usrah, and following Islam as a custom without thinking, as those I found before coming. Weird thing isn’t it? I went into this new phase of life with the identity of Muslimah by card, but not by heart. However, coming out of it, I became a Muslimah by heart, not just by card. Wallahualam…

A picture of a beautiful Quran on top of pristine white sheet, decorated with real flowers.
Credite: Photo by The Dancing Rain on Unsplash

This was a competition entry I sent when I was 19 years old to Muslim Youth Girls Association’s short story competition. The original post can be found here.

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