I’m a young college student living in America. I was born in a muslim family from the indian subcontinent, so naturally I had an Islamic upbringing. And I hate to say it… but I really hated Islam when I was a kid, but it was mostly my own fault. What I will say next is not me trying to paint myself as a victim but just me reflecting on how I used to feel.
I hated coming home from school (I used to have to stay until 6:00 sometimes) and getting yelled at and beaten by my parents and forced to pray with them. I hated doing wudu because it would always get all of my clothes wet and one time I caught a cold from it. Learning Arabic was neat at first but I quickly grew to dislike reading Quran because I used to get nagged/yelled at whenever I made a mistake. I hated fasting during Ramadan because well…it’s fasting. I hated going to “Islamic school” on Sundays because most of the kids there were unruly and fought a lot and the Imam always used to go extra extra slowly whenever he led the prayer. One time I even whispered to my friend and said “will this idiot hurry up” when we were praying zhuhr. Yes, I know it’s very bad but I was like 9 years old at the time.
My idea of people peacefully united under Islam was shattered. I thought when I first moved there it would just be one big friendly melting pot of muslims, how naive I was…
When I was 13 my parents moved to Saudi Arabia. Mecca, Medina, the black stone, jabal al nour, zamzam all of the major early Islamic sites, I had seen (and tasted) them all. I had done umrah many times. And yet…I felt nothing spiritually. Many people go their whole lives without being fortunate enough to do it even once, but it didn’t bring a shred of faith into my heart. I felt like I was just copying those around me, and not actually being one of them. Sorry to any Saudis reading this but living in Saudi Arabia is just complete and utter hell. My mom was forced to wear full burka and I could only see her eyes through a thin opening. My family had to go through horrible racism and discrimination for being “Indian”, but we got off a lot better than others because we were American citizens. The schools there were violent and filled with racist gangs. A lot of people used to carry knives openly for “protection”. I didn’t learn a single thing the entire time I was there education wise. So many times I got jumped or attacked by “fellow muslims” then was forced to sit next to them and pray during salat. I was tired of it all. My idea of happy people united under Islam was shattered. I thought when I first moved there it would just be one big friendly melting pot of muslims, how naive I was…
I felt like a fly lost in a sea of darkness
I would say at this point I was somewhere between agnostic and atheist. I moved back to america a few years later, and ironically it was here where I had my awakening that led me back to Islam. I remember distinctly one time in school when someone asked me if I was a muslim and I literally just said “no, I don’t believe in anything“. I used to secretly eat during Ramadan and just sit in my room and use the internet then claim I had prayed. I only did “muslim things” when I was absolutely forced to. During this period of my life I found myself becoming very depressed. I felt lost in life. I feared death. I worried myself too much on materialistic nonsense. I used to cry like a sissy because of all of the mixed emotions I used to feel. I tried socializing more. Didn’t work. I tried getting a girlfriend. Didn’t work. I didn’t go beyond that though, thankfully I never got into drugs or alcohol. But to summarize when I was an “agnostic” I felt like a fly lost in a sea of darkness.
I used to frequent a lot of websites former Muslims which consisted of pretty much the same rhetoric and nonsensical hate. Oh the irony, I remember feeling annoyed with a lot of users on there. Most of them sounded like complaining teenagers and many used some of the foulest language I have ever seen. To me, their rants came off as hypocritical and more centered around self hate. I just couldn’t understand it, it’s one thing if you hate the religion but how can you wish death and destruction upon your own people?
Then one day it just hit me. I was so annoyed by these people that I didn’t realize that I was one of them. I was a young stupid teenager, just like they were. I was someone that hated praying and fasting for no reason other than being lazy. I guess I still had some sort of pride for my culture and heritage left in me at that point in time after all.
I felt amazed by what I was reading. The Quran described my behavior and actions to a tee, even calling those without proper beliefs ‘lost in darkness’ like I was.
I realized,even after all this time, I had never, ever once read an English translation of the Quran. I had read the arabic, sure, but I didn’t understand a single word of it as I’m not an Arab. So on a particularly depressing day for me I decided to sit down and read it. I felt amazed by what I was reading. The Quran described my behavior and actions to a tee, even calling those without proper beliefs ‘lost in darkness’ like I was. The Quran put forth sound and logical arguments for the existence of Allah. I felt fascinated with the verses. The Quran described the hatred and contempt that muslims will receive from others well. The Quran destroyed racism and discrimination. The Quran seemed to have an answer to all my questions.
I decided to check out all of the arguments that people critical of Islam had towards it. I visited multiple “credible” websites that analyzed the so called errors and evils of Islam as well as their arguments against it. I then read the arguments that Muslims proposed in return. This was the changing point for me. The only thing I felt unsure of were the hadiths at this point, but I found several Quranic verses that cleared up my doubts on them.
A feeling of peace and tranquility descended over me and for the first time in years, I felt the urge to pray
After all this, I soon felt a feeling that I hadn’t felt in a long time. A feeling of peace and belonging. A feeling of tranquility. I suddenly felt the urge to pray. I was back where I belonged. I believed again.
And so here I am today. I try to say all of my 5 prayers on time and learn new Surahs every summer, Alhumdulillah. I’m certainly no model muslim but I do what I can. There’s still a lot I want to improve myself on, but overall I’d say I’ve found peace with my inner self and I know that, in sha Allah I will never go back to the way I was before no matter what happens.
I’m sure there’s many others similar to my story who feel disconnected and unhappy with Islam because of unfortunate experiences or hard lives. Some people will probably get angry at me for saying this because what I’ve gone through in my life probably doesn’t hold a candle to the amount of suffering they’ve gone through but still, I ask them to think about this. Our own prophet (SAWS) lived such a hard life. If the final messenger of Allah to all of humanity went through such immense pain and suffering what makes you think you won’t be tested? Perhaps not to the same level but did you really think you would just live a life without going through some type of testing trial or tribulation?
Islam is perfect, Muslims aren’t. Don’t let the actions and behaviors of muslims throw you off. Sure you might not be happy with having to pray or fast or the strictness and modesty associated with Islam but look up the actual reasons behind them instead of parroting what everyone else does.
Perhaps the sleekness of technology and scientific discoveries makes it more appealing to prefer science over religion. It makes us feel smart and proud. But just remember, there will always be something that we don’t know.
There is so much we don’t even know about the universe and world around us. Scientists still can’t give a proper answer to gravity. Only 5% of the seemingly endless universe around us we are able to observe. The other 95% is undetectable dark matter and dark energy. All of the galaxies and black holes and stars, just mere 5%! We know literally nothing! And yet we are so arrogant to think that there is no God. Perhaps the time, effort and sleekness of technology used that is put into today’s scientific discoveries makes it more appealing to prefer science over religion. It makes us feel smart and proud. But just remember, there will always be something that we don’t know. Religion teaches us to simply accept it.
Please, always refer back to the Quran for guidance, and nothing else. Read the english translation with a clear and open mind. Read it as though it is your first time reading it. Then make your next steps from there. Try to push this world to the side. And In sha Allah you’ll find guidance back to Islam in your own way. Allah knows best, we never know what he has in store for us.
Written by – youngmuslim750
Source – Reddit