Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Crisis of Faith

Do you ever get a crisis of faith? You know, as in you have some doubts about your faith, or start questioning your beliefs. I don't have these things regularly, but it’s just a habit of mine. I’m a thinker. I think A LOT. About big things, little things, nasty things, yummy things.. whatever. So, naturally, I think about religion. A LOT.

It is my utmost belief that religion is equal parts logic, and equal parts faith. I’m Muslim, but I don’t think I am considered a by-the-book Muslim. I believe in God and His prophet, I pray, I give out Zakat, I fast, I don’t drink, I don’t cheat, I don’t steal, I don’t engage in forbidden activities.

I’m no saint, though. Basically, I do what I believe and understand is good for me, and for society in general. Since we were in school, we were taught that religion is ‘fitra’, which is essentially your gut feeling or intuition. We’ve known, since we were at a very young age, that we can do things that hurt people. And we’re taught that some things are wrong and some are right. And THAT, to me, is religion. It’s a guideline that you follow, and attempt to gain peace in your life, and share goodness with others. We will always make mistakes, but some things cancel the others out. Like karma. What goes around, comes around.

I don’t care what religion you follow (even if it’s your own), but for the most part, the majority try to follow their instincts and what they believe is right – even though we all have our differences.

I’m tired of people dictating to me what they think is right, without even explaining it. Remember our religion classes at school? It was always do this, do that, but no explanation as to WHY. As I grew up, I started reading and listening to some religious scholars, and I’m not afraid to say that a lot of them were phony and baloney!

I’m proud to say that I’ve grown more spiritual as I grew up, and my heart is filled with faith and love. I don’t cover my hair, I don’t cover my body from head-to-toe, and I don’t pray more than I have to.

I don’t equate covering my hair to stealing. I don’t equate wearing short skirts to drinking. The damage done to others by drinking or stealing outdoes any damage done by showing my hair and wearing a short skirt. Actually, it doesn’t even compare!

In a movie I saw called Brick Lane, a Muslim Indian man says in a town meeting regarding religion, “My Islam is in here (pointing to his heart).” I think this is so true, and should be followed by everyone, regardless of their religion. Basically, it means that your religion should be in your heart, and not just on the outside. What is the point of me covering my hair, if my heart is filled with envy and greed and evil?

Anyway, I just wanted to get this off my chest. I feel much better now. I don’t want anyone to feel bad because someone is making them guilty about not doing a small thing. If you look closely, you might be doing some great things in life – helping the poor, visiting relatives, being there for your parents, being a good parent, and lots and lots more.

Maybe if we stopped looking at the tiny things in life, and focused more on the bigger picture, we would help ourselves a lot more.

That’s just a piece of wisdom from this lady. Hope it helps :)

17 comments:

WendyB said...

"Maybe if we stopped looking at the tiny things in life, and focused more on the bigger picture, " -- so much religious strife, throughout history, has been over details as opposed to overall beliefs. Great post.

Flame Buoyant said...

Crisis of faith? Never. Its probably because I do not let religion get in the way.

danderma said...

to me whenever i had strong Q's regarding my faith i would go and dig and listen and read and rationalize with my mind and heart until im settled.

O each and every time it made me stronger as a muslim...

Meaning that it is good to question things. It makes you stronger, as apposed to what those who think they must force u into submission and hide away all books that might influnce ur decision because well ur a goat...

If so, why did allah grant us both a mind and a Free Will???

R'teer said...

i get that , bs i guess once i get those thoughts , i use my brain to solve things and think of history and what has happened to messengers !

intlxpatr said...

I think that God loves it when we think about him and ponder about what we are supposed to be doing as his creatures. Jesus and Mohammed were ALWAYS answering questions about spiritual matters, and they both said that 1) God/Allah thinks differently; we can't begin to fully understand the mind of God and 2) he looks in our hearts.

In the end, we each stand alone on the last days, we each face our own judgement. We all fall short of perfection. We have to hope in his infinite mercy.

Great post, as ever, Lady.

Anonymous said...

Logic is logic and the core Islamic belief cannot be against logic (see http://sunnianswers.com for interesting posts about that) since God created us with minds that can understand; and in over 40locations in the Qur'an people are called to use their minds.

However, deeds are not inherintly good or bad; they need a specification or a reference.

Islam means submission. Submission to the Creator's commandments. For us to submit and follow a commandment however, we do not have to understand its logic (like why is some prayers 2 raka'as while others 3 and 4?) nor the wisdom behind it (although it is often obvious), all we have to know is that the commandment can suffeciently be established to be from God (i.e. through His messengers) and its interpretation/application is deduced based on required skill sets/tools by those who are qualified according to the criteria in their field.

Let's take your example: Hijab.
If you know that most likely it is Allah's commandment for you to adhere to Hijab, but you don't adhere to it, then you are sinful by not following this particular commandment, no matter how many other commandments you adhere to. Just as those who do wear Hijab, yet violate other commandments are also sinful.

The thing that is particular about Hijab though, is that it is a very 'public' action. Meaning, not adhereing to it is bad in two folds: 1- It is a sin, 2- It is a public sin. Committing sins is one thing, but going public with them is very bad indeed. "كل أمتي معافى إلا المجاهرون"

Now, the typical arguments of those who belittle the commandment of Hijab is that it is not suffeciently shown that it is an obligation or that it is an inherited custom and not a religious commandment, etc..

Well, if anyone can deduce their own rulings in religion without proper qualifications, then we'd end up with as many Islams as there are Muslims and there wouldn't be a point of submitting or adhering to commandments versus one's own whims and desires; and there wouldn't be a point or fairness in this life being a test for all (when the test is not standardized). That is why we only follow the deduction methodologies set by those whom the whole nation has testified to their trustworthiness and mastery of knowledge (in the different required sceinces like the Arabic language, illustration of Quran, etc...). This acts like a safeguard for future generations from corruptions due to changes of time (see http://tinyurl.com/dkdo6l for details about this and the issue of credible differences of opinion between scholars).

Finaly, having 'crisis of faith' as it is termed in the 'west' is not something to be taken lightly; it is rather very serious. It means you are of a suffeciently higher level of thinking/rationalizing but you have not been presented with suffecient logical answers to your queries. The site I referenced (sunnianswers.com) should provide that if you take the time to go through the related categories of interest and are pertinent to your queries. Although the site is setup to refute contentions and schisms from certain groups, don't let that put you off and instead focus on the topics that interest you.

May Allah bless and guide us.

This Lady said...

Wendy: Absolutely, it's always been about the details which is unfortunate and so sad :(

Flame Buoyant: Good for you. I hope I can be the same as well.

danderma: Thats what I always say. If God granted us a mind, why shouldn't we use it? I like my religion to be logical, if not, then how can you expect me to believe in it?

R'teer: I dont really think about history as much as I try to make sense of the information being given to me.

intlxpatr: You're so right. He knows whats going on inside of us, so I guess I'll have to believe in His mercy.

Anonymous: Thank you for your help. Don't let the title of the post fool you. While I do believe I experience a "crisis" now and again, I call it a crisis because it almost paralyzes my thoughts and decisions. And I take religion very seriously, which is why I don't take religious matters lightly. I like to think about them, analyze them, and then do what I believe in my heart is the right thing to do.

The thing is, like WendyB said above, throughout history, so much religious strife was created by mankind and it has been over the small details and not the overall beliefs. If you think about it, the majority of the religions in the world believe in mainly the same thing. That there is a Creator, a higher being, that is in charge of all things. That peace is the core of all religions. And so on..

But I believe the more we talk about our differences, the further apart we distance ourselves. So, it is my utmost belief that as long as what's in our hearts is pure and peaceful, then thats the most important thing.

If you believe in God, then you know that in the end, no one but Him can judge you.

..::Amu::.. said...

I think most of us do face this once in a while...we all go through this and I myself is often left with no answer!! at such occasion I usually believe that its the shy6an playing with my mind, don't know though if I am right or wrong in thinking that way but its just my belief :D

Hasan.B said...

I often ask myself what if we the muslims are wrong? I never have an answer.

eshda3wa said...

i think its only normal that you question your faith

and in ur search for answers it strengthens

أحمد الحيدر said...

i think its normal to think about this things ..

hope u always stay feeling better :)

very nice blog ..

regaRDS :)

Miss Cosmo said...

true on so many levels.
this totally re-opened my eyes about a lot of things.

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