8 reasons (still counting) on why I believe in Islam
I realise that I have been living in circumstances that really support me to become a Muslim. I was born Muslim, raised with Islamic teaching, and the country is home for hundred million of Muslims where happens to be the biggest Muslim population in a single country. This is often seen as an admirable situation for some sisters and brothers who live in a challenging environment to practice Islam. Given that vast opportunities to observe, learn, and practicing Islam, I want to humbly share my view about Islam. Well. Let’s start.
Islam has taught me about:
Balance (At Tawazun)
I remember when I was a kid, I questioned myself on why is everything always have its opposite side. Each thesis has an anti-thesis, light — dark, tall — short, earth — sky, and there is always a spectrum between them. I keep that observation on a back of my mind when observing everything that happens in life. Later I found the explanation in the Quran. Read (4:171) ; (28:77)
During the recent years, I found people start talking about the purpose of work, work with purpose, and various version to address this same quotation line. Some people accept it as if it is a new idea, a shifting mind-set, a modern conscious economy. In fact, the purposeful life idea is a basic concept of Islam. It is firstly introduced 1500 years ago by a man named Muhammad. Read (2:30–33)
Be knowledgeable, be humble.
The first revelation was the order to “Read in the name of your Lord who created.” (96:1) The order to seek for knowledge, not only from books (Muhammad was illiterate) but also from the events, the nature, anything that have been encountered in our life. This surah also embraces humility, that our knowledge come from God who can give and take our knowledge in a blink of an eye.
Life is a floating ball of gazillion varieties of intentions, uncountable stories, hyper-interconnected network. Probably, during the recent years, internet has taught us about degree of complexity in a network between creatures. It is, by far, a closer approach to model human interconnection. In the universe of information, we are prone to misunderstanding, asymmetrical views, and fatal biases which lead to conflict inside and outside human themselves. Inside this major confusing pool of story, we definitely need guidance. I like how Quran is introduced as a book of guidance, and Islam as the way of life. Read (1:1–7); (2:45); (41:44).
Not only about religion concept, but also character, how we interact, think, communicate, even on the most private part of our life. In Islam we are taught to develop faith, knowledge, and action consistently. Brilliant method that Quran was delivered gradually in almost 23 years. It addressed actual events, providing answers and guidance. Actual, accurate, and factual. Read (23:1–12); (33:21)
I often reading self-help articles from the internet about being 20s, 30s, and advise from someone to her younger-self, relationship, how to find a spouse, about divorce, communication, work-life balance, etc. I was reading it, on and on and on, until I found that sometimes the articles are similar, nothing new, nothing special.
So I started to read the Quran closer, reading the translations, listen to its interpretation by reputable scholars, and learning the Quran language. It was so hard for myself to commit a time to read it among other unread books on my shelf, I am still struggling until now. But aside from all of those distractions, I find clarity. A clear view about daily events that have been encountered in my life. On why all those events are happening, intentions behind it, finding pattern among them, etc. All of those events are repetition from histories, from other people lives, from all the metaphors inside Quran. Those are products from the same basic character of human and all interactions among them, between human and the universe. Read Quran translation, all 114 surah are addressing these topics.
I am trained in engineering and management environment. I live in a world of standardised system, flowcharts, managerial practices, business ethics, etc. I find these approaches in Islam through history of the Prophet. We learn his character, how he became a trader, a leader of community, a friend, a father, a husband, a son, an enemy. How he defied a rotten culture and shift it to better setup of community. A community whose people are treated equally and embrace knowledge. Spend time to read how the Quran we’ve been using today were collected in Utsmani era and learn about his method. Commit a time to learn the history of Muhammad since he was a child, or better learn about the situation before he was born. Our scholars have a classification system that protect the story from biases or dramatizes the actual situation. Read Sirah Nabawiyah
I love the story of Bilal, and the fact that slave communities were among the first adapters of Islam. The teaching incentivises people who set slaves free. The most favourite time of my day is when we get in line for communal prayer and our security guy can be the leader for his boss. In prayer line, we have to be really close at each other and if we’re late we should strictly follow the Imaam, and make up the missing raka’at afterward. Oh, and the hajj season and its ihram (uniform) that we have to wear. Could you distinguish those who are rich with those who barely make a $1 for a day?
On feminism, Khadijah was the first person to accept Islam, a successful business woman who happened to be Muhammad’s wife. She was the one who offered herself to be married, while proposal was done by Muhammad. All of Muhammad sons were passed away when they were kid thus the daughters played significant roles in his movement, especially Fathimah. Read about how Muhammad treated his daughters which defied common culture in Arab at that time. In the battle of Khandaq, Ummu Salamah was the one who suggested Muhammad to lead his armies by action. She was his wife. And how about Siti Hajar, who ran between Shafa and Marwah hills. Until now, every Muslim have to commemorate her struggle on finding water for her son in Makkah. We call it Sa’i. Islam anti-Feminism? Nope, probably simply about equality among human and put everything in its place. Think again.
Not many publications mention about how Islam addresses environmental issues in the Quran. Most importantly, Islam teaches us about consistency that leads to sustained actions. Islam highly values small deeds that are done in a consistent manner. And it does not limit to certain people. Anyone can do it, everyone can contribute. When modern people talk about citizen engagement, Muhammad and his companions regularly visit their community to talk to live with them and engage them with the most noble manner. Read how Umar ibn Al Khattab carried sacks of flour by himself to his people.
I invite you to know Islam in its purest source, Al Quran and Hadits (Prophet’s example/traditions). Scholars have been interpreting these sources, differences among them are inevitable but learn about their methodologies and ask Allah SWT to guide us to understand and practice Islam. Distinguish Islam from Arab cultures and any other cultures that stick onto rituals. Think deeper and reflect.
We believe that wherever and whenever Allah puts us in a particular situation either good or bad in our perspective, there is always (at least) a lesson behind it. For Allah never creates something without a noble purpose, no matter how small it is.
Nonetheless, I failed to keep this list short. There are so many points that I want to share, but let those be my second writing pieces. Please do not take my writing as reference.