If you asked me one of my biggest regret last month, that would be forgetting to cross this topic off the list and replace it with whatever less confusing than this. Honestly, this topic is something that I don’t feel comfortable to write about. I think I’m sweating a little. How am I supposed to start this with? Umm, ok, first of all, I’m a muslim, so this writing is pretty much based on my knowledge as a muslim, which is probably so little.
When I was a kid, maybe around four years old, I had no idea about religion. All I knew was I had to pray five times a day, go to mosque, read Quran, and do fasting on Ramadhan. Two of my childhood friends are dutch people. At that age I didn’t know the name of her religion except the fact that she had to go to church every Sunday and I had to wait for her to go back home so I could come over to her place to watch movie. At that time, I thought that being born to muslim parents was what made someone a muslim, or that someone’s religion was pretty much inherited from their parents because I was used to seeing people who shared the same religion as their parents.
As I grew older, I no longer see religion as something that’s inherited by our parents in our gene. I see it as a belief system where we have all the right to choose what we believe in or which path we want to follow, regardless of the religion of our parents. I saw people convert to muslim, and I saw my muslim friends convert to another religion. With all sort of upbringing that my family and teachers have given me, honestly I was quite shocked by the latter fact. But then I learned that we’re all, however, entitled to choose which religion to follow. Basically, religion gives people a set of guidelines to live by, so it’s pretty much up to them to choose which guidelines that they believe to be true. I can’t say that I support and justify what they did, but I highly respect their choices, and that won’t change the fact that they’re still my friends.
To me, when it comes to being friends, it doesn’t matter what religion they belong to as long as they’re a good person. I have friends who are agnostic and we still get along fine, in fact they’ve helped me a lot all this time. People should be and strive to be kind, because that’s the right thing to do, regardless of the religion they do or don’t belong to. Every religion basically teaches kindness and I’ve seen that since I was so little and knew so little about something named religion. But again, different people can have different interpretation of particular teaching in their religion and sometimes that’s what causes a problem. In Islam there are group of people who believe that saying ‘merry christmas’ to those who celebrate it is allowed for the sake of respecting them, but there are also those who believe that it’s not allowed to do so because it’s considered as believing another God besides Allah.
Sometimes I don’t understand how one teaching can be viewed or interpreted so differently even by those who belong to the same religion. I think muslim women know or at least have been told that wearing hijab to cover our aurah is a must and it doesn’t have anything to do with our behavior, and yet some people still have tons of excuses to not wear it. Some say that they’re not ready, that they’re still waiting for hidayah to come to them and knock their heart. Some say that it’s better to not wear it but have a good attitude rather than wearing it but still have a shit attitude. I think it’s just a matter of time. I’ve worn headscarf to school since junior high school but had to wait until 22 to finally wear it for good while constantly trying to improve myself.
If you know me in real life, I’ve never been a religious person. I have a problem with religious fanatics who shove their beliefs down other people’s throats, condemning everyone who doesn’t live by Islamic values, and only want to be friends with those who follow the same religion. Well, I haven’t fully lived by Islamic values. But I am trying to. One step at a time. I’m trying not to only follow the teachings that’s suited my way of thinking but then ignore the ones that are unreasonable according to my comprehension as a mere human being. After all, religion teaches kindness. And whatever your religion is, it’s supposed to make you a better person, isn’t it?