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My Journey Back To Islam.

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Abdur Rahman ibn Awf
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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 21st September 2017 11:21
The following is a lesson in bad parenting, but this story of a young brother is far too common.



My journey of how I came back to Islam.


To start: I rarely use reddit and I'm not a good storyteller. Oh, and this will probably be pretty long.
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 though. 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 in reading it which put me off and made me avoid it. 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 and I know the error of my ways now. I could go on and on about everything I used to hate but I think you all get my point by now.
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. I did stuff that many people go their whole lives without being fortunate enough to do and 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 that I was tired of it all. My idea of a happy united group of 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 would say at this point I was somewhere between agnostic and irreligious. 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 can't describe it all well, but it was a boring and grey time period for me. 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 didn't come across r/exmuslims, but I did 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. They used to whine because their parents forced them to pray or fast. They used to complain about racism (which I guess is reasonable) that occurs among fellow muslims. I strongly disagreed with all of the "islam is pure evil" crap because it was often one sided and they'd openly bash islam while lauding other religions, and many of them seemed to be anti-muslim people as well. To me, their atheism/agnosticism/whatever they were 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? I even found someone there that said they wish they were lighter skinned and I was just like...okay haha. 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 myself. 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 was someone that hated Islam based on the actions of other people instead of actually going in and studying the concepts myself. I guess I still had some sort of pride for my culture and heritage left in me at that point in time after all.
It then hit me, after all this time even though I still had some shred of beliefs left in me that 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. Thankfully my parents kept an english copy of the Quran in the house so on a particularly depressing day for me I decided to sit down and read it. I felt amazed by what I was reading. I don't remember the verses so I'm just going to type what I remember stood out to me the strongest: 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 that stated that Jesus (Isa) will bear witness on the day of judgement. The Quran described the hatred and contempt that muslims will receive from others well. The Quran destroyed racism and discrimination. The Quran clearly stated NOT to oppress or force others to convert. The Quran seemed to have an answer to all my questions. That's just all I can remember off the top of my head now.
I decided to check out all of the arguments that people critical of Islam had towards it. I don't want to list any specific names but 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. I can post them if you like. To this day I don't really trust a lot of hadiths but I still trust the Quran's word fully.
Anyways, I found many of the arguments that critics of islam put forward to be cherrypicked or heavily paraphrased verses that twisted and altered the meanings considerable. They also seemed to be fond of using the actions of a small minority of muslims to smear everyone else. All I could think of was "islam is perfect, muslims aren't". Why is it so hard for them to see this? Not every muslim will be a role model. 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 got ready and prayed my first sincere prayer in years. And as I finished, all of the feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, frustration.... they all disappeared. 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. 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 I will never, ever go back to the way I was before no matter what happens. I will be a proud muslim till the day I die.
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, he was born an orphan, lost many family members and was ostracized from all of his people for his beliefs for years. Many of his own children died. He used to tie rocks to his stomach to curb the intense hunger he went through. 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 similarly? 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? The Quran mentions this clearly. The Quran is too immense and linguistically incredible for an illiterate man to make up for fun, which I think is further proof of it's divinity. It makes too much sense. Again, 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.
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. With the amount of arrogance some people have today it's almost like they think they'll be able to build a machine and point it at the sky and detect Allah as if it's some sort of big science experiment.
Please, always refer back to the Quran for guidance, and nothing else. All of my questions were answered and I'm sure all of yours will be too. And please, read the english translation. Read it 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. As the Quran says, it is worth it. Now keep in mind I'm not saying this will make you a muslim again. I'm sure there are many that do this and don't feel a single thing, just as I visited and prayed 5 feet from the kaaba so many times before and didn't feel a single thing. Hopefully you'll find guidance back to Islam in your own way. Allah knows best, we never know what he has in store for us. Anything can happen. And thank you for taking the time to read this.
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