January 27, 2007

Questions about Islam

I came across this post on the "About: Islam" forum. A man named Tim, who says he's struggling with his faith and had questions about life as a Muslim. The following is my reply:

I reverted to Islam almost seven years ago. Practicing Islam for me is a striving (jihad) to become a better Muslim. I submit to the will of Allah (swt) by trying to obey His laws and the example of the Prophet (pbuh) in all aspects of my life, to the best of my abilities. I stumble sometimes (we all do, being human), but I continue on.

What has it done in my life? What hasn't it done? :) It provides guidance for me; "the straight path," so to speak. On the one hand, Islam encourages my taqwa, my "God-consciousness," helping me to be more mindful of my relationship with Allah (swt); on the other hand, it helps guide me to live a better, more healthful life, so that I can avoid the mistakes in life that so many others make.

What makes it real to me? Islam is largely an "orthopraxic" religion, which means that we are mostly concerned with "correct practices." For example, of the five pillars of Islam, only the first, the shahadah, is more belief-oriented than a practice like the other four. (And even there, we recite the shahadah at least once in every prayer.) So, in living life as a Muslim, many of our practices makes Islam real for me.

Am I happy? Am I content? Yes, I am probably more content now as a Muslim than before. Obviously I felt a need was missing in my life that Islam filled for me (otherwise, I wouldn't have reverted). But I will also say that in the six+ years of my life as a Muslim, I've never thought at any point that I made the wrong decision. As for what waits for me in the hereafter, insha'allah, I'll go to Jannah (heaven), but that's for Allah (swt) to decide. In the meantime, I can only live my life as best I can as a Muslim.

If you're serious in your interest in Islam, I suggest that you start reading the Qur'an.