Thursday, February 5, 2009

Completely honest with myself

I have written parts of this probably in my first posts... But I am still struggling with those same feelings. I try to be fully honest with myself about what I feel, why I do what I do, etc. on a daily basis. I don't want to fool myself about why I am doing something or why I'm feeling a certain way about someone. I don't want to ever get in even the smallest web of lies, not even with myself. God and religion is always on my mind and it's something I also want to be fully honest with myself about as well.

I have always wanted to strongly feel like there was something higher and that we had a true purpose in this life. I still don't (see the despair post). But I always wanted that sense of security that this wasn't it. If it is, then the whole of it seems useless to live out, except to just have your own fun, and I'm not the type of person who thinks that's all life is about. But what is it? That I don't know. I am very big on the idea that our inner sense of good and bad is the biggest gift we have, and that if life was just about having our fun, it would not exist. That sense inside every human being is my biggest proof that there is a God.

Back to the original topic about being honest with myself... I *want* to believe in Islam with all my heart and soul. That's why I want to learn more and why I haven't stopped since I started. And why I even started this blog. But WHY would I even want to believe? I want to be honest with myself about that. Mainly, it's because I want to feel life is for a reason and that there's a plan for us. And that sounds like a decent reason. But the other part of it is that I want that sense of belongling. I want to be part of a group... I've always been a bit of a loner, often more mature than people around me (although I'm in tuned with my inner childhood :P), or just more "tame". No extreme passion for anything, just equal "like" for everything (like certain sports, writing, music, etc.).

So it makes me wonder, if I just had a passion for something earthly like snowboarding for example, and I hung out with people who do snowboarding and went out at every chance, and tried to learn more tricks, etc. Could I be as satisfied as I hope to be through religion? I don't even know the answer to that myself. I've been thinking lately that it might be a lost cause for me to find God and that there might just not be a God wanting us, or at least me, to worship him. Maybe I just need put efforts into being a good person, and find something earthly to focus on in addition to that to take advantage of what we have here (in this earthly life).

Maybe I was just attracted to Islam because of shared values and wanting to believe in God and wanting to be part of this group, but in the end, it is not because I should be Muslim. We have a lot of shared values, but there is much missing for me to actually be Muslim. I will continue to learn. I'm not done yet. I am just in a bit of a down spot these days that makes me feel there is nothing.

I know this overall idea is not something any devout Muslim would think, and probably only a "non-religious" person of some kind could really understand what I mean in this post, but I wanted to put it out there anyway.

10 Comentários:

أم ترافيس said...

I dont think there is anything wrong with that feeling you mentioned, and indeed it is something very normal. I always felt as you described in my life and it pushed me harder to find where I belonged or what I wanted to do... it landed me right where I am now.

And yes, I can say over time, I found "some" groups to belong to, but deep down there was something in my heart which only could be filled with Allah. I did look at finding many things to fill that hole, and it never did feel full until now...

Allah puts that in us, so we keep searching for the answer and we will not settle until we find the truth. Just as you mentioned : that "belonging" somewhere is twofold. It isnt just the material aspect (being in a physical group) you are also looking for spiritual answers. I think, honestly, if you found that "group" ie, snowboarders, it wouldnt last long, and you would still be left feeling empty until you find truth. Allahu alim. This, I think is part of our "fitrah" or natural state that Allah puts in our heart. That is one of the reasons why I think those athiests you mentioned previously do not truly find peace - they just occupy themselves with other things, but there will come a day when they look at their lives, and wonder why it "feels" so empty... cuz it just is without Allah.

Aalya said...

Interesting thoughts here... quite a few I want to touch on.
Faith goes hand in hand with believing there is a 'higher' power. Having faith, praying, giving charity, doing good to others is all a part of giving you a sense of worth in this life.

Let me be honest you are never going to get solid 100% truth that there is an afterlife... you are however going to go on Faith that there is something after and that God is there... waiting for you.

Being a part of a group is great... within Islam we are all 'brothers & sisters', meaning we are like a family and you would not want to hurt other members of your family. When I said the shahada I felt like I was a part of something big, I must admit it was a very nice feeling. You are the only one who knows if religion will give you a sense of purpose in life - personally it does for me along with other things, like being a good parent (God-willing one day) being a good daughter, being a good wife, friend, etc. These all give my life meaning and makes me realize that people in my life are also drawing on me as a source of strength.

You said, "there is much missing for me to actually be Muslim" Like what? If you believe in God and all of his Prophets and as Mohammed as his last one then, you know what - you are Muslim (scary thought that its really that easy!) Take things slowly, don't let yourself be bombarded by all the things that Muslims have to hijab, prayer etc. I always say this but it's so true...Islam was revealed in 23 years - we can't be expected to learn and put in practice everything right away!

One final thought... You lose nothing by believing in God if think there is no God, but you can lose a lot if there is and you don't believe!

Sarah said...

I found an interesting blog post discussing this last night, actually. A lot of the comments on that post are really interesting too. Just thought I'd share it.

Being fully honest with yourself is really important, I think. It means you are neither resisting what you really feel to be true deep down, nor are you convincing yourself to believe for the wrong reasons. And I think that for some of us the path is a bit longer than others. Maybe it's more about the journey than the destination (sounds cliche, I know). And I feel that there's much enjoyment in that journey (along with all the agonising of course :)).

Candice said...

Aalya, thank you. You always make me feel better about Islam somehow. And I love how you say, "Islam was revealed in 23 years - we can't be expected to learn and put in practice everything right away!" :) Oh, and motherhood really is the best gift. Whenever I'm with her, I forget all my negative feelings.

Sarah, are you Muslim? Or are you learning, considering things, etc? I remember something in one of your blog posts about being sort of free from religious influences. Weird wording and that's not quite what I mean, but I can't explain. So I don't know if you meant you are just able to understand different people and their religions, or if you were not part of a religion.

Sarah said...

I'm not Muslim. I was once a practising Christian, when I was younger and naive and idealistic. I married a Muslim and have been learning about Islam ever since; in that sense I'm in the same boat as you. Sorry if this wasn't obvious. You aren't the first person to hint that my writing is a bit cryptic, maybe I need to work on that.

Candice said...

Nah, I don't think you need to work on anything in the way you present yourself! From your posts, I actually never got the sense that you were Muslim. Or even that you were close to converting or anything like that. In fact, I just thought you were fully "non-religious" (not practicing any organized religion) and I guess that's kinda where you're at. I just got more of a "religious" feel from you in this post than I had before so I had to ask! :P

khany said...

"this overall idea is not something any devout Muslim would think ..."
on the contrary anybody who has never truly tested his beliefs (against other possible explanations) can hardly claim to be devout. the qur'an records the story of abraham (peace be upon him) (006:074 - 006:083) growing up in an idolatrous society and accepting god precisely through the act of contemplation and rejection of alternatives. furthermore, god exhorts us dozens of times throughout the qur'an to think, ponder, reflect, question, consider, travel and see, study and meditate. it is not rhetoric. a muslim has no option but to think critically about his faith (008:022).

you question whether it is specifically god and religion that you feel a longing for. is it not possible to quench your thirst by belonging to a non-religious community and devoting yourself to a worldly cause?
islam teaches us that man was created with a natural disposition, fitrah (030:030). god gave each one of us a capacity (a need) to love and to hate, to exalt and to fear, to surrender and to sacrifice. and god revealed religion for the guidance of mankind, identifying in it objects that are worthy of our submission, our love and our hatred.

our fitrah innately recognizes that only god is worthy of worship. when we embrace our natural disposition we achieve peace within our own being. moreover, when we attempt to organize our relationships along divine injunctions we contribute to a more harmonious and equitable society. by observing limits to our power over the environment we come closer to living sustainably in peace with the planet. as believers we direct our love towards that which is pleasing to god and shun that which is displeasing to god. we honor and respect our parents, protect and comfort our spouse, provide for our children, fulfill the rights of our neighbors, the poor and the indigent because god has given them rights over us (004:001). in contrast, when we deny god our emotions are misdirected creating oppression and injustice. for example, god alone has the right to be feared. by rejecting god we substitute fear of god with various other phobias: fear of death, fear of public opinion, fear of those in authority, fear of failure, fear of humiliation, fear of poverty, etc. similarly, we feel a need for community. as believers we seek to belong to a company where god is oft remembered and we disengage from those who make a mockery of god and his religion (004:140).

Candice said...

What I have discovered I find most important in life is to follow my "inner sense". I had heard about fitrah and it was like another concept that is important in Islam that I totally agree with. And it makes me feel good to have a Muslim talk about it in the same way as I understand it. Basically, if you follow it, you will be submitting to God. A lot of Muslims put all the importance on the specific rituals of Islam but forget the importance of following all that is good and going against what is bad.

Anisah said...

I grew up in a close-knit church group. When I became Muslim, I lived in a small college town. There was a nice Muslim community, I think I was looking for that. But when I got married I move to NJ, and found many Muslims but no real community that I belonged in.

My advice is if you believe in it, then great. If not, don't become Muslim just to be part of a group.

Candice said...

Definitely wouldn't convert just for that... I'm trying to be very careful to believe fully before I convert and to do it for the right reasons.

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