Opinion, Religion

Day 4: My Views on Religion

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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?

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Feelings, Opinion, Religion, Uncategorized

Day 3: A Quote I Try to Live by

It’s only day-3 and I already messed up this challenge by not writing in the past 6 days. I tried to write when I was on my way back to home from work but always failed, either because I fell asleep along the way on Trans Jogja, or because the situation didn’t make it possible for me to write. And when I reached home, I always got sidetracked doing other things like cooking, gossiping with my dad, or complaining about how my neighbor changed his hotspot username and password so I can’t use it for free anymore. But now that I don’t have to go to work, I have enough time to catch up. Well, it’s not really catching up if I only write one post per day –if I could do that, though.

Well now let’s get cracking with this job.

Have you ever experienced a time when everything doesn’t seem to go your way? When you go through one bad thing after another, and everything seems to go wrong no matter what you do to fix them? Well you’re not alone, then. Bad things happen to everyone. For me and my dad, that time was last month. It was a pretty tough month for both of us, where our patience and sincerity were being tested. While my dad remained calm and patient, I was the one who *sort of* lost control. Instead of being mad at me for cursing a lot, my dad tried to calm me, because he knew how disappointed I was at that time. He just told me not to hate someone that much, and to always remember their kindness and forgive their mistake. He convinced me that we would be okay, we’re gonna find a way out of this difficulty, Allah will help us, and we could get through this together. 

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How my dad deals with every problem always reminds me of one verse in Quran “verily, with every difficulty, there is relief”. It is the 5th verse from Surah Al-Inshirah. One of the most beautiful verses in the Quran and maybe one of the most widely shared verse on the Internet. It gives a message of hope and encouragement, and makes me more positive and not easily discouraged whenever I’m facing a problem. It’s like a reminder for me that there is always a solution for any problem that we might face, and compared to Allah’s Mercy all our difficulties and problems are tiny. With that being said, that verse automatically becomes a quote that I try to live by.

You may feel like you’re going through your difficulties all alone, but Allah will always be by your side. Hang in there. The promise of Allah is true. After all, with every difficulty, there is relief.

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Feelings, Opinion, Religion

A Baby Step to Find My Real Peace

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​It has been a month and two days since my 23rd birthday. And since then I keep thinking of buying a small Quran for myself. Probably that’s gonna be the first thing I will buy next month as a late birthday present for myself.

By the way, lately, my Instagram explore is filled with tons of engagement and wedding photos. From my chairmate in high school to those selebgrams I don’t really know, they started to settle down with their special someone. Don’t get me wrong, even though I’m still as skeptical of marriage as I was in a few wordpress posts ago, I’m more than happy for everyone who chose getting married as the next thing they’d do in their life among other exciting options, because to be very honest I’m still an ocean away from thinking of marriage. My first baby step to think of it is probably following The Bride Dept Instagram account because I don’t want to miss out on their cool post and….to get motivated to think of marriage.

When you’re on Instagram the whole time and see how good everyone else’s doing, it’s hard not to compare your life with theirs. It happens automatically. Your life feels like a mess and you see perfection in everyone else’s life. Like what people always say, the grass always seems greener on the other side, right? But well, I’m not here to compare my love life, or life in general with anyone else’s. Less because getting married is not on my top three to do list, and more because I’m tired of comparing my life with others. When my life is falling apart, I tell myself that everyone has problems, that I’m not the only who’s struggling. People have their own path, and do things at their own pace. No need to rush and just do the best things that we can. Well, sometimes it works, sometimes I have to find another way to pull myself together again. And instead of focusing on how everyone has their lives figured out, I try to focus on my life and only look at other people’s success as a motivation to improve myself.

Along the way of trying to improve my life, I found myself thinking about my religion, something that has been long forgotten from my life, something that I didn’t care much and never took into consideration before. And for the first time, I became scared of the fact that I’ve been far from God. I’ve never been a religious person. I only wear headscarf to school because my parents told me to, or my friends wear it too, or because I was too lazy to wash my hair. There were time where I missed prayers because of oversleeping and I didn’t even feel guilty for it. I do fasting in Ramadhan but rarely do the voluntary fast. Basically I only do a few out of many obligations as a muslim, and not all my intention is because of Allah. Whereas, in a hadiths it is clearly stated that actions are judged by motives.

I still remember back then when my boyfriend and I discussed an issue, he always talked about the consequences in the Hereafer, while I never thought of it. Not because I didn’t know it, but more because I hate to be reminded that I’m full of sins, that eventually I have to hold responsible for all my actions in Judgement Day. I kept bending the rules, I only agreed on what’s suitable with my way of thinking. And the worst part is I used to *kind of* hate his way of thinking when actually it can save me from many errors and bad decisions making. I used to stay away or even scared of that kind of people who…you know..always think and behave in such an Islamic way. I used to think that they’re so boring, weird, judgemental, narrow-minded, and whatnot when actually they’re the ones whom I have to approach and be friends with. The ones I need to stay away from are those who make me forget Allah, not the ones who brings me closer to good things and makes me remember Allah in everything I do. Astagfirullah.

Now I kind of understand how it felt like to be him a year ago. When he finally made a decision to leave me. That’s the thing that he had to do if he wanted to change. I was a bad influence, I guess. Well, we were a bad influence for each other, back then.

But Allah works in mysterious ways. He doesn’t give you what you want when you want it, but gives you what He knows you need at the right time. And then God sent him again to my life. To remind me that I have to change, that I have to learn more about my religion, that I have to start practicing sunnah, and that I must leave all the bad habits I used to do in the past. I believe that if you truly want to change for good, Allah will send the good people to help you. To this very day, I’m still figuring out what I’m supposed to do first. It’s not because I’m nowhere near ready, but more because there are too many things that I need to change. The way I pray, the way I think and behave, and the way I dress up. Well, pretty much everything in me, I guess.

Pray for a stronger heart. The road to change is a bumpy one. I know my journey just began (or maybe it hasn’t been started yet?) and I still have so many things to learn. I’m still afraid that I’ll probably lose some of my friends along the process, or that some people will belittle my intention. But if I keep letting this fear pulling me down then I’ll never change. But I know that Allah is the Most Merciful, the Most Forgiving, and I believe that even if you only utter “I want to change” Allah will make it easy for you.

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