I love Islam. I love Islam in a silent and profound way in which I seek to understand the fundamentals of the religion, but not become a fundamentalist who showcases how “religious” they are. I love Islam in the pragmatic sense, and I love how it all makes sense. I have repeatedly dissected the religion to miniscule pieces in attempts to find meaning—my own meaning–that is not imposed on me by others, yet still adheres to the overall message of the religion. What I found was indeed reassuring: it all makes sense. Islam’s unique quality, in my opinion, is that it makes sense, at least more than any other religion I have studied.
Having said that, it is deeply disheartening when people who claim to love Islam dissect it to understand it, yet they choose the pieces of the religions that will augment their agenda or outright wrong beliefs, and decidedly throw the rest out. Now, if you dare to challenge them, you will either: observe them struggle with their cognitive dissonance, or be accused of blasphemy—the latter being the likelier outcome of challenging a fundy’s beliefs. What bothers me the most is how unwilling most people are to even discuss religious matters, or accept another interpretation, heck, even listen to another interpretation. What makes this laughable however is that some Sudanese people seem to have blurred the line which separated religion and culture. I have had countless arguments with Sudanese people who are so narrow minded that it seems scary to even suggest rationality in an argument. I have always been a skeptical person, and whenever I meet someone who is so attached to a particular mentality, I like to oppose everything they say, so as to test their convictions, and the depth of their knowledge about the subject matter. If I am going to listen to a person with strong views about religion, I would hope that they are at the very least sufficiently knowledgeable to form and challenge counter arguments. I would love to have a conversation with a Sudanese person about culture vs. religion, and end the conversation with something other than: “is that what you were taught in Amreeka? Gooli astagfarullah ya bit.” No, I am not an apostate. No, I do not enjoy blasphemy. I just want to discuss the religion I love, because there’s always more to explore. Religion and culture, while often intertwined, are not the same “institution.”
So, let’s talk. Don’t scare me, convince me.