Is your Islam better than mine?

Published: April 10, 2011
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I was taught to think about whether my religious beliefs are rational.

Growing up, I studied about the history of Islam, religious battles and tales of bravery in our compulsory Islamic Studies class at school. I was taught to learn and believe in the religion – and so I did.

Then, I went to college.

My romanticized opinions were shattered when I took a course on  religious studies. As I entered a new discourse, one that compared Islam to  Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism, I found myself questioning my preconceived notions of righteousness.

The class taught us the difference between “rational thought” and religion. When I looked around my class I felt orthodox, but certainly not superior.

By comparing rationality to different religions, I was required to question the validity of religion. This was difficult for me. A voice in my head kept saying

“Hello? This isn’t what you are here to learn. You should believe – not question!”

But I continued and completed the courses.

At the end of the semester, I  started questioning some old beliefs. When I heard a professor talk about Islamic history I realised reverence was personal. Islam was sacred to me only because I believed in it.

I learned that other religions – which earlier lessons had taught me to regard as ‘false’ – are sacred too. Not for me, as a Muslim, but for those who believe in the sacredness of their respective religions.

We spend our lives protecting our religion, trying to maintain its sanctity, while we miss out on the most vital part that Islamic history can teach us: universality.

Tell me, is your Islam better than mine? If no human is created superior than another, there should be no better sacredness; after all spirituality is personal.

To the contrary, Islam in Pakistan is being misused to control and to deprive.

Personally, I choose to remain confused…

Maida.Amir

Maida Amir

The author is a digital media and communications professional based in Toronto. She holds a masters degree in Communication and New Media from McMaster University.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.