Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Feeling vs. Logic
I was just reading this lovely post by Sarah, and it got me reminiscing about the day I decided to be a Muslim. My dad's Muslim so technically I was born a Muslim, but I didn't really call myself one until the day I began praying, in April last year.
I had always tried to approach Islam (and religion in general) from a logical point of view. How do we know God exists? How do we know the Qur'an is authentic? How do we know Islam is the true religion? I used to have endless discussions (*ahem* arguments) with friends about these topics. They would always win. I realized I never had a good enough argument as to why God/Islam were not real. As many books and articles as I read about these issues, I never really found an argument that a friend couldn't refute.
It still wasn't enough though. There was a point where I realized God did exist, and Islam was real, but where I felt I wasn't ready to become a Muslim yet. Soon after this I figured out what was stopping me: a feeling. I didn't feel God or Islam. This is really hard to describe. I just suddenly knew that when I got that feeling, I would be ready to become a Muslim. I wasn't sure when I would get it, or how to speed up the process of getting it, but I just knew that it wasn't about logic anymore. I was convinced in my head. (I'm not going to say "I just needed to be convinced in my heart" cause it sounds unbearably corny and Hollywoodish. Although I did just say it. Anyway!)
Then one day I got the feeling! I woke up and realized that I wanted to start praying. This was it! I asked a friend to teach me how to pray that night. I got very emotional and started crying halfway through, which lengthened the whole process by an hour, but it was happy crying so it was all good. After that I said the shahada and went to sleep. The next morning I woke up a Muslim.
Since then I've never looked back. Nothing has been able to turn me away from Islam, simply because I now feel Islam and God in me all the time. There are many things I'm still unsure of, but they haven't made me doubt Islam itself. Logic (and the type of education I had) would have made me turn away when I found out about polygamy, beating (disciplining?) wives, and inheritance in the Qur'an. Feeling made me research it further and understand that there are different interpretations and understandings of these verses. Not once did I doubt God: it was always Muslims who I doubted, and their interpretations.
What was it like for you? Was it a logical/emotional decision to become a Muslim, or both?
Since I grew up with a Muslim parent, I was already exposed to Islam to an extent, although thankfully I was never forced or pressured to be a Muslim until I decided to be. I'm guessing it might be different for someone who wasn't exposed to Islam, for them it might be a combined logic/feeling decision. I'd love to hear everyone's experiences!