Monday, March 25, 2013

Second thoughts ...

I just read a blog by a Muslimah who is not a Muslimah anymore. She wore a niqaab once, in her life, worked in the Muslim community for about ten years, and gradually, got convinced that Islam is not the solution, in fact, religion is not the solution.

That's a pretty huge decision to make about life.

Not surprisingly, her "coming out of the religious closet" upset me. How can a person be so oblivious to the blinding flash of truth right in front of their eyes? You only have to look around yourself, to appreciate the marvelous design all around you. Evolutionary biology may explain the natural variation in living organisms, but really, they don't explain the source of those variations.

Anyway, this is one long-standing debate between athiests and believers. We have a debate on "Does God Exist" on campus coming up in April's first week. I hope to go. But as always, I will come outside feeling unsettled in my heart. Alhamdulillah I have not experienced any second thoughts on THAT issue (this just came up because I just read that sad blog post), but I have experienced feeling unsettled because of the blatant rejection of something very obvious.

My second thoughts are (oh-what-a-surprise) on my life choices. The path I have chosen to take. I came to America. I started doing a PhD.

What I could have done, instead:

1. Taken online courses in Islamic sciences and become a scholar
2. Done editing jobs for a publishing house which publishes Islamic translated books from Arabic to English.
3. Learnt Arabic

Instead, I am:
1. Continually involved in doing something I am not very good at. Reason: I don't have CS background. I did my MS in it, but how did I do that, I have no idea.
2. Trying to catch up on my lack of proper background by doing CS61A : "The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" - something, every undergrad does when they start out their CS undergrad. [and I have a list of other subjects lined up like Algorithms, which I have to take].
3. Unless I improve my background, I am unable to go forward in research. Why, you may ask: Because any paper I read, just stays in my brain. The tools to implement that paper is not with me. I  am not a C++ programmer, and the field I am in, requires usage of a fast programming language like C++ to get things done.
4. MATLAB is just not working out for me. As I mentioned, MATLAB can work with maybe a few images, but when you talk about a large collection of videos, unfortunately, there is only one choice. C++.

So this is the current situation. I am nearly a year into my program, and the only progress I have made is to find out a huge list of things I don't know, and need to catch up on.

I guess it didn't help today when somebody I trust pointed out: "You should really have gone into something you are good at - like journalism".

If this comment is coming from somebody I trust, I trust that it's well-meant and not meant as a snide remark.

That's what worries me.

What if I am completely in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing, aiming for the wrong aim.


Mohammad Zafar said...

Assalamu a'laikum,

Even I felt very sad, even I also read the blog and comments made etc. It feels really awkward to even think about how people declare there apostasy openly without any fear (on the contrary declaring once Islam takes lot of time and guts).

I would like to mention here about one of my relative's story, She went to study in US too, but got married to a Hindu techie. They had a baby boy last month. This was a first case which happened in our family circles. No one was happy, whenever I think about the incident, I feel very sad.

Some thoughts about why:
1) She was neither a praying woman/girl, neither her parents. (Salah is the one which differentiates with kufr)
2) Surroundings and friends were also not encouraging, as they were Non-Muslim.
3) Islamic upbringing was a no go area.
4) Kufr promoting media, with Bollywood as biggest supporter with such kind of movies encouraging inter-cast marriages.
5) People make decisions based on preferences, whether they want it or not, beneficial or not, just because they think, religion bias is not current world order, they discourage it in every aspect.
6) Basic Islamic education with Islamic etiquette's is lacking, which builds superior values of Islam in a person.

Some supplications for us to be steadfast:
‘Um Salamah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said, ‘The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to repeatedly say this supplication, “O Controller of the hearts! Make my heart steadfast upon Your religion” so I asked him, ‘O Prophet of Allaah! Do hearts fluctuate?’ He said, “Yes, all mankind’s hearts are between two of the fingers of Allaah. If Allaah wills He maintains a man’s steadfastness, and if He wills He deviates him” (Ahmad & Tirmithi).

May Allah keep the whole Ummah steafast upon Islam. Ameen.

Uni said...

@Mohammad Zafar
Yes, this relative's story you mention is not surprising, given the background. I've observed that it's very very very easy to forego basic Islamic values in a country/environment like this. I've seen people not care about salah time, or haram ingredients in food products in here. And the temptation is unbearable I think if you have been brought up in a "liberal" household.

However, for any Muslim struggling to implement deen in his/her life, it is equally impossible to forego these basic Islamic values even in a country like this. I have also observed people strict about their salah, dawah etc. So it's a mixture, and I think we should all pray to Allah SWT to keep us on the way that is straight and Guide us towards the way of those who succeeded in pleasing Allah.

Jazakallah for sharing the dua'a.

Noor said...

Uni baji, about your choice of field of education, it's not bad to study what you want to. you can implement what you have learned/learning in Islam, in your field too.

and if your heart is not still settled then don't worry. pray salatul hajaat and do istikhara to help you.

and everybody is not perfect. We don't know many of the things in the field we chose so it doesn't mean you can give it up. you can learn. there's always a chance. Don't doubt your abilities. :)

hugs and prayers.

Uni said...

Yeah I know. There has got to be a balance, between the two. But it's really hard. And one of them suffers - like always.

I appreciate your advice and suggestions :). Jazakillah!