In my family, we give a significant importance to “knowing others”, or maybe the more appropriate term would be “knowing the enemy”. I remember when my Dad bought the Coran, people thought it was weird. Some even thought it was dangerous. At that time we were living in the country side in a religious Christian area, where I never knew the difference between Sunna and Shiia and where the Aounists were just those who hated the ‘ouwet for some irrational reason… it was one of those places where there were only us and the others.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard conversations such as this:
- Shooo?! Why would you buy THAT for?
- Why “not”?
- Well, you have the bible what would the Coran do you? What if you’re children read it, you know Christianity but children are children, they might get lost.
- We are very confident with our children’s ability to differentiate the good and the bad; we know what we have taught them. Everybody should know what Muslims believe in, what they think of us and what they say about us.
At that time, I thought my dad was awesome, perfect. In fact my dad is awesome at least he bothered to read their writing before pointing his weapon in their face, right? But I suppose no body’s perfect… I mean, I am certain there’s more about Muslims than the enemy.
So the question remains unanswered:
I admit that I am curious about everything that’s different and at the same time profoundly important to others. All the faces of spirituality are so fascinating. We grow up believing that OUR religion is the answer to all unanswerable questions. We also grow up believing everybody else is wrong. Being born in this rusty Middle East I had many others to call wrong, so I grew up believing I am right in a world where so many people are wrong, which made me feel safe and special.
But one day I just peeked into the others’ lives and they were not so bad after all, my family always taught me that people are good regardless of their religion, but they never told me that others can have religions just as fascinating as mine and that when they pray they are just as pretty as my folks are in church. Their spirituality wasn’t so weird after all. They also struggle to be good and they suffer for failing that objective. They also suffer for doing what’s wrong, their religion wasn’t just the religion that puts women in veil and allows men to beat their wives. No. They had more than that, in fact women are always asked to be more discrete and men always beat their wives, religion’s simply the easiest excuse.
Suddenly I wanted to know the others so much, but how? How can you get objective information about such a subjective issue?
My society can’t possibly help, since my society needs first of all to preserve its superiority over any other. And the others’ society can’t either, because their society will need to establish a superiority of its own.
But I am not seeking a new religion to adopt, so I don’t want to adopt any supremacy. I want to see another culture to see the magic that I have found in my religion but in others’ religions. I wanted to see the world from the enemy’s eyes for a moment. The only thing I have to achieve that is what the others write for themselves… Their holy books.
Ok then, why Islam? Why do I have this particular interest in Islam?
Frankly? I don’t see why should I seek an answer to such a question. After all I am the “Why not?” person. Why not Islam? I have a Coran so learning about it is easier, right?