Hey Y’all, thanks for contacting me with your stories. This week we will be looking at a story about an individual on their journey to religion and discovering which sect is right for them. The story is a very personal one which I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading as much as I did. Thank you to the individual who shared this part of their lives with us!
Faith and Me
Growing up in Canada with my family originating from India has always posed as a struggle for me in regards to figuring out my own identity. As a third generation citizen of this country; I attended a predominantly Caucasian school, my first language was English, my friends were mostly Caucasian with maybe one or two Asian friends throughout my primary/elementary years. The only time I really had the time to have that “Desi” experience was at home, where even then only my father would occasionally speak to us in our mother tongue, Urdu.
I had limited interest in learning more about “my own” culture, or religion as a matter of fact until my pre-teen/teenage years. At the age of 12 my maternal grandmother had passed away leaving me in a state of feeling this greater connection to God who I believed to be her only caretaker after that point. By the time I was 14/15 years old, I took the step to learn more about my culture and my country, ultimately turning into an extreme Indian patriot/nationalist and Bollywood, Ghazal, Qawwali enthusiast. Who knew this child could go from rocking to Elvis to relaxing with Jagjit Singh within such a short period of time?! However along with indulging myself within this culturally rich life, I began to take my religion more seriously.
I was born into a Sunni Muslim family and grew up practicing as a Sunni would, although it was never as heavily stressed upon by my parents, which led to a majority of my knowledge being passed down my grandmothers and whatever few things I learnt from attending Madrasa (a school dedicated to learning about Islam) on Sundays. This of course left me with merely the basics and so I set foot on a journey that would change my spiritual self forever.
The first time I took interest in a sect other than Sunnism, ironically enough was while watching the music video to Khwaja Mere Khwaja from the Bollywood film Jodha Akbar. A song that I would frequently listen to while studying or even just throughout random jam sessions that I would have, which just so happened to open the doors to Sufism for me. I took the time to learn about it, what the followers believed however a couple aspects seemed with all due respect a bit too far fetched to me compared to the traditional concepts of Islam which I grew up with.
Sufism still became my gateway to explore Shia Islam, the sect which is based on the teachings of our last prophet, Muhammad peace be upon him, which were passed down through his own family as his cousin/son-in law was considered by an abundance of people, to be the rightful caliph after the death of our beloved Prophet p.b.u.h. As I was still in school at the time, I took whatever little free time I had to research anything and everything I could about the religion, which still was not enough.
As I was finishing my secondary school years I took a break from my religious journey, but knew within that this was how I wanted to practice and spend my life in devotion to God, the last Prophet, and the Ahl-e-Bayt (Family of the Prophet). This was something I never brought up at home, as I was always afraid to thinking that they would put down my views or not accept them even. I still continued to practice, as Sunni however the enthusiasm started to die down a bit.
It was during the winter of 2016 when the interest revived itself within me once again to learn more about Shia Islam, however with University coming in the way it made it even more difficult for me to balance my formal studies and what I felt I had to do for myself. Storing those thoughts back on the shelf of my mind, I went with the flow, living life as it presented itself to me. Ramadan 2017 was when I became certain that I needed to start changing the ways I practiced my religion as I didn’t believe I was fulfilling my religious duties to the best of my ability. Two months ago, on October 9th I made my first actual Shia friend who I consider an angel that blessed copiousness information, finally helping me in taking the step to “convert” or “revert” to Shia Islam.
This is something my family still has no idea about which of course has its setbacks as I have to make sure to practice in secrecy, but definitely worth the peace and satisfaction it has brought to my mind and soul. Occasionally I look back to periods of my life where I blindly followed what others had told me, making me feel extremely grateful and elated by the path of which I personally believe that God Himself has blessed me with. And despite the frequent hindrances, I do not think that they ever allowed me to lose hope but instead peaked my interest even more. One tip that I have for you readers is that no matter what people think or say, do what feels right to you. Do what feels right to your heart and mind. Never allow the beliefs of others to stand as a threat to your own but instead destroy the taboo and live your own life!
If you would like to be featured or would like to share your story get in touch with me via social media or email! I look forward to hearing more inspirational stories!