“Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again , come , come.” Rumi

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Is Islam still the answer to the Muslim youth seeking inner peace?

 A bright and inspiring young lady called me yesterday and we had an interesting conversation that went on for almost one hour, although she was calling from a different continent:)
Amal, is 18 then and feels an emptiness inside..an emptiness that is no more filled by what she calls "the rituals"-  i-e, praying, fasting- she has to perform as a form of belonging to a religion..Amal actually feels related to Islam as to any other "Moroccan tradition".. She does not feel spiritually connected and she is questioning everything.
Amal is also very smart and realizes that switching to a different religion is not -yet- the answer; for what she is lacking is much deeper than "a belief", she needs "a faith". She needs to feel a connection that can eventually lead her to  inner peace.
At the same time, she believes she needs to give "her religion" a second chance by trying to learn more than what is widely spread about Islam nowadays. "A return to basics", she says, "that's what I need".
I told her that she has all the right to question her belief, and with what she sees around her, I understand that it's very easy to discredit anything Islamic. I also told her that I really believe she is brave to try going through the not-so-easy-journey of rediscovering onself, reshaping the way she was taught to believe.
She asked for my help and I said "Honey, I am not what we can call a religious person, my relation to Islam started with a passionate love for the divine and it took me years to even remember to do the rituals the right way. Then, years later, came my "encounter" with the amazing journey of the prophet and I immediately fell in love with his amazing way of being.. and I felt the truth in each and every word the French poet Alphonse De Lamartine said about him ""Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he"Translated from Histoire De La Turquie, Paris, 1854, vol. II, pp. 276-277
"I want  to feel the same" Amal said..I need to trust that what I hear about the prophet is real, that Islam is the religion for me.."
Again, sweety, I do not think I can help you choose a religion, I can however try to find some ignored or overlooked Islamic texts and teachings that you may relate to..But remember that what you're seeking is a spiritual life that appeals awareness, and "faith, consciousness and awareness, all exist beyond the thinking mind" -RamDass-

Discussing religious practices and trying to prove this right or wrong is not my field :) I go by this saying :"Love's place is out beyond the many separate sects; since you love choosing and excluding, sleep on."Rumi
I promised Amal to keep her updated and to listen to her anytime she needed someone to tell her, frankly, "be careful this is all ego related, or keep going you're tracing your way "..
My personal experience taught me that Islam can indeed lead to a spiritual life, however, I do find it hard to explain it ,in words, to Amal..
I will try to do it -gradually- through this blog.

6 comments:

  1. Salam, 1st I would like to thank you for being a mentor and a lighthouse for the youth . Second, on your discussion with the young bright lady, what you were saying explicitly is "islam in morocco has been reduced by the vast majority to a collection of duties and rituals that are supposed to bring you peace but fail to". A dimension that can't be addressed by a set of rigid of musts, shoulds and have to is the spiritual dimension. Very often people measure their ability to connect with the divine and their ability to fulfill the rituals with devotion. The divine expresses itself in our life every moment through our own personal sensibilty, experience, narrative and philosophy. One should trust one's ability to meet God in silence, in introspection , in the beauty of creation and ultimately in the purity of one's heart and every act of kindness we are inspired to. This requires that you leave behind the conditionning that caution you from being a kind, generous and loving human being. How can you meet the one who loves unconditionnally when you dont know what that means. How can you meet the fearless when you are full of fear. How can you walk in faith when you are full of doubt. The more genuine you become, the more joy you meet . And the more joy you experience, the more of the divine you meet.
    And then the rituals become a way to enjoy being in the light of God just a little longer !

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    2. WAW! thank you. This is so eloquent and profound.
      Thanks Foula for creating this incredible forum of thought and discussion.

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    3. Beautifully said Abrahamsterify!
      You're most welcome Iqbal..

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  2. Dear Amal, I would like to let you know that you are not the only one who is looking for those answers but you are one of the few who got the courage to voice it out loud and break the taboo!! Keep researching and looking for the divine inside of you.
    Farah,It is a very great insight into not only our youth thinking but every introspective thinking person looking for the inner peace!! Thank you for sharing and I love reading you Farah Kinani

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