My younger years – My choice as a Muslim
I am born to Muslim parents. As such I was raised a muslim. Thought Islam since I could remember. I went to an Islamic Kindergarten. there I learn the concept of Islam and its pillars. I never really paid much heed to existent of other religion. All this began to change when I move to primary school. When my parents decided that I would go to a secular school instead, I never really understood why till I was older.
I was raised in strict islamic teachings or one might call it style. From a very young age I was taught sirah(History of Muhammad s.a.w), the Quran and Shariah(Islamic law). During those younger time I did not understand much of their significants, I just followed the rule. As I got older I slowly began to understand.
As I moved on to primary school, a secular one, I was also sent to a weekly religious classes. From my secular school(SS) I was introduce to different races, culture and religion. At first it was a bit strange. I would usually hang around other malay muslim friends. Than slowly over time we manage to get along quite fine with other classmates. During this interaction is where I learn that there are differences between my religion and theirs, but one thing stays the same is that we pray to God.
I began to question my parents and religious school(RS) teachers about other religions. Fortunately, my RS teachers were former student of my grandfather. So they said that Islam is my religion and for me to learn about the religion of others I must first learn about my own. Yet again I did not understand this. So I never asked them again about it again. Instead asked my friends, but most of the time we never ventured far just touching the surface.
During those primary years especially during primary 5&6 I studied deeper into Islam. I was introduced to fiqh(Islamic practices), akhlaq(Islam conduct), tajweed(Quranic pronunciations), tafsir(Quran interpretation) and hadith(Islamic Narations). Though I was only introduced to the surfaces of this subjects, I was amazed at how Islam/religion does not only teaches us about God but also how we live. I learn that the Shariah and Islam is derived from the Quran and hadith and in any case where I have question or doubts I have a source to turn to. With this I became less dependent on my teachers and parents for my answers.
With the books available in my home such a task of self learning is never impossible. With books such as Taisiirul ‘Alaam(A collection narrations), Tafsir ibnu Khatir(Interpretation of the Quran) and the Fathul Bahri(another collection of narration).
The Taisiirul ‘Alaam was used when I was in primary 5&6 up to my secondary years. This book helped me understand more of the practices of Islam. It is this 800++ pages book that I used to study fiqh.
Tafsir ibnu Khatir, was used by me to study the Quran deeper thus helped me understand previous questions I have about Islam. I only found this book in my secondary years though it had been there all the while.
The Fathul Bahri, this is a large set of books. Each book is the size of an A4 paper and as thick as Harry potter and the chambers of secret the paper back. Here is a collection of narration more complete than that of the Taisiirul ‘Alaam.
Through this books I learn Islam from its source. Not from Ustaz(religious teachers) who might have meddled their own opinions Or from false interpretations and narrations. My father always tells me that to learn Islam one cannot only depend on the teaching of others wholly, one must also learn to verify what was taught. This way we will never be lost or let astray.
Till the age of 12, around primary six-secondary one, I was a muslim by heritage and upbringing. I never really had a choice over my religion. Before that age I mostly assume that we are born into a religion. The thought of conversion just never existed. Then, I heard the stories of people converting into Islam and out of Islam. This time I asked My father, he answered they may have discover things that draws them to a religion, God will guide who god wills. Then a question came to me later, which I found an answer to,
“There is no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And God heareth and knoweth all things.”
I have made my choice, I was Muslim by heritage and upbringing, now I am a Muslim by choice.
I will paused here for now…