This is a question which I admit I did not really think of before, it was actually someone on Twitter suggested I write about. The more I thought about this the more I talked about this to my friends to see what their views are on this subject.
As I have mentioned earlier on in one of the other posts, I was not brought up in a strict family. This does not mean my parents never prayed or were not devout Muslims, they were/are. They just never forced us to do anything we did not wish to, e.g pray, fast, give to charity (these are the core values of Islam). What they did do was explain and give us the chance to research, go to Islamic classes and talk to scholars about any questions we had and then watched us do these things because we wanted too.
This reminds me of when me and my older sister who is 18 months older then me, decided at the ages of 14 and 16 we were going to start going to local Islamic classes. Now people may have this perception that an Islamic class involves a bunch of girls sitting quietly in a corner being preached too and brain washed. The reality is the total opposite, we actually had such a great time going to these classes, we made friends there, we asked questions openly and we always pestered for exact answers. This was not a class where someone would say “You do not do this because you go to hell”, it was in fact a time of great patience and understanding.
I will not say there has not been times where my faith has been shaken or I have felt lost, because that would be a lie. I can honestly say at these times my family did nothing but be patient, they encouraged me to deal with things the best way I could and eventually I got back there again. This is not me preaching that religion has saved me, but I do believe the beauty of having a religion is you have your own journey and connection to God. At times this will be tested and it is up to you how you deal with it, for me I felt myself get back together once I had overcome the testing times I had gone through.
Although it is a bit difficult for me to answer the question of would I have been a Muslim if I had not been born as one, I do believe for me Islam makes sense. I do not identify myself as a Muslim as a label but because I believe in Islam.
This does not mean Islam is for everyone, because as I mentioned before everyone has their own journey in life. The below verse is mentioned in the Quran about people and religion.
Al Baqarah 256 which states “there is no compulsion in religion.”
I have noticed many right wing accounts stating if Muslims wish to leave Islam they are going to be “killed”, however I find it ironic when they manage to find some “ex-Muslims” who have left Islam yet dedicate their lives to talking about Islam . They will join these far right groups and instead of being “scared” for their lives as they say, they will bring themselves more attention by writing books and selling them for profit in the process of abusing other Muslims?🙄🤦🏽
To be honest I have met 2 ex-Muslims in real life, and one I have spoken to online who unlike the ones who join the far right groups have just simply carried on with life. I met one ex-Muslim as university, she never even said she was an ex-Muslim. It was maybe after 6 months of being friends she told me, and you know what? Nothing changed between us, why should it? Since then she has actually gone back into Islam and is engaged to a lovely white English guy!❤
The second person was someone who I met at a wedding, he wasn’t my friend but a friend of a friend. A normal guy in his late 20’s living in London (last time I heard he was dating a Muslim girl). However the time I spent with him and the questions I did curiously ask (I told you guys I am pretty fascinated at anything and everything) he was open with. I asked him what his family thought? He said his parents were of course a bit upset about it but they did not disown him (or threaten to kill him like many people would assume!). In fact they eventually accepted it, he still participated in Islamic festivities but he does his own thing, his reasons for leaving Islam? He said he was a very logical person and did not believe in the idea of religions full stop, nothing else to it.
At the same time I have also met people who have converted into Muslims, I actually love meeting converts as I feel like because they have come into Islam themselves and not born into it, they hold so much knowledge. I have a few friends who were non Muslims growing up and turned to Islam when they started going on their own personal journey, because it just worked for them.
This goes back to the original question would anyone be Muslim or a follower of any religion if they were not brought up in it? Unless someone knows about the religion and decides it suits them then I think it could be a struggle, especially in todays day and age. I look at how the media and social media platforms portray Muslims and if I was an outsider who did not know anything about Islam would I believe all the negative things which are shared? Maybe. Would I do my own research about Islam? Yes I do believe I would, and would it change my views? Probably, because I know the type of person I am. I enjoy learning and for me Islam works for me, I enjoy having a belief.
I appreciate religion is not for everyone, which is why no one should be forced to believe in something unless they take time and research and form their own opinion.😊