Tuesday 20 October 2009

Muslim by birth or by choice

I believe, like millions of other Muslims in the world today, that I am blessed that I was born in a Muslim family and raised as a moderate practising Muslim - without having to go on a quest for the path of righteousness and the true religion. But am I really blessed! - for not having to search for the truth, for a blind belief in what I was told as a child and for not going on my personal quest for knowledge, for not contributing to the body of knowledge about the truth!

Islam encourages quest for knowledge, research and thinking to understand and interpret the words of God and Islam as a religion. A disproportionately large population of Muslims in the world prefer to lead their lives like programmed robots - in a state of collective hypnosis. This is because once born a Muslim we stop the intellectual discourse. This is contrary to what Prophet Muhammad (saw) asked from the Ummah!

Pakistan and other Muslim countries would not be in the mess we are in if ordinary Muslims were more open to learning about Islam, the Quran and Islamic ways of life - and if they were not easily taken by the shallow but hypnotic messages from the hard line fundamentalists.

For Muslims converts who chose the religion, after having travelled on road to self discovery, the situation is different. It is our premise that over the last couple of centuries contribution of Muslim converts (those who chose Islam not born in it) to the overall body of knowledge in Islam is significantly higher than born Muslims. In a series of posts following this one my colleague Anwar Ahmad will be presenting a argument to support this view. Watch this space...

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