I was born in a Muslim family, hence it was expected from me that I become a practicing Muslim as well. My mom was my first teacher about religion, she taught me that our religion is about truthfulness and honesty. My father hardly ever offered Namaz, but my mom told me that he is a very pious man. He is working as a civil servant in a government job and never takes bribes, ensuring he earns rizq-e-halal and that means a lot when everyone is running after money.
The things I read in textbook about our Prophet (PBUH) was that he was a very honest man, kept promises, never told a lie and people around him trusted him because of these qualities. I read in my textbook that a nonbeliever old lady used to throw garbage on him everyday and he never said anything to her, one day she fell ill and wasn’t there to throw garbage and he went inside her house and found her sick. He cleaned her house and brought water for her and fed her. She was so touched that she was converted to Islam. I read in my textbook that fulfilling promise is a very important thing, as we will be asked about promises on the day of judgment.
I was a strong believer and thought that taking care of people and doing good deeds to people and being honest, truthful and kind to them was the real way to please God. I loved our festival of Eid where my mom taught me that the real purpose is sharing meat with our relatives and poor people. For me it was about meeting the whole family and about being happy.
My mom was a strong believer of charity and she taught me to give ‘sadqa’ (charity) to poor when in trouble and she always gave zakat. She said Namaz and fasting are personal matters and can be forgiven, but zakat is for other people so we should always give it to them. She offered Namaz regularly, but never mentioned her Namaz in front of other people.
To me my religion was completely about being a good human being. The idols I was following were had all good traits and were good to mankind.
Then I grew up and suddenly the whole world was connected and has become a cyber village. People started telling me how other people are killing humans on the name of my religion. They started showing me a bad and ugly face that was connected to my religion and told me that I am the follower of a barbaric religion and belong to a bloodthirsty ignorant clan.
They started showing me parts and interpretations from my religion that some others believe but I never knew about.
Now the people who kill others, walk around in veils, tell lies, take bribe,cheat and deceit and then go for Hajj call themselves Muslims and I also call myself Muslim but I am not one of them. Then who am I? I am not a Christian or Hindu or a Jewish as I offer prayers in the Islamic way but the people they talk about – I am not one of them? I strongly need my religion because I need to believe and to pray and to trust God but the religion I know as Islam and what people tell me about is different. What should I do? Who am I?