How incredibly lucky are we to be born into Muslim families? And how many times do we give thanks for this. “Islam”, what does it mean to us and how much do we appreciate it?
There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world currently, and this number is increasing rapidly. Islam is portrayed in a negative light by the media. With Islamophobia so rampant in today’s world, one might wonder what the reasons are for people to revert to Islam.
Amstel Rentap hails from Sarawak, Malaysia. A student of physiotherapy, embraced Islam at a tender age of 18 years. Family, the most important people in our lives. How would you feel if you had to hide your religion from them? It is unfathomable. But Amstel’s family is unaware of his conversion.
Youth are generally considered to be more playful with their lives. A person embracing this beautiful way of life, Islam, at this age begets a very pertinent question, what drives people towards Islam? When questioned, Amstel explained that it were the Islamic mannerisms, etiquettes and values that drove him towards Islam. All our actions are based on certain guidelines given to us by Allah SWT. As Muslims, we owe it to Him to follow these guidelines.
Some people would say that Islam is a strict and intimidating religion. They might not understand the language of The Book of Allah, Arabic. Perhaps, they might find bowing your head in prayer to Allah SWT five times a day requires a bit too much commitment or even learning the supplications might be a challenge for some people. But, in actuality, Islam is a very simple religion when practiced properly. Islam encompasses all aspects of a person’s life and not just the spiritual component. It is a complete package, the best way of life. When we bow down for Ruk’u, we realign our back. We pray five times a day, how many time do we then get a free realignment? When we prostrate to Allah SWT, the blood circulation in our brain is improved. Why would a person not want that?
Islam teaches us to be responsible and punctual. If we are used to praying the five obligatory prayers on time, this will affect our punctuality and responsibility in all other aspects of life. Praying on time will help us manage our worldly affairs in the right fashion and on the right time.
Islam changes people for the better. For instance, Amstel used to drink alcohol, but now, since alcohol consumption is prohibited in Islam, he no longer consumes it. This has helped him improve his health in numerous ways. Islam makes people more civilized. A person who is not dutiful to their parents would begin to be obedient towards them. Islam provides guidance in a man’s life. Amstel agrees that with Islam, he was able to curb all these habits and become a better person.
Smoking cigarettes has many health threats, yet people continue to smoke. The gruesome pictures on cigarette boxes has missed its mark since people are so hooked on to smoking that they tend to dismiss the picture. Even though, there is a difference of opinions amongst the scholars regarding the ruling for smoking, Amstel was able to quit the vile habit. Since smoking bring more harm than good, Amstel perceived it to be impermissible for him.
When asked about his future plans, Amstel replied that since there are not many Muslims in Sarawak, he plans to teach the religion to the people of Iban. As he is studying to be a physiotherapist, he spends hours in the hospital. While at the hospital, he found youngsters, from the Iban tribe, dying due to smoking and alcohol consumption. “This is part of our tradition” was the reply of such youngsters. Tradition and culture is important but at the same time we must consider to look at this logically. We must consider whether tradition is beneficial for us or is it simply lethal. Islam is a religion that urges towards goodness. Allah SWT ordered us to refrain from things that are harmful for us. In Surah al-Baqarah (2:195) Allah says. “… make not your own hands contribute to your destruction…” and continues in Surah al-Nisa (4:29), “… nor kill yourself..”
Islam is a beautiful religion that addresses every single detail of life, from birth until death. Everything that we do is accountable for and will have consequences. Islam does not tell you to change our name, race or traditions. Islam does not tell you to change your language. People have many misunderstandings regarding Islam. These misunderstandings will only change if people educate themselves and venture to learn more about this beautiful way of life that we call Islam. It teaches us good things and prohibits the things that should be prohibited, things that bring us more harm than good. The next time you spend hours watching silly videos on YouTube, try something new and watch a lecture by an Islamic scholar instead and learn more about the religion. After all, you have nothing to lose!
For our readers residing in Malaysia can catch the show Salam Hari Ahad at 9pm on the New Muslim Care Youtube Channel