Why I am a Muslim
I believe in one God, I believe in justice and equality and that is why I am a Muslim.
These days, my belief is constantly challenged by words like “Islamic Terrorist”. It is as if Islam and terrorism cannot be separated and terrorism is an invention of Islam rather than a victim. This association made me feel defensive and saddened. It degrades my value as a human being. Yet, this is what led me into a long process of self-discovery and brought me back to my faith.
As my sojourn of self-discovery progressed, I had a profound realization: my religion Islam is not the name of any deity, person or founder, nor it is the name of any tribe or a geographic area. To my surprise, I rediscovered that Islam believed in countless prophets from Adam to Abraham to Moses to Jesus to Mohammad. Because of long history of humanity, many prophets are not even known to us although the scripture makes it clear that all nations and races have been bestowed with prophets, or messengers. In this way, Confucius or Ramah or Buddha could have been my prophets, just like David or John, who knows! Now, I feel I can embrace everyone in this earth.
The concept that prophets are human beings is appealing to me. Thus, I found that Mohammad, the last prophet of Islam had a humble beginning as an orphan and grew up with the adopted and foster families. As a young adult, he fell in love with a woman who he married. The Islamic state he founded was left to elect its leader by popular vote not by lineage or kinship. In the then contemporary world of 6th century that did not know any other form of government other than kings and emperors, he led his life as a common man never proclaiming himself as king or even a formal head of state or even enjoying any such privilege. Above all, I was struck by his humility when he asked thousands of gathered pilgrims in his last pilgrimage for a vote of confidence as to if he had discharged his duty as messenger. He then looked up to the heavens and pleaded the gathered people to be his witness to God. I also came to know that prophets and early Muslim rulers had no palace, no special privilege; they lived simple life like the commoners and acted literally as only representative of people.
Therefore, I believe in my faith more than ever before, it is so simple, so inclusive, so human, and so down to earth as opposed to being celestial and out of this world. I believe in humility, egalitarianism and goodness of mankind, this is what is expected of a mortal man, this is what makes me a Muslim, and this is so much in sync with the belief and value of our founding fathers of this nation, this I believe.
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