I’ve been in a far ‘right’ position, where my life and mindset revolved around religious matters that tend to be fanatical. When I graduated from college, I spent some time at the Islamic boarding school learning about the Quran and Hadith. When I got out of there, my hijab was wide enough to cover half of my body with a determination not to come into contact with the opposite sex again. Younger than that, I even had moments where I could easily accuse others with the word ‘kafir‘. Today, among the many versions of myself I’ve been through, that far-right version of me is no longer exists.

In the last four years I have begun to questioning religion in its function as an institution. Questioning that “the Ad-Din” brought by Muhammad in the past might be different from the understanding of religion held by mankind today. I just found out after 25 years of living, that from one verse in the Quran, hundreds of interpretations from various scholars can emerge. Thus, in my opinion, no one has the right to claim that he/she (or them) is in control of their religion. The next five years, I started learning from the basics only to realize how stupid I was when it came to Islam. I no longer feel at peace and begin to think that people should not feel superior to their Islamism. The more you learn about Islam, the more you realize that you haven’t even crossed the starting line.

Today, people are injudiciously using “Convey from me, even if it is one verse..” as a justification to judging the others. They use verses and hadiths to justify their actions and behavior in deciding whether other people’s behavior deserves to go to heaven or hell. Instead of making themselves look pious, their efforts actually make others afraid to approach Islam–and make some Muslims doubt the peace of their religion. Somehow, they did not learn how the Prophet himself was very careful before delivering a verse. The process of receiving revelation was an energy-consuming event for the Prophet Muhammad. Not only will his body be sick and have a fever, but his mind must always be focused. He would ask Gabriel several times just to make sure that he did not misinterpret the verse. The Prophet would not convey revelation unless he had believed that he himself had understood The God’s intention. If the Prophet was so careful in his words and actions, how could we–who thousands of years away from him–carelessly use verses to demean others?

When I decided to learn about religious study, people around me thought that I would graduate and become a religious lecturer or preacher. The fun fact is… there is nothing religious in religious study. Religious Study learns about human behavior, about how they react to religious issues and how religion affects the way they live and make decisions. If you meet me today, my mindset and behavior towards religion has changed almost 180 degrees. I don’t wear a wide hijab anymore. I stopped my fanaticism towards one group in Islam. I started relying on logic instead of just a blind belief. Functionally, I began to use my mind as a gift to stand up and decide what is best for myself, along with all the consequences that I might bear in the future. That includes the possible consequence that what I decide now, might lead me to the hell later.

My mindset now revolves around how I can live the best I can: the best for myself as a human being and the best for humanity. The only thing I can think about right now is how to give the best for my life and benefit the people around me. Thinking about how to make money is much easier than thinking about religion. At the very least, I have to start making sure that I don’t hurt other people in the name of religion. I may begin to doubt religious institutions, but there is no doubt in my faith. My God is still one and it is the same god that Prophet Muhammad believed in. I agree with Karen Armstrong about how religious beliefs will remain eternal in humans and become an important part of humanity. Human logic may always seek truth and rationality, but as far as it goes, deep within humans there is always a desire to adore and rely on something, whatever it may be. For me, that ‘something’ is still an extraordinary power so called God.

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