By Areeb Yasir
The biggest challenge I faced when entering the Muslim religion, by my own accord; was the different cultures involved in the community. It would seem that Islam plays a back seat role to culture. In particular this is the most obvious in the Pakistani and Fijian communities. When I asked a question from one of the brothers pertaining to family life (in regards to if leaving them for 40 or more days for the sake of Jamadthi) was a religious expedition. He answered that it was essential for all men who are able to go on these long religious Jamadths, to go. For those who do not know, Jamadth is when an audience listens to an Imam (and many times just some Muslim man); tell you about religion; make you aware on exactly how you'll be entering hell or heaven.
But here is the problem I saw with that, and that was I never saw any mention of Jamadth in the Holy Quran. Nor did I see anything being said about listening to anyone just tell you about religion. To learn Islam, it is imperative to pick up the Holy Quran and read it. To ask questions and seek help when you need it, but to read it on your own. And to leave your wife and children, your father, mother, you're family just to travel to another country; such as India, is unnecessary. What knowledge can men who are already Muslim, gain from just sitting and listening. How much time is really spent on educating?
Jamadth is a cultural event. It is NOT a requirement of the Quran or Islam. What are requirements from Allah are not even being preached. How many Christian organizations have gone to countries like Pakistan, Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda and the list goes on, to save people from starvation, to educate them, to help them. And the best the Muslim community in Vancouver can do, the best that BCMA can do; is send Muslim men on Jamadth? Unlike extreme Muslim's beliefs, I believe and KNOW that Islam is, a simple religion. There is not much that needs to be done to please Allah. You need to remember him, love him, pray to him; be good to him by following the book he has given to man.
Before dying, Prophet Mohammad (Peace and blessing be upon him) he told his followers to keep his grave unmarked, so that man would not worship him. He brought to you, the words of Allah. All I see now, is religion being terribly mixed in with culture, mixed in with illiterate uneducated people preaching that knowledge. What have they really to give us? It is up to us to read the Quran, to look at the books and knowledge that we receive suspiciously, and ask; is this what Allah would say. Allah is who is to be followed, not what Prophet Mohammad (please and blessings be upon him) did to a tee. To be honest, there is no way of knowing indefinitely if he prayed a certain way, or ate a certain way; but one this is for sure: the Quran is to date, the most pure and unchallenged book. But don't take my word for it, read it yourself. Distinguish what is Religion and what is culture. Read the Quran and find what is of culture and religion.
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