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IslamQA: Forgiving society’s shortcomings and wrongs as a Muslim

At first, I became a Muslim willingly, yes, my surroundings and family had a great role in it, but you see I had a choice, and I made it myself. Now that I grew up I realized that it was a false one. I was never really given the choice. Deep down I know it's not Islam's fault but the society. Didn't Islam say that everyone' free to follow what they want? I started to lose my faith living in a society that denies you and make your decisions for you. It no longer feels real.

We all go through phases where we question the tradition we grew up in. As children we accept everything we are given by our societies since we do not know better. At some point, usually in the teenage years, we start to question things and start to wonder if our culture and religion is the best one, since there seem to be many alternatives.

At that point, some people start to rebel against their families and societies, while others keep quiet until they learn more. They read and ask questions and slowly realize that their tradition is actually a good thing (even if their own family’s version of it is not so great). And if they dislike the Islam that is practiced by their family or society, they might discover that there are far better ways of practicing Islam offered by other societies.

The reason your society does not treat you with the respect and honor that you deserve is not Islam, it is culture. If Indian Muslims have a controlling and authoritarian attitude toward their children, you will find that Indian Hindus are the same way. And if Swedish Christians or secular people are very kind and respectful toward their children, you will find Swedish converts to Islam to be the same way. Islam does not turn these kind Europeans into mean people, they remain just as kind as before and become even kinder and more spiritual.

If your society treated you the way Islam teaches, they would have given you the respect and honor that any human deserves. You can be a reformer who improves the way they practice Islam by treating the people around you better than they treat you, as is the example of the Prophet . If we are more spiritual and more enlightened than those around us, this should cause us be more loving and forgiving toward them. If we rebel against our societies and treat them with hatred because they were mean to us, that does not make the world a better place, it just continues the same cycle.

Along with that, Islam is first and foremost something between you and God. People’s actions should not come between you and God. Whether you are the only person living on Earth or whether you are surrounded by people should not fundamentally change the way you relate to God. Your relationship with God is very serious business and determines your fate for eternity, you should not let anyone ruin it for you. So read the Quran and use it to relate to God, and forgive your society’s wrongs the way every prophet forgave his society’s wrongs.

And God knows best.
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