Some events leave an everlasting impact on our life.
I would really appreciate it if you would read the whole article to understand my point.
So, it’s about the time when I was in 8th grade. I went back to school after 4 days Moharram holidays. For Shia students, it was 7th-10th and for the rest of the students, it was 8th-10th Moharram. I usually don’t remember such details but that one extra day left a huge mark on my memory and personality too.
I clearly remember when I went back to school, all of my friends were acting weird. None of them were talking to me including my apparent best friends. It was the most uncomfortable day of my school life. I was on the verge of crying after the reception of this behavior. I was a kid and not at all a carefree person who would not notice the changed behaviors.
After spending a few classes in misery (yes, it’s the right word), I got to know that my so-called best friend discussed religion and sects on the day I was absent. She convinced everyone that talking to Shias is more of sin so they all should not be friends with me.
That was the mindset of an 8th standard girl (around 13-14 years old). Surprisingly, most of my friends obeyed her. Some of them were passing smiles awkwardly as they were also scared of the wrath God will send upon them for talking to a Shia.
Here comes the entry of my supergirl (my best friend since then) who confronted everyone for being silly and put some sense in my other friends’ heads. She almost scolded everyone for hurting me and how they can become better Muslims after hurting me like that. Eventually, everything got back to normal, some came to apologize and others said sorry with their compensating behaviors. Apparently, everything was normal after some time, but a lot had changed for me. After that day, I used to dread religious topics among friends. I had become a people pleaser as I didn’t want any confrontation. I was a frightened and dependent girl for a long time.
That day, I cried in front of my Ammi. Asked her many questions and she replied all of them. In the end, she suggested keeping the religion out of your friendship as we were too young to understand things completely.
I’m so lucky to have parents who didn’t feed me with more hatred after that event. They told me to study religion from authentic sources but never impose your beliefs on others until they are ready to understand your perspective. Sometimes, I used to get upset at my parents for raising us like that. Now, I’m glad they did what they did. I don’t call myself a very religious or knowledgeable person but I have learned to speak or act in such conditions only when you have enough knowledge and the other person is ready to listen.
I really want to give credit to my husband for teaching me to think logically and find the authenticity of everything. There are a lot of beliefs in religion we follow blindly. It’s not that all of them are wrong but we lack their understanding and history. The same goes for other beliefs, its good to search for the reasons behind other beliefs instead of just tagging them as non-believer/kafir.
If we talk about human rights, prejudice, justice, anti-bullying then we have to pay more attention in raising children with more acceptance. Acceptance of different religions, sects, ethnicity, color, language etc. We have to teach them to become responsible for their words and actions since very beginning. Today, we see hate speech, intolerance and extremism so common that I fear whether our children will grow up considering these normal human traits?