The loving embrace of the Quran, By S N Smith, Ottawa — July 5, 2019
To be honest, I am not happy about how things are unfolding in the Muslim community I belong to. I think the greatest sources of my frustration include a feeling that I don’t belong, as well as a feeling that I don’t understand fellow Muslims who come from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. As a result, I cannot relate to many people and thus spend a great majority of time alone.
I honestly feel that sometimes when I walk into the Mosque people ask themselves, “who is this guy anyway and where is he from?” I have been going to the same Mosque for well over 10 years and I hardly know anyone there on a first name basis.
Sometimes I honestly feel like a leper.
And I don’t understand, or even appreciate or agree with, the direction the community is taking on a number of social, political and even religious issues.
But I cannot always put my finger on the source of my angst.
I think the major problem, beyond the feeling that I simply don’t fit in, is that I am too much of an independent thinker as I read a copious amount of material on a variety of topics. In addition, I don’t like being told what to do by others, nor do I enjoy anyone exercising their authority over me as I feel bullied, as well as being put down and not respected.
I really enjoy reading the Quran — a little bit at a time — while underlining and reflecting on what I have read. Some passages I will read over and over again. I have dozens of articles in my head that I have yet to write. The Quran elevates both my mind and spirit. It causes me to think and reflect upon my situation, as well as the general human condition. It also reminds me how far from the mark I am and how much the world around me has an influence on my thinking and actions. The Quran is a stabilizer in my life even if I don’t live up to all that it has to say. It offers me hope, as well as provides me with both spiritual and intellectual stimulation.
In the Quran, I feel that I belong because I can relate to what it has to say. It speaks to me directly and its message is crystal clear. I have no race, no class, or no gender when I read the Quran. It is speaking to a part of me that transcends all that. It peers into my heart and reveals to me what I am thinking, as well as my shortcomings and what I need to do in order to improve myself and become a better Muslim.
There is nothing or no one that can do that for me in this world.
The Quran, as well as the lived example of the Prophet (pubh), provides the standard of what it means to be a Muslim. And this standard remains unchanging even if the world around me is changing.
The Quran provides me with an anchor when I go adrift.
The Quran provides me direction when I go astray.
And the Quran provides me with light in a dark world.
Perhaps I will always remain on the edges of the Muslim community, but the loving embrace of the Quran will always be a source of strength and comfort for me, and it is within its pages that I find my true home and sense of belonging.