On Religion

On Religion

I’m a Muslim or to put it more accurately I was born a Muslim, if my parents are Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhist or believe in some other religion I guess I will be calling myself any of these other religions. Actually the truth is I’m none of the above. I’m faithless and owe no allegiance to any particular religion or belief.
In the beginning religion appealed to me. I gave my whole heart to believe in God leaving no room for doubt or disbelieve. I prayed my five daily prayers with strong conviction, I fasted during the month of ramadan even as a child my believe in God was so strong I never prematurely broke my fast and pretended that I was still fasting like most of my childhood friends used to do back then. I felt God was everywhere making it impossible to hide anything from him. I wanted to do everything to please Him while trying as much as possible to avoid the things he disapproved of. If I was a catholic I’m pretty much sure I would have gone the way of the priesthood to serve God with all my heart and soul.
As a child I went to two different schools. In the morning it was western education and every evening except for thursdays and fridays Islamic school. At the Islamic school my classmates and I were taught how to read and write in Arabic but we were never really taught the language itself, basically we were taught how to read and write from left to right in a language we did not understand. I can recite the Arabic alphabets and know some words but ask me to make a long sentence and I will fall flat on my face. All our Islamic teachers wanted to teach us was how to read and memorize the holy Quran no emphasis on teaching us Arabic I guess some of them were only a little bit more knowledgeable about the language than we their students. Their method of teaching us was also something else I guess I can call it corporal teaching because the koboko cane went hand in hand with the Quran, any small mistake and the cane would mercilessly land on you. I remember one particular sadist teacher who derived so much pleasure from beating us that whenever we were on our best behavior or the stubborn ones absent from class he would find a way to make us do something wrong just to get a chance to beat us. I still have a scar or two a testimony to those days. I remember asking some of them why they didn’t teach us the language before delving into the Quran and one of them telling me ” don’t worry about the language all that matters is that you be a Muslim for on the day of judgment everyone Jews, French, English all tribes will speak and understand only one language Arabic “. To truly understand the chapters and verses of the Quran I had to read the English translation. If there really is life after death I think I would rather speak English over there than Arabic.
As I grew older my believe in God and religion began to wane. The questions came pouring in some childlish others very deep. Is God real?, How did God begin? e.t.c. The many contradictions opened my eyes and stopped me from becoming dogmatic.
The three major religions Islam, Christianity and Judaism that I can say I know a lot more about better than other religions tell us that God sent his messengers to the world or is it to them?, as far as I know these prophets were mostly Jews and an Arab. I have not come across any black prophet in the Quran or in the new and old testament. Is it that blacks did not exist during the period when God was sending his prophets?, or is Africa cursed as the story of ham and his three sons will have us believe?. How biased can God be elevating the Jews above other nations calling them his most favored or saying that Arabic will be the language to be spoken by all in the afterlife. Is the answer simply that the Jews, Arabs and others created God and religion to dominate and control the world. If the answer to the last question is true then I must really doff my hat to them.
All religions claim to be the real deal and condemn others, they all claim to have a monopoly on God and the truth and therein lies one of the many problems with God and religion; that strong conviction albeit a wrong one that you are right and everyone else is wrong. A few days back I drove my mum to one of her friends house while she went in I decided to wait for her in the car with a novel to keep me company. Directly opposite the house was a church blasting some gospel songs. It was a bit annoying I mean do you have to play loud music in the church or use loudspeakers in the mosque whenever you are praying?. I contemplated blasting some rap or rock and roll songs from my car stereo but decided against it, it was not like the church music was really interfering with my reading. As I sat in the car I noticed two boys heading towards my direction when they got closer I saw that they were almajiris what caught my attention about them was not their haggard clothing or the plastic bowl they had with them for begging it was what they were doing; both of them had their fingers struck to their ears an obvious attempt to block the infidel gospel music from entering their head and probably messing with their belief, my first reaction was laughter but on deeper reflection I became sad I mean if you can’t stand a little gospel music from a faith different from yours what more can you tolerate?. No wonder we fight and kill each other in the name of religion.
I respect all religions and beliefs whether you worship a creator above, ascribe to the big bang theory or evolution, believe in reincarnation even if you worship an inanimate object it is your choice just don’t try to shove your beliefs down my throat and I won’t do the same to you. You can preach to me and try to change me to your religion but the choice to believe you or not is mine to make. You cannot use the sword, guns or bombs to force me to your way, what manner of rationality tells you that I will be a true believer when you use violence to bring me to your way?.
If I tell you am an atheist or agnostic take me as I am don’t start a mission to save my soul from eternal damnation. If I change religion don’t label me an apostate and condemn me to death. If I depict a satirical cartoon about your prophet don’t go on a shooting spree killing the so called guilty and innocent ones instead find something I believe in and make your own satirical cartoon on that. If I won’t eat meat let me have my burger without any meat. If I choose to officiate over the wedding of two men or two women and you don’t agree with that then go and find a man and a woman and declare them husband and wife.
I believe the way forward is tolerance ” live and let live “. Just because I don’t share your belief doesn’t mean we can’t meet over tea or lunch why even over drinks in a bar and argue out our case as gentlemen and if we can’t convince each other to change let’s just laugh over it and continue to live as one with our individual beliefs. Until we learn how to appreciate the views of others even when we disagree with them we will always be at each others throat. Until we stop trying to force others ( with guns and other weapons ) to our way the bloodshed will never stop. I don’t know why we can’t all just get along. Like God said in the Quran ” to you be your religion, and to me my religion “.



12 thoughts on “On Religion” by Mamman Saba Mustapha (@danjuma)

  1. louis (@luwizdrizzy)

    This is a nice post but very controversial,

    true bro,I remember when I was in d north,I could not even wear my rosary or go to the salon 2 cut my hair without being insulted about my religion.

    My question is,why do people become extremist because of religion???,is it because they promised them virgins in heaven which I’m not even sure if we’ll all make or what?? God help us all.

    Nice piece,I wrote something like this but mine I titled “RELIGION IS GOOD BUT EVIL”,will post it soon by the Grace of God

  2. This is a great write.
    I like every bit of it…and I share your viewpoint in toto.

    1. #Chimee221. Thank you, its always comforting to meet like minded people.

    2. @Chime221. Thank you, its always comforting to find like minded people.

      1. My brother, I’ve always known that I’m not religious, even as a child.
        The thing that annoys me most is the extremist disposition of faithfuls of the three Abrahamic religions, and their i-know-it-all, we-are the-true-religion attitude.
        And why on earth would a perfect God be partial in dealing with humans, such that he favours one above another?
        Why is there choices in the first place if the one choosing is not guaranteed that freeness of expression?
        If it is true that God made a PERFECT world in the beginning (perfect is in the actual sense of the word), how then can something perfect become imperfect at some point?
        Does it mean that God who is perfect may one day become imperfect?
        There are many fundamental questions that religion answers on the periphery.
        In a nutshell, I’ve always insisted that I believe in God, but the God I believe in must be a perfect and unbiased God, and I’ve not seen or heard of any.

  3. @luwizdrizzy. Thanks.
    Sorry about the insults you got I feel you.
    I’m almost as lost as you as per the virgins in heaven. The funny thing about that believe is the fact they keep talking about female virgins. What about the females no male virgins for them or what?.
    Can’t wait to read your own piece.

  4. My brother, I’ve always known that I’m not religious, even as a child.
    The thing that annoys me most is the extremist disposition of faithfuls of the three Abrahamic religions, and their i-know-it-all, we-are the-true-religion attitude.
    And why on earth would a perfect God be partial in dealing with humans, such that he favours one above another?
    Why is there choices in the first place if the one choosing is not guaranteed that freeness of expression?
    If it is true that God made a PERFECT world in the beginning (perfect is in the actual sense of the word), how then can something perfect become imperfect at some point?
    Does it mean that God who is perfect may one day become imperfect?
    There are many fundamental questions that religion answers on the periphery.
    In a nutshell, I’ve always insisted that I believe in God, but the God I believe in must be a perfect and unbiased God, and I’ve not seen or heard of any.

    1. @CHIME221. Are you sure you are not in my head?, cos its like you are speaking my mind.
      If you ever find that perfect and unbiased God abeg let me know so I can at least say that I truly believe in something.

  5. Just two things to point out out of many:

    1.) You contradicted yourself when you said you were a Muslim, then added in the same paragraph that you were faithless and owed no allegiance to any particular religion or belief. It kind of got confusing.

    2.) Overall, the write up was badly formatted and badly edited (assuming it was edited at all to begin with). I barely had to squeeze out what you were getting at.

    Last word: Thoughtful, but not thought provoking due to weak language.

  6. @ezeagwu. What I said is “I’m a muslim or to put it more accurately I was born a muslim” . You have to quote the sentence as a whole to understand its meaning. All I’m saying is that my parents been muslims the general norm is that I should also be a muslim, they only gave birth to me as a muslim but I do not really consider myself as one.
    I appreciate your other criticisms. I will endeavor to do better next time.

  7. @Danjuma, lol…I think we think alike that’s why it seems we are in each other’s head.
    @Ezeagwu, despite the few oversights on the part of the author, I think the write-up is not as bad as you are portraying it. Perhaps, you should read to understand the message well first, before looking out for typos or say format errors..(Which in my reckoning does nothing to the narration.

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