I converted to Islam in my teenage years. I had previously been for the most part just "spiritual". I think I was sort of driven to religion by a bunch of colliding pressures in my life at the time, it made sense, Islam seemed to provide a practical solution to all lifes questions. Long story short, I have recently abandoned my religious notions, for a number of reasons... but basically the whole thing has just become counter intuitive. However, for the time being, except for a few close relatives, I am basically a closet case kaffir (disbeliever). In my personal life and world view I have largely adopted a sort of "humanist" view of things. Unfortunately I have really basically structured my life around Islam and it would seem quite impractical to break all of my social relations etc., as would be necessary, indeed required, if I were to unearth and reveal my recent revelations to the world. To make matters worse, I am actually scheduled to enter into a traditional, Islamically arranged marriage (my second on actually, the first didn't really work out). I am really kind of stuck trying to figure out what to do here... sacrifice my marriage, social life, possibly career opportunities, etc. and come out of the closet, or to bite my tongue, conform to the external requirements of the faith, and sacrifice my own integrity for the sake of convenience?
It doesn’t seem like you are at all confused about your situation, only what to do about it. At the risk of sounding dramatic, K.K. youâ€™re at one of life’s big crossroads. How you choose to proceed will impact your life in a non-reversible way. Let’s extrapolate your idea of Integrity vs. Convenience.
How important is the actual faith part of living in an Islamic society? Islam means and requires a total submission and dedication to one god. Its followers are required to follow the teaching and guidance mentioned in the Holy Quran. Maybe the most prudent fact is that Islam offers a complete way of living. If followed in full faith, it promises to bring a total and fulfilling life of peace and brotherhood in this world. This of course means little to you because you are a self described Kaffir and have no faith.
This yeti is not an expert on Islam, but a ‘kaffir” as I understand it, is someone who knows Islam and rejects it openly. So not every non-believer is a kaffir, but every kaffir is a non-believer. A better translation of kaffir would be disbeliever, instead of non-believer. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter; what does matter is this crisis of faith you’re experiencing and its subsequent ethical dilemma, a life of convenience or a life of integrity.
I question your whole argument here because I see a great deal of â€œintegrityâ€ in the Islamic religion and I see very little â€œconvenienceâ€ in going through the motions living as a closeted kaffir. Living life by the laws laid out in the Quran hardly seems convenient to me; praying 5 times a day alone should be a deal breaker for those without faith.
I think this convenience you speak of is the simplicity of continuing your life as planned and not shaking things up with your family and friends. Which brings me to my next point. Where does religion end and culture begin? Can you carry on your life as you did in the past while experiencing a crisis of faith? I believe that you can. There are no rewards for having more faith, and as such you should not be penalized when your faith is at a low point (or non-existent in your case.) By the same token you should be able to question the validity of practices in your religion or culture. Iâ€™m speaking of course about your arranged marriage. I think this is the main subject when you speak of convenience or integrity and it has nothing to do with your faith and everything to do with your culture. If it didnâ€™t work before, itâ€™s unlikely to be wedded bliss the second time around.
Some major proponents of organized religion feel that itâ€™s out dated and some even are even convinced that itâ€™s just some archaic way to control the poor. Even if all that is true, most religions are focused on humanity, kindness, charity and all that is good in the human spirit. Let me share with you a story which might illustrate this idea better.
When I was 10 years old my father and I were driving home on a Sunday (not from church; we are not a devoutly religious family), and we passed a broken down car on the side of the road. My father stopped to help the woman and her young son with their car and agreed to drive them into town so they could call a mechanic. After my father inquired about their situation the woman promptly informed us that she was driving to Washington D.C. to speak to the president about how her husband was poisoning her food. What was my father to do in this situation? This woman was clearly having mental problems and was likely endangering her child. So he called the only people who could take in a person in need on a Sunday afternoon, which was the local home for troubled women which was supported by the Catholic church. They took her in gave her and her son shelter and help.
Bottom line: organized religion does get a bad rap in this age of technology, but churches, mosques, and temples all provide physical landmarks to the generosity and kindness that exists in our global society. All major religions be it Islam, Christianity, Buddhism , Judaism, etc.. are all focused on dignity and the brotherhood of man. Itâ€™s ok to reject literal interpretations of the ancient scripture if you feel them outdated. Theologians from all faiths are known to discredit dogma when they contradict personal value systems in their own lives. Letâ€™s not make organized religion the boogie man here. Letâ€™s dig deeper.
Author C.S. Lewis has a very interesting window on faith. On the one hand, he couldn’t very well deny the importance of faith because it has been a core component of religion. At the same time, however, his overall goal was to provide a rational explanation that justified acceptance of a higher being on intellectual grounds. This would make faith superfluous. Itâ€™s sort of complex but in short, your faith has evolved into what it is today: a strong belief in non-belief. However, faith continues to evolve in many directions. Faith is deeply personal. To answer you honestly, I don’t know what you should do. Only that the answer lies inside of you and it should not be a decision made quickly.