Bridging Two Worlds

by Muafah Binte Amran

When you’re at a centre, the ends are always polar opposites. On one side of my end, I see people who value Islam and strive to uphold the value, morals, sweetness, practices and teachings of the Deen. In the process of doing so, some find them unrelatable and hard to approach. The saddest part of it is that some people will make fun of you for being sincere. On the other end, I see the World detached from the Deen, not understanding us and labeling us as extremes when we do an obligatory act like taking care of our halal and haram. A lot of haram things to them are being deemed as ‘normal’ that what is fundamentally halal, is regarded as extreme. Understanding is a real issue and at times, miscommunicated, inaccessible and worst, free to interpret.

People in the secular community, Muslims and non-Muslims alike would ask, Why are there exams? Why do you have to sit for an exam if you’re learning about faith? Are you going to be an ustazah? If not, what are you going to do with it? Why do you need to pay to learn about faith? I don’t think faith should be restricted to those who have money so it doesn’t make sense for me. These are real, practical doubts and they have every right to ask. Having faith and knowing that Islam is the true religion alone is not enough reason to validate their questions. At times, we don’t know how to answer or what is the best way to approach those questions without coming across as stringent or staunch. We may even end up into an argument and push people away from the Deen instead of bringing them closer. As Rumi said, Raise your words, not voice. It is the rain that grows flowers, not thunder.

I went into IPIP solely to gain knowledge for my own understanding. I had bits and pieces of Islam and it just felt as though I wasn’t quite seeing the full picture. Most of us grew up with a holistic secular education complete with Maths, English, History and other subjects. Often than not, we pursue a higher education to master our field.. What we fail to realize is that  we lack the holistic Islamic counterpart of it. I was exposed and dunked into a whole new revelation of understanding upon joining IPIP and Mashallah. Pieces of puzzles came together. You learn about Islam within context, with guidance, the changes, the logic, the understanding, why things were shaped the way it is, why certain practices were allowed and disallowed and the subjects that existed within the Islamic field are vast. You learn to appreciate the complexity that came and how it’s simplified for us.

Ilm serves as a guidance, navigating us through the struggles as a Muslim Singaporean who has either found their ground, or as a Muslim Nomad who has yet to find their footing. It has guided me countless times in my struggle to find balance and gave a profound sense of perseverance. Being equipped with the knowledge of the Dunia and the knowledge of the Akhirah, we’ll be able to bridge two worlds better, not just for ourselves (spiritually) but for others as well (physically). 

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We learned so much more, not only from textbooks but from our own teachers too. The way they speak, the way they dress and the way they advise us. Through IPIP, I met many inspiring asatizah who never fail to sacrifice their precious time to share with us their knowledge.

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