If you want to be honest with Allah, the first step is to be honest with yourself. Being honest with yourself requires you to have beliefs that are ‘honestly true to you’.
‘Honestly true to you’. What does that mean? Well it means you need to use YOUR OWN knowledge, YOUR OWN Experience and YOUR OWN common sense to decide between truth and falsehood. Yes that’s right, MY knowledge, MY experience and MY common sense are absolutely no good to you!
You see our experiences and our thought processes are linked. When you think something, it will affect your experience of life. When you are thinking, what you must realise is that you are on a journey through the paths of your mind. If you are honest with yourself, that is, if you think in line with your knowledge, common sense and experience, then you will traverse a path to the joyful parts of yourself and your experience will be positive. If you are not honestly true to yourself, your journey will be riddled with negativity and discomfort, and you will inevitably generate some anxiety and agitation.
Indoctrination is another hurdle to a person being honestly true to themselves. When I say indoctrination I mean the method of teaching beliefs to people, children or adults, while they are encouraged to accept the beliefs while they are at a disadvantage. They would be disadvantaged if they lack the normal knowledge, experience, and common sense required to derive the truth of what they are being taught.
The onus here to act properly to prevent indoctrination lies not only on the adult or child being indoctrinated, but also on the teacher.
The teacher must be careful that the student has the facility to decide on the truthfulness of what is being said. Many a teacher is just happy for what they are being taught to be accepted. However, this is a major failing in the process. The teacher must provide the evidence required for that child to accept what is being taught through their own experience, knowledge and common sense. If the teacher is unable to do this then that knowledge should not at all be conveyed in a way that encourages acceptance. If the teacher achieves acceptance without the freedom of the student then they have not conveyed something positive, in fact they have acted against the will of God who intended ideas and beliefs to be accepted without the least bit of compulsion, and that is why accepting something you are not convinced of leaves you with doubts. It is for us all to reflect whether we teach Islam to our children in this way.
As for the student, the child or adult being taught, they should have the confidence to reject any idea that is not supported by their own knowledge, experience and common sense. To make it absolutely clear, even if somebody is teaching you to accept the existence of God, and it is against your knowledge, experience and common sense, then it is God’s right that you reject belief in Him.
It is through this method that people, through being honestly true to themselves, can achieve freedom from the shackles that tie them down and prevent them from finding God as He is, as He has taught them to see Him – rather than the view of God prevalent amongst peers.
In a world where our bodies may be enslaved by oppressors, Allah has left our ideas and beliefs in our own hands, where no-one else has access to them. It is strange that we submit even these to the whims of others.
We live in Allah’s world, where He is our teacher and guidance to Him lies in our own experience, knowledge, and common sense. There is no more to it than this. This is the simple truth – be honest to yourself to be honest to Allah. If you don’t know a belief is true – just say I don’t know. Don’t perpetuate this belief’s hold over you by not being honest with yourself. Simply search for the truth in everything and everyone you see, disregarding all the stereotypes that you may have. Give everyone a chance to tell you their story so that you may learn something about yourself. This is Allah’s world after all. Everyone has a gift to share however much your stereotypes try to beat them down.