“Humanity has such an important role…we are the only creation whose destiny is in our own hands. Every other being is doing what it was meant to do, only we have the power to not do what we’re meant to do. So realize your important duty.”
How to Have Honest Faith with Sheikh Javad Shomali [Podcast]
On this week’s TMV Podcast, Chief Editor Salim Kassam speaks to Sheikh Javad Shomali, in a deeply touching discussion around questioning your faith, being an ‘active’ Muslim, and the power of an individual’s role within God’s beautiful plan for humanity.
Listen to the full podcast here:
Humbly speaking of his own journey towards (re)discovering his own conviction and faith, Sheikh Javad Shomali explains that the culture of questioning one’s faith should not be so frowned upon as it is in many of our Muslim societies today. Citing examples of many parents and teachers who become worried when a child or young adult begins reading widely or questioning all aspects of religion, Sheikh Shomali instead believes this is an important, and necessary, part of becoming a stronger Muslim.
Is that how fragile our religion is? That by reading a few books they’ll leave? My religion doesn’t shy away from research, from questioning.”
Many also equate academia, or the higher education of studying philosophy, as a gateway to leaving Islam – the idea that philosophy or higher education would make someone question and eventually leave their own religion seems to be prevelant amongst even younger Muslims today.
Sheikh Shomali, however, does not see it in this light. Without questioning own’s faith, how can one truly know they believe? Every Muslim should be on a journey of discovering and exploring their faith with Allah, and parents must take more responsibility in raising critically-thinking children, instead of those who simply follow Islam as a culture or identity instead of from conviction.
This leads to the Sheikh’s second point, about the difference between ‘inherited faith’ versus ‘acquired faith’. Anyone can have an ‘inherited faith’, argues the Sheikh, but this in turns causes Muslims to not “own their answers, as it doesn’t come from inside of you and therefore doesn’t move you”. We must all therefore, become Muslims who have ‘acquired faith’, which comes from the constant seeking of questions and answers.
There are certain realities in the world which cannot be translated into words. Religion is like that.”
Being able to have faith, and believe in Allah from a lived-experience of having faith, should be a constant life journey. No amount of teaching or classes can truly change the way someone fully believes in Allah, explains Sheikh Shomali.
Explaining his own relationship with ‘acquired faith’, through a deeply personal story of his own development with his understanding of the word subhanallah, Sheikh Shomali explains that we all have an incredibly important duty that was entrusted to us by God Himself: we must actively pursue a life of learning, devotion, and determination to do good in this world.
Humanity has such an important role…we are the only creation whose destiny is in our own hands. Every other being is doing what it was meant to do, only we have the power to not do what we’re meant to do. So realize your important duty, you are important for continuing the creation of this world.”
Continue by listening to the full podcast below: