Back then, I always had this aspiration to learn more about Islam. Maybe take up Syariah or learn about the history of Islam. I guess it's because I thought that if I know more about Islam, I would eventually fall in love with it and lead a life just how Allah wants us to do. Just like the Malay saying goes, "tak kenal, maka tak cinta" (to love is to know). Islam itself has so many branches underneath it, even if I had an eternal lifetime to learn all of it, I doubt I would have learned it all. However, the history of Islam is what I am most interested in. I get to learn about what the people did back then in order to fight for their religion. I get to know what our scholars and warriors did to develop not just the religion, but also its believers. I want to know what made us fall so bad 'til it's difficult for us to get back up and be strong like how we were back then (I heard we conquered 1/3 of the world. WOW!). I want to find out how the pioneers of Islam had the motivation to do what they did because it's truly amazing how they could sacrifice themselves for Islam—because I find that hard to do. And if I could and have all the money in the world, I would definitely love love love to travel to countries and cities that has traces of Islam such as Spain, Turkey, Cordoba, Granada, Iran, Saudi Arabia (obvs you can't miss this), and many more.
But I remember how a lot of people gave me odd stares and a lot of people told me that it will never work because of how I am—not that pious, of course. They told me to fix myself first, then go chase after that dream. They said that it was impossible for me to embrace what I learn if I don't change. But the thing is, the fact that I wanted to learn more about my religion showed that there is a want in me to change, but most probably not in a route that people usually take. What they had said to me really discouraged me from pursuing my dream. It deterred me from wanting to know more. It doused the passion in me to fall in love with my religion. Because of that, I forget my desire to learn and look where I am now. I believe that I am nowhere close to God nor would I get to smell the beautiful scent of Jannah. Islam is beautiful but unfortunately, some of its people are not painting it in a good color.
A lot of things went through my mind. I question why did they do that to me back then? Why did you not believe that I could change? Why did you told me to quit dreaming? Was having a dream to learn about Islam, although the way I appear is not similar to what you think a Muslimah should be, is wrong? What was it about my dream that was so different than who I am? Was it really peculiar that just because I don't look pious, it means that I am forbidden to learn about my religion?
I didn't like how my own peers discouraged me. It wasn't even productive anyway. I understood that one of the ways for us to perform jihad is by learning and gaining knowledge and I believed—note, it is no longer a big passion or desire—that with my dream, I'll gain a whole new set of understanding and experience and perhaps, get a more solid grasp on Islam itself. Despite the fact that I am not having the same aspiration that I used to have before, I'm still trying to change but it's a bit harder because I don't have that number one drive that makes me want to not take my time. I am really, really taking my time and I swear trying to change the way I dress is hard (especially when clothes nowadays are mostly transparent, tight and/or cropped). But I'll soldier on and learn to dress modestly—what I meant by modest is wear more clothes that doesn't show my body shape i.e, loose clothes. I'm doing it step by step, I'm just uncertain of how long this thing would take for me to change, accept and embrace.
I urge people out there to not stop people from dreaming or from pursuing something just because their appearance and character do not resemble exactly like their dream. Humans have different motivations and different reasons. They have distinctive behaviors and characteristics. Just because they don't fit into your view of what a matter should be, does not mean they should be completely shut out from it. In fact, why stop them if their dream is for something better? Be supportive and don't be hostile to them. You can never know if your words can completely kill someone's dream (and that's bad on so many levels!). So, take a lesson to what had happened to me. It's such a shame that I no longer have a profound interest in the history of Islam. It's such a waste of time telling someone that they can't do something just because you cannot measure their ability in doing it (what am I saying?). Really, just be supportive and never say "NO!" to anyone's dream—unless it's a bad dream that is against moral values and religion or whatever that makes it a bad one, then please stop them from pursuing it.
Hopefully, you'll get my point and understand what I am trying to share, Remember, spread positivity and kill negativity.
Have a nice day☺