Imagine being hunted. You cannot see your attacker, but you know that the attacker will catch up with you. So you run anyway. Run. You reach a crossroads, and you do not know which road to take. You pick any; it does not matter to you, because the attacker will catch up with you. At some point, you slow down, and you forget about the attacker. But then, later, you’ll remember the chase. And you’ll keep running, and running, and running. Until you are so tired that you do not even care about what is going to happen to you. So you stop. You say, “There’s no point in this running, if the attacker is going to catch up with me anyway.” In the end, the chase ends, the attacker catches up, and the attack is vicious.
The attacker represents death.
The chase represents life.
The crossroads represent decisions you make throughout life.
That is how I felt when I was an atheist. In case you are Muslim and never had the experience, that is what it was like for me to be an atheist. Atheism, to me, is synonymous with despair and hopelessness. Why?
Because there is no God.
Which means, life after death does not exist.
Which means, no matter how sinful you are, it would not matter to you.
Which means, the temptations (e.g. drugs, alcohol, extramarital sex) are extra tempting.
The temptation is so strong, once you are hooked, you cannot stop. You indulge into a sinful, wicked thing, and you want more. You do not stop because there is no God, and it does not matter.
There was a period in my life where I went through depression, and I once tried to commit suicide. Alhamdulillah, it did not work. I did it because I was selfish. I did it because I did not care about anyone, and there was no incentive to lead a better life. I did it because death was a way to stop the bad things from happening. I did it because I was an atheist.
Getting to know God through Islam solved many questions for me. It solved, primarily, how I am here, why I am here. It solved why suffering occurs. Religion has taught me that suffering was a way for me to become a better person, to learn from my mistakes, and a way to overwhelm and counteract against the sins I keep on committing.
Getting to know God through Islam showed me the light, the path, the truth. In the dusty recesses of my mind, through the dark dungeons, torches burst into flames that allayed all fears, conquered all terrors, and sparked a fervent desire for self-improvement. As a friend of mine tells me, Islam is not a religion… it is a state of being.
Atheism nearly cost me my life.
Islam has given me a rebirth.
Islam has given me the chance to become a new person, appreciate the brilliance of life through the tough times, smile more often, and lead a better life. I leave you with a quote to help you through times of sacrifice and suffering. Allah Hafiz!
“Verily, with hardship comes ease.” - The Holy Qur’an (Surah 94:5)