Interfaith Connections is a column for teens to dialogue about how their faith or wisdom tradition influences their view of life's big questions. In each issue, three teens from different backgrounds respond to a question posed by the Editorial Board, based on the theme. This quarter, for KidSpirit's The Nature of Truth issue, the Ed Board asks:
Is searching for truth an important part of your faith or spiritual tradition?
Fareeha Shah responds.
Religion is truth. Imagine standing at the precipice of a cliff, hearing a voice telling you to dive headfirst into the abyss before you. It is an abyss of uncertainty. It is an abyss fraught with the unknown; all the horrors and fears and perverse aspects within the crevices of the human imagination lie within it. The voice compels you to jump against your will. Then you see a light. You do not know where this light is coming from, nor do you know if you can trust it. You know none of these things. What was once darkness is now illuminated, flooded with brilliance. All at once you can see. All the happiness and delight and delirium and pain and heartache and misery stand before you. Suddenly, you are no longer afraid to jump.
Life is about searching for truth; to make sense of this strange and confusing planet we live on, to know why everything is the way it is, to uncover the labyrinth behind the saying, "Everything happens for a reason." Since the dawn of time, people have searched for truth amid the metaphorical abyss of darkness that is human existence, and this is where religion comes in.
According to the Islamic holy book, the Quran, there have been 140,000 prophets to date. Not all of the prophets had holy books, but all of them were blessed with divine knowledge. According to the Islamic holy book, God sent down imperfect versions of religion before sending the most whole, complete, and final form of religion: Islam.
These religions were imperfect for a variety of reasons. Some may have been specific to a certain group of people at a certain point in time, while others may no longer be relevant. Furthermore, prophets were sent down when people had strayed from the truth. When people found themselves ignorant, God sent down help to show them the right path, the path of truth, the path of light. Our holy book makes the pursuit of truth easy. It is a manual on how to live life and I find solace in it because it tells us the truth of our beginning, our end, and everything that exists in between.
In Islam, the little confusions and intricacies of life, the grey areas, are explained beautifully. Islam tells us the very principles of life. Truth and the search for it prevails throughout the history of Islam. From how falsehood brought about original sin, which led to the existence of the human race, to our entire lives being an eternal quest to differentiate between right and wrong. The very basis of religion stems from a question of truth, the belief in the unseen; the ability to believe in something greater than us is a leap of faith.
Human beings would have been wandering this earth aimlessly had it not been for the ultimate truth sent down to us. There exists a being more powerful than any of us could ever dare to imagine; a being that sustains us, controls us, nurtures us. The truth is that our lives have greater purpose than the everyday activities we immerse ourselves in. There exists a purpose far more substantial than seemingly important mundane tasks. There is a reason we exist and my spiritual experience is finding out what that is. Finding out the truth is the most important part of my religious experience.
For me, the feeling of spirituality only comes about when I know what the truth is, and searching for the truth is an integral part of my religious experience. Truth is what brings about feelings of peace, and Islam is about peace. Therefore, it is my firm belief that Islam teaches me the truth I need to know for this life, and the life after.
Fareeha Shah is a seventeen-year-old writer from Pakistan. She is completing her final year of school. Her hobbies include horseback riding, photography, and writing.