A few months back, I had just begun learning tailoring. I had a couple of months for maternity leave and thought to explore my creative side. During the classes, one of my instuctors mentioned allowing our minds to think in and outside the box; put down our ideas and build on them.

I got home that day and after completing my chores, I finally lay on the bed, supine and began to think. I waited for the thoughts to come. I visualised allowing my mind unfettered freedom to search the deserted alleyways of my mind. I drew blank.
I had been told to think within the box or not think at all. I had been taught how to think and what to think so much that I had been caged within myself. The doors of the cage were flung wide-open now, ushering me to embrace freedom, but I couldn’t fly. I was too scared to take flight, because I had forgotten how to fly.

We have been taught passively or actively how to practise Islam from childhood (for ‘born’-muslims) or adulthood and when some of our wrong practices are challenged, we stand at the door of our cages, too petrified to embrace change.

Being presented with cold hard facts from the hadith and Qur’an doesn’t seem to crack the surface or sway us toward a better decision. We listen, argue, rationalise and fearfully or stubbornly cling to our ways even in the face of superior argument. We close our senses to reason. We refuse to explore the possibilities of change even if it is for our own good simply because we do not want to be wrong after being challenged with the truth.

It is laudable for us to want to conduct personal research before shelving our preconceived notions but we shouldn’t use research as an excuse to delay following the right way, while instead seeking validation from people who we share the same flaws with. The knowledge has come to us and we are now responsible for our decision to follow or disregard it. If we were unaware, it may have been different and we may have been exonerated. But, we are now aware, and so we should act accordingly.

Open your heart to receive the right information lest Allah set a seal on your heart. Pray for the strength to fly out of your cage for there are no shackles at your ankles holding you back. Only you hold yourself back.

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