(Copied and Pasted from my previous site)
As I grew out of religion, my parents became paranoid and fiercely religious as a result. They over compensate by trying to aggressively brainwash my younger brothers.
Every day, my mother makes it obligatory for my brothers to learn Quranic Arabic from Nouman Ali Khan in the Bayyinah institute website, watch his lectures, listen to music such as Jae Deen, Karter Zaher, etc. recite extra dua, and she spends a lot of face to face time with them where she teaches them about Islam, their duties on this earth, Allah, etc.
This is all as a result of her two oldest sons, being either a skeptic of religion or apathetic towards religion. She feels that this was a result of error in parenting on her part for not being more actively involved in our spiritual developments, and is over compensating with my younger brothers.
Here is where my concerns lie. They are young boys, with impressionable minds, who trust everything their loving parents say. Their mother is framing Islam to them in a way that it can do no wrong, and is forcing it into their lives as they develop into adulthood.
I genuinely fear that some day, they will be 20 and brainwashed. I fear that they will justify all of Islam’s tenets and preach that Prophet Muhammad and the Quran are absolutely infallible. I fear that they will internalize the oppressive factions of Islam and simply view it as God’s righteous path that needs to be justified.
I know for a fact, that based on their personalities, they will question things. But I feel that they will try to suppress this questioning and brand it as Shaytan’s whispers into their hearts.
My biggest fear, is that they will be programmed to perceive me as the older brother who went astray and is now a devilish nuisance for the otherwise good Muslim family. I fear that because of indoctrination by Nouman Ali Khan and the current Muslim American Youth Culture making Halal “hip and cool,” I’ll be cast off in their hearts as a mere apostate, and they’ll be stranded between their love for me and their faith.
In all reality if I do my part of keeping them balanced intellectually it should be fine.
This is not a triumphant post, but an endearing one. I’ve read the post by Exmuslimgirl recently titled Trapped, where she is struggling in maintaining connection with her family after coming out. I approach this subject with the same tone as that article.
In my end I do tell them little things and whisper questions into their ear: like how do we know Allah exists if we never saw or heard him directly? Who made Allah if Allah made everything? I even show them the show Cosmos so they can appreciate the intrinsic complexity of the universe. When they are 17/18 years old, I plan on revealing my opinions to them and I will try my best to provoke critical thinking in them. Even if they are faithful as adults, they will be critical thinkers and individualistic. I refuse to let them become sheepish.
Which brings another question: While religion brings communities together, why must it be so divisive towards those who simply followed their conscience and chose not to believe? Why must Ex Muslims fear losing touch with their families just because they simply do not agree with their beliefs?
This was true in early Islam, when there were Prophet Muhammad and his Muslim followers… and everybody else who were kafirs or Jews, and it trickled through the centuries to modern day, where Muslims have an “us versus them” mentality.
I attribute this to how Muslims relate to the Quran in the 21st century. They still take the top authority of their life from a 7th century book which spends a great deal of time speaking against those who do not believe in its self-proclaimed divine authority.