Living My “Right-in-the-middle” Life

Downloaded this from Pinterest.

This page didn’t suppose to be a medium for me to confide. However, my Indonesian blog is completely private. I have one more Indonesian page, but sadly it is in Kompasiana. I don’t think it is appropriate for Kompasiana’s writers to explain themselves there.

So I end up here. Attempting to translate my unnecessary explanation about myself and practicing my writing at the same time. Thanks to Grammarly, my writing still looks pathetic but at least grammatically correct haha.

As you have already seen in my previous posts, I’m on the contrary side when it comes to westernization ideas, whether it’s feminism, liberalism, pluralism, pro-safe abortion, whatever. If you know me this far, I’m quite sure that you considered me as that conservative Muslim girl. Or maybe, in an extreme way, an oppressed girl who obeys her religion’s dogma full-heartedly and closes all the opportunities to questioning my religious rules or you may know it as sharia.

Well, as an 18-year-old Muslimah, what I understood this far is that there are some forbidden “areas” to be questioned, like “why is this food halal and this one haram”. As a replacement, our ulama present us the hikmah or wisdom. It contains the benefits of sharia Allah has been appointed a long time ago.

This way I also want to tell you that we’re, Muslims, are not some kind of piteous fellows who are forced to believe and do everything without being given a chance to use common sense. In the first place, the very basic knowledge of Islam which is called aqidah demands us to use common sense. There’s even a term “fikrul mustanir” which in short means a thinking level above critical.

If you want to know further, you could find ustadz or ustadzah :)

In short, most of us choose Islam consciously. We know the rules and consequences.

However, I personally think that it’s offensive to consider people who are obeying sharia as conservative because lately conservative refers to negative context. Despite this, I don’t mind if people judge me as well. This is not really a proper manner, but sometimes I use “conservative” term for sarcasm. Blaming or being cynical to people who choose to harmlessly obey their religion is totally awful.

Indeed, we can’t separate this topic from some ideological thang, therefore here we are, came to the next one: a liberal Muslim.

There is a classification within the classification. If you’re active on Twitter, you can tell that, at the very least, Indonesian Muslims are classified into two types: the conservative I already mentioned, and the liberal one. These “liberal” labels are still divided into many levels.

Let’s make some examples: liberal level 1 does promiscuity but still does prayer 5 times a day at the same time, liberal level 2 drink alcohol but does not eat pork, liberal level 3 eat pork but does not go to the prostitution, and so on. The pattern which indirectly applied in society is the more Muslims disobey their religious belief, the more “liberal” they are.

Personally, I hate this term. It’s somehow uncomfortable and judgemental. On the other side, liberalism is an idea from western and we also know that Islam and western relationship is a bit tense since the 911 case. It just doesn't sound right. We could simply say some Muslims are still learning to completely do the sharia or something like that instead of claiming them as liberal.

Yet, inevitably, there are some Muslims who declare their doubts to sharia and extremely deny them. These people said, imam doesn’t have to be a male, or sharia are made for the good of mankind therefore we could simply drink alcohol as long as we don’t leave shalah or it’s okay to leave shalah as long as we remember Allah.

Those statements are absurd and totally wrong, even worse than the “liberal Muslims” term itself. From the Islamic philosophy point of view, humans are not made for the sake of themselves. Our existence is simply Allah’s will. We live to OBEY Him. He is the measure of right or wrong. We couldn’t say alcohol is harmless from the medical side as long as we consume it in the right dose, therefore it’s halal. It doesn't work that way.

See? There is a classification within the classification. Some people considered liberal Muslims as those who disobey Allah but still recognize that what they did is “Islamically wrong”, some people considered liberal Muslims as those who disobey, deny sharia, and create their own “Islamic theory” to justify whatever they want to do.

And where am I? Where are you? Where are we? What kind of Muslims we are?

To begin this session, I would like to tell you a story about me and my friends. I have a friend who is forbidden to go to the cinema because her family believes that it’s part of khalwat, which is forbidden according to sharia. I have a friend who wears burqa but has a boyfriend. I have a friend who commits not to listen to any music if she hasn’t done her daily tilawah target. I have a friend who is a feminist but clearly understood that it is haram to go on a date.

I’m against gender equality because it violates the principle of qowwamah. I’m against feminism because Islam has its own theory to give justice to women, which I completely believe. I’m still listening to music because I love it so much and I haven’t learned more about its law according to fiqh. Sharia comprise a very wide range of human issues and the fact is many Muslims including me haven’t learned about it yet, or we just know a few of them but wasn’t ready to do every single rule, or we know many of them and still doing it step by step, or we don’t even understand what is sharia, what is aqidah, what is sunnah, et cetera.

That doesn’t mean I will violate the rights of people who have different opinions. I’m not going to debate every single thing and judge negatively over these people, in fact, I don’t even have a desire to do that. I’m against the idea, but not against the person. I understand you, doesn't mean I have to agree to your statement and vice versa. You have your definition of right or wrong, and if that’s eventually different from mine, I’m not gonna do any harm.

Of course, the last paragraph sounds funny because every individual brought an idea of something and they are sometimes inseparable, therefore some topics are better to be avoided if we know some opinions are just not going to find their meeting point.

The war of ideas or thoughts will someday explode, but outside that, I’m just an ordinary girl.

I listen to K-Pop and R&B music. I watch Netflix even though some movies contain things that are wrong according to Islam. I read an Islamic theology book. I do some things which are “conservative” and the other things which are “liberal”.

I am the ordinary Muslimah who will try my best to obey Islamic rules but now I’m living my right-in-the-middle-life. Even if someday I’m not in “the middle” anymore, you do you and I’ll gladly be your good friend.





A muslimah, learner, and bookworm.

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Afifah Shafa

Afifah Shafa

A muslimah, learner, and bookworm.

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