This is an incredibly important series to watch.
Haroon Moghul has produced a series entitled ‘Confession‘, running through his teenage years in his journey out of and back into religion. Some of our own scholars had a similar crisis of faith, saying in their own words how they left Islam and returned (e.g. Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan as an example), and it is something many of our youth go through today.
Understanding this is fundamental for anyone working within our community today as it sheds light on the emotional experience people face in their journey / crisis of faith. One of the most powerful quotes in the series was his statement:
“[He] never found belief in God improbable; it was simply impossible”
i.e. his belief in God’s existence was never in question, but he simply couldn’t live up to the expectations he saw set out within Islam.
When teaching our faith, we often emphasise the rational and theological arguments for God’s existence to cement the belief in God within our children. Whilst this is necessary, it is only one wing of the dove. The other necessary element is the counselling, mentorship and community that people need to nurture and grow their faith in a healthy and supportive environment. People can be rationally convinced of an argument and even hold it as their conviction, yet struggle to detach their emotions from it and persist in whatever sin they commit. Adultery, smoking and pornography are to a few examples. We need to develop the mechanisms within our community to deal with this if we wish for people to become stronger in their faith.
As we journey through Haroon’s experiences, you hear of the highs and lows of what he went through and the slippery slope it became. But by far the most powerful moment was the ending, connecting this whole thing back to the one thing we have all neglected: Love.
Love has become a cliche, an abstract concept easily dismissed or forgotten. As he journeys to Makkah and Madinah, he describes how the rituals of Makkah did little to remove any doubts he harboured within him. After all, it was the rituals which drove him away in the first place! It was only when he went to Madinah and stood before the greatest of humanity ﷺ and his companions that he was reminded by that very core. Here, his love which lay dormant within him came to the fore as the man ﷺ had become a reality. It is an experience I can remember vividly myself – here was the prophet ﷺ who we had heard so much about buried before us. The stories become a reality
In his own word:
“I realised that if I don’t believe in God, in effect I am saying that anyone who called you to believe in God is somehow lying, and if that person is a human being who says that they are a Messenger of God, you have an even bigger problem… in effect, I would have to say that Muhammad (ﷺ) was a liar and that what he had done in his life was dishonest, disingenuous and deceptive, and I loved Him (ﷺ) too much to do that.”
The series is a must watch for anyone working within our communities, particularly at the front lines. It sheds light on the struggle many of the community will face and brings to light many of the uncomfortable realities we haven’t discussed. I would love for a sequel hearing about his journey to where he is now, and how his faith strengthened subsequently.