Being Muslim doesn’t have to be restricting.
There’s this idea among non-Muslims that practicing Islam is restricting because you can’t “have fun.” While of course there are things that are haram, that doesn’t mean that you cannot lead a fulfilling life and do what you enjoy. It’s become more common for many people to boil Islam down to what’s haram and what’s halal. By doing this, they not only negate the true meanings and benefits of various actions, but they create this highly skewed, negative view of Islam within their minds. Unfortunately, it seems as though this mindset is common within the Muslim youth. Practicing Islam is just “too hard” and is seen as a great burden rather than a relief and source of peace.
Perhaps one of the main reasons behind why many people have this negative outlook on Islam is due to a lack of efficient knowledge and information. Speaking from personal experience, I feel like often times we are just told what to do and how to do it, rather than incorporating the sound and logical reason as to why we practice the acts that we do. And just an FYI, “because we have to,” is not a good enough reason for anything. Ever. We must start from the foundation of why we follow certain practices such as praying five times a day or fasting during the month of Ramadan.
Growing up in the West, where there is a more secular way of living, it becomes very hard to see the true reasonings behind Islam and its teachings. It’s human nature. We don’t want to be the “weird” ones who aren’t acting like the rest. It’s important to remember that if you see Islam as “restricting,” then it’s going to be restricting to you. It’s all about understanding and recognizing the importance of balance. The Prophet (SAW) even stressed that balance is the key to finding the true peace in Islam and being a Muslim. It’s not a virtue for you to stay up all night and day in worship, neither is it good to completely neglect this deen. It’s also important to reflect on what constitutes as “fun” in your life and how you feel Islam supposedly impedes on that.
The people you surround yourself with greatly impact who you eventually become. If you surround yourself with people who are prone to engaging in haram acts, then you will find Islam to be restricting. It will feel like you’re different and your life would be easier if you weren’t a Muslim. Don’t let yourself get to that point. Growing up in a country where you are and always will be the odd one out is challenging, but if you hold onto your faith, I promise that it will get easier and the opinions of others won’t matter. Find your balance and run with it. Leave these things of the dunya for the sake of Allah (SWT). This life is so fleeting and so temporary.
Islam is not supposed to be a burden and if you feel it is, then that may be an indicator to look deeper into what Allah (SWT) is asking of us. Take one step towards Allah (SWT) and He will take ten towards you.