Stories Of New Muslims


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  • Stories Of New Muslims


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    Mr. Kusmari
    Rendrabwana

    Childhood 

     

     

    I was
    born and brought up into a devoted catholic family. My father comes from a
    family whose members mostly turned out to become priests and priestesses, while
    my mother still has a certain aristocratic blood in her family. My parents were
    blessed with five children, of which I am the only male and the youngest one. I
    never had anyone of them to play with since I was a child because of the quite
    significant difference in age; they were always occupied with their school tasks
    whenever I needed someone to play with. As it turned out to be, I got used to
    spending my time with the maidservant and when I was bored, I simply went out
    to play. For that reason I was used to make friends with people outside of my
    family, people in my neighborhood who were mostly Muslims.

    In my family,
    everything that has a "Muslim taste" in it was usually considered
    inappropriate. So every Thursday when the time was for the recitation of the
    Qur'an (we only had TVRI, the government's station back then) the TV set was
    immediately turned off, that's how my family was like. When I got to school
    age, naturally my parents chose a catholic institution, as with all my sisters.
    Even so, I always found it easier to be friends mostly with people who were Muslim.

    Adolescence

    Perhaps it was because
    of my negative childhood image, that when I grew up to be a teen-ager my family
    always thought of me as being this troublesome kid. In other words, to them I
    was always the one to blame for everything; anything good that I did was
    practically nothing to them. Hence, I always tried to look up for answers of my
    problems through sources outside of my family. My academic records were also
    nothing special except for English language.

    And so I started to
    contemplate with questions that I had in my high school year, I asked and kept
    asking, I read many books and literature, trying to explore everything about my
    faith then. But as it goes, the more I gained something, the more I felt that,
    "This isn't it, this is not what I want." What's worse is that the
    more I involved myself with religious activities, the more I went further from
    what I expected, which put me down more and more. What I always found in there
    was nothing but negative views on somebody else's faith. Whenever I tried to
    give in another view, they put me down saying that I'm taking sides, I'm giving
    too much of a value judgement, so on and so forth. Eventually I became more
    distanced from them, but interestingly (and this is what had always happened) I
    felt myself drawn closer and closer with my Muslim friends, they seemed to
    accept me without any sort of tendency to judge. They knew I didn't share their
    faith but most of them didn't seem to mind or be disturbed by it whatsoever.

    Adulthood

    My adulthood started
    when I entered college. I enrolled in a private college whose students were
    predominantly Muslims. Even so, I still tried to involve myself in religious
    activities with students of the same faith. In that community, the old
    conflicting trauma appeared afresh, even worse. Eventually I lost my interest
    in it. As a college student, I felt more comfortable in my soul searching
    process. Naturally, I had more access to many references, times and places of
    interest, because I never felt home with my relatives, even with my sisters.
    And so I went on with my life as usual, until this deep spiritual experience
    happened. This is the story:

    One morning, I don't
    remember the date, but it was in 1993. I was abruptly awoke from sleep and just
    quickly sat down. Then unconsciously went up and washed my face, hands and
    feet, then got back sitting with my legs crossed. Exactly then the call to
    fajr prayer started ..but very differently. I
    listened to it with an indescribable feeling and emotion, it was touching me so
    deeply, in short. I myself never could explain what really happened that
    morning, but so it did. Ever since then I looked for answers and learned with a
    practicing Muslim friend, read books, started everything from scratch. The
    first obstacle for me naturally came from my family, especially my mother. I
    became uncertain again, this is the most difficult choice in my entire life.
    And so months I spent trying to think over my intention to become a Muslim. I
    felt that I had to make a choice. And of course I chose to become a Muslim
    eventually.

    In early 1994 I
    declared my
    shahadah after finishing the maghrib (evening) prayer in jama'ah (congregation). It was really emotional, friends from my faculty in
    college even made me work out a written statement with them as witnesses, how
    touchy it was. In short, I've lived my life as a new person ever since then.
    After finishing my school, I started working. Even though my relationship with
    my family is falling apart, I try to pull everything together and be strong as
    to endure the hardships.

    My new life was again
    put to a test when I was going to marry. Because I'm considered an apostate in
    my family's view, I had to do everything by myself, the proposal, etc.,
    everything. No wedding reception or any of that sort, just the obligatory ones.
    And then when my mother died, unfortunately I didn't get to see her for the
    last time. Her wish, which of course I cannot comply to, was for me to return
    to my old faith.

    Wassalaamu
    'alaikum wrahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,

    Rendra.

     

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