I always admire those that chose Islam later in life more than those that were born with it, not because I’m ungrateful for the blessing that Allah has bestowed on me by raising me in a Muslim home, but because there’s a wisdom and a value in making a conscious choice that I may never realise.
To me, being born in a Muslim home was like receiving the gift of Islam. And like most gifts that are treasured, they’re seldom questioned, or appreciated for more than just being gifts. So the inherent value of the gift often escapes most of us. Islam is more a blessing than it is a gift. And blessings, to be appreciated, has to be understood and valued based on the realisation of what life would be like without such a blessing.
Someone that was previously employed and now has no work to earn a living can relate to this. That job when it was available, no matter how tedious or trying, was a blessing. But the realisation of how much a blessing it was only dawns when it is no longer there.
I think it’s the same with Islam. When we’ve had it with us all of our lives, it’s easy to take it for granted. And given how insular the Muslim community has become, it’s nearly impossible to witness the gravity of this blessing unless we venture outside our communities and engage with those that are godless. Witness the lack of purpose, the hopelessness, the depression and the destitution of a life without meaning, and then realising the true beauty and blessing of the gift of Islam becomes a tangible reality rather than a just a gift that we received but didn’t earn.