Stages of Consciousness in a Believer: A Quranist’s Perspective
I believe, we as believers, pass through different stages of consciousness on our journey to God. I have long thought about this, and today I wish to share my journey with all of you. So, it started off as an unexpected interest in Islam. I started reading the Quran, and I was hooked. This is what you would call the first stage in the journey. You come to know about the stark differences between what God says in the Quran, and what is widely believed by your community and your religious peers. You are judgmental. You take great delight in debating, and proving other people wrong. A sense of superiority reigns over you. You want to save people from the endless doom of the fire. Unfortunately, and I say this with the deepest regrets, most religionists I have met do not grow past this stage. They are judgmental towards anyone who holds a slightly different point of view.
Then, if you’re lucky (and I sure was!), you meet people who challenge your beliefs and ask you logical explanations of why you believe certain things. This is new to you, certainly! Does belief warrant a logical explanation, you think to yourself. You ponder, and come across verses from the Quran that place a great amount of significance to logic such as 7:179. Now, you have to unlearn the things you have programmed yourself to believe in, and look at it from a rational perspective. It’s very difficult initially, mind you! You’re in tatters! Could God really allow men to beat women, for example? Your inner voice immediately says no. This is the second stage. You realize that perhaps you, yourself have a lot to learn from others. Differences of opinion are now regarded as food for thought, no longer a front where you could correct others. It is a stage of uncertainty; you feel a hollow void within yourself desperately asking God to provide answers to your endless questions. This agony lasts for a while.
Suddenly, you have a eureka moment. Everything starts to make sense. You no longer accept the translations of the Quran as perfect; instead you interpret it for yourself through a range of different exercises. You realize the many contradictions that lie within these translations, and thank God for opening your eyes towards Truth. Fear is no longer a motive for believing in God. Unconditional love is. You no longer help other people to get rewards, but simply because they are your brethren in humanity and are in need. And this is where the real fun begins, folks. You are no longer considered a bigot, for differences are God’s signs! (30:22). Labels don’t matter, anymore. Only character does. Needless to say, you are no longer interested in debates, for you realize that they are only a clash of egos. An inner serenity overwhelms you. This, I believe is the third stage. The farthest I have walked yet.
Be water, my friend. Evolve!
Thank you for your time.