Preconceived notions, something which is really detrimental for us. Whatever society, social media, newspapers feed us we generally tend to believe that even without checking the facts. We all have set of beliefs which we carry around us, our bubble of reality. And many times these beliefs are so entrenched in our mind that if something or someone challenges them we do not accept it. This might not be the case all the time but most of the times we do that. This stubbornness actually restrains us from having an open mind according to psychologists. Opinions are powerful because the way a person formulates their opinion heavily influence their thoughts and these thoughts and actions lead to quality of life around them.
One such issue is misconceptions about Islam. Being born and brought up in an area which was a stronghold of the regional political party, there were always attempts to disseminate false propaganda and rumors about Muslims. As a result of this, I also built a negative image about Islam but as time went by I realized that I was wrong. Religion studies has always been one of my area of interest so I studied Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism but not Islam, because of my prejudices.
But my life had different plans and it was about to surprise me. I was sent to a village for one project and I was put up as a paying guest in a home owned by a Muslim family. I was stunned with their hospitality. The house owner had a son of my age so they also treated me like their son. I also got a chance to go through the Quran and its teachings which placed a whole new world in front of me. I felt so witless that I kept myself away from such an amazing book just because of my preconceived notions. As I became more curious, I also started going to the mosque for evening prayers and heard the maulvi of the mosque give an excellent lecture on our responsibilities towards society. This was not just preaching, but the community was actually practicing all those values from what I have observed. Soon it was time to leave for another place but this experience gave me indelible memories and also eradicated my prejudices and false notions about Islam. The family also gave me a name Amir, similar to their son’s name – Samir. By the end of the week I was Amir both by name and knowledge.