The Rise of the Term “Non-Practising Muslim”
Islam is the only religion that Allah SWT will accept. It is because of its teachings, moral values, simplicity in its concept, and its own characteristics that stands out from other religions that it appeals to many people. Thus it has the most followers in the world. Also, Its differences from other religions is very clear. Furthermore, Islam is arguably the most practicing religion there is, because there is a daily five times prayer. This is something we as muslim should take very much pride of, because it shows that we love our God and Islam, and we show our gratitude and remember Him everytime of the day. Lastly, from the concept of God to the concept of everyday life, Islam teaches all of these aspects. The job we, as muslims, have to do is just to learn more about our beloved religion through the Qur’an so we can act like a proper muslim.
But the reality right now is totally different. Religion has become distant to a person’s character. They believe that religion has nothing to do with our personalities and character. Since the beginning of secularism–the system which differentiate the role of religion and the state, people tend to become more liberalist. They believe that day to day life problems which happens between people should be regulated by the state in which they use pure logical thinking (but the validity of logical is still questionable) and discussion through various representatives. This leads to a perspective that religion should only be between you and God, and that’s it. Since religion can not interfere in helping people to have better behaviour or character, its role thus hae been less powerful. It comes to a point, like right now, where religion is merely an addtional identity to add up in your identity card.
Because of that, there is this rise the word “non-practising muslim”. It is largely known and used in the west, like in United States or countires in Europe. These people identify themselves a muslim but publicly state that they do not practice daily prayer. It is either because of their lack of knowledge or their own ignorance about the importance of this daily prayer, that they can proudly declare themselves as a muslim. However, that is problematic.
Why is the Term Problematic?
When something have a lesser to no significant role in your life, you tend to ignore it. That is what is happening to religions right now, not only Islam, but all of the religion. But like i said before, Islam is arguably the most practicing religion there is, because there is a daily five times prayer. That’s why, it becomes less problematic for other religions if their followers do not practice their compulsory act, because there’s not a lot to do anyway. This is totally different from Islam, where we as muslims do our compulsory act five times a day from Fajr to Isya. Coming back to my point, when Islam have a lesser role in your life, you will tend to ignore it, thus you will also ignore it’s compulsory act which is Shalat.
It’s probelmatic because Islam have in length strecthed how important and useful the practice of Shalat is towards a muslim. It also have explained numerous times in the Qur’an of the punishment that we will get if we do not practice this compulsory act of worship. For several examples, Shalat is the second pillar of Islam after syahadat, Shalat is compulsory for muslim meaning that you will be sinning if you do not practice this act, and lastly Shalat is the first thing that you will be questioned in the afterlife, so if your not practicing shalat, how can you answer that question? Moreover, after giving numerous examples on how Shalat is extremely important for a muslim, how can a person declare that he/she is a muslim if they do not practice this compulsory act?
Beside that, when a person declares he is a muslim by saying the syahadat, then he must obey God and must listen and follow what the Qur’an says. In which, in one verse of the Qur;an, at Al Baqarah:208, Allah SWT tells us that the moment we declare ourselves as muslim, we must enter Islam completely and perfectly.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ
“O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.” (2:208)
The word “completely or perfectly” here means that you can not take some of the aspect of Islams and disobey the other aspects of Islam, but you have to follow all of them, which is good for all of us. Because of that, we can not be a muslim but not practice our daily prayers. It just does not work that way.
This phenomenom is also a alarming reminder for us muslims as a community or ummah. The growing term of “non-practising muslim” implicates that there is this abundant lack of understanding of how Islam works, or more philospically, of what Islam is. It shows that they merely see Islam as an identity, and nothing else. And it is our job, as an ummah, to remind them what Islam really is and how it works, so that they fully understands what it is to be a muslim.