I was thinking about this same topic when, alhamdulillah I stumbled upon this article, Why the West craves materialism & why the East sticks to religion from Arab News. Brother Imran Khan shares a lot of the same views I do. I feel Pakistan and Sri Lanka are quite similar, then again most South Asian countries are. We all feel that the West and everything coming from the West is special. I’m not sure whether it has to do something with the British rule at one point in time but we certainly equate foreign things with something special. Even our own people treat foreigners better than locals, and the worse is when English becomes hip and Sinhalese (our mother tongue) becomes something “uneducated”. Don’t get me wrong, English is important for survival but we should be proud to know and use our mother tongue.
If you take our culture you’ll see that it compromises of family, collectivism, hospitality, love, and overall earning to live (rather than living to earn) philosophy. And yes we are relaxed with time, tend to be nosy and always want to know what’s happening with everyone. But that’s our culture and if there is anything I learned from the 3 years of my degree is that there is no right culture. Lately everything has been westernized and even my blog is a result of westernization. There is nothing wrong with it. But we need to stay true to our roots and not turn our backs on religion (any religion) and culture. Some of my family who have settled down in USA have chosen to be atheists (previously Buddhists). Their life is full of science and I can respect that because at the end of the day it’s our choice. But something they do, which I hate is look down on us, who take religion (be it Islam or Buddhism) seriously. It’s because we are “uneducated” they say.
I was obviously angered at this but it was later that I noticed that my life was filled with so much contentment and meaning, just by worshiping Allah (SWT), while theirs were about materialism. They ended up having nothing at the end of the day. Taking my eldest Aunt’s life, if you take away her designer dresses, wine, and fancy food you would find an empty life. I know this for a fact because even she has admitted to being alone and feeling empty. So if being happy and content means following these “uneducated” ways then I’m glad that I’m not a scientific intellectual.
My mother (being the wise women she is) said to me, “Don’t worry about what they say. Pray for them because they don’t have true wisdom. Only some of us our blessed with the wisdom of religion” Alhamdullilah! It’s the first very Islamic thing she had said to me. But I believe these words to be true. It’s important that we are educated and remain open minded, but we shouldn’t equal these things to turning our back on culture and religion.