interest, alcohol and a day in Morocco

I believe that within our deepest selves, we all know the difference between right and wrong.  We all know that a white lie is a lie nonetheless, and that taking something that does not belong to us is stealing, regardless of the circumstances.

I am a Baha’i. I follow laws and principles set by Baha’u’llah in the belief that they have been given to me to grow and prosper and be happy. As a Baha’i, I know when I am doing something that goes counter to the Baha’i principles, justifications and excuses are only a way to try to make myself feel better, but deep inside I know. I also know that having grown in a particular culture I have grown doing things that seem to be “ok”, “not a big deal”, because they are ok and not a big deal in that culture. It is only when you are taken away from that environment that you are called up on your actions and you realize that perhaps some things are not ok, that in fact, they are a big deal.

Alcohol is forbidden in Islam, dancing is forbidden in Islam, making a profit from interest is forbidden in Islam. I speak to people on a regular basis about their lives. Someone will tell me that interest is FORBIDDEN! and that no one will ever loan money expecting to be paid back with interest, and yet, this person gets drunk on week-ends, and goes dancing at bars in the hopes of finding a girl to hook up with. Another person tells me that alcohol is only sold at hotels to cater for tourists, and yet I have seen plenty of men drinking wine at restaurants, or buying hard liquor from a little store in the corner of my street. Women are meant to be wear modest clothes and cover their heads, and yet every day I walkpast girls wearing a head scarf with a matching shirt that shows cleavage.

You see, I know when I am being hypocritical, I know that no one is perfect, that we are all striving to better ourselves and try to live according to a set of rules that we have chosen to live by (whether these rules are from a religion or another source) But this is the first time that I encounter such a large number of people that seem to be universally oblivious to the contradictions that they face and live every day. I have not met one person who has told me that they are living a dual life, instead, they come up with excuses and try to justify what we see in plain sight. And some of them even deny the fact that these contradictions exist.

And this is what I have been thinking of lately.

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