Life hands us different cards when we were born, one which we have no control over and if you are a Muslim like me, you’d also believe that your entire life has already been chartered – Qada’ and ‘Qadar, but this does not mean that we are limited by what we can pursue in life because we still have the freedom to choose and this is where the challenge lies for each and every single one of us given the circumstances that we begin with.
Some of us were born with the best of cards and some of us were born with the least of the good cards and these are the cards that we can never change and will remain with us throughout our entire life. It forms part of who we are, our history and are the building blocks of our foundation and life story.
Through the choices that our family make for us when we were younger, we were handed some tools in life. These are the tools that would essentially be one of the many guiding tools that we would use throughout our life – our beliefs and values.
For some of us, our beliefs and values are guided by religion and for some of us, by the cultures that we were born into, but for most of us, our beliefs and values are a combination of religion and our cultural heritage. These tools, they continue to grow as we learn more about our religion, culture as well as information that we read and experience through different sources that we come across either by our own choice or coincidence (though if you are Muslim, nothing is ever coincidental since it’s already been pre-determined).
With such growing tools that we have in our repertoire, we begin to use them in our decision making skills, each and every single time we are dealt with options. We begin to dig deep into our repertoire of knowledge and understanding, analyze the options, weigh the emotions and then we make our choice.
At times, the options or decisions or choices that we have to make in life questions or goes against our beliefs and values that we have learnt from our religion and the cultures that we were raised in but the information and additional knowledge that we come across over the years provides us with an alternative option that would perhaps seem to be something new that we could carve out, a new path that we could take as opposed to the traditional paths and for those courageous enough, they take this new path.
And whilst there is no study on understanding of the psychology of how people make their decisions on, it could be due to how strong the individual feels grounded by it’s religious and cultural beliefs and values. Religion as we know it, not only provide guidance on beliefs and values, but also on the type of decisions or choices to take. Culture on the other hand, is decided by a group of people living together.
With each decision or choice to be taken, there is always a consequence that comes with it – a sin or a good deed and frowned or liked upon. Some sins are considered small sins, which could be easily forgiven and some are big sins, whose consequence is so huge, the type of punishment meted out could even mean death. That said, even some small sins though easily forgiven, may never be forgiven because when it is a sin committed on a person, forgiveness can only come from the one who had been sinned.
Regardless of the degree of the sin, all sins can be forgiven, provided there is repentance and sincere effort made to never again repeat those sins – making a different choice when faced with the same decision making process.
Of course, some choices made as a result of our strong religious and cultural beliefs and values, leaves us feeling dissatisfied and unhappy, and that is perhaps the challenge for every human being – to be able to resist making choices that makes us happy all the time for the ‘greater good’ of the larger society and for some of us, for the afterlife.
Surely, the struggles we face in our decision making process because of how strongly we feel or are grounded by our beliefs and values is not one that is easy for anyone to make but the choices made must be respected, because it is the choice of the individual making it, not the onlooker.