I’m tired

 

Guys…I’m tired!  The past week has made me realize that being a Muslim means that you’re always going to be questioning yourself, and, worse, you’re always going to be questioned.

First, the amount of comments and questions I’ve heard about Islam is starting to get scary. The ideas people have about Islam are not only shocking, but just ignorant. How has the image of Islam gotten to the point where all that people think of is violent, crazed men beating submissive women in burqas? Why is it that when people hear that there are high abuse rates in a country, they immediately ask if it is a Muslim-majority country? Why aren’t people a little more critical of what they hear in the media?

Second, I got into a discussion with 2 close friends of mine, both Muslim, and I found out that they think music is haram. What surprised me is the fact that they are both open, smart, and very educated. What surprised me even more is that they believe that you won’t go to heaven unless you are Muslim.  I don’t believe that either of those things are true.

I wonder how long it will take to meet Muslims who approach Islam the way I do.  I know a few online but in real life it seems that whenever I meet a Muslim who seems liberal, they are doing things they believe are haram. So if they are not veiled, it is not because they don’t believe it is in Islam, it is because they just don’t want to but still think they should be doing it.

It’s starting to get to a point where I feel like I don’t even want to talk about Islam anymore. This is why religion should just be something personal. But at the same time, when I have a discussion about Islam with someone open and like-minded, I get the biggest rush and I instantly feel very connected to God.

But this constant defending of my ideas is tiring.  Either I’m defending Islam to non-Muslims, or I’m defending my Islam to Muslims.

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44 thoughts on “I’m tired

  1. that’s exactly how i feel when it comes to religion!
    like every single word u wrote up there!
    to westerns me and my religion are instantly considered narrow-minded and primitive, and to muslims, am either too open minded.. or need to be religiously educated!
    sigh*

  2. Well your sometimes defending what is wrong. Do you think that hadith and Quran forbid for instance music for fun? Do you think that the scholars are all boring and are against gays just because they dont have anything else to do?
    Islam is very clear on some issues and just because most muslims dont agree with your views, doesnt mean that your right and they are wrong.
    Its like our discussion about gays, its proven that they are evildoers by help of consensus, Quran and Hadith, and you still prefer to support them. That shows only that your stubborn not that your openminded. Openmindedness doesnt always mean that its something “good”. I have views that muslims think are too openminded but i would not go against laws or views that are 100% supported by all muslim scholars and all muslim books.
    Do you believe that the Quran is 100% the word of Allah?

    • This is exactly what I mean – I’m tired of defending my views against people like you who constantly ask me if I *really* believe in the Qur’an or if I *really* want to be Muslim.

      • Her religious views Bahlool are non of your business they are between her and Allah and you are no more enlightened then any other and yet you oooooze EGO I wonder what Allah wuld think of that? no actually I don’t because thats for YOU and ALLAH!

  3. I went through a period of doubt about my faith sometime last year, and it was a scary period. (I was born and raised in a Christian family.) One thing I realized during that time was we tend to get caught up in the dilemma of choosing between leaving or staying within the religion. In the process, we forget that we are in search for God.

    Please allow me to share a passage from the Bible:

    Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
    And lean not on your own understanding;
    In all your ways acknowledge Him
    And He shall direct your paths.
    ~Proverbs 3:5-6

    We study and reflect on the messages from the prophets, but it is God who ultimately shows us the right way. I hope you open your heart to His guidance and let Him lead you to Him. Much love from my side of the world.

  4. I can relate completely to everything you wrote. I feel like this a lot as well, and I wish I could find people like those in my online community, with whom to discuss religious issues and things. It does get very tiring and frustrating, and you feel like you’re just re-hashing the same points over and over again, constantly having to defend yourself wherever you go, be it against Muslims or non-Muslims.

      • Yes I know that feeling as well, but even if you put it to a vote, you’d never get a clear winner. I think it’s better to learn to trust yourself and trust in God, at the end of the day he’s the only one who’s going to judge you (if you belive in God that is, otherwise, as long as you are happy with your choices that’s all that really matters).

  5. Whether you choose to share your views or not is your decision and no one can make it for you. You will, however, have consequences either way – either you will find plenty of people who feel invited (rightly or not) to criticize this or that viewpoint, or you will be hiding an important part of your identity, which could lead you to miss opportunities to connect with like-minded people in “real” life.

    “Your” Islam is the only Islam you will ever have, just as Bahlool has his Islam and Becky has hers. Sure, it will evolve as you do, but it will always be unique, just like everyone’s Islam is. What matters isn’t how other people choose to accept or critique it, but how it fulfills your spiritual needs. You won’t be damned for what others believe about Islam or you, nor will others be damned for what you believe – we are all solely accountable to God for what’s inside our OWN hearts. If your heart tells you that your on the right path, then no one but God knows better than you.

    “UNTO every community have We appointed [different] ways of worship, which they ought to observe. Hence, [O believer,] do not let those [who follow ways other than thine] draw thee into disputes on this score, but summon [them all] unto thy Sustainer: for, behold, thou art indeed on the right way.” – 22:67, Asad’s translation

    “But as for those who strive hard in Our cause -We shall most certainly guide them onto paths that lead unto Us:61 for, behold, God is indeed with the doers of good.” – 29:69, Asad’s translation, emphasis mine

    Also, you can always take a little break from defending Islam from the whole world, and be Cairo-the-superhero another time when you feel up to it again. *hugs*

  6. You do look awfully tired in the photo 🙂

    Sara, you are a beautiful soul. Have you tried seeing God outside religion? Have you ever seen him in the eyes of a calf? Or in the stamens of a lily? Did you ever see him peering down at you from the stained glass of a hospital window? When one finds God in little details one moves away from needing to defend religion because God suddenly stops being confined to religion only.

    I constantly found myself in the same situation. Something that personally helped me was that I stopped talking about religion. I ended Achelois: A retired goddess and started this new blog where I refuse to talk about religion. It is my religion and I’m not going to explain it to anyone. If anyone has a problem with my religious thought, they can go screw themselves 🙂

    • “When one finds God in little details one moves away from needing to defend religion because God suddenly stops being confined to religion only.”

      I wish I was at a point where I could think like this.

      The problem is that I love talking about Islam, especially when it’s a conversation that really makes me think. That’s one way I feel very close to God.

      • It is a double edged sword, you love Islam, and you like to talk about Islam. It doesn’t necesarily mean that you are questioning Islam for yourself, however, as long as you talk people will find questions not knowing that you don’t have all the answeres

  7. I have always found that super religious people are a) pissed off at the world b) pissed off at themselves and c) generally unpleasant to be around – they make me tired too!

    I just got rid of them from my friends list and now you are no longer tired! 🙂

  8. Islam is personal to me at least. It’s a way of life as most commonly described, so your way of life is personal to you, why must it be shared?

    There is honestly no point or reason to get into religious discussion with people who just won’t get it, I’ve learnt that in life and I don’t speak about religion unless it’s a totally outrageous statement or someone is like-minded or open to different views and willing to learn and understand.

    The biggest downfall of Muslims today is their lack of understanding of the one and only thing they can be guided with, and that’s the Quran. Have those who believe that only Muslims will go to Heaven not know that “People of the Book” are mentioned as good as being believers in the Quran? Even someone with no religion, but believes in One God is classed as a believer!

    I recently bought the most popular hadith book in a summarised version. I wouldn’t swear by it at all. The first few pages put me off and here’s why; I’m yet to come across the verse (if any) in the Quran that mentions Eve disobeyed God’s command, or encouraged Adam to do so, however the Hadith book puts blame on Eve. Why would I overrule the Quran for a Hadith? So many “authentic” hadith’s have contradictions, why would I believe either version of a disputed Hadith? Why would I make my life harder over something that may or may not even be true?

    Religion is personal. If I was to follow the Quran and Hadiths to the T and then spend an hour on the phone gossiping, I won’t be doing myself any favours. Though if I spent my day following the Quran and no Hadiths, and did NOT spend an hour on the phone gossiping, I am sure I’d be much ahead of the bearded guy who thinks he’s got his hoors waiting in heaven.

    • Yeah the hadith are seriously a big issue for me. I haven’t even gotten round to really sorting out how I feel about them. I have a few collections but am too scared to read them all, because I’m worried that I’ll internalize them and start making myself feel guilty about every little thing I do.
      Also there’s the fact that many of them seem to contradict the Qur’an, either literally or in terms of the general message.

      • This is my problem with Hadiths as well. I refuse to believe that a hadith that either goes literally againt the Qur’an, or contradicts the overall message (as I understand it) can be true, o rshould be followed. Which is why I personally put much more emphasis on the Qur’an than on Hadiths (I’m about 80% Qur’an/20% Hadith).

  9. For me it just got too exhausting. Where is God in all of these debates? The arguments are really just centered around humankind and our perception of God and what he wants from us. I don’t really believe God cares one way or another if we don’t wear a scarf on our heads, or shake hands with men, or listen to Bach, or enjoy Greek sculpture, or find beauty in Buddhism, or whatever else the religous people think is wrong, etc, etc.

    Life is too short and there is beauty and happiness to be found outside of religion. And maybe that’s where the truth about God lives as well.

    • I think any conversation about God is going to be about our perception of God – how else can it be? The problem is that certain conceptions are valued above others, and certain ones are seen as right and others as wrong.

      I totally agree with your comment!

  10. Asalamu Alaykum Sara,

    Wow I couldn’t agree with you more, as if you just wrote down my thoughts. It is indeed tiring to explain Non-Muslims that Islam isn’t a bad religion. And as if that’s not bad enough I constantly see Muslim brothers and sisters argue with one another on what is allowed, and what isn’t. What is right and what’s wrong, and so forth.

    Sometimes I wonder, maybe our different views and beliefs serve as a test? To see how we treat our fellow brothers and sisters despite the fact they value different believes and views? Whether we would judge them or allow them to be who they really are.

    Furthermore, I also have to agree with something another sister said above.. ”The biggest downfall of Muslims today is their lack of understanding of the one and only thing they can be guided with, and that’s the Quran. Have those who believe that only Muslims will go to Heaven not know that “People of the Book” are mentioned as good as being believers in the Quran? Even someone with no religion, but believes in One God is classed as a believer!” This is so true.. a believer in my eyes, is someone who believes in One God, The creator of all that exists in this Universe.

    Anyways, I am so glad to see that there are Muslims out there who do not try and judge others around them, simply because they are a little different. I absolutely love your blog and looking forward to read the rest of your articles!

    Thank You for sharing your thoughts.

    Ma’salama

  11. What you say is true, however the issue that is affecting your emotions is this whole “defending” thing. A strategy I have adopted (that really works for me) is to just let people think what they want without getting defensive – without getting emotional at all, and recognising what is a waste of your time and what is not a waste of your time.
    Everyone is on their own journey and at moments you will be on the same level, at other times not. The secret to calm and peace in life is not to find people who agree with you all of the time, but to make peace with the fact that people will not agree with you all of the time.
    Jasminex

  12. Funny, you make a post and then accuse me of beeing the target of your defending your views. If you make a post, and dont like people to question you, then either write that in the blogpost or stop people from commenting.
    What difference is it between you and anyone who is fanatic in his views and disslikes any questioning? Sorry that i cant accept all you write as the only and sole truth and sorry that i question you and others who blog, or question certain articles on the net. So if i ask if you believe in the Quran, i question your religion?
    And as usual you avoided the question 😉
    If you disslike me asking you things or commenting just tell me and i will not disturb you again 🙂

  13. I feel the same way you do… So I just take what I have in common with Muslims and leave it at that. The rest is personal and between me and God. A lot of things Muslims see as obligatory, I see as recommended or beneficial, so I take it like that and don’t discuss that I don’t feel it’s necessary. I don’t deal with a lot of Muslims in real life though so these things luckily don’t come up. And my husband doesn’t want to feel hurt by my beliefs so he feels better not asking.
    It’s sad and exhausting in a way to hide part of myself, but it’s what is best and I have nothing to prove really.

  14. salams.

    i agree. and its interesting reading the other comments, and i also do agree with the other commentor that said we really dont know enough of the Quran… I don’t know the solution, but I thought I should comment because I completely understand and am going through a similar struggle. Who am I to decide whether or not music is haraam or make judgements on other people’s lifestyle… I duno. I guess it really is between you n God/Allah…

  15. I feel your frustration Sara, being a convert I also get questions from all sides. I also seem to be judged by fellow muslims alot more than others because of the fact I ‘chose’ this religion and yet I don’t follow their ideals of a muslim. Religion is definately personal, its you (as an individual) an your relationship with God! it couldn’t get any more personal. My hijab is not to make a statement, its not to scream islam or to be zealous, it doesn’t mean I should be observed and judged differently to those that don’t wear one. I wear it for my reasons and that alone. The thing is though, its often not the non-muslims that tire me out with their questions and judgements and ignorance, more over its fellow muslims I find myself retreating from! Although if I have to be told to go back to my own country here in England one more time by someone who probably isnt even as English as I am, I don’t know what I’l do.

  16. jessi dont be stupid. If you call yourself a muslim, discuss muslim issues, make new tafsir of the Quran or muslim laws, then you can be asked about your religious views. It would be none of my business if she doesnt write bout these issues. If she or you dont like to be questioned, dont say something that is quesstioneable..sigh really i am arrogant because of people like you who make me realise that there is way too much ignorance in this world..

  17. So, I have to create Tafsir or Fatwa’s in order to be considered a muslim by you? I don’t know, I thought that a muslim meant alot more than that! and I thank god, that to me it still does. I am sorry that you find me stupid and even more so that you feel that I have contributed to your arrogance (which is such an ugly characteristic to contribute to) regardless to the fact that I shouldn’t make you anything because I really shouldn’t matter to you, and to your probable dismay I will take it as a compliment that I do. Little old me over here in England not writing Tafsir or Fatwa’s but just trying to keep my ibada and nourish my iman which is all that is asked of us.

    • …and often than not Bahlool I don’t say anything but it doesn’t stop people from interfering all the same. (with regards to my not liking the questions I face)

  18. Khawarij said the same thing. Wahabis say the same thing. You dont have to create tafsir or Fatwa, but if your not knowledgble, listen to those who have knowledge, if you wish to follow islam, follow the creed of islam, not the religion that you create yourself and then call a own version of islam. Too often converts try to mix islam with their own culture and their own belief systems. i have said it before and i say it again, islam is not here to be change to suit you, you have to change to adopt to islam. Islam is perfect, its you and me who need to change ourselves to to fullfill the laws and rules of islam.
    To change laws like those about deviant homosexuells or inheritance laws and so forth shows clearly that you disslike islam and disslike the laws of Allah, especially when they are so cleary in the holy Quran.
    Why choose a religion that you dont agree with?

  19. You seem to be mistaken, I never said anything about changing laws? and i didnt choose islam which is why i flippantly put that word in my comment in these ”. Allah chose me to enter the fold of Islam after a very arduous search for truth. I wasn’t converted by the will of another just as the prophet saaws couldn’t convert his own uncle without the grace of God. As for mixing Islam with our own culture or belief systems, well I think that is a human condition, one that even the prophet (saaws) embraced. I held no belief before I was accepted into the family of my fabulous religion so I had/have alot to build up from I agree. However I find it isn’t the converts that try to intergrate their culture with the deen but those that have lost truth through time. I have lived in and visited many ‘Islamic’ countries where the most absurd ‘wives tales’ have been produced as a matter of Islamic fact simply because it’s hard for an individual to deny or question the advice of their mother.

  20. I couldnt agree more. There are certain roads for muslims but even though i am not a good muslim, i know what is right adn what is wrong, to go around and try to change the laws that are int eh Quran just so they fit us or fit our enviorment is very dangerous.

    And no i dont think that Muhammed s.a.w, mixed his culture with the muslim religion, on the opposite, he came to fight that culture. As the Quran says, he deoesnt say things from his own desires.

  21. Yes, neither am I the ideal of a muslim but I am a muslim and of that I am proud but I often find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place. I find it quite difficult to accept some of the punnishments that are stipulated through a majority ruke of the interpretation of the Sharia, I myslef have been studying fos7a and quranic grammer for 5 years now and yet would never hazard to insight a ruling. There is also the fact of my mighty country, England! which I am very proud of the fact that it allows the erection of so many mosques and allows us to have individual religious freedom. As far as I knew it clearly states in the Quran that you must follow the rule of the land that you reside in and if it is not to the liking of your deen then you should make hijra or you will be questioned on that. For instance, I have many friends that are munaqaba and yet I still feel that this country, being England, should ban the Niqab despite the fact I believe in religious freedom, (this is that rock and hard place I was talking about) but simply for the fact that it is not fard within our religion and has resulted in the rising growth of Islamaphobia in this ‘church of England country’. I’m sure there are many people that disagree with my view on that matter and I wouldn’t blame them but that is the way that I feel and it is just the searchings of a sollution to a more effective form of passive Dawwah.
    Regarding the prophet saaws, I was refering to the hadeeth where by a group of muslims (speculated to be from Ethiopa) were passing through madinah during the celebration of Eid and were jumping and dancing (term used loosely) and a crowed had quickly surrounded them and the prophet saaws lifted Ayesha to his shoulders so that she may see and prevented one of his sahaba from intervening. I could not tell you exactly which hadeeth this is or which narration as it was a long time ago that I read it numerously from different sources and my memory is a test from Allah that I’m always trying to combat lol. However, like mentioned before I do try to stay clear of hadeeth or using it for reasoning as I have found many contradictory hadeeths to that which is written in the qur’an and as I am neither a schollar in either I try to take the basic message which often seems quite evidential and always seems to be that of peace, patience, and understanding. I just feel that too many of us get caught up in the floury of our great and vast religion instead of worrying about the basics such as 3edeb (mannors) and if I had a penny for everytime a muslim mentions how the kafiroon have better mannors then those seen within our own ummah I would be a very wealthy lady 😉
    Peace

  22. As for the hadiths, a shia Imam Jafar al Sadiq said it clearly, if any hadith goes against the Quran, throw the hadith away.
    You will find a lot of hadiths that are plain bull.
    I agree with the idea to follow the laws of the country, that is a must, but hte problem is, if the west want to say they are to give everybody freedom of speech and of religion then burqa or niqaab should be allowed (and iam like you against it)

  23. Last friday I talked about this issue with a collegue of mine who outwardly seems to be of the -detailed rules-if you want to be a muslim then…-type. Actually, I was putting her in a box only due to her outward appearance. We talked to each other and, although we probable do experience our relationship to God in a different way (as every individual does)- she agreed that ‘putting people in boxes’ and ‘trying to belong to indentity groups by putting yourself in a box’ leads to barriers between people and has nothing to do with Islam. And then… today I for the first time discover your blog and that you have a somehow similar way of thinking?

    Are you still following the ‘differences’ course? I followed a similar course years ago and I even remember having argued that wearing hijab is women’s opression (at present, I would totally disagree with this rude statement, but would not deny that in some cases it is)
    by the way, I wrote my first MA thesis on South Africa.

    Do you visit Amsterdam regularly?

    regards,

    Rabia

    • Hi Rabia
      Thanks for commenting 🙂
      I have definitely become more convinced of the idea that we should never categorize people, especially not according to our own categories or rules. It does more to divide than unite us.
      I live in The Hague now…how about you?

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