Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I have

been trying to talk to my friend about Islam. She thinks I'm just an odd-ball and has no interest in Islam beyond the historical interest. It's a sad case. I don't know why I converted to Islam and she just doesn't. I don't know why I think God is important but she prefers TV. I don't know why I consider the Creator of the entire Universe is worthy of worship whilst she prefers to ignore such a self-evidently important entity. *Shrugs* I don't get her just as much as she doesn't get me. But then, I've *been* her and after research, changed - the infuriating bit is that she doesn't want to even *read* about Islam.

Why should this bother me? Me to my religion and them to theirs? Fair do's. But Islam isn't about relativism. It isn't about taking the bits that suit you and hiding the rest behind your backs. It isn't about pick and mix spirituality and it isn't about the validity of everyone's whim and opinion. Islam is based on revelation - Divine Writ verbatim, and that is not up for negotiation. It is post-modern oddity that states that everyone can be right and no one can be wrong. This notion is an absurdity, and if pushed to its logical conclusions, also deeply hypocritical, because one thing which postmodernity does not tolerate is the undermining of its central tennet that anything can be knowable. Islam does not regard all paths as equal, and some are even considered non valid (such as those that state that there is more than one God or that He has a partner, son or associate).

You can't get to God on *your* terms, but only on His. If Allah ta'ala says hop on one foot for three hours a day then that is the yardstick by which we measure our actions - you either hop on one foot or you don't. You can't say "I don't consider hopping important" or "God will understand that I don't feel like hopping but He will forgive me just the same" or "I don't hop but I'm just as good as those who do". Clearly obedience and disobedience are not equal.

The sad part is that I think, like so many other people - Muslims included - that she has mixed ethnicity with religion and culture. So to be a white English person you necessarily must be Christian. Wasn't she shocked when she found out that there are Arab Christians. Very confusing to have her boundaries blurred. I am English and white - but I define myself through my beliefs, which have not merely been an accident of birth but of determined choice (and grace of Allah). This instinct to be Christian because we are British is very odd, not just because she doesn't actually know what it means to be a Christian anyway (in any variety).

Another thing which is sad is that it is the hijab/scarf that puts her off. But the five pillars of Islam are based on Shahada, five prayers, fasting, zakat and Hajj - not hijab!! Of course, every order of Allah is important, but surely it is better to be a struggling Muslim who is coming to terms with hijab/whatever than a rejector of faith altogether in Allah's eyes? And she does believe in One God, I just wish she could understand that these are weighty issues - not a question of life and death - much much more important than that. If something is True then it is True - you cannot barter with Truth if you hope for good.

She also has the idea that you have to be a saint to be a Muslim. I can't understand where she gets this notion from seeing as she has the friend that she has... Islam is meant for all people at whatever spiritual level they are on - some really love Allah and devote a lot to Him whilst others do the basics. "Yes, but the basics is too much"... five prayers a day?? ... "Yes... thats extreme".... Hmm... if someone told you that five times a day the bank would give everyone who turned up £1000 to keep you would go wouldn't you... "Oh Yes!!"... right. You'd make the effort to feed the animal self, but not for your soul and to please Allah. It isn't the effort that's the hard part - its the thing you worship that should change...

Rant over.


At 8:30 pm, Blogger merry said...

Sorry if i've partly inspired the rant - i do hope not. i can see how frustrating it must be.

At 3:48 am, Blogger JD said...

But a very good rant; so good, in fact, that I'm going to link it on my blog, insha'allah.

At 8:35 am, Blogger Hannah said...

I know how frustrating it can be when you want your loved ones to understand, but I think it's very hard for parents to be *told* by their children. It sort of upsets the whole 'parents know best' thing.

I pray all our parents find someone who inspires them to seek the true path. Amin.

At 11:39 am, Blogger Qalballah said...

No, Merry you didn't inspire the rant, but you know sometimes you hear the same thing in conversation over and over and it makes you think about the commonality is all. It isn't frustrating, it's just so sad. And you'd have to actually be a Muslim to understand that one. I'm jelous you actually got to get in a mosque in this place though! LOL - if only they'd let *us* in - then we'd get somewhere. Come on Merry - convert to Islam and organise us - we need it :)

I pray Allah guides us all. Amin.

At 12:21 pm, Blogger LMM said...

On the bright side.The new mosque currently being built on gladi street is going to have facilities for sisters and the one where the visit took place is giving the building next door to sisters.I know that's not as good as the new mosque itself but it is a place to meet and worship Allah and if we make use of it and thank Allah then things will get better.Allah is what his slave expects of him.So i expect the best from the Allah the all giving and he will give to us.This town has improved leaps and bounds to what it used to be.Love and salam....

At 1:36 pm, Blogger Qalballah said...

I shouldnt have to grovel and beg for my rights when Allah swt and His meesenger has already seen fit to allow me full access to the masjid anyway.

This town may be better than it used to be but it still sucks.

At 7:48 pm, Blogger merry said...

That's the problem, i probably could convert to the spiritual side (though to be honest, i've never had much of a problem with the Christian God, just the people who worship him) but i'd never cope with the lifestyle. I mean, you must all have wondered at some point how you were going to come to terms with changing so many things. Didn't you?

The mosque for men only thing would utterly and completely do my head in and i'd end up feeling angry, frustrated and marginalised in something that ought to be enriching me.

Which isn't to say i'm not open minded about it, if i'm honest. I never thought for a moment that if i found myself considering getting more involved in a religion, it would be anything else but Christianity. But i'm equally wary of simply allowing myself to get carried along. You lot seem so happy and settled and 'full' - its tempting to imagine it could simply do that for me. I'm not so sure, i'm not sure i am the sort of person who can be made happy by that.

But don't think i'm not thinking, i am.

At 8:29 pm, Blogger milkmumma said...

the fulfillment isn't 'us', it's not what type of person you are - look at how soooooo different we all are character wise. the tranquility comes from how much we are implementing the way of life both spiritually and in our physical actions.
if you could crudely summarise, and forgive me if i offend anyone,
C'nty is like the spirit of religion
Judaism, the law
Islam is both, and so brings a harmony to everthing in one's life to the extent that one embraces it.

I just want to emphasise too, that 'There is no compulsion in religion,
Truth stands out from error'
Allah doesn't need anyone to worship Him, there isn't anything to 'prove' to anyone- rather an unlimited welcome to whoever has a heart that is drawn to the Divine.

...and the faults, problems, anxieties, etc.. are from our self/ ego. Perfectionists can aspire (and attain!)to the full potential of a human being, whilst 'realists' can be satisfied that Allah only expects one to do what one can manage without undue hardship.

It is a beautiful awakening.

At 11:48 am, Blogger Qalballah said...

"Christian God"... how many gods are there?!? :P

The thing with Christianity that I found was that a)how could we know the way to God when the Bible itself has been lost and changed and deleted and amended so many times anyway, and b)the son of god thing, which is no light matter - for you it is the bedrock of your faith to say Jesus (as) is God's son and no one will reach God except through him, and to us to utter such things would guarantee us hellfire since God has no thing that could be compared to Him - so when I came into contact with Islam it became patently obvious that I would have to choose.

I did live as a Christian who implemented bits of Islam for a long time - a loooooooong time. What I found was that it was the Islamic bits that brought me closer to God, and the Christian bits (son of god thing etc) which I had a hard time reconciling. What I was doing as a Muslim is what the Bible states anyway - except we know what God asks of us rather than merely guess it. It's more structured, if you know what I mean.

Changing things isn't so hard when you know that your religion is in fact the one most pleasing to Allah - to change what is haram into what is halal becomes something which gives immense satisfaction - to please Allah brings deep tranquility - and not just on the emotional level - I mean, you can actually *feel* "sukun" - the air becomes literally thick with it. I can't explain these things without you thinking I am talking metaphorically or by analogy when I am not. The experiences I have had as a Muslim - spiritual states etc - were never mirrored or even came close with any other way of life that I practiced. As a Christian I lived as a secularist with Christianity as an "add on" and the spiritual side was merely heightened emotionalism writ as something deeper. I can only say that Islam *works* at a level that nothing else does. And you would have to practice it to experience it.

Ever tried fasting Merry?


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