The Afterlife

Happy New Years to all! Now let’s move along to the latest installment of my adventures in apostasy.:)

When people learned that I decided to leave Islam, the first thing they would bring up was the akhira-the afterlife. “But sister what of the afterlife? Don’t you fear the punishment of Allah? If you leave Islam you will lose Jannah!” What makes this funny to me is that everyone that said this to me was a female. Given the picture of paradise that is painted in the Quran and Hadiths, I don’t understand why any sane woman would want to go there.

When I first converted to Islam, I thought that Islam’s version of heaven wouldn’t be much different from Christianity’s.  However once I began to look into the subject, I saw just how wrong my assumption was.

It started innocently enough. I was up one night, researching Islam online. Using Google, I came across a site with a fairly innocuous name: IslamReview.com. I browsed the site and quickly figured out that it was not run by Muslims. On the contrary, it had a strong anti-Islam agenda. An article on Jannah in particular caught my eye. By the time I finished it I was irate. My heart rate was elevated. I told myself that the claims in the article were so over the top that they simply couldn’t be true. It was just another example of “Islamophobia”, a pathetic attempt to slander my perfect religion. There was no way such ideas could be in the Quran or Hadiths. I was so sure of this that I decided to research all the references myself. I just knew that the author was lying.

Imagine my surprise when I found out the author of the article was not lying. The references to fair-skinned, full-breasted houris were clearly there. I thought of my life as a Muslim woman in this life. I thought of all that I was supposed to sacrifice for the sake of my deen and my Ummah. I was to focus on the family. I was supposed to make sure my husband was always happy and pleased with me. I couldn’t enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner. I couldn’t go salsa dancing with my friends. I was supposed to follow an endless list of rules and regulations.

And what was my eternal reward for all these sacrifices?  I would get the privilege of being the bottom bitch in my husband’s stable of big-boobied white women and miraculously become a virgin again after each sexual encounter. “Oh HELL NAW,” I said to myself,“this is NOT what’s up!” Jannah seemed to be designed to meet the yearnings of primitive desert Arabs. There was nothing divine or inspired in the portrayal of Jannah. I decided that if Jannah was what the afterlife was like for believers, I had no desire to go there.

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A native Seattleite and recent East Coast transplant, I have been interested in politics, religion, and race from the day I saw “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” on the bookshelf belonging to my BFF’s mom back in 1991. While my zealotry has thankfully diminished with maturity, I remain the deep thinking, passionate, and humble woman I have always been. I reside in the suburbs of NYC with my husband, daughter, and our two feisty but deeply loved cats.

11 thoughts on “The Afterlife

  1. As I said in Kaleema’s blog recently, female converts are not helping us muslim-born women when they repeat slogans like how liberating Islam is or how empowering Hijab …etc. as these converts are often used to justify the anti-women rules and laws we face in our societies. It’s frustrating and offensive for us to hear women like these when we can’t have a say in many aspects of our life , when we are forced to do what we don’t believe in , when we are prevented from doing what we really want. A woman in Europe or US has no say in what empowers me or what doesn’t .

    I wish that every convert think really hard about this before starting a blog or spreading these ideas.

  2. Wow. I am very impressed that you went beyond the site and went to fulfil your need for knowledge on your own. There is nothing wrong with being “religious” or zealous in your servitude to God. But even the God of the Old Testament was a God of communication. He was the Fatherly God from above. As a man of both Faith and Science, you have to come into any situation with a bias, even if it is to say whether or not its true or not true. Statistics tells us that there is always a bias. A null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis. We can either choose to reject the null hypothesis, or fail to reject the null hypothesis based on evidence we see.

    When I was young, I learned 1+1=2 and not 11. How did I learn this? By questioning my teacher not in the validity of the statement, but in the reasoning of the statement. When I was younger, I would read the Bible questionably with the bias that it was infallible and true. That being the case, I needed to know the why’s more than the how so.

    Often the religion of man is different from the Teaching of God, and it is up to us to be good students and raise our hand for understanding. Or to use the old term, if you don’t know something, look it up.

    If I went and researched why the sky is blue, and learned that the sky is really clear, but the way that sun light hits certain particles in the air and that light comes back as a certain color to my eyes, is not my perception still a blue sky?

    For people to be criticized for the seeking of understanding is often a worse answer than the question being asked.

    1. Oh LD, let’s not get started on the “Fatherly God of the Old Testament. I’ve got beef with him too,lol! I’ll elaborate on that in another post though. Thanks for reading and commenting though. 🙂

  3. Hello dimunituvediva,

    I left Islam a few years ago after having spent well over a decade in it. Good for you for getting out early BEFORE you made decisions that you would have to live with even AFTER leaving Islam (like having children with a committed and/or born Muslim). There are more of us (so called “apostates”) out here than Muslims would like to admit, and many of us had children and still have to deal with Islam and Muslims in ways that we really would rather not. Believe me, you really dodged a missile on that one. (Don’t get me wrong, I love my children, but dealing with their Muslim mother is a pain and created confusion)

    I am glad to see that many people are not being duped the way I was duped into accepting Islam (like you, I accepted what I was TOLD about Islam) and thus the shahadahs are slowing to a crawl. And those that DO accept are leaving faster because there is so much information out there these days that can’t stay hidden.

    1. Hi Gaius,

      Thank you for commenting and sharing some of your experience. I am VERY glad that I got out of Islam before any permanent damage took place. Reading the experiences of other former converts, especially females, shows me how fortunate I was. Seeing what Islam can do to people definitely makes me want to engage and support those who are questioning the faith. Of course with the way apostates are to be treated according to sharia, one has to tread very carefully in this territory.

      The way that Muslims talk about apostates is both sad and amusing to me. As you stated, there are many of us. I wonder how many Muslims would hold onto their faith if all of the pressure they face was removed. It’s natural for the human mind to question and wonder about things. Islam(and organized religion in general IMO) tends to smother this tendency.

      Statistically, most converts eventually end up leaving the faith. I just wish they didn’t have to go through so much hell before seeing the light!

  4. My main problem with the whole afterlife thing is that nobody can prove to me it exists. What if I die and nothing will happen? Heaven and hell, how do I know it truly exists? I cannot even imagine it, I cannot even imagine to not breathe or feel anymore… :S that is also where my doubts come from…

    1. Sultana I definitely understand where you are coming from. With all of the descriptions of the afterlife that we get from religion, the fact remains that none of us can say for certain what is going to happen once we stop breathing.

  5. I don’t know. I’m sure if your murtadd buddies- including that tiresome apostate jack-in-the-box Mr Squires (now in his latest online incarnation) re-took their shahadas and entered jannah they could go for a flat-chested houri instead. Since they seem to have such a problem with the shapely kind.

    Tsk…atheism and homosexuality- so inextricably intertwined.

    1. “lol and you were unprepared to do that in exchange for eternal life in paradise? Where’s your sense of a good trade-off? ”

      I was prepared to exchange salsa dancing and wine for eternal life in paradise; as a muslimah it was my goal to conform to the expectations of a good muslimah. My family and friends can all vouch for the fact that I completely remade my life in an order to be a “good Muslim” and attain Jannah.

      “Well, no, not quite, I mean there is the whole eternal peace, love, security, pleasure of God and everything you could ever want and all that. But if you value salsa dancing (lol) over that then I’m afraid there’s not much that can be done for you, dear.”

      When I left Islam the Muslims that I knew personally made a very similar argument. ‘How can you throw away the pleasures of Jannah for this life?’ But NONE of you can say for certain that I am doing that. Every religion has a different view on this. My Christian family would say that in abandoning Christianity for Islam I sacrificed the same eternal life and happiness that you claim awaits Muslims. And none of you can support your claims with anything other than blind faith. Is there a chance that you, WM, could be right and I could end up in hell for leaving Islam? Sure. There is also a chance that I could die and face an angry Jesus Christ asking me why I left Him. I could face the Yahweh of the Old Testament who might say that He didn’t send either Jesus or Mohammed and that both were lunatics. There’s also the chance that I could die and nothing at all could happen. There really is no way you or anyone can prove what happens when we die.

      “. And though I’m fortunately not privy to the sordid details of your life, minus the perpetual virginity part I’m sure that’s not an inaccurate description of your relationship with men. But what would I know? I’m just a Muslim, alhamdulillah.”

      Ah, and he finally shows his true colors! Since I reject and criticize Islam, surely I must be a whore! Please keep it up, WM, I promise I won’t edit anything you say. I want everyone to see how ‘tolerant’ those who follow the religion of peace are to those who question it.:-)

  6. “I couldn’t enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner. I couldn’t go salsa dancing with my friends.”

    lol and you were unprepared to do that in exchange for eternal life in paradise? Where’s your sense of a good trade-off?

    What an excellent reason for somebody to be thrown onto their face into Hell.

    “And what was my eternal reward for all these sacrifices? I would get the privilege of being the bottom bitch in my husband’s stable of big-boobied white women and miraculously become a virgin again after each sexual encounter.”

    Well, no, not quite, I mean there is the whole eternal peace, love, security, pleasure of God and everything you could ever want and all that. But if you value salsa dancing (lol) over that then I’m afraid there’s not much that can be done for you, dear. And though I’m fortunately not privy to the sordid details of your life, minus the perpetual virginity part I’m sure that’s not an inaccurate description of your relationship with men. But what would I know? I’m just a Muslim, alhamdulillah.

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