From Cross to Crescent to…

Since removing hijab and apostatizing from Islam, people around me often ask me where I am at spiritually. It seems as if there is some need to put me in a box. If I’m not going to practice Islam, what am I going to do? Return to Christianity? Become an atheist? My family and friends expect me to choose one or the other. Honestly neither option appeals to me.

If I chose to, I could easily transition back into Christianity. It would definitely please my elders and make family events flow better. Socially Christianity is like the default option. It’s comfortable. I can remember visiting a church once when I was still Muslim. Though I had immersed myself in Islam , stepping foot inside a church threw me for a loop. From the time I stepped through the door and heard the sounds of the organ, I immediately felt like I was home. The sense of alienation that I often felt in the masjid wasn’t there. No one glared at me. If I smiled and greeted someone, they returned my greeting. There was no culture shock to deal with, for I was in the lap of the culture that had nurtured me. I could relax and be comfortable.

With that said, that warm fuzzy feeling is not enough to bring me back to the fold of Christendom. The fact remains that I cannot accept fundamental aspects of Christian doctrine(which I intend to elaborate on in a separate post in the future). Going back to church would be the easiest thing to do. But it would be a lie, and I am not going to deceive myself or others.

That brings me to the other belief system that some expect me to convert to: atheism. Since I don’t accept organized religion,the reasoning goes, why not just take it one step further and abandon the idea of God altogether? My answer for that is simple: I can’t. In spite of my issues with the Abrahamic faiths, I actually do believe in the existence of a Supreme Deity and Creator. My faith in God’s existence is incredibly strong and has never wavered. I have been through very painful and difficult times in my life. But throughout it all I can honestly say that I have never doubted that God is there. I have certainly gone through my “Job” moments(like the sudden passing of my Mom at the age of 46 years old), where I am angry and question things. But even at those times, even when I have tearfully raged to the heavens, it still doesn’t cross my mind that no one is there. The thought that there is no God is something I literally cannot conceive.

So what does all of this mean? Where am I going to end up? I cannot say for sure. I know that I am in no rush to label myself and adapt another ideology. I have (very briefly) read about Deism, but have not studied it enough to say I fully believe it.

If there is anything that I learned in my experience with Islam, it is to take my time and to look at ALL sides of the argument. Though Islam had appealed to me for a good eighteen years prior to my conversion, I never paid attention to the criticism leveled at it. I stuck with pro-Islamic sources which painted a rosy view of Islam.

When I converted and people around me-religious and secular-minded alike-tried to warn me, I refused to listen to them. I dismissed all criticism of Islam as “Islamophobia”. I told people they were taking things “out of context”. I told them they couldn’t fully understand the truth of Islam because they couldn’t read classical Arabic. And when I really got pissed off I condescendingly told them that they simply hadn’t been guided by Allah and were blind.I am not going to repeat that episode.

I can’t say where I will end up spiritually. For now I can say that I believe in God. I refuse to pick a team at this point. If my refusal to affix a label to my spirituality irks some folks, they’re simply going to have to get over it.

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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.

2 thoughts on “From Cross to Crescent to…

  1. I feel the same warm n fuzzy @ church. I think the atmosphere was designed to give you that reaction. Often people confuse warm n fuzzy for the presence of God though.

    Although I am more agnostic, I am a strong believer in actively constructing and following your own moral code (whether within the guidelines of some religion or not). Belonging to an officially religion or prescribing to a particular theory is not necessary. Golden rule, sew good, try to improve the world and help others, be socially responsible. … those are my ‘religion’

  2. LABEL

    Confusion lurks
    Night city streets
    Wondering bout
    Gathering acceptable beats
    Needing labels stamped on
    Where their identities meet!

    Who said you had to lean this way
    Questioning going in dismay
    Religion puffs scrambling delusional curves
    You have to be this or else you’re absurd!
    Mind gone belief in dismay
    All you know is
    God is love, He won’t betray

    How dare you define
    Who I am to be
    When intimately, He made me
    Out of purest love
    Like a dove

    You say I am wrong
    Apostate you have done haram!
    It is she that left because of the ummah
    God isn’t pleased with you, you’re fake, you’re fitna!

    Listen up you hypocrite
    I’m blazin in this fleet
    And you will get bit
    Far from wrong is what I did commit
    I realized Islam was no benefit

    With eyes opened I stepped away
    Stripped away from legalism
    Laws being thrown
    Eighty lashes on my back
    I won’t walk round blind slippin through cultish cracks

    Go ahead respond and say what you say
    Islam is the truth and Muhammed is the way
    You are wrong and you never should have left
    I’ll make du’ah for you when you hit the grave

    From ashes to ashes
    From dust to dust
    From the Islamic men full of lust
    Part-time hijabis cold stare
    Stuck in that deen I could not bare
    I looked up in the sky and saw grace hit me like a flare

    No longer bound I am
    By monotenous routine prayer
    Covered in oppression flooded by stares
    I am free to be me, and I am free to believe
    I know God is real and I will not be deceived
    Comment on my flow, if you dispute I don’t care!
    All I know is I am not in despair

    I don’t need the label, to know I am me….

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