A Liminal Muslim


Liminality (Latin Limen: Threshold)  Between two different existential planes. Neither here no there.

Althought there is diversity withing Islam, there is still an idea of who ‘looks’ like a Muslim, who ‘is’ a Muslim and who ‘could’ be a Muslim. I do not fit in any of those. As a convert, most people tries to guess where am I from. I am not white, nor Arab, nor Afro-American… People usually looks at me funny an ask me where am I from and when I answer the look quite shocked. On the other hand, among my own community, the fact that I wear a hijab is extremelly rare. I am a liminal Muslim. Muslims are usually very welcoming to those who decide to accept Islam as a new religion, but usually the religion or the life style that we leave behind does not welcome us anymore. It is undertandable, most Muslims do not accept those who decide to leave Islam to find something that suits them better, and I have even listened that those who leave Islam have three days to repent or should be stoned to death. I am not sure where this comes from, but I do not agree with that. At this point in my life I feel happy that I have accepted Islam, but I haven’t found a community of my own. The first thing is that I do not share language with most Muslims; I do not speak any Eastern language, except my limited Arabic which might be classified as shameful. Then, I do not share the backgroud. I grew up havind different education, different rules and hobbies. I did not grew up volunteering for the Mosque and I didn’t attend Qur’an school. Finally, I do not share culture… As difficult as it is for some people to understand, being Muslim does not mean to be Arab. Lots of people have pushed me to learn the language, wear specific clothes, eat specific food, and to leave my own culture. Nevertheless, I am determined to be a Muslim within my own culture. My own heritage has much to offer, and does not oppose any of the principles of Islam. I can always find something to wear that identifies me as Muslim but does not deny my heritage, I eat traditional food exceot for those dishes that contain pork, and I appreciate our celebrations and I still love my religious heritage. I see my acceptance of Islam, as a step forward in my spiritual development; however, I will never deny my Christian background and education, since it was this education that allowed me to know Allah and decide to walk towards the religion of His/Her last revelation. Sometimes is diffifult to be different. People from my own background do not like the fact that I have subverted and become Muslim, and Muslims do not undertand that I don’t mean to deny my heritage. As I learn lately in a religion class, I am liminal to my own community and to the new community that I want to be part of. A liminal person is (in Chritian terms) in Limbo. I am in this Limbo between Christianity and Islam, and Eastern culture and my own. Nontheless, as I said, I am determined to be a Muslim within my own community…

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