The “Realities” of Islam (or their impossition)


After few months of pondering this, I decided that it was time to step back and look at what was happening around me. A number of things changed  in the last few months and these led me to question the religious “realities” that many of us give for granted and preach about.

By being in touch with a number of more “progressive” Muslims I had come to believe that we were all up for choices and willing to advocate for them. Islam had become a force behind the strive for knowledge, faith, freedom and justice. However, the ideals that I had in my mind did not necessarily where what other Muslims were thinking.

I grew disappointed after seeing “progressive” Muslim girls walk into marriage and exchanging their beliefs for the safety of a relationship in which hijabs and house-wifery roles were the maximum expression of faith. I was further challenged by those Muslims who become so “progressive” that ‘dogma’ became their second name.

In either side I was confronted by what these Muslim girls conceived to be the “realities” of Islam. Some of them expressed the need to become “conservative” after marriage, because marriage, as a cornerstone of society, required them to change previous behaviours (whether good, bad or just insignificant). Some others mentioned that clothing and modesty (through clothing) were the main principles in which Islam rested. Few people characterized their struggle against everything and more as the sole purpose of Islam in their lives (whether struggle against the West, men or ‘barbaric’ non-Western practices).

I had to step back and wonder, what are the realities of Islam? further… what are my realities as a convert to Islam?

I came to realize that as a female convert my realities are quite different. Born-Muslims see me as an object of Dawa. Non-Muslims see me as a lost soul. Fellow converts, turn to me as either a point of reference or as a bad example. What I see in Islam is not necessarily compatible with the realities that surround me and at the end of the day we all, as human beings, have a big problem…. we like to impose things on others.

I am not free of this issue. I am one of those people with strong personalities and willingness to debate. However, as a convert and as a woman I am also quite susceptible to criticisms. Issues on clothing, core values, practices, habits, proselytism, etc… will always be something to impose on  us.

The question then is, do we agree and can live with the realities that are imposed on us one way or another? What does this do with our actual relationship with Islam? Is it transformed or slowly diffused?

Perhaps we should stop assuming that realities are universal…And perhaps is time to question “realities” as defined by our particular Muslim communities.

One thought on “The “Realities” of Islam (or their impossition)

  1. Meemz says:

    Salaam Alkuim,

    I think many times many of us get lost in the minor details of Islam. It happens because each of us is only human. ‘Insan’-person , in Arabic means a forget-er.

    I love that you’ve addressed this issue that so many of us seem to either slide over, or never even ponder.

    It always strikes me as strange that we sometimes feel comfortable with our knowledge to say ‘this’ is Islam. What we know is not even a quarter. Our goal in Islam is to always improve, always learn, and to further our understanding of this vast and beautiful religion until our very last breath.
    That is why we are in no position to judge others. Especially not each others religions. It may be what is important to them at a given time, what they promote, perhaps the only thing they think about is what took them the most time to achieve, or understand, or are struggled with to implement.

    I love how you mentioned that each one has a different approach. I think that is what makes the Muslims so beautiful. Each one has an understanding to learn from, and a perspective to ponder. Every human is influenced by their lives, in their behavior, in their decisions and subhanAllah even in their deen.

    It is your chance when you see Muslim sisters placing a magnifying glass to only a few aspects of Islam to remind them of the bigger picture and the one goal to please Allah through the millions of actions we are shown in our daily lives. Even a smile is charity.

    What is our goal as Muslims? Each Muslim has a personal goal that fits their talents for the deen. At the end of the day, collectively, our goals is to create a society laid down by the guidance of Allah. Our responsibilities to Allah are in three. 1) Our acts of Worship. 2)the healthy maintenance of ourselves. 3) The community.

    It may be that as a revert Muslim, that you are approached by so many different people and see things born-Muslims don’t. It may be that you can communicate these experiences, and open a whole new lense of perception to others.

    May Allah make every challenge you face beneficial and may He strengthen you, bless you and continue to give you insight.

    Fiaman Allah- In the Trust of Allah.

    Your sister.

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