Who is a Muslim?

The last post redirected into an entirely different discussion as the comments section often does. However, I feel that this topic deserves a post of its own. In many ways, it echoes this post I wrote when I was in my final days of Islam. I eventually, after several torturous weeks, decided to throw in the towel altogether. I gave up any belief in the Quran and the prophethood and along with the label of “Muslim”.

In the last post Sig left the following comment:

It is interesting to think about what labels we apply to us, and what meanings they hold and what a community or society at large says we are or aren’t, and what meaning that holds. There are people who call themselves “Muslim” who would not be considered thus by the mainstream sunni or shia or even some progressives. Are they still Muslims? Is a Muslim one who says he or she is? And my question always has been, if one rejects some of the core tenets of the faith, then why bother with the label unless it is for nostalgia or heritage? I think a lot of us – not all of us – go through a “still Muslim, but not like that…” phase. And then we get past it.

In response Zahura said this:

If someone says she’s a Muslim, let’s take her at her word. We can ask her why she chooses that label, what being a Muslim means to her, etc. To question all but conservative Muslims’ right to call themselves “Muslims” is what the conservatives do to everyone else. Why play into that?

Even though they seem to be on opposite ends of an argument I have to say I agree with both.

As we know labels are fluid and change and an individual rarely fits into any one box. If a person want to call themselves Muslim, no matter what they declare their beliefs to be, it’s not within my role, nor is it my responsibility to contend otherwise. However, labels are there to differentiate an individual from another; in other words, it is a name given based on certain descriptive characteristics. When one adopts a label, there must be a set of characteristics, beliefs, philosophy, etc, ascribed to the label, otherwise the label is meaningless.  So when conservatives rail against progressives, and declare they are not Muslims, it’s because progressives seek to change the face of Islam. The underlying characteristics, the label, is threatened.  When a progressive seeks to throw out 1500 years of scholarship, as well as the entire body of hadith (as some do), and seek out new and modern interpretations of the meaning of the Quran, it’s understandable that conservatives would think this philosophy falls outside of Islam, or in the very least see it as an imminent threat.

Because, to change something means you lose its original form. There has always been differing interpretation, rival schools of thought,  and much variation in the fabric of Muslim societies. However,  to my knowledge, the current “progressive” Islamic movement is the first organized group to ever seek to dispose of the hadith as a legitimate body of knowledge in Islamic jurisprudence. Nor, has any group collectively found such inventive reinterpretations of certain problematic verses such as the “wife beating verse” or the verse on homosexuality. These reinterpretations fit quite nicely into our modern values, but the question is, in my mind, is that truly how they were intended? Generally, when I read that dharaba means to separate and not to beat, or that the verse about Lut is speaking to rape and not sodomy, or that the verse about houris refers to golden raisins and not fair virgins with wide eyes,  my gut feeling is that this is all wishful thinking; that’s not how they were intended, especially given the context  and audience for which they were written. While I would like to see a more progressive, a “kinder and gentler” Islam gain ground, I don’t know that it is truly compatible with the verses contained in the Quran, and it certainly is not, in my opinion, compatible with the hadith. This is the source of my rejection with the “progressive” Islamic crowd, which left me no choice but to leave the faith entirely.

Which brings me to the nature of the Quran. The entire Islamic faith hinges on the assumption that the Quran is the direct and undisputed word of God. It is a revelation given directly to Muhammad from God through the angel Gabriel. This has to be true, otherwise Muhammad was not a prophet but a man with a propensity for verse among many in a society of poets. If one believes this to be the case, then it is an absolute duty to follow every letter of it. To believe it all to be true. This includes many concepts which might be hard for some to swallow such as the existence of jinn and black magic or even belief in a God who would constantly berate his creation with the threat of hellfire.  While some verses may lend themselves to metaphor, others just do not, especially those addressing societal dealings such as inheritance laws, the necessity for two female witnesses in a financial contract,  participation in riba, and certain dietary restrictions.

I think everyone can agree that the belief in one God, a profession of strict monotheism is a necessity in being Muslim. After that, the belief in the prophethood of Muhammad which implies belief in his divine revelation. I rejected the latter, and that was the catalyst for my apostacy. However, do you believe that is what is necessary to be a Muslim? If not, what else and why?

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41 Comments

Filed under apostasy, ex muslim, Islam, religion, ummah

41 responses to “Who is a Muslim?

  1. almostclever

    Well, the 5 pillars, for instance, make someone either in or out. Muslims from every range, conservative to progressive, would say if you are not adhering to the 5 pillars than maybe you aren’t really a Muslim. Of course one of the pillars is belief in the prophet and his message. I would say, to be a part of an “organization” there are rules one must conform to in order to be part of the group. Just as any other organization runs, this is how religion runs also.
    If there were no rules it would have no way of being differentiated from any other group or religion.

    Of course, many people have different ways of approaching even the 5 pillars. I can’t say who is a Muslim and who is not. There are too many types of Muslim for me to pit the conservatives against “everyone else,” which is exactly what any of this will boil down to. I refuse to see the world in that way. Who is a Muslim? Who Knows! We can’t just view it from a religious perspective, we have to look at all of the systems that affect a person’s life in order to know why they believe and do as they do. Plus, none of us can climb into a person’s heart or mind, which is where the answer would be.

    It is so subjective.

  2. Progressive Islam and Qur’an-only Islam are related but not identical. Some progressive Muslims still accept the hadith in general but question particular hadith that seem to contradict the spirit of the Qur’an or what we know about the Prophet. Likewise, some Qu’ran-only Muslims are not progressives; they limit themselves to the Qur’an but still believe that hijab is required, for example.

    I agree with you that it’s understandable why progressives and conservatives question each other’s use of the labels “Islam” and “Muslims.” What I don’t get is why ex-Muslims would side with conservatives on what those labels mean.

    I consider Mohammed a prophet but I no longer believe that the Qur’an is the literal word of God. I believe it was divinely-inspired, but also influenced by Mohammed’s knowledge of other religious traditions and by the culture around him. I wouldn’t share this belief with very many Muslims in real life.

    • I understand your frustration with ex muslims and a tendency to lump all of Islam into the ultra conservative version as being the “true Islam”. I have observed this phenomena as well. However, as I stated in the post, I do think the “progressive” movement is seeking to change Islam into something it was never meant to be, nor as something it was understood by the earliest Muslims or Muhammad. However, if the majority of Muslims practiced Islam with a more progressive viewpoint, then perhaps I would have been content in the religion and would have never had any reason to question the it. I read somewhere that the nature of religion can be seen in the way people practice it (or something like that). Maybe that is true.

      “I consider Mohammed a prophet but I no longer believe that the Qur’an is the literal word of God. I believe it was divinely-inspired, but also influenced by Mohammed’s knowledge of other religious traditions and by the culture around him. I wouldn’t share this belief with very many Muslims in real life.”
      I believed this for awhile as well. I viewed the Quran rather like the books of the old testament; They had a writer and those writers were inspired by God. However, this contradicts what the tradition says and what the Quran says as well. In the tradition the Quran has to be the direct revelation from God, otherwise what does that make the prophet? It was his miracle. In this vein, why couldn’t one claim any other piece of literature was from God as well? There are certain poets I think may be touched by God, writers of poetry I find much more beautiful and meaningful than the Quran, but they’re not the basis of an entire religion either.
      This is just my opinion. I surely hope no one takes offense which is the risk when discussing such topics.

  3. “These reinterpretations fit quite nicely into our modern values, but the question is, in my mind, is that truly how they were intended?”

    That was always the question in my mind too. I’m so happy that someone else sees it that way. It just feels intellectually dishonest to reinterpret it willy-nilly, however much nicer that makes it. If Muhammad was a prophet then how he understood it is surely what matters.

  4. Sig

    When I was an orthodox Muslim, I always figured it was up to god to decide on the day of judgment. I do think there needs to be general consensus on what a label means – whether it’s this one or something else – otherwise, there is really no sense to applying these labels to ourselves and asking that others identify us with it. Believing only in the god of Abraham, in the prophethood of Mo and the guys before him, and in some sense in the righteousness or truth of the quran (whether as literal and unchangeable or as mutable and ‘inspired by god’) is what I would consider Muslim. Hadiths, imams, all the rest of it — I think there is wide latitude there.

    In theory, the “lay Muslim” (in a religion of “no clergy!” LOL) is severely cautioned against declaring takfeer on someone else. Then again, I’ve heard people like Hamza Yusuf and Nuh Keller – among MANY others of the so-called “moderate” and “sufi” types – declaring people who believe it is okay to be homosexual (as in exist…) or who believe in differing interpretations of 24:31 as kafirs. So on the one hand, they exhort you – the “person who does not have proper education” – to give latitude – which is a positive thing, but in the next breath, they tell you “And this person and that person are bound for eternal hell” – which feeds into the very dominant mentality of adhering (outwardly, if not inwardly) to very rigid codes of speech, conduct etc. lest you be shunned and cast out (or worse). It also helps stifle any contemporary discussion of some major issues or even, as I had seen many times over the years, to shut down inquiry and questions (including from people who have no intent to create controversy but sincerely want to learn).

  5. Sig

    Oh I wanted to add that I am not sure on the “whoever says he is, is” attitude, because there are Christians out there who claim the label of “Muslim” and they’re not. I read about this many years ago at Umm Zaid’s blog and elsewhere – missionaries who have created the “tariqah of Isa” and such, who appear to pray salat, and all that but in reality, they’re missionaries and run of the mill trinitarian Christians. Is that person a “Muslim” because they say they are? If so, isn’t the label rendered meaningless? Despite idealism, I honestly do not think we can function without using labels for ourselves and others… in other words, I don’t believe that we can function as “just me!”, but that we have an innate need to classify ourselves – to ally with others and give a sense of companionship – and others – to know where that person is coming from. Labeling isn’t always negative, although it is often used that way.

    They use the label of “Muslim” to sucker people in, to prey on uneducated, poor people who believe they are receiving aid or education that can better their lives. I believe Mother Jones magazine also had an article about this type of missionary work and I myself ran into someone like this (though not as extreme in their deception) when I was in the Middle East.

    • If you have a real reason to question someone’s labeling themselves as Muslim, such as evidence that they are Christian missionaries posing as Muslims because they have an agenda, fine. But to question anyone who doesn’t follow orthodox/mainstream/conservative Islam is another story.

    • Sig, there seems to be a nasty rumour going around that you are/were umm Zaid. Either way is not concern to me, and I really had never heard of the woman until recently although her “convertitis” piece is priceless and it seems she created quite the uproar in the blogosphere not so many months ago.

      However, Signy from here in Glitnir, now that would be someone worth resurrecting. Just saying in case you start feeling especially inspired. It gets a bit lonely out here.

    • almostclever

      I completely disagree with this Sig. If anything we should be getting away from labels, and your example is a bit too unique to use as a reason for the distrust of all. It doesn’t quite make sense.

  6. Sarah

    It is not enough to belive in God. Even Satan belives in God!

    • Islam = self-surrender to God

      Satan represents belief in God while refusing to surrender.

      • Sarah

        that is why I said its not enough to belive in One God.

        • I thought you were suggesting that the difference between Satan and a Muslim is belief that Muhammad is a prophet. I was pointing out that even believing in the shahada is insufficient if one does not really surrender to God. Now what surrender looks like, in my opinion, might take different forms.

          • Sarah

            yes thats what I meant, that we should not think that we did something extraordinary by beliveing in ONE GOD. Because Satan also belived in one God and look at him, hes in the pitt of Hell.

  7. Sarah

    and ofcourse it is necessary to belive in Prophet Muhammad’s message and his prophecy in general. If you reject it, then you are rejecting Islam because that is the message he was carrying. If you reject Islam then how can you be a Muslim? You can belive in God, but you can’t call yourself a Muslim unless you belive Prophet Muhammad sws. I guess you could submit to God’s will but how do you measure what God’s will is? How do you determine what God wants and how to worship him, as I said above that even Satan belived in God, so no its not enough to just belive in God, you need to strive to be nearer to Him and not do what Satan did.

    • I guess I should have stated my question more clearly. Do you believe that belief in one god and muhammad as a prophet are they only two things necessary to be a muslim. is there anything more?

      • Sarah

        If you belive in One God, and belive Prophet Muhammad is his messenger then yes you are a Muslim. Nobody can deny this because when you look at the shahada its exactly what it is. “I bare witness that there is only One god and that Muhammad is his messenger”. After you belive these 2 things then no matter what you do, you are a still a Muslim unless you take away one of those 2 statements. For example You cant say I belive there is 2 gods and Muhammad is the messenger, or I belive in One God and that Muhammad is not his messenger. As Much as I hate saying these things, I have to say them to prove a point. You see both are invalid if you want to consider yourself a Muslim. Take away either one of those statements and you fall outside of Islam. it is really quiet simple to be a muslim, if you already belive in One God then thats half way to islam, all thats left is believing Prophet Muhammad as his true messenger. He was not a liar, he was not an imposter so we belive him. Do you have any more questions?

        • almostclever

          And that is it, Sarah? So, praying the ritual 5 times a day doesn’t have anything to do with one being Muslim or not?

          Shahada is absolutely all one has to believe to be Muslim?

          • Sarah

            Yes thats what is required to be a Muslim. Anything after that that you fall short off is your own burden to carry. I never said that saying the shahada and believing it will grant you paradise, it simply makes you a Muslim. But is being a Muslim on its own enough? Well you can answer that question for yourself. Alot of Muslims do not pray, do not fast, etc etc, but do we take them out of the fold of Islam? Ofcourse not. If we did then we would have no Muslims. But we do give Dawah that prayer is necessary to enter paradise. So In Summary, shahada is necessary to become a Muslim, practicing is necessary to enter paradise.

        • Don’t Muslims believe not just in Muhammad but in all the prophets of God (see Quran 3:84, for example)? Also, wasn’t Abraham also described as a Muslim in the Quran (and though he could believe in God’s messengers in general, how could he believe in Muhammad specifically)?

          I think the problem is simply that human language does not, and cannot, do justice to reality. So “Muslim” can mean: simply “Submitter” or “Believer” of one God (or THE God, if you prefer); someone who tries to follow the moral teachings of the Quran; someone who tries to follow the teachings of the Quran AND believes it to be the literal, unadulterated and unchanging word of God; someone who follows the Quran and the Sunnah (independently or with guidance from the scholars of their particular sect, or of several sects); someone who follows a spiritual leader who identifies as Muslim (or worships at shrines to honored dead who were Muslim); someone who follows the 5 pillars (though some groups have some variations of the pillars and some reject them altogether as innovation); someone who ethnically identifies with the particular dogmas and cultures of Islam but doesn’t necessarily believe in God, prophets, etc… I”m sure I could keep going here. My point is, the word “Muslim” will mean something different to not just the person speaking, but the person listening as well. For example, to some the word Muslim is reflexively associated with words like extremism, patriarchy, and terrorism. For those people, that is reality until proven otherwise – but thats another issue altogether, I think.

          Any label, whether its about one’s religion, gender, race, etc., will be an oversimplification. Labeling ultimately comes from a desire to control or at least predict the actions of others (you do/don’t do this, therefore you are/can’t be that) and it certainly has its uses. We construct labels for ourselves to build our self-identity, but we are also very much influenced by the labels that get assigned to us. So maybe being a Muslim is as much about how others treat you as it is about how you see yourself.

  8. I’d rather let people call themselves Muslim, or not and respect them in that decision. In some cases I’m sure I won’t agree 100% like the person who is Christian as well as Muslim… Not sure I “got it”, but if she finds truth in Islam *and* Christianity together, the fact that I find it contradictory shouldn’t stop her. I’m not sure I agree 100% when it comes to people who are born from Muslim families but hold none of the beliefs (for example, are essentially atheists), but they have their reasons and the label means something different to them than surrender to God. They can still use it!
    If a person considers themselves “Muslim”, then there must be a reason and I’m not willing to judge whether or not the reasons are valid. I will leave that up to God himself. I don’t think the label loses all meaning just because there are a variety of meanings for the word. It’s nice to be clear sometimes with additions to the label like progressive, by name, Qur’an only, Sunni, Sufi, etc. etc. but that’s just for clarity and doesn’t change that they are calling themselves Muslim.

  9. I read this post about 10 minutes after I published my post on my alnisaa blog!!

    • I notice how themes seem to float about in the blogosphere and I pick up on them either consciouslyor entirely by coincidence. I love when there is a topic I’ve been thinking about and then *bam* there it is in another blog. I suppose we’re all thinking about similar things then.

  10. I think shahadah pretty much explains what is required basically from a Muslim. You have to believe in one God and Muhammad as His prophet. It is more complicated when one realises that belief in Muhammad’s prophethood requires that you believe he didn’t author the Quran.

  11. I’m a little late in commentary but here are my pocket penny’s worth:
    According to Islamic law to be an official Muslim a person must state “La illaha illallah, Muhammadan Ar-Rasulloollah”. That’s the very basic requirement. That requirement is something small and something gigantic at the same time. There is a saying about enlisting in the Army: “To join the Army all you have to do is raise your hand. To get out, well that’s another story”.
    There are other things that become a requirement after you recite the statement of faith such as believing in the six articles of faith and fulfilling the other pillars of Islam(salat, fast, hajj, zakat) but these things don’t toss anyone out of the religion of Islam forever. A Muslim may be labeled not practicing but they are still Muslim. Only apostacy is irrevocable.

    With that being said it doesn’t mean someone can’t call themselves Muslim if they feel like it(for whatever reason) but just saying it doesn’t make it so. That is what the doctrine is there for, to establish the rules that one must abide by to be considered a part of it. For example, if a person were born and grew up in Russia but always told people they were American because they just feel more like an American than they do a Russian, well they can say and believe whatever they want but that doesn’t make it so. According to the laws that govern citizenship that person would be considered Russian no matter how many times he says he’s American, how many U.S. flags he waves, or how many barbecued hotdogs he eats. He would have to follow the rules of citizenship to truly have the title of American. Thus a Muslim, at the very least, has to utter and believe in the shahada to be a Muslim.

  12. SOLIDSOUL

    who is a Mulim?.

    “Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first blind woman who touched his leg.

    “Oh, no! it is like a rope,” said the second woman/man who touched the tail.

    “Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third woman who touched the trunk of the elephant.

    “It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth woman who touched the ear of the elephant.

    “It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth woman who touched the belly of the elephant.

    “It is like a solid pipe,” Said the sixth woman who touched the tusk of the elephant.
    God bless all.

  13. SOLIDSOUL

    *MUSIM, not mulim……sorry

  14. michele

    I think your views are now concentrated on disproving Islam and influencing other Muslims to do the same, seeing everything through a very narrow frame of reference and taking only the most extreme versions of Islam. If you take time to read scholarly accounts of Islamic history one can see the puritanical movement of the Wahabis has had a drastic and negative influence on the way some Muslims interpret their faith. This has evolved over the last century, prior there was a much richer, more vibrant, tolerant practice of Islam. This ebb and flow is prevalent in other faiths as well.
    While there are many references to hellfire in the Quran we also have verses that say “2:62 Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, those who work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. ” The very visual references may be needed to reach those tempted to immorality or committing evil against others, while others may not need it. Part of faith and believing in something greater than oneself is having trust that the creator understands and knows what is best for us, in ways we may not understand or see. One can see that the erosion of morals and values in any society does not serve it’s people well. As for music, many predominantly Muslim countries do not have the same hang ups with this issue as we have seen in the U.S. even in countries like Saudi, these things are prevelant, just underground. It seems as though our communities and Mosques are often overrun by those who represent salafi or wahabi ideology and tend to practice the most extreme interpretations of Islam.
    I am curious as to why if you left Islam and feel such great relief at doing so, you feel compelled to continue to dwell on the perceived inequities of your former faith, wallowing in self-righteousness at your “enlightenment”, why not just move on? Live and let live as they say.

  15. Sameerah

    I agree with Michelle, why do you find the need to continue to write post referring to Islam if you left the path.
    How is your husband feeling after reading your posts

    • I am still very much interested in and will continue to explore various paths to god and the religions that claim to own the right to that path. Writers often write as a forn of catharsis and Islam has left an indellible mark on my life and is very much in the forefront of my mind. My husband, like my readers, is free to read or not read this blog and engage in the dialogue and discussion held within.

      The real question in my mind is, why do individuals who are offended by, who dislike my thoughts and this blog so much, continue to visit and make comments?

      • almostclever

        Sameerah, you have made comments on my blog also, and I wonder what your benefit is from reading blogs you do not like? What is the gain for you? You must be getting something out of it, or you wouldn’t do it. I’m just curious about where you are coming from, and would love to know more about you, if you are so inclined. People fascinate me, so please excuse my intrusion 🙂

  16. There are over 30,000 blogs and websites by Muslims who write about Islam and spread the message of the religion. Both, those who are Muslim and write about Islam and those who were Muslim and write about Islam, have one thing in common – strong feelings for the religion. Any religion leaves a deep impact on an individual’s life and the fact that Stephanie can’t shake it off is evidence enough that she was deeply into Islam. Religion is not a handbag that you can take off your shoulder, put in a corner and forget about. How exactly does one go about “moving on”? There is a support system for new converts, but what coping mechanism is in place for anyone who leaves any religion – unless one adopts another religion, the adherents of which will eagerly suck up the new convert into their circle?

    Certainly Stephanie is strong enough to stand up for herself which is why she has chosen to write her strongest and most private thoughts about Islam on a public blog so I’m not here to defend her. But how is Islam benefiting if anyone questions the faith she once had in the religion?!

    • almostclever

      “But how is Islam benefiting if anyone questions the faith she once had in the religion?!”

      I think it is a necessary defense mechanism people use to guard their entire worldview from crashing down. It is quite an assault for people heavily invested in religion, to hear that their entire way of viewing the world may be wrong.

      I think this is why people who dissent are so disdained. They represent the chance that everything could be wrong.

    • Couldn’t have said it better, Achelois. It is very like a relationship breakup. It needs working through. Perfectly natural. It seems to me that some of these commenters care more about preventing their beloved religion being bad-mouthed than they do about trying to empathise with a person who has gone through a painful breakup. It does nothing to promote the appeal of religion.

      • Isn’t it?! My cousin recently left Islam and he was devastated. On the one hand he feels liberated and on the other he doesn’t know what to do now. His innate moral compass certainly tells him what is right from wrong but he is now very superstitious and thinks if he eats pork (now that he is not Muslim anymore) his mother will have a stroke (she is unwell)! It just shocked me to realise that there is practically no coping mechanism in place for people who leave highly organised religions. I think it is all this confusion that causes anger and the feeling to talk about it. If writing about how one feels is helping someone, why should we feel threatened by it?!

        Yes, it is possible like Almostclever said that it may feel like an assault or a grim possibility that our beliefs may be wrong. I used to feel like that when four years ago I made friends with an atheist (unknowingly at that time that she was atheist) but I used to feel offended that I didn’t matter to her enough that she spoke against Islam in front of me. But most of the commenters here who feel insulted are not Stephanie’s friends and those who are know her too well to feel insulted.

        @Stephanie, good point! It is possible, but then history also tells us that Emperor Jehangir was so upset that Guru Dev was teaching a new religion which appeared to people to be more humble and tolerant than Islam that he captured him, tortured him for many days, had him sewn into a donkey’s skin which dried up leaving him dehydrated and crushed his body upon drying, and then beheaded him. So I think the fear that someone, something can be better than us and our thinking can make us do anything. We just need to be confident in our *skin* (no pun intended there!).

        • You’re super sweet Achelois, but that story isn’t *shudder*.

          For me, there is definitely a combo of feeling free and also still feeling very much entangled in Islam. Even though I’m not practicing and don’t consider myself Muslim even things that were once completely normal for me and that continue to be for most non-Muslims still feel odd to me. For example, the clothes I wear and being able to go swimming etc. Just yesterday I was outside laying in the grass with the kids and new canine friend (another example and post in the making, I have a feeling) and I could just feel the sun warming the skin on my neck and arms. It felt wonderful and human and I wondered why did I ever deny myself this very basic joy in the name of wearing hijab. The why’s are a big aspect of my thought processes right now.

  17. I also think that the recent criticisms of Islam, some legit and some completely unfair, tend to make Muslims hypersensitive. I never knew Islam pre-9/11 so I don’t know if the conflated sense of defense is a response to subsequent events or not.

  18. “It felt wonderful and human and I wondered why did I ever deny myself this very basic joy in the name of wearing hijab.”

    That is a problem I notice with converts and today’s generation of Western Muslims. Growing up it didn’t even cross my mind once that my mother should have been wearing hijab. She can’t swim so she didn’t but we swam with our dad and all of us are non-hijabis. We played tennis and ran marathons. Post 9/11 Islam has become more than a way of life; it has become a symbol of an identity that is hated by the West and hence Muslims show defiance by becoming overtly Muslim. I don’t think I really agree with that. Hijab was never such an issue when I was a young girl. It can burn out anyone. If one half of the humanity can do everything and the other half is a by-stander, it will burn out the latter. I want to run too, I want to cuddle my dog, I want to feel the sun and wind in my hair, I want to swim as well, and I want to lie down in the grass! I don’t blame you for wondering why you denied yourself the basic joys in life.

    I wish you good luck, Stephanie, in your life, in your quest for truth and in your blogging as well 🙂

  19. Pingback: Musings on Muslim identity (II) | A Sober Second Look

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