23 February 2008

"Ash-hadu": thoughts on 'losing my religion'

Growing up, with my mother's volunteer work, I grew up seeing a lot of people making their public declaration of faith, the shahada, announcing their conversion/reversion to Islam.

But one I witnessed whilst living abroad had a lasting impression on me and impacted--errr no.. never use impact as a verb ever!--a tremendous impact on my perspective on religion.

The convert was my age, about 21 at the time, a beautiful mid-western girl. I remember after the touching "conversion-ceremony" I was telling a friend that it's really unfair because I don't have a chance to convert. I've always wanted to convert! Her slate is wiped clean and she gets to claim her religion with certainty like few born-Muslim ever can.

My friend smiled, "so convert!" she said, "What's keeping you back?!".

After a little thought, I decided that although I had grown up Muslim, and was blessed to have had lived in a practicing home, I'm going to convert. I'm going to choose to be Muslim instead of be Muslim by default.

I convinced myself that had I not been Muslim already, that day would've been the day I made my declaration public.

After moving back to a Muslim-majority country that whole idea came to life in many different ways.

It's really given me a lot of perspective. My beliefs are my business, I came to them myself, not everyone has done the same and nor will they. And that's okay. Religion isn't about collective beliefs shared by a majority.

To me, every call to prayer, is an opportunity to choose to believe and pray. Everyday that I leave the house, I choose to cover. It's not something I decided years ago that I'm somehow stuck with today.

With that said, I'm far from the world's most devout Muslim, but my "Muslim" deeds are all done to fulfill the intention.

I've been able to separate thoughts into distinct religion and/or culture categories. Although, I still do a lot of "culture"; I don't do it in the name of religion anymore.

It's a liberating realization and it makes me think a million times before judging other people choices.

This post probably doesn't make any sense to anyone. Sense? Hello, have we been introduced?


G and L said...

It makes a lot of sense to me actually. and ur right it's mostly about choosing. everything is your choice, thats where your faith and belief appears

Anonymous said...

Mashallah its so beautiful and well written...I would just add one thing to it Sub7an Allah!

eshda3wa said...

i totally get it