I’m steadfast in my belief that exploring and wandering are the reasons I know I am Muslim. Learning about Buddhism brought me closer to Islam because it taught me what surrendering means, a lesson none of my Islamic studies teachers have been able to teach me even though that’s literally what Islam means. My Islamic studies teachers taught me how to how to obsess about the mundane—about all the things I’m doing incorrectly and therefore my prayers will not be accepted. They taught me guilt. They taught me fear. They taught me that being a good Muslim is difficult. I never quite rejected Islam, I just took a break from going through the motions of prayer out of guilt. I wanted to see if I could be compelled to return to my prayer rug. I did. I returned when I felt like my life was empty without worship. I prayed out of gratitude. I prayed and it gave me solace. Ablution became less about splashing water over various parts of my body and felt more like a daily cleanse. A baptism. I stopped obsessing about the small things and my new mantra was “Al-‘amal bil niyat,” which means actions are dependent on their intentions. My other mantra was “Al deen yusr,” which translates to religion is ease. Exploring and wandering gave me the tools I needed to critically look at the hypocrisy of the ‘ulama’a (Islamic elites/scholars/clerics). I realized that I did not have to practice my religion from the point of view of a largely misogynistic group of people. Two years ago, I denounced most hadith (prophetic traditions and sayings), fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and tafseer (interpretation) because these three things, all of which play a huge part in how Islam is practiced today, are filtered through the perspective of Muslims born into normalized extreme patriarchy.
(SO OF COURSE, DON’T FORGET… IF YOU ARE IN SPAIN OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY OF “THE WEST”… YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BEHAVE ACCORDING TO THESE SAME WAYS THAT YOU REQUEST FROM US IN YOUR HOMELANDS)
This catholic learnt long ago that the outside does never make the believer… because we don’t believe outside.
We believe within.
Humans, I mean, not only Catholics…
God can’t be exclusive ruler of a single exclusive club. I also learnt that. Long ago.
So don’t be fast to judge people’s relation with God, because you can only access to the outside, and there is not where we and God meet, hence… as far as you won’t get access to men’s spirits, the power to condemn or save human souls will NEVER be in your hands.