Sometimes, commenters write posts for me… and Jenny has now done it.
Jenny’s comment is written in response to a recent drive-by commenter, who wanted to know “if I am Muslim.” Jenny writes:
to this Mak person, who asked similar questions about CharmedShiva being Muslim or not–just in case he missed my response to his horrible post on her blog, here it is:
Bismillah ArRahman ArRaheem
First of all, your sentence structure strongly suggests that English is not your first language–in fact, it speaks of a certain grammar closely associated with Islam…(just sayin’). I sense a “born-Muslim” here, shocked that one of their beloved Sisters has seen the inside of the “Ummah” and Islam as it is interpreted within, and found it rotten. I’m sorry if you feel all naked and yucky and exposed (how dare she show the world our warts!) The author’s writing here is 100% spot on. I am a Muslim, and will remain so IN SPITE of Muslims like you. I suspect, mak, that YOU are one of these “born Muslims” , who get all warm and fuzzy listening to dawa videos on youtube…you know you are a Real Muslim (which TODAY is nothing more than an ugly reflection of the worst parts of your native-cultures). The author doesn’t malign Islam…It’s the FAKE, hollow Muslim apologists, and dawa workers who cover up the truth of life within the “Ummah” who do that.
Its kinda like selling a resort to prospective tourists–you want them to come, so you tell them how wonderful it is to stay there, the sparkling pool, tip-top staff, gourmet food, and etc.–only that was when you first opened, say thirty years ago. When the guests actually arrive, of course, lets just say from the other side of the world, exhausted, disoriented, ready to collapse into the nice, pillow-topped bed featured in the resort’s photo-gallery they are met with an unwelcome surprise. The resort is NOTHING like what they have been told. Sadly (or happily, depending on if you believe in this kind of dawa or not), our hapless tourists only discover the true nature of things once they are already INSIDE the property. It’s crumbling, old, dirty, dangerous–the elevators don’t work, the staff is surly and unhelpful, the food is filled with bacteria…Now our tourists are truly stuck–alone in a strange land, without family or friends, all their money stuck in your non-refundable package. See, you hooked ‘em. You convinced them that things were nice in your resort. Maybe it’s not honest business, but hey, you gotta’ bring ‘em in.
It’s the same thing with dawa. To claim the “pluses” of Islam (women’s rights, brotherhood (and sisterhood), honest dealing, and etc.) in order to attract or keep followers, when you really cannot offer them in real-life, is nothing more than a classic bait-and-switch SCAM.
Perhaps if people were less interested in coming up with clever wording to sell Islam in spite of reality, they might actually look INWARD–it’s easy. Just ask yourself, mak (and those of your ilk)…”Does our community, masjid, whatever–really reflect what we SAY it does to outsiders? ” Does it? Why not ask a convert whose been around for a few years (say 10+, they are rare, but they do exist)(hint-if they call themselves reverts, they probably haven’t). Really, mak, there’s a good chance they will tell you the truth (in spite of tremendous risk–it’s not like people like you are actually safe to talk to honestly-after all, you might call them a “fake Muslim” if their answer doesn’t stroke your ego).
I’m sure you will never understand any of this this, mak. But on the off chance, I thought I’d give it a go. I’d also like to impart (as a convert of 20 years) my very personal opinion of your post: It is because of people like you that many people leave Islam. If you truly love your religion, you may want to ponder…
And Allah knows best…(that goes for you, too, bro.)
these types of people are so blind–they don’t know the damage they do. One day God will show them the evil of their ways.
Yes, well. The “are you Muslim” questions say much more about the state of mind of the asker than about anything on this blog. The tab labeled “Respecting this space” pretty much says it all, but anyway, why would or should some random stranger even care? Surely his/her faith is enough, that they don’t need it to be bolstered by the faith of others?
I do recognize the mentality all too well, though. Back in the day when I was a hyper-conservative Muslim, I was conscious about being a small minority in the world—not only a minority in relation to the wider North American society, but also (I reluctantly realized) in relation to most of the world’s population of Muslims as well. It was an odd dynamic—while immigrant Muslims often looked down on us North American converts for being somehow not truly Muslim enough no matter how conservative we were, we had no difficulty noticing numerous features of every Muslim culture we came across that diverged from what we had been taught is the “proper Islamic way” to do things.
We were insecure, so we looked for confirmation that we were right. Fortunately or unfortunately, certain “mainstream” conservative Sunni groups were more than happy to supply that, in the form of public presentations by converts (typically, white men, though sometimes white women). Written convert testimonials also circulated, through Islamic bookstores and at book tables in Muslim conference bazaars.
The mere fact of someone’s conversion buoyed our faltering confidence. But it was not enough. They had to practice conservatively, as we did, or we felt threatened. Women who converted and did not straightaway become hijabis were disturbing, even if they said that it was difficult for them and that their faith was not yet strong enough to take this step. When they finally caved in to the pressure and donned the hijab, we felt relief, though we didn’t know why this was so, exactly. Even better was the convert who went all out—not only did they practice “properly” and conservatively, but they sought to make hijra to a Muslim country, or at least to live in one for a time in order to study Islam. These were people who were willing to really sacrifice for the deen, we thought—and how much we wanted to be among them.
Even worse than someone converting but not practicing “properly” was someone who became interested in Islam, hung around Muslims, read about Islam and attended Muslim events, and then… decided that conversion wasn’t for them. Or, had the gall to then convert to another religion instead. That bothered us deeply, though we didn’t ask ourselves why.
And then there were those who had been fairly practicing, but then became less diligent. We found that disturbing too. After all, how could anyone see the truth, and then not throw themselves into it whole-heartedly? Why, indeed.
We were so unwilling to see anything that threatened to complicate our view of the world in those days. Which meant that this was a view of the world that in the end could not survive intact. It would collapse inwardly, and take our lives with it.