Saturday, May 27, 2006

My thoughts on Islam

I became Muslim in 1992, after reading about it for over a year. After being married to several Muslim men and living in a Muslim country (Jordan), I have come to realize that this isn't something I want in my life or that I want to raise my kids in.

On paper Islam, like many things (communism for example), sounds great. One of the things I liked about it when I was reading about was the rights of women in Islam. They have their own identity; keep their own family name when they get married, keep any money they earn, inherit, etc; can choose who to marry and can initiate a divorce, and on and on.

However, in practice I have realized that men are the ones controlling the rights the women get. Most mosques you go to in the US won't give a Muslim women an Islamic divorce, even if the guy abandoned her or is a wife-beater, until they talk to him and he agrees. Many Muslims believe a woman has to ask her husband's permission to go out of the house. That is not in the Quran at all. They treat women like they are children and too stupid to do anything themselves. In most Muslim countries the woman can't get a divorce if the guy doesn't want one, even if he has another wife. In Egypt if the guy has another wife you can get one, thanks to Jihan's law. Also in Egypt the woman CAN get divorce, but she has to give up all rights to support.

In Islam the woman is respected for bearing the children and taking care of them. But in reality, women are the ones doing all the work with no recognition by the men, and if they divorce the man gets the kids. He's not going to be the one taking care of them. They will be stuck with his mom or sister, or his wife, the latter usually doesn't treat them as her own (blood is thicker than water kind of thing).

So in reality things are not what they seem to be. Yes Islam gave women rights in the 8th century that were unheard of until the late 19th century in many "civilized" countries. But...now they are stuck in the 8th century as far as the rights the women actually HAVE. I don't want to live that way, or my daughter to be raised thinking she is not as good as a boy or man just because she is female. She shouldn't be ruled over by men. I want her to grow up to be independent and be her own person and make her own decisions. That is how I was raised. Yes I choose to be in Islam, but I have chosen to leave it. They have the right to choose what they want for their lives.

The Quran also has some things that are disturbing to me, such as the verse that says you can beat your wife (Quran 4:34). No matter what Muslim apologists say, that is what it says. They usually put (lightly) in there but that's not what the verse says, that is added in the translation to placate non-muslims. Muslims try to counter that in many ways, but it's there in black and white. Do I want to be in a religion that says that, or have my daughter be married to someone who may think he can hit her if he thinks she is disobeying him?

Muhammed's hadith (sayings and doings of the prophet) also said that he Prophet said, "Isn't the witness of a women equal to half that of a man?" The women said "yes". He said "This is because of the deficiency of the women's mind." (Sahih al-Bukhari, volume 3, hadith 826). Well sorry but women are as smart as and in many cases smarter than men! No way I want my daughter growing up believing that, or marrying someone who believes that. When I became Muslim I think I was looking for a community where I could belong, and just looked past things like this or accepted things that Muslims say to "explain this" like that men and women have different roles in life and society, separate but equal kind of thing. NOT! Men and women are different physically and mentally, but that doesn't mean that men are smarter than women or they should be able to tell them what to do or what not to do like they are children.

There are other things that bother me about Islam as well. One is that it is very PC to say that Islam is not a violent religion. But in reality there is a lot of violence in the Quran. The religion was spread by the sword by Muhammad and later generations. It didn't spread slowly by Muslims going to the countries and living there, they took over the countries, killed people, took slaves.

There is a lot of violence in Muslim and Western countries over the infamous cartoons. I don't like them, but being raised in a country based on free speech, I can't take away someone's right to their free speech. Here in the US we make fun of everybody: in cartoons in the newspaper, stand-up comics, late night talk shows. You can make fun of the President, politicians, practically anyone and everyone are targets at one time or another, including religions. Even though I don't like them, and I don't think the newspaper should have printed something that can be viewed as racist, why do they have to be violent about it? There's no excuse for that. To me it's just another example of Muslims being violent and making excuses for it.

Now at their father's house it is a TOTALLY different story! He doesn't think they have a choice. He married a young woman from Egypt about 4 years ago, and they are very "cultural" at his house. They tell my daughter that she will go to hell if she wears skorts or doesn't wear a scarf. He told my son that you can't marry a non-Muslim or you go to hell, but HELLO, did he forget? HE was married to a non-Muslim! What a hypocrite! When my son brought up that little "forgotten" fact he didn't answer of course. Do as I say not as I do! He tells them not to lie, but he lies in court under oath.

Everything here is my own opinion. If you don't like my view, you are certainly entitled to your own opinion and your own blog. This is my view on a religion I was involved in for 12 years, and that I choose to leave. If it's right for someone else, then more power to them, but it's not right for me, and I will not raise my children in it.

A.

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15 Comments:

Blogger LaReinaCobre said...

Your story is so familiar to me. I saw this kind of thing so often growing up. Reading it, I was also struck that women who left fundamentalist Christianity could probably have very similar stories.

1:08 PM  
Blogger A. said...

Lareinacobre, I actually grew up as a very strict Christian (Seventh-day Adventist Church), going to their schools and everything. All my family left the church after my high school, then years later I became Muslim. Kinda substituting one orthodoxy for another.

3:46 PM  
Blogger LaReinaCobre said...

Yes, that is probably why I have never had any interest in becoming a Christian. Not to say there haven't been temptations.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank-you for sharing your experience and wonderful blog with us. I aswell was a Muslim and had my reasons for converting. A relative of mine "reverted" and so I began to educate myself on Islam. The Islamic religion presented much truth in it's scripture, logical arguments for the existence of God, and a beautiful civilization to explore. The local Muslims I met were pious, considerate, and friendly with me. However, the threats and warnings from the Qur'an coerced me to convert to a religion I would have otherwise just admired and studied from afar. Before, I never accepted the idea of a Creator, and now that I found myself believing in Allah, I feared for my life and eventually heeded to the threats in the Qur'an. Suprisingly, I'm glad I had entered Islam because, from within the religion as a believer, you have a greater understanding of the ideology, psychology of it's believers, and knowledge of it's theology and beginnings. I view the Qur'an as entirely man-made. I still see the beauty of Islam, but now I'm not as blinded in belief to be ignorant of the darkness found in all organized religions. Before every God, Church, religion, or institution is to be found a man. These "holy books" with words claimed to be from God have come from man. It is up to the believer to recognize if that man created it, diluded it, or actually received it from a divine source. I'm now a Buddhist, by the way. Peace.

5:23 PM  
Blogger أبو سنان said...

I am a convert to Islam, but I have to say my experience with Islam itself is much different than yours.

All believers, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim will certainly end up being less than what their religion demands.

Islam is no different. Like Bernard Shaw once said "Islam is the best religion, it just has the worst followers".

Thank God I didnt pick my religion based on it's followers. If I had I'd be an atheist.

Good luck, all the best.

9:07 AM  
Blogger An. said...

Abu Sinan, if you will read my post above more carefully, you will notice that there's many things in the Quran and Hadith that I don't agree with. Much of it is misogynistic. So I left because of Islam ITSELF, not because of it's followers, although the latter made me question things about Islam that I just accepted before without really investigating them. If I had known a lot of what Islam REALLY is, I would not have become Muslim.

Anisah

9:52 AM  
Blogger KadidiaTerri said...

I wish you had met a few real Muslims. :-[

11:00 AM  
Blogger An. said...

Kadidiaterri, how do you know who I met and didn't meet? Just because I left a religion that you are still in doesn't mean I didn't meet any "real" Muslims. Learn to let other people make their own choices.

A.

8:52 AM  
Blogger hijabee said...

So sad you never got to understand Islam subhanallah! May Allah guide you!!!

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Organized religion of any sort should teach you kindness to fellow man, patience, and understanding. Those who abide by it to do harm for "Gods will" are either mislead or interpretting the Koran or bible only to fit their own need to lash out their feelings of anger of injustice. Those who truly find peace and comfort in their religion would find it in any religion they choose to emerse themselves in. Jews, Christians or Muslims fundamentally teach the same things I mentioned in my first above sentance, it is simple. Only when politics are involved, is when relgions seemed to get misunderstood. That is my belief. Believe in the God you find in yourself and maybe nobody would be mixed up in toting what religion is better that the next

2:00 AM  
Blogger NoortheNinjabi said...

A lot of this is very sad to me because it seems like you're ignoring all the good and only searching for the bad. There's history behind those words, history that you obviously haven't gotten into deeply. And I say obviously not to discount your feels, but as a rational conclusion to a misguided opinion.

May Allah SWT guide you.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May you get strength and your family Prosper for taking a path with your intellect and Common Sense.Hope you get your child support .may your ex/s change their thinking and do their duty by your children at least.It is sad when we find that the dreams we had or are just that.But I am sure you and your children will become better person for this pain you are going through.Please let go of your bitterness[that is coming through your writing] for your sake and for your Children's.It will help you find happiness within you.I am sorry if I have overstepped,but said the above in Good faith as to a fellow sister.

5:15 AM  
Anonymous Sandy D. said...

I am a convert to Islam, a former southern Baptist. I too see cultural issues in Islam, and it saddens me. I had my daughter in an Islamic preschool, and my daughter was joking with her dad, and called him crazy. My daughter came home and told me that the teacher told her she was going to hell for calling her dad crazy..what????? I went down to the school and went off on the teacher and the principal. Needless to say, I pulled my daughter out of there. I love the religion, but some of the followers, not so much.

9:46 AM  
Blogger BloodUnderMyFingernails said...

It doesn't matter how other commenters have tried to explain it, but what you say Anisah is 100% true. I think its the reason why in Islam we are taught to not question and that to question is lack of iman. Maybe others are afraid that people will see the reality.

And reality it is.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Anisah said...

NoortheNinjabi

I could not just accept the bad, ignore it, and go on with my life as it was.

Hijabee

I think I understood Islam very well. It is a misogynistic religion which treats women like children. If you want to stay in such a religion, that is up to you. If you want to be treated like you are stupid and cannot make your own decisions, fine. I could not. I justified things to myself for quite a while. I think there is some good in Islam, but one can be a good person without being in an organized religion that treats women like 2nd class citizens.

Anonymous

Yes, I had bitterness for quite a while. Thank you for your thoughts!

Blood...

Plus, why do many Muslims think apostates should be killed? I don't think it is that way in any other religion.

From my experience, about half of Muslims think that. There is only freedom in religion if you choose Islam. Not much freedom there.

9:12 AM  

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