I am a walking religion

Everything I do is based on text.

Everything I do is religious.

Everything I am is Qur’anic.
I am nothing except an embodied religion.
Non-Muslims are “people.” Whole, complicated, ethnic, contextual, diverse, multidimensional.
Christians are human beings. Muslims, however, are solid religion. There are no spaces in a Muslim for humanity, for anything but religion.
Everything in Muslims/Muslim communities/Muslim societies/Muslim countries can be tracked by a footnote that says Qur’an X:X.

Jews and Christians, however, are people. They change. They grow. They are new and modern today.

Muslims are ancient – replicas of their 7th century original.

Hindus are people. Like music, they flow in and out of, and around, the Gita and the Vedas.

No other people can be traced back to their texts as Muslims can.

No one but Muslims can be easily predicted by a quick reference to a medieval volume.

Nietzche inspires rather than dictates to secular humanists.

Muslims can be literally translated from Qur’an and Bukhari.

If I yell at my baby, you glower at me and say it’s because Islam teaches me to be harsh to my children.

If I smile at my husband, you sneer at me and say it’s because Islam teaches me submission to a man.

If I cover my breasts, you call upon me to liberate myself from my religious restrictions.

If I am a feminist, you snidely accuse me of cunningly outmanoeuvring my religion.
If I am an academic, you congratulate me on keeping my religiosity at bay just long enough to nab one of your jobs.
If I become depressed, you exhort me to lose the darkness of my religiosity.

If I am happy, you say I am deluded.

I cannot win. I cannot simply be. I must be defined and packed up in a small green box marked ISLAM.
Any flaws I have must be traced back to Islam. Any disadvantages I have must be marked up to my religion.

Any strengths I have must be explained away. I am, you say, too Western to be truly a Muslim woman. You say I am too Americanized to be a truly Muslim woman. I am too critical to be a real believer.
When my immigrant imam tells me to pray behind a wall, you say it is because of Islam.

When my father tells me to stay at home, you say it is because of Islam. When my mother commands me to wear pink, you say it is because of Islam.
When my teacher molests me, you say it is because of Islam. When my brother tells me to cook his lunch, you say it is because of Islam. When my husband tells me it’s not his job to feed the children, you say it is because of Islam. When my mother-in-law says my husband must pay her rent, you say it is because of Islam.
You say it is because of islam – and you make the case for my father, my teacher, my brother, and my husband – the case that everything they do is indeed justified by Islam.

You join hands with oppressors and trap me in cages of words. You are with them.
When I say it is not Islam, you laugh at me, and pour lead into the walls that surround me.
You have created a blow-up godzilla in the image of your own nightmares. And you have thrown in your lot with my oppressors.

You say I am too stupid, too deluded, too biased, too blind to REALLY know what Islam is, because YOU know what it is.
And if I dare say a word to disagree with your castigation of my faith, you turn around and roar at my audacity to talk back. Bend down and take it, you say. It’s for your own good, you say. Always complaining, always defending yourself, you say.
You protect the men who oppress me for the sake of land, money, power, jobs, sex, psychoses, neuroses – and you say IT IS ISLAM.

And they keep their feudal lands and their top jobs and their presidencies and their mistresses – and they say “yes, it is truly Islam.”

You protect White supremacist society and White patriarchy by saying Islam is the main cause of the world’s ills.
You protect Orientalism, facism, racism, sexism, capitalism, global exploitation, by saying FORGET ALL THAT. It can’t be as bad as the Qur’an.
You call upon me to castigate my people, my faith, my community.

Don’t worry. I’m all set. I already criticize them. Not for you, but for them. What do you do for YOUR people?


This was also posted at United Press International’s Religion & Spirituality page.

9 thoughts on “I am a walking religion”

  1. Many thanks for this post. I shall use this for my class.I came across a book that you shall find useful
    entitled: Sufism Unbound: Piety and Politics in Twenty First century Pakistan by Robert Rozenhal. This is about
    the Sabri Chisti Order.
    Remember me in your du’as

  2. Wonderful blog. You explained well the blind and uninformed, discriminatory comments people say against Islam and Muslims.

    However, I ask you this: why does it have to be Muslim? Christian? Buddhist? Hindu? Orthodox? White supremacist? Black supremacist? Brown? White? Black? Yelllow? Polka-dotted?

    Are our souls colored? Do we not share this One Great Breath of Air? Do we not all cry and laugh? We are born the same way, we die the same way, and we take nothing with us except for our experiences and memories.

    We are too busy killing each other and blaming each other for everything wrong in this world. We all want to be God’s chosen and everyone who is not like us should rot in hell because Our God is a just God.

    Who is Our God? Would God, who created and sustains this entire, immense, Universe, love me more than you because I give Him 10% of my earnings? Or that I worship Him in a specific way? Or that I feed more orphans than you do? Or that I sell all my belongings and go live in a cave for the rest of my life to prove how much I love Him?

    If God favors one part of His Creation over another, then either God is a racist or is not the real God at all and is just a human invention meant to control people.

  3. A very powerful post, both against male power in Islam and bigotry misunderstanding against Islam. Every Muslim woman and MAN should read it.

    Ya Haqq!

  4. Salam alaikoum
    When I was in college and had recently converted, I remember getting angry about someone (and rightly so)…a hardcore Christian friend of mine said, “You’re not being very Muslim”…who was he to tell me about my Islam?

  5. I stumbled upon a blogspot quite by accident but there are not accidents in nature only what has been planned by my creator!
    Normally I never read blogs but I went to it via an article published in Indian Muslims, I blend into your blog and never can claim to write it that way,
    Shukran Jazeelan for the voicing of feeling and emotion in this way, we are sistes in Faith… and only Allah knows best
    Mashallah keep it up! you are an inspiration, May He Grow you more and Keep you in the Shade of His Arsh on the Fateful Day

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