I started a blog a few weeks ago as a sort of online journal, hoping that sharing my thoughts would help me better understand my own beliefs whilst I learned about Islam. Here is my first post on my blog “Blue-eyed Muslimah (to-be)”:
I started this post because I have a long road ahead of me. Several weeks ago I read the Quran for the first time, and it had what I can only describe as a profound effect on me. I had been curious about religion and specifically Islam since I was a kid, having been raised in a relatively secular household (we had Christmas and Easter but with no mention of Jesus or church visits, what I refer to as “Hallmark Christianity”). I felt a need to find religion for many years, but none seemed to quite fit and I resigned myself to being an agnostic – not bad, really, but it felt like I was settling for less than what I needed.
When I read the Quran for the first time, it – quite frankly – moved me. It moved me to tears, in fact. I sobbed until I couldn’t read the words anymore, whispering, “Thank you, thank you, thank you…” It was a shattering experience for a lifelong non-believer, for the daughter of a man who always scoffed religion, for someone who has no Muslim friends, or even devoutly religious friends, and who never saw this coming. Yet here I am, suddenly and irrevocably a believer. Part of me thinks I’m just going crazy… but most of me thinks that such a powerful response shouldn’t be ignored.
All that said, I doubt I’ll be a good Muslim. I’m WAAAAAAY too liberal to be orthodox, and even some of the more “moderate” elements of Islam are too much for me! But I think even becoming a bad Muslim would bring me closer to God and make me a better person, so I’m going to give it a try. I feel that religion is a tool for bringing us closer to the divine. Not every tool works for every job, or in this case every person, so you need to choose with intelligence and be open to new ideas. It can be a weapon in the wrong hands. Right now, I think Islam is the tool for me.
I have since decided that, although my interest in Islam has not wavered, calling myself a Muslim-to-be might be causing undue confusion or even inspiring hostility in orthodox Muslims. Should that be my problem? Not really, but I didn’t come to Islam just to piss people off. Also, I want to learn about Islam and learn about myself, without creating limits. I’ve been inspired by the following, written by a Sufi named Hussein ibn Mansur al-Hallaj:
“I thought about various beliefs, passionately wishing to understand them, and understood that they are similar to many branches of one tree. Do not force a man to prefer one belief to another because it will distract him from the trunk. In fact the trunk itself searches for the person and shows him its greatness and all its secret values for him to comprehend them.”
Islam may turn out to be the “branch” for me… or not. Either way, I don’t think it really matters what I call myself, so why give myself such a specific label? I’m going to continue my studies and my blogging, but with a slightly more open-ended viewpoint. Hopefully this will still meet my initial goals behind blogging, and maybe some of you will have their curiosity piqued by the things I write about. Enjoy.