Time flies

Wow, has it been so long? Well, I have been pretty darn busy. Working in retail means that I’ve been my company’s b— since mid-November. Despite my efforts, I was unable to find a second job… which is probably a good thing, since I don’t know I would have survived working all that overtime AND working my few days off. The downside is I can’t afford school this quarter, which depresses me more than I can say. I’m hoping to at least get back in the spring, but we’ll see. Part of the problem is my boyfriend and I have been fighting a lot about money. He didn’t want me to get a 2nd job, and he didn’t want a 2nd job either (his schedule varies a lot, so in fairness it would be tricky if not impossible to keep both commitments), but he also felt that school was an investment “we” couldn’t afford yet. Why is it always “our” money when spending on something we disagree about? Anyways, the fights got ugly pretty fast, we both said some awful things we can’t take back, and now I think we both feel a little wounded. But we are trying to get through. We are still very much in love, and I don’t think either of us wants money to be the reason we don’t work as a couple. My quitting school has really knocked the wind out of me, and I think he finally sees how much it means to me… or at least I hope so, because I WILL go back in Spring, with or without his support. Maybe I just need to show him the money I’ve saved so he sees it’s taken care of – I was so focused on being independent that maybe I came off as secretive, and not knowing our financial situation probably made him nervous. The feminist in me says I shouldn’t have to justify how I spend MY money, but the partner in me realizes if he did the same thing to me, I’d be pissed.

Love is complicated.

I have been reading the Quran daily for a while now, even if only for a few minutes, and I continue to find great comfort in doing so. I tried again for several weeks to find some information within or about hadiths to convince me to put my faith in them… to no avail. If anything, I become more convinced every day that the hadiths will never be part of my faith. This troubled and frustrated me, because I felt if I was really destined to become a Muslim I would be able to believe in what the hadiths related, right? And why is it so hard, when the Quran seems to deliver faith without much effort, or even consent! What gives? But, once again, the Quran has been a great comfort for this problem.

“Man is a creature of haste; [but in time] I shall make obvious to you [the truth of] My messages: do not, then, ask Me to hasten [it]!”

Surah 21:37, Muhammad Asad’s translation

I have been beating myself up over this, feeling like I’ve failed by not understanding the point of hadiths, when I should have just been taking things one step at a time. I don’t need to feel like there is something wrong with me or my faith – God will show me the truth when I am ready. I will continue my studies, but I will no longer impatiently await some grand revelation that makes this whole thing simple. Even if I never find faith through the hadiths, I shouldn’t try to force myself to accept something my heart rejects. Nor should I pretend to believe or follow for the sake of conformity, because God will still know what’s in my heart. Even if I convinced people that I follow the hadiths and went through all the motions, I can’t lie to God, and its HIS judgement that matters.

So where does that leave me? Once again, I face the label dilemma. “Hello, my name is Sophia, and I’m a —-“. A what? A Muslim? A very-confused-former-agnostic? God knows, but I sure don’t.

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13 responses to “Time flies

  1. Hey Sophia, I completely understand where you’re coming from. i’m probably something like 80-90% Qur’an – 10-20% Hadith. I too find it difficult how to handle this delicate issue, as I don’t want to be a hypocrite and pretend like I believe in them when I don’t, but I also don’t want to stir up more trouble than necessary.
    It’s the same thing when it comes to hijab, it would be much easier to just say, yes I believe women should wear the hijab, I just don’t feel ready to do so yet. But that wouldn’t be right. I don’t believe it’s a requirement, but in being honest and truthful I also stir up a lot of trouble. *sigh* you can’t ever make everyone happy. As long as your intentions are right, you do your best, and stay true to yourself and to God, I think that’s what really matters.
    Hope you and your bf will get closer again, inshAllah 🙂

    • “As long as your intentions are right, you do your best, and stay true to yourself and to God, I think that’s what really matters.”

      I agree completely, and the label thing doesn’t bother me as much as it used too. As for trouble… I don’t like riling people up if I can avoid it, but in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “I must confess that I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.'” – or trouble, as the case may be.

  2. Welcome back, Sophia! I have the same money issues with my partner. I’m curious why you still seem to think that one has to believe in hadith to be a Muslim, even though you know so many on-line Muslims who don’t.

    • Its great to be back! To sate your curiosity: I don’t think you have to believe in what the hadiths say to be Muslim, I just wonder if it wouldn’t make certain things easier. I guess I thought I should be able to declare myself as “Muslim” – one word, simple. But its not simple, because no two Muslims believe exactly the same thing. No one, no matter their beliefs, can be summed up in one word. I’ve already come to the conclusion that categories are comforting, but not that useful.

      That being said, I still wanted to give hadiths a fair break and not just dismiss them entirely. Unfortunately, as I studied I fell into the trap of believing that there was something wrong with the way I think – perhaps the stream of articles I was sent about hypocrites and hadith-rejectors had a little something to do with that. Now I feel I have been fair, but faith can’t be forced. It will come, or not, in its time. Right now, the Quran is enough for me.

      The only other issue for me is simply that people get REALLY emotional over this whole thing, and I don’t enjoy inspiring those emotions in people. I’m not sure I want to deal with other people’s religious baggage. Ah, well.

  3. Sophia, you’re back! I was wondering where you’ve been..
    You and your partner will work it out, love isn’t complicated…people are. Love somehow are cliche i will sound, truly is powerful. Don’t fear…Rezki does not always come in a form of ‘money’ somehow, somewhere along the road there’s reason why things does not fall like we always want when we want it, but when it does…it’s because God know you’re ready. And if it never does, God knows best what is best for you…
    I understand being on the journey of faith..i although born and raised a muslim, find it harder to label myself once i actually open up myself to the Quran. Spiritual belief and the journey of faith is beyond label, that all i say i read the Quran but if it makes me a muslim to people, so be it…but to God I could be anything but. WallahuAlam. Labelling ourselves is somehow walking on a thin ice. In the end, it doesn’t matter who you are, but what you do…besides we are all servant of God, the question is are we faithful and are we in peace?

    Glad you’re back!

    • Glad to be back Hajar!
      “In the end, it doesn’t matter who you are, but what you do…besides we are all servant of God, the question is are we faithful and are we in peace?”
      Right on! I don’t know if I’m at peace yet, but I think I’m closer now then ever. As for me and my man… things actually seem better now then before.

  4. Welcome back!
    I was wondering…isn’t it possible to take out a loan to study?

    • Yes it is possible, and I have been considering it, but… I have never really been comfortable with the idea of borrowing money. The one thing I’ve done right financially is to never accrue debt, and it just feels like a big risk to start now. So I’m trying to find scholarships and financial aid for now, but I haven’t ruled loans out as an option.

  5. Hey! I just found your blog through someone else’s! 🙂
    I’m in the same boat regarding the hadiths. My husband knows that I don’t really believe in them (we’ve had several conversations) and it troubles him.
    I’ve been at this standstill for almost 2 years. For me though, this is the thing I feel the strongest about – and the feeling hasn’t changed since I discovered how long after the Prophet’s (saw) death they were compiled.

    • Nice to meet you! Yes, the fact that none of this was written down until so long after the Prophet’s lifetime is just one of the things that troubles me about hadiths. I do think they provide historical insight into how the religion was being practiced centuries after the birth of Islam, but I’m not sure about their spiritual value in regards to Islam at its beginning. That being said, there are plenty of logical reasons to question the Quran as well – so perhaps it comes down to faith alone. If that’s the case, I still don’t find what I’m looking for in the hadiths. I’m glad you and your husband can talk about this, even if it’s difficult sometimes.

  6. hi sophia

    do you know jonathan brown? if you are interested he wrote a book about hadith

    http://www.amazon.com/Hadith-Muhammads-Legacy-Medieval-Modern/dp/1851686967/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1295100713&sr=1-1

    and here is a video “An Introduction to Hadith” by Dr. Jonathan Brown

    • Thank you for the links! I have heard of Jonathan Brown and watched a few of his videos, and while I don’t doubt his sincerity I still have doubts about hadith.

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