Friday, September 28, 2007

My Fan Club

Can you believe this? I have a fan club.
Well, there's a group of people who like to insult me behind my back... if you can call that a fan club. Maybe it's not even behind my back since it's on the internet and I can see it too.. oh yes I can see it. And laugh.

I embraced Islam after some private correspondence with a Muslim from the WI forum, and spent several months adjusting or not adjusting to my new faith. I took out a lot of anger on the forum, vigorously debated some of my "issues." My thought was never to return to Christianity--my problems with Islam were because of tiny faith but there was no way I could go back to being a Christian, not knowing what I knew.

But I did rebel, sort of, as much as one really can in a virtual environment. I had to learn, and it was a dynamic period for me.

Now, I consider myself to in general be a pretty tolerant person. I have a few things I can't tolerate--direct personal insults, and when people lie about the Qur'an it strikes a nerve in my core. I also consider myself to be relatively open-minded, and on some issues well-informed. My approach to a new idea is neither immediate acceptance or rejection--I will consider it, ask questions, and make a decision. My journey into Islam was like that, and I still do that with any issue, anything I am trying to learn.

But a brother I know commented to me almost a year ago, or more, about certain people who, although previously hailing my intelligence and argumentation, actually began to insult my intelligence after I had decided to fully embrace Islam (and all it entails, including praying 5 times a day, hijab, etc). As long as I was non-Muslim, or as long as I was fighting Islam, I was heralded as a high-minded free thinker. But then, once I'd made up my mind... hehehe... then, according to them, I turned into a mindless drone who is really just accepting anything I'm given.

Maybe it seems that way, that I no longer object or consider what is before me because I have relegated such conflict to a more private sphere that is less intense and brutal, but more conducive to mutual understanding as well. That is to say, when I have questions I ask people instead of berating them publicly. So I have been compared to the borg. "Assimilation is almost complete."

The real hilarity, though, is this. That as long as I objected to Islam I was intelligent and open-minded, but as soon as I embraced Islam I was considered a gullible fool without any ability to reason or think independently. That I arrived at a conclusion independently with which this particular group disagrees, that they cannot reconcile intelligence or reason with the choice I made shows, I think, who is closed-minded.

Making a decision in my mind shows depth of thought, coming to a conclusion based on study, and reflection, and not just hiding safely in the box of familiarity. So for someone who refuses to make the mental leaps required for exploration of dissimilar ideas and behaviors, and because he or she simply doesn't like my own conclusions, to compare me to the Borg, and insult me... well let me say I think that really shows who isn't thinking outside of the box.

But what can I say? Allah knows best... He guides whom He wills. And alhamdulillah.


Manas Shaikh said...

I loved this phrase the moment I heard it, maybe you can appreciate- "the herd of independent minds."

Good luck to you. And don't worry about the herd. :)

h said...

I was born a muslim. Just recently I decided (alhamdilulah) to be a practicing muslim (not just a muslim by name), and i have been wearing the hijab since last sunday, after years of questioning why i didnt.

since i can remember i have always asked questions about islam, and specifically about the hijab. i could put together a well thought out argument for NOT wearing the hijab. I was convinced that the those who interpret the Koran were wrong and that the hijab was not obligatory for the hair. i had many women who liked to hear my arguments as it made them feel good about their decision not to wear hijab.

since this past sunday i have encountered many remarks and dirty looks. i have been called repressed and a religious fanatic. i have been told that i am a follower. i have been asked over and over if my husband has forced me to wear the hijab. i have even been quoted to myself: that the Koran is age old and was meant for the stone ages and not for the modern world of today!

but how to explain my very strong feelings that its because of the modern world of today that i feel i MUST follow my true and right path before it is too late?

these women who thought i was educated and strong and smart and funny and well-informed before my hijab now think i am repressed and serious and stupid and abused. in 7 days.

and really it is quite funny.

i was born in Australia, i have lived in Australia for all of my 27.6 years, i know what i want my life to be and my hijab was my choice because i am muslim and proud of it.

in times like this we very quickly can work out who our true friends are. people who used to praise us now insult us.

its quite sad really

Amy said...

AA Manas

JAK for posting, that is indeed a phrase just pregnant with irony!

Thanks for the advice.

Amy said...

AA h!

That was a great comment, mashaAllah! Alhamdulillah, I'm happy for you that you started to wear the hijab. I was like you after I first embraced Islam--I had a very articulate argument for not wearing hijab.

But you changed your mind. Me too. And alhamdulillah, that we are open to guidance and that Allah swt is guiding us! May Allah continue to guide you and me and all Muslims.

Thanks for posting!

Salah ad-din Ahmid said...

Nice blog Amy Aviatrix. I love the blog and although we don't get along, your still my sister, soyou have to deal with it. Take care and stay smart.

-Your Favorite

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
The thing is you can't reason faith logically. The only thing you can show is the quality of the message. Is it good for society? I personally have no quams about anybody wearing religious symbols. It's the theolgy behind those symbols that worry some.

God bless,


Amy said...

Jon, my post wasn't about religious symbols...

but let me tell you this. I seriously doubt that you are Catholic because you decided that the "quality of the message" of Catholicism is good for society, and that other "messages" are not. That's actually an irrational way to make a decision about "faith," (if one can decide regarding his faith anyway.) It's irrational because who can say what is "good" for society? There are vastly different opinions on that, on what is good, what is better, what is the best thing for society, horrible disagreement on that subject to the point that it's clear we can say humans are incapable of determining what is actually in their best interest.

You don't take a religious message and say "is this good for society? y/n" in order to judge it's quality. There is only one standard, especially in the religions to which you and I belong. The only real question for faith is authenticity.

How can you argue with God and say "Well, this isn't really the best for society."!? You can't. God says. Period. Then you can either choose to submit or not, but we are certainly not in the position to tell our Creator that we know better than He what is best. It's laughable really.

But thanks for posting.

And I would love to go to Saudi Arabia, and for the record I've done a tremendous amount of "research" by actually reading about Saudi women, reading what they write, talking to women who live there both Saudis and expats, Muslims and non-Muslims. So I feel far more safe in deciding that I want to go there than your friends might realize. And on what do they base their judgment, but media sensationalism? I seriously doubt they have made the effort I have to examine the particularities of that society, specifically with regard to women, and therefore their opinion (on this issue) isn't really worthwhile at all to me. Tell 'em I said that. :-)


Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
Let me clarify myself. When you are testifying your faith to a person who does not have any belief in a higher being that person is going to look at the message your religion offers. So yes if the message is from God it is there for the better good. For instance Hitler did not have a good message. Jesus Christ did have a good message. So you see we CAN SAY what is good for society because Truth is from God and lies are not. Once a non-believer see's that and the effect it has for the individual and society they will search deeper and can begin a personal relationship with God and that truth is revealed by the grace of God to humans for direction and clarity. I would never say I know better than God and you know that. Also I can assure you I am very Catholic. I have never slighted you publicly Amy. As far as you going to Saudi I say go for it. God is not a tyrant he gave us choice. Please be careful though.

God Bless,


giordano said...

Hi Amy

can I subscribe to your fan club ?

Seriously, I can understand how you feel. There is a widespread tendency to consider people who follow a religion strictly as narrow-minded, archaic, definitively lost for society and civilization...

This is, of course, also a problem caused by ignorance : if you go beyond some superficial layers,we know precious little about Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism etc etc

However, more knowledge is not always the solution to the problem : in fact, my personal experience with Islam tells me that, yes, it was true; Islam is in fact (predominantly) archaic, narrow-minded, oppressive towards women, sexual minorities, non-Muslims etc

However, I don't consider you as permanently lost for society and civilization...

You do sound very dogmatic and closed-minded. All those "it is like that.Period" do make a strange impression.

But, probably, it's just a phase in your life, and some day we free-thinkers will slaughter the fattest calf and wear our best sandals and robes when you will rejoin our cheering ranks...

All the best


Amy said...

Ah Gio you missed the point.

I was actually calling YOU the archaic, dogmatic, closed-minded ones.

What is closed-minded about exploring new ideas, and adopting them? Think about how difficult it is to tell someone that she is "closed-minded" when in fact she objectively undertook the study of a new religion and only after careful analysis (and very hesitantly) decided to embrace it?

I understand that you mistake conviction for dogma, and doubt that such strong beliefs are compatible with a skeptical nature.

But it's your mistake. Note how I look at you, that you are the ones with closed minds, the ones who are denying what is plainly in front of you. Would you say you have a heart which can reason, and ears that hear? The Qur'an says it's not your eyes that are blind, but the hearts within your breast.