Lowest imaan ever :-/

{ Friday, July 1, 2011 }
Seems like I have gone and done it. Only two posts ago I was talking about wanting to wear the hijaab, and now I'm facing one of my deepest imaan dips ever. I guess it has been boiling for a while, but I always dismissed my doubts. But the answer “it's part of Islam and you just have to submit to it” just doesn't do it for me anymore.
I think it really surfaced when one of my Muslim friends sent me a text message (and to others too, I presume) with dua's. That's all fine, but her last sentence was “Today might have been hot, well, hell is much hotter”. I remember just staring at that sentence for a moment, and feeling really uncomfortable. I know she has some Salafi tendencies and that helps to put her words into context, but still. I guess it was just the last drop. I need to spill my doubts or I'll just explode.
To be clear, my issue is not with God. I'll always believe in God. I just have some problems with how Islam views God. 
So in short, here are some things I see differently.

1) The notion of Hell
It is my personal belief that when people do evil things, they turn away from God and from the light. So when an evil person dies, he just can't stand the light and the presence of God, so it hurts him, just like your eyes hurt when you've been in the dark for too long and then you are suddenly exposed to the daylight. But just like your eyes adjust, his or her soul will be cleansed and there will come a time when he or she can appreciate God's light. This is my notion of Hell, and of course go against the very vivid descriptions of Hell found in both the Quran and hadith.

2) Homosexuality is wrong
I believe that most homosexuals are born with it. They are born with their desire for the same sex, and it's impossible to them (or for most) to fall in love with and marry someone from the other sex. To tell them they are wrong and should be put to death is just incomprehensible to me. It equals racism. You loath a person for being black while he can't help it. If my child would be gay, I would never send him or her to a therapist or the local imam to be "reformed". I would give him or her the chance to live as makes him/her happy, and I will not change my view on that. 

3) Obedience towards your husband
There are numerous hadiths on women and how they should be obedient to their husband. There is even this hadith:  ‘A’ishah (radhiallahu anha) asked Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “Who has the greatest rights over a woman?” He said, “Her husband.” She asked, ‘And who has the greatest rights over a man?” He said, “His mother.”
So we as wives, do not even have the greatest rights over our husband, while he has over us. That hardly sounds fair to me. I also read that a woman cannot leave the house without her husband's permission, not even if she wants to visit her sick mother.
Then, there is this hadith: Woman has been created from a rib and in no way will be straight for you; so if you enjoy her you will do so while crookedness remains in her; but if you try to straighten her you will break her; breaking her being divorcing her." (Sahih Muslim) Doesn't it say in the Quran that men and women are equally created from one soul? Why does this hadith says differently? And I have "crookedness" in me just because I am a woman? This is an issue that really troubles me. I'm not saying we shouldn't respect our husbands, but they should respect us too.

4) Polygamy
Big issue with me. Is there anything that hurts women more than to think about our husband taking a second wife, and loving her as he loves us? Yet, in Islam, it is his right to take up to 4 wives, without even having to ask for permission. I know there can be benefits, but it completely fades into nothingness compared to the hurt and suffering it causes.

5) God sits high in the sky on a throne
To me, God is everywhere, not somewhere high in the sky completely separated from His creation, watching us as we mess up. This may sound as blasphemy to some, but it's what I believe. I believe God is Mercy, Love, Beauty and I believe He is everywhere. 

6) Is God male?
I know that Islam doesn't say God is male, rather that He is above everything and therefore neither male or female. But still, if that is so, why is it always He, Him, His? It would be blasphemy to call Him Her, it is never done. Why is that?

These are my main issues. There are some other things I have problems with, but I'm not going to name them all. I'm sorry if I offended anyone, it was not my intention.
I don't know what to do with these feelings. I can ignore them, and just accept everything Islam says, but that's just not me. I need to live an authentic life, based on what I believe in. Whenever I discuss this with my fiance, we end up having a big fight. It's really hard for me because the stakes are so high. *Sigh*
I just want to ask, what do YOU believe? :-)




21 comments:

Inspirational Quotes said...

Firstly, because I have only started reading your blog, this seems quite sudden or new, but I take it you have been feeling this way for a while? Are the other reasons to do with Islam or Islamic culture?

I believe in the Quran, I try to be careful with translations, no-one can really give me answers unless I look carefully myself.

So I believe in Hell, I do not know if it is literal, but I do not believe it is me that can pass judgement. I know right from wrong, and use the Quran to help me clarify it. I don't know what to think about homosexuality to be honest, some Muslims are gay, but I'm really not sure this is what God wants. In terms of the science of it, I find thats a difficult line because according to science abortion is ok until a certain time but for some people it will never feel ok, and for others it will always be ok to give up your child if you can justify it.

I'm not sure about hadiths, they are a difficult topic, but everyone is free to follow what they believe. There are those who follow the Quran only.

Polygamy - complex issue, the importance of treating your wives equally is important. I found others say monogamy is default anything else is when the times call for it.

I'm not sure I take God sitting on a throne literally at all. How can we think of that, in Islam we do not depict what God looks like?

God isn't male, He and We are pronouns, but you can use She, if you used it like you use He when you talk about God.

You shouldn't ignore your feelings, do what you feel is right, but make sure it is what you want to do. I can't tell you what to do either, its totally up to you.

I would be interested in knowing what other things you don't agree with Islam though.

Good luck with this!

Inspirational Quotes said...

Oh yeah, there are also some that only follow the hadiths that they believe 'fit' with the Quran. Thought I should add that :)

Nikki said...

I am sorry that I do not have time to address all your concerns-nor do I have answers to all your concerns were I to find the time :), but I want you to know that doubt is a normal part of faith. I have days when it seems all the arguments Christians/Americans (I am American) have against Islam seem to be taunting me. All of the unanswered questions/accusations, all of the quoted hadith that make me clench my teeth and say, no that's not the Islam I understand from the Qur'an. Maybe that hadith is inauthentic...etc. There are days I feel like I am making excuses for a religion I'm not sure that I believe in.

But there are also days I can say "Muhammad is a prophet of God" in a clear unwavering voice, because I truly believe him to be. I find that most attacks against Islam come from unsavory hadith, and while I am not a "Quran only Muslim," I don't think hadith (even all "authentic" hadith) are to be taken as law because God promised to preserve the Quran, yes, but did he promise to preserve the hadith? No! They were not even compiled in the Prophet's time.

In addition, I believe both the descriptions of Hell AND Heaven in the Qur'an to be more figurative than literal. Heaven in the Qur'an sounds extremely pleasing to desert dwellers (who the Qur'an first came to) with it's flowing rivers, fruit, mansions, etc. Hell, on the other hand, is full of torment. The "fire" of hell could be abstract as could the rivers of Heaven...I am inclined to think we humans can neither comprehend nor imagine either so God was forced to describe a pleasing place, and a dreadful place, within our own earthly understanding. I actually read a Christian article on Hell that really spoke to me. It was this author's view that Hell was the absence of God. That on judgment day, someone who has fought/ignored God all their life will finally get their wish..."THEIR" will be done, not God's. It was their earthly will to be without God, so following judgment they will be granted that wish. Think of the pain and suffering that occurs on earth even with God's presence...the pain and suffering in Hell would be so much greater if it is the complete absence of God. I shudder to think of what could occur in a place where everyone is concerned only with themselves.

Insha'Allah this comment finds you well and in a higher state of iman. :) Know that questions are necessary to growth and that doubts do not separate you from God/Allah.

Nikki said...

Also, just re-skimmed your post (so much for not having time...) The concept of a God high in the sky separate from creation is foreign to Islam. I'm not sure where you got this from? I know the Quran refers to his throne but so do Christians and neither (so far as I know, and I have belonged to both religions) see God as distant and uninvolved in earthly affairs. On the contrary, it is agnostics who view God, if there is one, as distant. He created everything, but does not communicate with creation nor intervene in earthly matters.

I apologize if I have a misunderstanding of any of the three belief systems discussed above, but that is what I have been able to conclude from my own search for religious identity. If anything, I find Muslims think God has more to do in their daily lives than any other religion. The term insha'Allah, of course, is said constantly, people refuse to make concrete plans because everything is according to Allah's will, rather than the distant Allah that it appears someone has led you on about.

Muslim Butterfly said...

Boy...I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL! I reverted a year ago. I have always had a tendency to look at Islam through my own views and thoughts and not allowed others to impose their view of how things are on me. The reason being is that well, they have to answer for how they are and I will have to answer for how I am.

I hope this helps.

1) There is a hell, for everyone it is different. We are told of hell in this way to create fear since as humans, if there is no fear of something then we do not learn to do what is right. This is probably the reason why Allah (swt) has tried to instill it in us. Some people without do not know how to control themselves without consequence.

2) I believe that homosexuality is wrong. I understand what you are saying and I came across an Christian who had homosexual tendencies...I loved his answer: I think of it as a test, because I know it's wrong and so I choose just not to get involved with men, but I will not marry either. This way I don't commit sin and try to retrain myself for God. (I really have a respect for this man, since it's a hard life and he has really taken a difficult path to refrain from sinning)
---also who are we to judge others. We know it's wrong and that is enough for us to judge ourselves, these people are humans first and that means that we should afford them the same respect that we would like regardless of what they do behind closed doors, we should not judge since that is left to Allah (swt).

3)Obedience towards your husband. I think you are still thinking about rights of women and all of that. You know...I find I can be obedient to my husband and still be me. I am blessed (Alhamdullilah) with an understanding husband. Even though I make my own income, I ask when I want to get something, I take him into consideration on my choices. I don't think obedience is a strong word, but I find that it means working with or consideration. Look at how the family life is in general, men are the workers, they bring forth children, but the women...oh we control the house and sometimes we don't consider what the men want. We make choices for: kids, home, schools, medications, doctors, clothes, etc and we forget that we are married and should CONSIDER the decision of the other. As far as leaving the house, well I think that for the most part we don't bother to even talk about what we do in our day, it's nice to say "Sweetie, I'm going to mom's is that okay?" It starts to build trust between the two of you. I always let my husband know where I am and he has no problems with me ever going out.

Muslim Butterfly said...

4) Polygamy. LOL...I REALLY don't agree with this one. My husband doesn't either. He loves me, but I can see where it can be fair in some instances. A man is sexually MUCH more active than women throughout his life. As women we go through menopause and loose our sexual drive at some point while the men don't always have this problem (some do). The time...women who were widowed were left to fend for themselves with no protection. The Prophet (sawa) allowed for multiple marriages in order that women had protection and some financial support. Times have a changed and it's a bit different with women now able to work freely, but if you go to the middle east many widow women still fend for themselves, men have forgotten the reason it was prescribed.

5) God sits high on a Throne. This one is more difficult. But it seems to me you really have to consider how people though back then. Things were back when Islam was first introduced. How do you explain to people the word Omnipresent? Isn't it easier to say...I watch form above, so I can see it all?

6) Male or female...well I agree it uses WE instead of he or she. I think that it was man that ascribed gender to Allah (swt) because its easier to associate.

I hope this helps a little. Sometimes in order to understand things we have to think a little deeper. Think of the times in which the idea was brought forth so that you can place yourself in how things are understood by people of the time.

Abir Ibrahim said...

I really enjoy your sincerity and originality through this blog. I embraced hijab not far from a year and so ago and subhan’Allah I faced the same challenges between my heart and my mind, my tears and my smile and I had no one to help me so I had to figure it all out myself.

1. I am also a believer that there is no such thing is a bad person, but people do bad behaviors. For example when I think of a rapist, I wonder what made him become that way? Probably a rough childhood (he could have been raped as a child) and psychologically tormented him that he became one as he grew up. But as much as Allah (swt) talks about hell fire and punishments in the Quran, he also talks about his excessive mercy. In each surah in the Quran the word “al Rahman” (merciful) is mentioned more than 16 times, so imagine the entire Quran? Hell is mentioned not more than 20 in total. Allah did not create mankind to suffer, but we create suffrage and He (God) is constantly asking his slaves to repent to him. And no matter how big or small a sin is, GOD IS AL-MERCIFUL AL-FORGIVEN.

2. Islam is not the only religion that feels this way about homosexuality. From Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. This is a very controversial topic, so I won’t get too much into it. But God says he is the one to Judge int he end, so I respect gays and non-gays alike.

3. Just as the Quran and Hadith orders wives to obey their husbands; it also ORDERS husbands to obey their wives. Not only are women put in a pedestal in Islam (Paradise underneath the feet of the mother) but also men will be punished for not respecting women. I know it’s hard to believe because of modern day Islamic societies, but that is strictly culture and we shouldn’t confuse the two. Also the hadith you referred to here is not authentic (watch out for those because there are many fabricated ahadith out there). Here is a reliable source. http://dunyaofislam.tripod.com/marriage/howto.htm

4. Polygamy is everyone’s favorite topic ahh yes. But it’s not as easy or accessible as we now believe. There are STRICT rules and REGULATIONS that need to be followed in order to marry more than one wife. The most important one is the first wife’s consent for her husband to get married. http://islamology.org/Overview/Women/Polygamy%20in%20Islam.htm

5. And Malik bin Anas said: ‘Indeed Allah is above the heaven and His Knowledge is everywhere’…to where he said…’thus whoever believes that Allah is inside heaven confined, surrounded by it, and that He is in need of the Throne or other than the Throne from creation, or that His settling upon His Throne is like the settling of the creation upon their thrones, then he is an astray, innovator, ignorant; and whoever believes that there is no God above the heavens being worshiped, nor is there upon the Throne, a Rabb being prayed to or prostrated to, and that Muhammad did not ascend to His Rabb, and the Qur’an was not sent down from near it, then he is a Mu’attil, Fir’awnee, astray, innovator… This hadith is saying that God is everywhere through knowledge. He can’t be everywhere literary because God is not in boob or pee (if you think about it). But everywhere we are, He is watching over us. Also He is not in something (like heaven) he is ABOVE everything (above the worlds). GOD can’t be inside of something He created himself.

6. Sweetheart, you need to understand the Arabic language in order to understand the references in the Quran. Most Arabic that is spoken today is less than 50% correct. There are many different dialogues and outside influences that changed many meanings in the Arabic language. But He, Him, His in Arabic is a sense of kingship, Strong, etc. Allah is also referred to in the Quran as We, Our, etc. but that doesn’t mean there are more than one God? It translates into (honor, powerful, etc. We must study Arabic in its origin to understand it in the correct context.

Abir Ibrahim said...

Sorry if I rabbled on and on. But like I said I faced these questions all throughout my life and in college I decided to do my own research to understand all these complexities. Anything that is wrong is definitely from myself and everything that is correct and good is from Allah. I hope this helps you and inshAllah you will continue to find yourself through questions and answers and may Allah guide you the truth.

Abir Ibrahim said...

One last thing. Please email me anytime If you want to continue talking about this. I love meeting people who I can learn from and share my knowledge with. My email is on my page. Stay beautiful love.

Almost a Muslimah said...

hi :-)

I think it's very good that you reflect on your faith rather than just accept everything because "it's part of islam and you just have to submit to it". that's blind faith and it's called like this for a reason.
I had/have exactly the same issues with how certain things are depicted in Islam.
I don't want to go into detail and further critique points you mentioned but I will say sth on the issue of hell.

As far as I know the biggest crime in islam is to commit shirk (please correct me if i am wrong). my understanding is that I, if converted, would go to heaven at some point while my parents who are staunch catholics would burn in hell and I would have to watch it. It would be Allah who tortures them for eternity simply because they didn't follow Islam. this would make my stay in heaven unbearable and I'm sorry but I couldn't call such entity merciful. i'd find it impossible to reconcile.

@Nikki

you say that hell is more figurative than literal. there are very vivid descriptions of hell in the qur'an and I'm just thinking how could they be taken as metaphorical?
Metaphor doesn't mean I say "I'm going to drag you through boiling waters and thrust you into the Fire" - when I really mean "Sit in the corner for an hour and think about what you've done!"

i would be interested to hear your thoughts :)

MarieHarmony said...

Very honest post Safiyah, make us think too. It's normal, we all had at some stage questions on religion and life in general. Questions are what make you grow.

I am not a Muslim so my conceptions might be different. I read the Qu’ran but I have no knowledge on the hadiths – Though I was thinking about this earlier this morning and came up with the answer that the Qu’ran is the Word of God, so God knows best what is good for us. As for the hadiths, you can decide to follow their teaching or not.

I believe in a Merciful and Compassionate God. I can’t see God as making people suffer. I think people suffer from their own bad deeds and here on Earth to start.
I don't think people are bad, I'll agree with Abir Ibrahim. Each person depending on surroundings, culture behave differently. What is considered as bad in one place might not be in another.

As for homosexuality, I don’t condemn gay people. I have good friends who are gay and they are as you and me. At the end of the day I am not the one to judge what is right or wrong – God is.

Obedience towards your husband, yes as long as you are respected as a person. Or if it’s like you said in your post last week, love without respect, no thanks.

Polygamy is a difficult subject. I am not sure what my thoughts are on this. I found it a bit strange but at the same time it’s much better than a man cheating on you or living a double life, without you knowing. It looks more fair, as your husband will treat you equally.

We all go through difficult times and our beliefs can change. Being a Muslim doesn’t mean you have to think the same as everybody else. Look some very instructed imams will have a different view on X or Y subject. One is not less Muslim than the other. They just experience their relationship with God a different way.
I think as a Muslim (or a Christian, Jew,…..)you are part of a community but you are also an individual. You can have you own thoughts and ideas, as long as they are respectful towards other people.
We are not on Earth to judge others, but to try to live in peace all together. Your Imam might not be as strong as it should be. But let yourself take the time to examine it, pray God for answers and remember he is the only one that will always loves you.
Take care

DD said...

Salamu Alaykum Sis, praying that you get through this tough time with strengthened emaan :) I'll just comment on what i believe at the moment regarding points 1 and 5.

(1) This is something that reverts usually worry about, the fate of their nonMuslim friends and family in the Hereafter. Only Allah (swt) knows who is going to Heaven and Hell and keep in mind that Allah (swt) is Al-Rahman, Al-Raheem. He tells us that: “My chastisement shall fall on whom I will, but my mercy extendeth to all things” (Al Quran 7:155). There are some Ayat which seem to suggest that there could be a possible termination period for time spent in Hell (even Heaven) for some, for example: “And as for those who shall be consigned to misery-their place the Fire! Therein shall they sigh and bemoan them-Therein shall they abide for as long the Heavens and the Earth shall last, unless thy Lord shall will it otherwise; verily thy Lord doth what He chooseth” (Al Quran 11:109 and others). I’m also a revert who has nonMuslim family (and loves them very much). But I really just don’t think too much about what will happen to them and nor do i care really, especially considering that we are told that all bonds of kinship will be broken on the Day of Doom: “And when the Trumpet is sounded, on that day their ties of kindred shall be broken, nor shall they ask help of one another” (Al Quran 23:96; 80:41). I don’t mean that "i don’t care" in a mean way, it is just something that will be between them and Allah (swt).

(2) Surely you don’t need reminding of the oft-quoting Ayah: “We created man: And we know what his soul whispereth to him, and we are closer to him than his jugular vein” (Al Quran 50:16), and there are many other Ahadith and Ayat besides that run along the same line, like “The East and the West is God’s: Therefore, whichever way ye turn, there is the face of God: Truly God is immense and knoweth all” (Al Quran 2:109) and so on. It is a common albeit baseless argument of the Christians that “our god” is distant while “their god” is more personal and loving. But of course Allah (swt) is everywhere, he is all-pervading. But this is only my opinion and i know there’s been a brewing a huge crap-storm within the Ummah over just where Allah (swt) really is :P Believing that Allah (swt) is "everywhere" does not mean we consider Him constricted by time or space or that He is "trapped" in something as is the accusation of Muslims on the other side of the argument-that's just retarded and i don't really know how they come to that conclusion? I mean, how do you read “everywhere” and get “limited to one point in time”? I can just as easily turn the tables and, using their logic, accuse them of greatly underrating Allah’s (swt) omnipotence by saying that He is only confined to the Heavens. To me, it’s just a weird debate. But anyway, Allah (swt) knows best where He is >.<

Anonymous said...

Answer to 4 wives allowed in islam.

It is very beautifully answered to your question

please watch it out :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR6blbuB4PE

ArabLeila said...

Someone once told me, that the weakest faith, is the unquestioned one. If you don't question and just do it because "the Qur'an says so", you wil at one point, when questioning, find that you have no basis whatsoever. Everything will collapse. Worried about weak iman? What about NO iman?

Everything you said can and has been questioned, not all scholars believe homosexuality is a sin, not all scholars see Hijab as a Must, not all scholars agree with the notion of listening to your husband like a slave, what about your husband listening to you? And Hell, what is Hell after all? When I read the Qur'an and hear about the day of Judgement, things crashing, falling, burning... I don't think 'hell', I think: Wow that will be one heck of an interesting phenomena to witness! Don't worry about Hell and Heaven, that's in God's hands... worry about not creating a Hell on Earth for yourself. Embrace questioning; love it. Don't let converting to Islam let people make you feel guilty for your thoughts, God loves them.

Jude said...

Hi,

I've been through the same, and the url attached to my name above helped a great deal to reach my decision. It's a beautiful essay written by an American woman. Please read it with an open mind .

Good Luck.

Jude said...

Hi, it's me again ...

I found another post by the same American woman. URL is also attached to my name. It's a great read and an eye opener from someone who has been there, done that. I only wish that I'd read it 10 years ago, that's why I'm sincerely advising you to read it carefully.

Jude said...

I see the second link isn't working. I attached it again, or you can google "Letter to a Muslim Convert" by newsoul. I don't know her, but I'm sure she wrote her story to help women like us who were or still are struggling with Islam doctrine.

Safiyah said...

Jude, I read the links. They are very interesting and make me realise that I'm not the first person to have these doubts. Thanks for sharing :)

I can see by the replies of others that the thinking of Muslims is very diverse and I'm happy that people are definitely thinking about these things.

Jude said...

Safiyah, glad that you read the links. There is one more wonderful blog I'd advise you to read, Stephanie's : deconstructingdoctrine.wordpress. She wrote several insightful posts that I found profound and intelligent. I wish they will enlighten you. Good Luck

Safiyah said...

Thank you for the link, I will definitely check it out :)

Noshi said...

God does not 'sit on the Throne'....in literal terms...that is only a Salafi-belief.

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