Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Head covering/Hijab... For one who doesn't believe in it

Why would someone want to wear hijab if they don't even believe in it? To clarify my title, I believe in hijab in the sense that it can be something spiritually beneficial for a person (and beneficial in other ways) but I DO NOT believe that it's obligatory for a woman to cover her hair, that there is any sin-factor in showing her hair. That basically, someone showing her hair and someone wearing hijab are on completely equal ground!

I see head covering in Islam as a cultural practice.

It's religious for those who do it for those reasons - I don't want to take that away from anyone. And if I were to start wearing a head cover, it would be for spiritual reasons, which in a way is not that far off from being religious reasons. Difference being that it's not for reasons of dogma (obligation, following rules), it's for spiritual wellness and remembrance of the Creator. At the base, the decision would be made ONLY because I feel it brings me something positive, and in no way because I feel forced or obliged.

My journey into religion and spirituality has been a pretty gradual affaire, but mixed with a lot of confusion and uncertainty. A person simply can't go from nothing to truth without a lot of thinking and learning. I also believe it takes some life experience, especially for someone like me raised in a home where God wasn't a word I heard. God didn't play a part in my life or thoughts, except as the main character of Catholicism which I disliked a lot from childhood. And as an 8 year old child I didn't have the information to bring God out of Catholicism and see him in a different light. I saw him, as mentionned, mostly as a character, not someone/something who should be important in my life... I grew up an atheist and honestly, I'm thankful for that!! I was able to start FRESH! Even if forming a connection with my Creator was harder than someone who already believes in God and just wants to find the answers, I feel it's bringing me to where I need to be, at the right time, in the right way.

Now anyone reading this can tell I'm not your typical Muslim. I don't have what are considered the traditional beliefs to start with... But I don't see why that should stop me when in my heart I want to submit to God and the person I am is drawn to the way Muslims worship and I do believe in the Qur'an as a divinely inspired book, and out of all such books, this is the one I'm drawn to and feel I get the most out of. I also get a lot from the Sunnah (traditions of prophet Muhammad) and I'm more drawn to all of this than the history and practices of any other religion.

Sometimes I really want nothing to do with being seen as Muslim. And so far this has been my reality. Not many people know I consider myself Muslim and it kind of makes me uncomfortable! I don't like the idea of assumptions being made about what I probably believe since I'm a Muslim - mostly because my beliefs are so different! Also because I was so unsure myself, and not very confident in where I was at, slowly wobbling around this spiritual path.

I know that beliefs and ideas and committment will only continue to evolve, but right now, I have found some confidence!!

That's why I feel like I could actually go out in a head cover and be OK with the people assuming I'm Muslim and all that comes with that. I could feel OK with people closer to me asking me about it and my reasoning. I feel like being "openly religious" would benefit me as well, as a reminder of the committment I'm making towards God to put Him before the opinion and judgement of others. A real concrete step in that direction.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Where I stand, what I am!

I don't feel like my beliefs have changed a lot in the past couple years. I believe in God and consider myslef an agnostic theist and progressive not-so-much practicing Muslim. I don't feel a strong pull towards organized religion and I 100% definitely don't believe it's a necessity to follow a religion, Islam included. I think we can do it all on our own and follow God's will but that it's also possible for religion to enrich our lives.

I admit that I like feeling like other people believe the same things as me and find communication with them very enriching! Or people who believe in the same values and observe them in different ways - extremely enriching! In a way, this is a religious experience and togetherness and unity is so beautiful.

I like the idea that when I pray (salat), I do it in the same (almost) way as so many millions of Muslims around the world. There is something about this ritual that really does bring me closer to God in a real way and brings me peace. I don't feel like I've sinned when I don't pray for a long time, I just believe that being active in our rituals is better for us. I believe God is pleased when people think of Him and prayer is one way to do that.

Islam is the closest religion for me (progressive Islam). I'm also very drawn to the idea of the tao. I believe that everything is perfectly balanced and I see Islam as supporting that as well. Really, this idea of balance is how I accept darkness and evil. Without it, what would light and goodness be?

I don't think of what others are (good or bad) because I see life as having unlimited things about it that I just DON'T KNOW or specifically CAN'T KNOW. This is the basis of my belief system. That there's just too much I can't know. I believe that we're all equipped to work out the truth inside ourselves, with the help of people around us, other thinkers (lectures, books, etc), scholars and prophets. Not the whole truth, but the amount of truth that we're meant to deal with and know as humans. I'm not the type to go into deep philosophical thought, I prefer to leave a lot of that to the mysteries of God.

So that's mostly it in a few paragraphs :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sex-ed

I fully believe in sex-ed. I believe children (including teens in this) need to know about these things before the times comes for them to engage in it. They need to know about their anatomy, the basics of how sex works. It's also a good thing to discuss safe sex and STI's. They need to know about pregnancy and how that works and can affect their life (both the woman AND the man!)...

Something different to the regular curriculum (or what I know about it) is that I really find it would be important to discuss how feelings and sex go together. No religious agenda about marriage and God, I just mean... how it's important that you feel something for the person that is lucky enough to engage in such an important and intimate act with you. What that feeling is should be left open, but a discussion needs to be had! Whether it means being "in love", being committed as boyfriend/girlfriend, having another kind of trust in place or mutual respect, all of these should be discussed. It just seems like it would create a much healthier educational experience.

It's important to know the mechanics of sex especially in the ways that affect health (diseases, pregnancy) It's a good beginning, but I think we all know that sex is much more than that! And I think that teenagers also know that. Sex is not the same as a handshake. When you have sex with someone, you're doing showing parts of yourself and engaging in an act that you would never do with most people closest to you. It's incredibly intimate but hormonal teenagers who get their education from other hormonal teenagers can influence each other.

What I'm going to do is try to speak openly with my children about sex and its implications. I don't want to dictate what they should do (and then have them do whatever they want anyway because that's how teenagers can be), I want them to understand things and choose to wait for someone special, preferably marriage, and put their priorities in the right place.

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