When you grow up in a religion you are told that if you pray to God with pure intentions, God helps you out. I would ask Allah for so many interesting things from childhood until apostasy. Here’s a list of things I would ask Allah for (please keep in mind I used to think differently): Click for more!
Around a year and two days ago, I have joined the organization called The Ex Muslims of North America (EXMNA). This organization is a community organization where Ex Muslims in different parts of North America host networkingbonding events. The networking events can vary: from getting together and having drinks to skiing together. It is all about creating friendships and solidarity. Click for more!
When I was in 4th grade my teacher read this famous children’s book to our class: The Witches By Roald Dahl. The book is about a young boy who spends time with his grandmother and learned about real life witches from her. He even learned how to spot a real witch through a collection of symptoms.
In this list of symptoms, there were a few physical characteristics that really stuck to the memory of my classmates and I. Witches were bald, with large nostrils and hated children. Click for more!
As the oldest sibling there were a few years in my early childhood that I had nobody to play with. So I would run from one end of my parents’ apartment to the next fighting with my imaginary friends. Boy was I good at martial arts… in my own imagination of course.
We would play power Rangers. I would even lose the battle sometimes and “die.” This is all on home video footage and it’s a very cute memory. It certainly influences my imagination for the rest of my life and even today.
Coming from a Sunni-Sufi background, there was a great emphasis on dreams and visions in my religious upbringing. People would have conscious “visions” and dreams of Prophets, angels and jinns coming before them and sending them a message about the truth, dreams etc. This would have potentially dangerous effects because if a religious authority had a dream that someone he knew was fornicating, that person would get into unwarranted trouble. Even though it could easily have been just a dream.
We called these visions “Kashf” and they were believed to be messages from Allah and the Prophet.
In my college’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) there was a brother named Kawsar. Kawsar was a first generation Bangladeshi American. He had moved to the United States at age 17 and brought with him conservative Islamic values. He grew out his beard to honor Prophet Muhammad and dressed in traditional Islamic garments every day.
When I had met Kawsar he was very timid, shy. He would walk very nervously and always lower his gaze. He seldom spoke and had a strong Bangladeshi accent.
Kawsar’s confidence improved when he began to go to the gym. His style began to change from one of traditional Islamic garments to fitted T-shirts and jeans. He began to trim his beard to have a groomed clean look. Exercise gave him confidence. Click for more!
The following is my personal account of when I was a devout Muslim and having doubts. I was actively involved in the Muslim Student Association (MSA) of my college and would spend much of my free time in their rooms. Names have been changed.
My MSA Brother’s Advice
Allahu Akbar, shouted the brother leading the prayer. I got up from shizda and sat up, reciting my prayers.
“Does anybody even listen when you pray?”
No. No. NO! STOP IT! Astagfirullah. I need to get these thoughts out of my head. I need to get his voice out of my head. Zac gave in to Shaytan and left Islam. I can’t. I can’t let his questions harm my faith. This is Shaytan putting doubtful thoughts in my head. I need to get Zac’s doubts out of my head.
“Assalamu Alaikum WaRahmatullah,” the brother said twice. Prayer ended. I need to specifically ask Allah to give me guidance. Click to keep on reading!