For years now I amongst all people have said, “I am a moderate Muslim and my muslim family practices Moderation”. I have however, on occasions questioned the lifestyle of the more Conservative Muslims? The ones with the beards and hijab… and who dress as if they still belong to the 7th century? Are they living a lie? Does today’s society mean nothing to them? They would argue otherwise and then the question of who am I would never really be answered. So I’ve decided to reframe my question and divert it to the so called moderate society of Islam itself. Who are these so called moderate Muslims? And does Islam preach, understand and accept moderation?
I claim to be one of them so I figured who better to question than myself. Okay question number one: Where do you draw the line on religion? Or better yet, is religion a way of life, a set of rules we are governed by, or is it just a cult we want to be a part off? Moderate Muslims claim to believe in the Oneness of God (Allah) and all moderate Sunni Muslims believe in the Last most beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). We read the Quran, on and off don’t completely understand it, pray five times a day or at least we try sometimes we are just too lazy. Fast during Ramadan but don’t really devout all our free time in prayer or dhikr of Allah. Perform our Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca, and get back to our normal daily routine as if we had just had an outing or a vacation and live life by what we choose Islam to be. We create our own rules, we believe in only what we choose too, we say we believe only in the Quran and the Quran asks us to believe in the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) but yet we have no way of following his teachings because we don’t really believe in Hadiths. Those are for the conservatives you see, because Hadiths are written by men and men hate women so they want to rule over them and so on and on and on! Thus basically we create our own way of life and yet call ourselves Muslims. Am I just mad at what we’ve made Islam to be? Possibly. What is it that I have begun to dislike about the way I follow my religion? Islam has become too commercialized for us moderate Muslims and I think that is what bothers me the most. Us not understanding Islam and just following it for the sake of following it, believing what we understand, changing rules as we like so we can fit in to today’s society. Honestly we are just too afraid to say it but in our minds Islam is outdated. If Islam is complete submission to Allah (The Most Merciful), and if we really believed in Heaven and Hell would we not then fear Hell. Would we go around living the way we do. Would we not rush to our daily prayers like the so called conservative do? Would we not also ask for Allah’s mercy during Ramadan and not just fast to prove we are Muslims? Would we not perform Hajj as if it were our last chance to life and forgiveness? Maybe for a lack of a better word, I have become a little more conservative, if there is such a thing. But is that really so bad? And why are we so afraid of being judged? Why is it that the minute I say the word hijab I will get the “Oh my God she’s lost it look?” (from family first) Why is it that people are so quick to judge? And if how we perceive others is so important and if judging someone is equally important shouldn’t that give us more of a reason to believe in Judgment day? Shouldn’t we be the most worried about Allah’s angel judging our actions/intentions every day? Sad but we even take our work more seriously than life. We are afraid to miss work but we aren’t afraid to miss our prayers. We are afraid of losing our jobs but aren’t afraid of losing life. We take God’s mercy for granted and become too lazy to submit to him in prayer but are always there to answer our bosses call. We truly have made religion a set of rules that we should live by and have forgotten Allah in the process. We have made a mockery of every aspect of Islam including Hajj. We pay to spend comfortable nights at Hajj as if we are there for sight seeing. Think about it… VIP tents at Mina who are we kidding??? Hajj has become as commercialized as religion itself and it hurts me. I agree there are people who pretend to be very religious but yet live life for their own benefits. They are people who give religion a bad name but shouldn’t that be a reason to prove that it can be otherwise. Should one wrong be corrected by another wrong? Maybe I am only attacking moderation and there is a whole other side to this conservative Muslim society, but shouldn’t that give us more of a reason to change it? Shouldn’t we follow Islam the way it is supposed to be followed and not just sit back and say “oh you don’t know what all those bearded and hijabi women do behind their disguise so I am better off than them”. Shouldn’t we stop criticizing and using that as an excuse to do what we want to do?
Perhaps I am one voice in a million and will be shunned forever in the out roars. But the truth has to be told.
Falak Zaffer, September 16, 2007.