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AMA

I'm a Muslim, ask me anything

336 replies

UnderBlue · 30/06/2018 21:26

So I thought I'd join the bandwagon too! I'm a Muslim, and ask me anything. :)

(Please note: I'm very happy to answer questions about my beliefs and my experiences, but not interested in debating issues or bashing please. Please start your own thread if you want to do that. Thanks)

Also, please bear with me if I take a while to reply. I have pelvic pain today and a trip planned to the beach tomorrow, so apologies in advance if I take a while to reply. I will try my best :)

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UnderBlue · 30/06/2018 22:30

@littlebillie

I was reading that now more people are reading and interpreting the Qu'ran for them selves it will change on how people interpret the texts, for example the Jihad.

I assume you mean this will result in a positive outcome? :) The most powerful way to eradicate terrorism perpetrated by Muslims has been and is to expose Muslims to more authentic Islamic teachings, rather than less. I am really perplexed when some media and even government ministers suggest that getting rid of Muslim supplementary schools will decrease terrorism. NO, I guarantee you, it WILL increase it. If one looks at the history of those that have committed these unforgivable acts, the vast majority have learnt their faith from some anonymous person off the internet. So I would recommend Government and those in policy (in case someone from the above groups is reading this Wink), please please, work with the Muslim community and with the reputable and respected scholars from the community, and genuinely listen to us (Prevent is not working with us; its telling us what to do without understanding us). We are in the community, we know the best way to get rid of these ignorant idiots, and we are working hard at doing that, so come and visit our supplementary schools to see for yourselves. (Everyone is welcome too of course :))

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73kittycat73 · 30/06/2018 22:32

Hi UnderBlue, thanks for the thread. Smile I was interested in this that you wrote:
It also reminds me of my purpose of being on this earth, and to be the best person I can be, five times a day. For me, and I think for many others I know, it helps us be the best versions of ourselves. Does that answer the question?

How does prayer help you understand the purpose of being here? Are you told it in the words of a specific prayer, or taught it somehow? (Really interested as I'd love to know my purpose!) Also, how does prayer help you be the best version of yourself? Is that also in the prayer you say?

I hope I worded that OK! Thanks for taking the time to answer questions on this thread. Smile

IrnBruTortie · 30/06/2018 22:34

Thanks for this -it is really interesting.
Can you tell me a little about the place of food in your religious ceremonies, and observance? (I know that is quite a big question, so a link to a good source would be great)

UnderBlue · 30/06/2018 22:35

@BartholinsSister

Do you think angels are real?

Yes :)

I believe there's one on my right shoulder, who records my good deeds, and one on my left shoulder who records my bad deeds. Next time I think about using Facebook whilst at work and not on my lunch break (I don't actually have time to take a lunch break but that's another story!), I stop myself because I can't have the left angel getting upset with me Wink. I suppose what I am saying is, it makes me more conscious about my day to day activities and behavior. At the end of our prayers we also say salam (peace - like a 'Hi') to them :) (to both of them of course - now that would be mean to ignore the one on the left! Grin)

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littlebillie · 30/06/2018 22:40

Under blue I did mean that positively, it was the same in Christianity for such a long time and the understanding of the religious texts didn't pass to the followers as it's should have done. Most religions are a power of good and yet a few can destroy the understanding. I caught a brilliant discussion on radio 4 about mother's And their worries for their sons and religious extremism. They said that being able to read it for themselves enabled changing the message. It was a interesting listen. Smile

UnderBlue · 30/06/2018 22:43

Just a note: I'm going in order everyone, so do please bear with me, I will get to your question :)

@grasspigeons

^I work in a school with a small but significant number of muslim pupils.

Every year I think it would be nice to mark the end of ramadam someway for them, but what would be a good idea or would it be a bad idea?^

Oh that's a lovely thought, I'm sure it will be much appreciated! :) Depends on your budget? [blink] More seriously though, in this climate, where there are days entitled 'Kill a Muslim day' anything at all will be really really appreciated by Muslim parents. At the end of Ramadhan comes the day of Eid (the celebration day), so even if it is an Eid Card (could be made on paper, written by hand) would be really appreciated. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant - it is the thought that counts. My neighbour gave us a lovely Eid Card and box of celebrations, and the card was more than sufficient, and I would have been more than happy. On the other hand, at work no one acknowledged Eid, despite me taking Ramadhan treats and Eid sweets in for everyone. It is a funny world, but we are mainly a resilient bunch (we have to be), and tend to just get on with it!

(Btw kids love sweets - I know my little one does - so that may be a good idea? (I personally don't like them). Just make sure they don't contain gelatine or look out for vegetarian option ones)

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grasspigeons · 30/06/2018 22:43

another thing Ive wondered is are mosques independent of each other, or are they like churches with a hierarchy of parish priests, bishops, archbishops, pope

UnderBlue · 30/06/2018 22:56

@HappyGirl86

What is your favourite aspect of your faith? What are you most proud of?

Great question! :) Many things, but I'll mention the top two:

  1. The moral values of Islam. For example, to be self-less, help others and put yourself in others shoes. For example, the prophet Muhammad said: "None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself", which in our world would translate to: "do as to others what you want to yourself”. He also said: "God helps those that help others." (And there are hundreds of sayings on similar themes). Of course, sadly some Muslims seem to have completely forgotten these values.


  1. Justice - I work in public health and explore ways to reduce inequality, and I believe my faith is rooted in justice and one of its major purposes is to reduce inequality. For example, interest is completely banned for this very reason. Those that do have wealth, have to give 2.5% of their wealth to charity annually. Apart from the annual obligation, we are reminded daily (through our prayers) to give charity to those that have less than us. Therefore it is not surprising that Muslims are Britain's top charity givers: www.thetimes.co.uk/article/muslims-are-britains-top-charity-givers-c7w0mrzzknf
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Glitterkitten24 · 30/06/2018 23:04

I am loving all the threads where people share their experiences- thanks for posting!

I have a few questions if you don’t mind?

Do you find Ramadan difficult? How hard do you find it to fast, particularly in the heat we have had his year?

If you wear a head covering, so you genuinely wear it for your own beliefs? Do you feel any kind of ‘peer pressure’ to dress/ cover/ represent yourself in a particular way due to your religion?

lastly, again if you wear a head covering....is there any significance / meaning to different ways of covering your hair? Is it personal preference/
What style you use?

Thank you in advance!

UnderBlue · 30/06/2018 23:04

@whiteroseredrose

How do you feel about face coverings being banned?

Not happy and very upset to be honest. Women should have the freedom to wear whatever they want (as little or as much as they want), and I know these are very much British and feminist values too - we don't go around telling men what to wear, why should we dictate to women? To be honest, I also don't understand the agenda behind banning it. If it is to 'liberate' women, then you will do the complete opposite - they will start hiding in their homes and will come out less. So I can't understand what banning it even aims? Fundamentally those that talk about banning it sadly don't have an understanding of WHY some Muslim women (albeit in very small minorities) choose to wear it. I can tell you, the very vast majority of women who cover their face (especially in the West) do so because they believe it is something that will bring them closer to God. Who are we to tell them not to cover their face when it doesn't affect us in anyway and is not a threat to us? And for security purposes these women ALWAYS are very willing to life it. What I love so much about being British is that we mind our own business, and I'm really glad we are doing that in relation to the niqab (face covering) too.

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saraheyes · 30/06/2018 23:08

Would you be a co-wife if your husband treated you and his other wives fairly?

UnderBlue · 30/06/2018 23:11

@LaMainDeFatima

Salems: Do you find that in your community there is a divide between (British) Arabs and Asians ?

Hi :) I have moved around quite a bit in my adult life and lived in many communities so it is really difficult to say. The current area I am living in there aren't many Arabs, more South Asians. I think naturally people do tend to aggregate into groups of culture (I think that happens every where though). But having said that, I have lived in communities where there was no divide at all. I suppose the answer is it probably varies. I also think the divide in the Muslim community is more between different sects (like Sunni, shia, salafi, deobandi, barelwi etc), but even that is slowly going away. The Muslim community is hugely diverse in every way you can think of (even social class), so it is a difficult question to answer. I hope that helps a bit? :)

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BonnieF · 30/06/2018 23:19

As salaam aleykum, OP.

Have you made your Hajj pilgrimage? If so, was it as you hoped it would be?

Takfujuimoto · 30/06/2018 23:20

Thank you for answering 😊

Another one, what are the main aspects of your religion that you feel enrich your life and what are your favourite practices?

Devonishome1 · 30/06/2018 23:21

Do you believe that God is a personal God and is interested in each individual?Do you ever doubt God’s existence?

Glitterkitten24 · 30/06/2018 23:21

Do you ever feel you are treated unfavourably because of your religion and beliefs?

At Eid I have often wondered if I should recognise with a gift/ card/ food/ greeting to my colleagues who are celebrating, but have worried in the past about appearing patronising (chronic overthinker! 😉)when it’s not a holiday for me. Would you apprieciate some recognition, and if so, what?

Lol until you asked, I had no idea I had so many questions inside me! 😂😂

UnderBlue · 30/06/2018 23:37

@whoopsiedaisies My pleasure! :) My pelvic pain seems to have disappeared too Grin

@NotLeanButMean

It must sadden you greatly. After the terrorist attack outside the Mosque in London, me and toddler DD took some cakes to our local mosque for them to enjoy whilst they broke their fast that night. They were so appreciative and lovely, and said they got so much abuse on a daily basis. Really bloody awful, especially as (from my limited knowledge) I understand ISIS kill more Muslims than they do any other faith.

Thank you so so much! Smile I don't think I can put into words how much that means to us in this climate. I know I've mentioned this above, there was a day called the 'kill a Muslim day' recently promoted by the far right. There were Muslim parents on a national Facebook group who were genuinely so afraid that they were talking about not sending their children to school that day. I was weary and anxious, and I had a museum outing planned for my son that day in our local city, and I decided it was best to re-arrange it, I didn't want to take the risk. I also regularly get people smiling at others but giving me dirty looks (and of course some people smile at me too!), and I am completed used to it, but my 6 year old has started asking questions: Why was that person rude? Why did they give us funny looks? etc. Parenting is challenging as it is, and this especially I don't always know how best to deal with it. I was bought up in a white working class area, and every time we played outside, we worried that the white lads would let their dogs loose on us (and most of us have had dog bites). I don't know how we coped with that level of anxiousness all the time, but goodness, it has made us resilient (and probably partly explains our poorer mental health overall). Sorry, I've gone off on a tangent. Thank you for your very touching kind and generous act - it is much much appreciated! (And I wish had sampled some of those lovely cupcakes too Wink

Why do you think terrorists use your faith (which as I understand is inherently peaceful) to explain the atrocities they commit? Where did it come about?

I'm not an expert on this, but I think it is an extreme reaction to the severely oppressive regimes they have or had been living under, and these regimes sadly have been supported (in one way or another) by others (and they would claim the West too). This does NOT justify their actions. NEVER. But I think this, alongside ignorance of Islam and lack of understanding of Islam, has pushed them to interpret the scripture this way (and justify their tyrannical actions), to attempt to get themselves away from their tyrannical leaders. Sadly, what they don't appear to realise is that they are creating tyranny too! (Perhaps many of these people did start as 'freedom fighters' though and got lost along the way?).

It is also worth noting is that there is a wide-range legitimate diversity of opinion in the Muslim faith, and this is something that is celebrated (so you will have one scholar saying the opposite to another, and both are respected, and you can choose whose opinion you wish to follow - and it is all aboard). This is great, but sometimes it means that rogue 'scholars' can hide under the disguise of diversity of opinion, and lead naive young people astray (towards terrorism). It is not surprising therefore that the vast majority of terrorists who are Muslims (at least western born ones) are in their teens or under the age of 30.

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UnderBlue · 30/06/2018 23:53

@73KittyCat73

^How does prayer help you understand the purpose of being here? Are you told it in the words of a specific prayer, or taught it somehow? (Really interested as I'd love to know my purpose!) Also, how does prayer help you be the best version of yourself? Is that also in the prayer you say?

I hope I worded that OK! Thanks for taking the time to answer questions on this thread. smile ^

That's perfectly worded, thank you! :) And great questions!

The prayer first of all is a reminder of God and the good deeds he has encouraged us to do and things to not to do or stay away from. We have something called rights of the fellow humans around you, and it is a big thing. I gave an example somewhere on the thread about using Facebook at work. It is a simple example, but being reminded of God reminds me that I must abide by the rules of my employer and my contract for example (and not be tempted by using FB at work). Or the next time someone says something mean to me deliberately, I control my tounge and be gentle in my retaliation, as God talks in the Quran about controlling your tounge. With regards to what is said in the prayer, we read different passages from the Qur'an. I'll copy you one or two of my favourite passage at the moment (yes I go through phases!):

"So he (Prophet Solomon) smiled - laughing at her speech and said, "My Lord! Grant me (the) power that I may thank You (for) Your Favor which You have bestowed on me and on my parents and that I may do righteous (deeds), that will please You. And admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves ." (Qur'an: 27:19)"

And:

"And give to the orphans their properties and do not substitute the defective [of your own] for the good [of theirs]. And do not consume their properties into your own. Indeed, that is ever a great sin." (Quran: 4:2)

Let me know if you have any further questions :)

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73kittycat73 · 30/06/2018 23:59

Thank you for answering UnderBlue, really appreciate it! Smile Can go to bed now (Have to get up early.)…Grin Will check back tomorrow though as this is a really interesting thread. Thanks again for taking the time to answer. Flowers

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 00:04

@IrnBruTortie

Can you tell me a little about the place of food in your religious ceremonies, and observance? (I know that is quite a big question, so a link to a good source would be great)

Hi :) That is a very good question and something I have never really thought about before. Unlike Christianity, I don't think we have food in our religious ceremonies or practices per say. We do have a list of foods that God mentioned in the Qur'an (when he was talking about previous nations or Paradise) and foods that the Prophet ate and enjoyed. The only thing I can think of perhaps some significance is dates. The Prophet Muhammad encouraged us to break our fast with dates or something sweet, and most Muslims do use dates to break their fast. There are also narrations from the Prophet of honey being of benefit and a cure for some illnesses. But again, not as part of our ceremonies.

Having said that, some of us Muslims are obsessed with food (Sorry I should say south-asian Muslims). It is our culture - we are constantly feeding everyone. When we were young, my mum used to spend hours in the kitchen cooking and doing chores (we all benefited hugely of course Blush). Now she is well read about Islam, she tells my dad he should be following in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad and be doing the chores too Grin. I must report he is now an expert in mopping the floors and doing the laundry, but has become so evangelical about it, that we wish we could go back to the 1990s! :)

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 00:14

@littlebillie That Radio 4 programme does sound interesting, thanks, I'll try and look it up (I'm a bit behind with my Radio 4 podcasts)

@grasspigeons

another thing Ive wondered is are mosques independent of each other, or are they like churches with a hierarchy of parish priests, bishops, archbishops, pope

Good question. They are independent of each other. Some may have links with each other. Some cities may have umbrella organisations (like say Lancashire council of Mosques), but not all mosques will join us members, and they don't have control - they play a more advisory or unifying role. The largest umbrella organisation is the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). They are well respected across the Muslim community and represent around 500 Muslim mosques/organisations, but again have no 'control' over them. Local communities are the ones that run their own mosques, and personally I like the diversity that creates, as it gives more freedom to do things in the way that suits the needs of the local community.

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FlybirdFly · 01/07/2018 00:16

Hi OP

I have a question about headscarves and also agree that they shouldn’t be banned for adult women. I’m not decided on face coverings as I think that a lot of human interaction relies on facial expressions etc and it’s quite hard to communicate with someone when you can’t see their face.

Re the hijab though I know that Muslim women aren’t required to cover up until after puberty so what are your thoughts on small children wearing hijab. I think this is more a cultural thing within certain communities but I have to admit it does make me feel uncomfortable. Do you think that the culture around this should be changed or again that it is their choice how to dress their children?

FlybirdFly · 01/07/2018 00:18

Also one more question sorry!

The nearest mosque to us does not allow women or girls whereas the next one along in another town does and is very welcoming to all faiths, holds community days, invites people of all faith and none to break fast with them. What reasons would there be for such differences between Mosques?

Helloflamingogo · 01/07/2018 00:25

So interesting!

How do mortgages work? I know there are special ones (without interest) and I get the reasoning for not having a standard one but don’t undeEstand how they work ☺️

Also, do all Muslims have the specific ones or just some people?

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 00:36

@Glitterkitten24

I have a few questions if you don’t mind? My pleasure to answer :)

Do you find Ramadan difficult? How hard do you find it to fast, particularly in the heat we have had his year?
I was really worried before Ramadan that I would struggle, especially because its the longest commute I've ever had this year. I struggled the first day (got a headache and was hungry), but by the third day I didn't feel hungry or thirsty during the day, and bizzarely I was actually feeling more energized. The last hour (between 8.30pm - 9:30pm) was when I did get hungry and had to keep away from foodie accounts on instagram and take away menus :). It is amazing though (and I am amazed by this every year) how quickly the body gets into the new routine of eating less! We are now 2 weeks post ramadhan - I've lost 3Kg and I am still only eating once a day, and I'm very happy as I think I'll now fit into my size 8 party dress! Grin

If you wear a head covering, so you genuinely wear it for your own beliefs? Do you feel any kind of ‘peer pressure’ to dress/ cover/ represent yourself in a particular way due to your religion?

Yes, I wear it totally 100% for God, no one else. I also wear an abaya (which is a long ankle length loose outer covering). Both I wear completely because I want to, no peer pressure at all. In fact, I've had some peer pressure not to wear the abaya, especially from my in-laws. But I have ignored it, and I think they've realised I am too strong headed to be influenced by others' opinions of me.

I also have some friends who wear the headscarf but are under pressure, especially from parents and/or husbands to remove it and not to wear it. Some are worried about their security, others think people might judge them as a sign of non-assimilation, and others feel uncomfortable with the stares or judgey looks some people give. And in my experience, in the UK, the pressure to remove the headscarf (not just from family members) is very prevalent.

^lastly, again if you wear a head covering....is there any significance / meaning to different ways of covering your hair? Is it personal preference/
What style you use?^

I'm really old school (and this probably gives away my age), but I just wear a really simple scarf over my head and I try to cover my chest area too with my scarf. There are lots of different styles (google hijab styles if you are interested), and I think it is very much a generational thing. The millenials are wearing all sorts of fancy things, but I don't have the time nor the creativity (nor do I feel the pressure to I guess) to spend so much time on it. I'd much rather be baking a cake and eating it Grin

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