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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 · 01/07/2018 00:45

@BonnieF

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

Yes, I have. It was much more than I hoped it would be, but I do have some funny stories too :) (I would share them here but they might out me). It was the most humbling spiritual experience I have been through, and the one that has given me the most peace (It is hard to explain the complete feeling of peace visting the mosques of Mecca and Madinah give me). There were people from all over the world, different cultures, races, social classes and wealth all coming together wearing the same simple piece of clothing, and worshiping God together (yet individually) in the very same manner, being looked by God (and humans) I suppose just on their actions. Although everyone's experience is a little different, I think the letter that Malcolm X wrote after he had performed hajj encapsulates and articulates the experience well (and much better than I have):
islam.uga.edu/malcomx.html

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 00:54

@saraheyes

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

Is that DH? Stop stalking me on MN WinkGrin

Just kidding. He wouldn't dare. Wink I know my DH better than he knows himself, and he is not capable of treating me and a supposed co-wife fairly.

Having said that, and I will never admit it to him, but I do like my own space, and I think perhaps I may benefit from such an arrangement. Or maybe not. Who knows. It is a very hypothetical situation.

I don't personally know anyone who is a co-wife (and I have met tonnes of Muslim women). It is very very rare in the communities I have lived in.

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Ginismyfriendx · 01/07/2018 00:57

Question that's not specific to Muslims, but anyone with strong faith. Do you believe in science and evolution? If so how do you reconcile that with the Quran / Bible / Torah etc? Especially bits that have been proven wrong (apologies I went to a CoE school so only know the bible in depth but a lot of it has now been scientifically proved wrong (earth was formed in 6 days), or morally unjust (marry the person who raped you) that I don't understand how any educated person can believe in ti?

2up2manydown · 01/07/2018 00:59

Do you feel slightly “othered” on this thread?

As a Catholic, I’m pretty sure if I started a thread entitled “I’m a Catholic ask me anything - but I will not entertain debate or faith bashing” I’d be well and truly grilled, bashed and trashed!

Do you sense that posters are treading terribly carefully and respectfully around you? Does it make you feel different. Untouchable?

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 01:03

@Takfujuimoto

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

:)

My most favourite practices are bringing a smile to someone's face by doing something really nice for them (I need to work harder on this one), reading the Qur'an and going for umrah (small pilgrimage) to Makkah and Madinah (the two holy cities - I need to save up for this one!). They bring utter peace and contentment to my heart.

I'd say everything about my faith enriches my life. It is difficult to choose one. I suppose the Qur'an (our holy book) completely encapsulates the teachings and understanding of the faith, so if I had to choose, reading the Qur'an and understanding it would be at the top of that list.

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SimplySteve · 01/07/2018 01:05

Have been to Tunisia multiple times, and really became immersed in local culture and religion. So much so I've been considering for a couple of years about converting to be a muslim. I'm white british, any advice on converting?

boatyardblues · 01/07/2018 01:05

This is a really interesting thread, Blue, so thanks.

My question is about men and women being separated at the mosque. Being a Westener, I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable about it, but I watched a really good Australian film about a Muslim family and a lot of the action focussed around the life of the local mosque. It occurred to me that the women’s room provided a social space away from the men and that this was possibly quite special. What is your experience of men and women being segregated in this way? Does it also provide a space to support women who are in difficult marriages, for example, or are the interactions at a more superficial level?

csa26 · 01/07/2018 01:08

First: this is a really interesting thread! Thank you for creating it.

My question is a bit long-winded... I have a dog, and I used to live and work in a big city, taking the dog with me on public transport. I’m aware that some Muslims regard dogs as ritually unclean. It was usually very crowded on my commute, and I was always on the lookout for people who I thought might have a problem with the dog, and I would move her away from them. I did this partly by looking at people’s facial expressions when they saw her, but I’m afraid it was mostly profiling people on whether they belonged to an ethnic group that was more likely to be Muslim. Blush After a while I became really concerned that I was basically racially profiling people in this way, especially when I realised that my internal emotion when someone got on the train was “oh no...” (it was hard work sometimes keeping her away from people on a busy train).

What do you think I should have done? Or what would you most like someone in my position to have done? I was mostly trying to show consideration to fellow passengers, although one woman did get annoyed with me once when I was looking at a map (on a platform) instead of watching the dog and the dog brushed against her.

Hope you don’t mind me asking, this was years ago but it still bothers me (and I do still travel with the dog, it just tends not to be in rush hour nowadays).

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 01:10

@Devonishome1

Hi, great question! :)

Do you believe that God is a personal God and is interested in each individual?

Yes, absolutely.

Do you ever doubt God’s existence?

No, not really. But doubt is a natural thing. If I ever doubt, then 2 minutes later I am reminded of his existence (when I see something as simple as a spider creating a web, or watch a nature programme or read about the inner working of my body for example). Also, I my conviction and belief that the Prophet Muhammad said the truth (because of his profound character) is much stronger than any doubt that may creep up. Doubt is something that is talked about in Muslim circles and by scholars.

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 01:17

@Glitterkitten24

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

Sometimes, yes. I've had verbal and physical abuse because of my faith. Aside from that, its hard to know whether it is religion or something else. But there has been times when I have been 99% certain people are treating me a certain way because of my faith, but I have no conclusive evidence. Other times, I am less certain, like for example, interview going way beyond excellently, but not getting an offer. Having said that, there is some evidence that Muslim women face triple discrimination: sex, religion and race:
www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/06/louise-casey-discrimination-muslim-women-bradford

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?

I would never expect it but I would love it! :) A card would be more than sufficient, I wouldn't want you to go out of your way to get food/gift. Even if not card, just a 'Happy Eid' or 'have a lovely Eid' comment would be just as lovely :) No pressure.

I am off to bed now folks :)

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AllThreeWays · 01/07/2018 02:22

I am generally friendly and open with people in public and social situations but feel less confident around muslims.
Can I shake a muslim man's hand when introduced?
Am i allowed to touch you if I know you quite well?
Can I chat to you (as a stranger) in public, for example in a queue? Does this answer change if you were wearing a niqab or burka?
Thanks for answering and excuse my ignorance I just don't want to cause offense.

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 02:29

@FlybirdFly

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?

Good question, thanks for asking :) I think every parent should have the freedom to bring up their child how they want to, as long as of course they are not harming them in any way. There are parents who choose veganism for their children (nothing wrong with that - its up to them), and others who may choose to teach children about God, and others who may teach their children that God does not exist. These are all choices that parents that make and have the right to do so.

Similarly, if parents want their children to wear a religious symbol or attire, then they have every right to let them wear it. What would help though I think is if people understood the context a little. Let me give you an example about my daughter. When she was 2 she insisted she would not go to the play group unless she was able to wear a headscarf (one she took out from my cupboard). I said NO. Many times. But she is stubborn, and like me, she will find a way to get her way. So when her nanny came to look after her, she insisted that she would not go out until she let her wear it. And she got her way. I was not keen mainly because I knew other parents would judge me and judge Islam. Anyhow, she repeated these demands every few months, and many times I just didn't have the energy to keep arguing with her (terrible two's are hard to deal with as it is!).

When she started school, it started again, she adamantly refused to wear a hat even when it was snowing, but then one day decided she wanted to wear the headscarf. It was freezing that day, and I had to rush off to work, so I gave in. I think she wore it for half a day and then decided to take it off. I do feel bad telling her she shouldn't wear it when she wants to (as I let her wear anything else she wants to). I wore the headscarf from a very young age (probably around 6/7) completely of my own choice, and this meant that when it became obligatory on me to wear a headscarf around the age of 12, it was the most natural and easy thing to do. Therefore, I do believe, that if my daughter wants to wear it some days when she is younger (even as young as 6), I should allow her to, because it will make it easier for her to transition into the hijab when she reaches the age of 12 or so (if she then chooses to wear it). Because it isn't easy to start wearing hijab in public when you haven't been used to wearing it (people give you looks and you get stares).

I would like her to wear it at 12 (because I believe in my faith), and I want to do everything in my power to make that transition easy for her, but at the same time, I also believe there is no compulsion in religion - so if she chooses not to wear it, that will be her choice. Does that help you understand a bit why some parents allow their young children to wear hijab? And if there are some parents who may be encouraging their young girls to wear hijab every now and then or more regularly, it is done out of kindness, just to make life easier for them when they reach 12 and choose then to wear it permanently.

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.

We all communicate daily without our face. For example, on social media, by text message, emails, using our phones (in fact we non-stop email). We at work have national meetings over the phone - and conduct them perfectly! Many in my team at work prefer phone call meetings, as people actually listen to what you say, rather than judging you based on your age/dress/make-up etc. (this has happened in face to face meetings). Anyhow, just something to think about.

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 02:44

@Flybirdfly

Also one more question sorry! No need to apologise, you are keeping me on my toes! WinkSmile

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?

There could be a multitude of reasons. A practical thing is space. We don't have enough spaces in the mosque to cater for everyone, and a lot of the times, planning permission to extend or even to build a mosque is really really difficult to get. It is obligatory for men to go to the mosque on Friday, but it is not obligatory for women - they have the freedom to choose wear to pray.

Another factor that may be causing this difference is cultural difference. For example, regardless of faith, the south Asian culture overall is not favourable towards women (have a look at the way Indian women across all faiths are treated - it is appalling). And sadly this has seeped into the Muslim south asians too, predominately the older generation, so they don't see the need to go out of the way to make spaces for women. But this is changing quite rapidly, and I am glad the change is coming from within the community, rather than from pressures outside.

The other factor is that Mosques are run by volunteers and committees, that naturally were found by the men who are now in their 60s and 70s, and are not willing to give up their seat on the table (and are stubborn and absolutely hate change). So the younger generation (anyone under the age of 50-60 I'd say) is just not given a seat on the management table, and also those under 50 don't always have the time to volunteer and give that many hours to the mosque. Anyhow, the younger generation are desperately waiting for their seat on the table, to make the changes they desperately want to see (and I don't think there's very long to go now :)).

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AllThreeWays · 01/07/2018 02:50

Oh and also, if we were friends can I invite you over. Would you eat my food so long as it is vegetarian?
Is shunning or killing those who reject the faith scriptural or cultur6?

AllThreeWays · 01/07/2018 02:51

^cultural

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 02:52

@Helloflamingogo

^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?^

When Muslims borrow, they are not allowed to charge interest, nor pay interest. So until about 20 years or so, Muslims have been borrowing from each other and that's how they have been buying houses. In fact, even now, I know many extended families who purchase houses by just pooling money from families and paying back (of course without interest).

In the UK, the banks saw there was a gap in the market and decided to use 'Islamic mortgage' which originally the idea was that you pay rent on the part you own, and you pay off the part you don't own, and slowly that increases the share you do own and your rent decreases. So that way eventually you can own outright. Initially it worked like that, but then banks started charging extortionate rates for the rent part, so it has kind of ended up more expensive than a traditional mortgage! Scholars now therefore disagree whether it is 'Islamic' or not.

In the UK, this does throw up problems for Muslims but they are overall reluctant to take out a normal mortgage. Some (or many perhaps?) still do take out a normal mortgage though, as they see no other way to get on the property ladder.

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hisdadisanabusiveprick · 01/07/2018 02:58

I'm sorry this is slightly controversial to ask, I'm asking because I argue against this point often and would like a more informed opinion than my own

Do you feel that Islam has any factor in the grooming gangs? Do you feel that the faith the men are raised in colours how some (I do appreciate it's not all) view white girls and affects how they treat them?

I argue regularly that it isn't Islam. But what do you honestly think as a Muslim woman?

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 03:00

@Ginismyfriendx

Question that's not specific to Muslims, but anyone with strong faith. Do you believe in science and evolution? If so how do you reconcile that with the Quran / Bible / Torah etc? Especially bits that have been proven wrong (apologies I went to a CoE school so only know the bible in depth but a lot of it has now been scientifically proved wrong (earth was formed in 6 days), or morally unjust (marry the person who raped you) that I don't understand how any educated person can believe in ti?

Thanks for your questions :) I am really ignorant about science and evolution. As far as I am aware science doesn't contradict with Islam (there are very many prominent Muslim scientists in the UK for example). But to be honest, I don't know enough about evolution and science (sadly I think I may have skipped those lessons at school).

As for 'marry the person who raped you' - we definitely DON'T believe that. In fact, a rapist is a criminal and has to be severely punished according to Islamic faith. It would be a huge crime to get someone to marry their rapist.

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 03:06

@2up2manydown

^Do you feel slightly “othered” on this thread?

As a Catholic, I’m pretty sure if I started a thread entitled “I’m a Catholic ask me anything - but I will not entertain debate or faith bashing” I’d be well and truly grilled, bashed and trashed!

Do you sense that posters are treading terribly carefully and respectfully around you? Does it make you feel different. Untouchable?^

Your question made me laugh Grin.

If this is true - that I am given some special treatment/privilege on MN because I am Muslim - this is the first time in public that I have some privilege (as opposed to the opposite), so thank you for highlighting it, I am going to make the absolute most out of it! Grin Grin Grin And may it continue!

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 03:13

@SimplySteve

Have been to Tunisia multiple times, and really became immersed in local culture and religion. So much so I've been considering for a couple of years about converting to be a muslim. I'm white british, any advice on converting?

I think you'd probably be better off getting advice from those that have converted to be honest (I could put you in touch with someone that converted?). Have you visited a local mosque? I would say if you want to take shahadah, just go for it. There is a lot to take in in terms of practice and rules (and different groups and sects), but take it slowly and at your own pace. Also, it may be important you try to engage with your family about it (as their support may help you?). Parents (regardless of which faith they adhere to) are very very important in the Muslim faith, and keeping them happy is an integral part of the faith. You don't say if you have a partner, but you may want to think about how the conversion may impact him or her too. All the very best, and feel free to DM me :)

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HornyPorny · 01/07/2018 03:15

You're amazing @UnderBlue . I shall DM you tomorrow.

comfycosy123 · 01/07/2018 03:20

Do you believe that there is only one God or that each faith has its own individual God, or that the different faiths pray to the same god but in different ways and with different values ?

wafflyversatile · 01/07/2018 03:20

Hi. Thank you for this thread.

I have a Muslim refugee living with me and he is struggling with loneliness and adapting to life here just now. He goes to a local mosque. I was thinking if going and speaking to them to see if they could reach out to him by asking him to dinner or something. Who would be the best person to ask for?

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 03:21

@boatyardblues

My question is about men and women being separated at the mosque. Being a Westener, I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable about it, but I watched a really good Australian film about a Muslim family and a lot of the action focussed around the life of the local mosque. It occurred to me that the women’s room provided a social space away from the men and that this was possibly quite special. What is your experience of men and women being segregated in this way? Does it also provide a space to support women who are in difficult marriages, for example, or are the interactions at a more superficial level?

Honestly, I love it! :) Apart from prayer times, there is a lot of chatter and socializing, and I've made lots of real friends. I go to pray and then hangout. The kids run around freely in the open space and have fun, whilst we women/girls get a chance to hangout in a lovely space. I've had women asking me for advice on all sorts of things (from diarrhea in their baby to serious marriage problems). Sometimes I give advice, a lot of the times is advising them where they can get support. Sometimes we sit and read books together. There's also lots of girls who I think live in small flats at home, and come to the mosque to get some peace and quiet and revise (they are mainly there in the morning I noticed when it is quiet). Honestly, I wouldn't want it any other way.

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rightknockered · 01/07/2018 03:31

My ex-husband is a muslim, and we have 5 children. Since we split up he has spent less and less time with them, and this past week has spent two hours with them. Yet he expects me, as an atheist, to bring them up as muslim. I have told them they can choose how they want to live their lives, that they have their own minds, and can choose their own paths. My eldest son is an atheist, my dd is too possibly. So their father has decided it is because I am bisexual, and that maybe I'm going to 'make' my children gay too, so therefore he will have nothing further to do with them. Do muslims really believe that sexual orientation, is a choice, in the same way that choosing religion or not is a choice?
My ex is not a great example of a human being or a muslim, I'm not using him as any kind of measure of the average muslim by the way.

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