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I used to be Muslim -AMA

113 replies

Tiddlywinx · 16/09/2022 22:07

Born and raised Anglican, became Muslim in my early 20s after much research and having really enjoyed the academic side of Islam, now 10 years on, I’m ‘meh’, I wouldn’t say I’ve renounced it in a mic drop sense but I do feel apathetic.

I know this (leaving Islam) has garnered headlines in the news and it’s not that kind of post, I’m actually secretly hoping it might help me organise my thoughts, so AMA- I won’t hold back.

just to say, my experiences are just that, mine, and any negative ones I’ve had obviously aren’t universal and they don’t represent an entire religion/ minority community/
sect/ ethnic group.

also, please no takfiri death threats/ going to hell stuff, it will push me further from the deen and further some rather nasty stereotypes

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Babdoc · 17/09/2022 16:42

I will stick with my presbyterian church of Scotland, where there is no hierarchy - the Moderator is elected annually, and does as the name suggests, moderates the debates, rather than leads or dominates.
My minister is a lesbian feminist, we have had women ministers for over 60 years, and recently female Moderators too.
Christ himself was not in the least hierarchical- he humbly washed his disciples’ feet, and asked us to love and serve each other as he did.
I don’t know what evidence you have for disbelieving the Resurrection.
We have eye witness accounts, dictated to St Paul by St Peter in Rome. And obviously something pretty damn cataclysmic stopped the disciples running away home to Galilee after the crucifixion as they originally intended - an event that gave them the courage to preach the Resurrection even when facing their own crucifixion as accomplices.
You seem too quick to reject an entire religion out of dislike for some authoritarian or sexist sects, or unpleasant individuals. We follow Christ, not his fallible servants!

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magma32 · 17/09/2022 16:55

Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 06:24

Not looking into any religions really, I do agree on the questioning thing, which for me is how I learn so it’s really frustrating. There is much more space for that in British Christianity at least, I say British because I think if you went to certain churches in America , you’d probably have a similar experience

Sorry I didn’t see this comment yes absolutely if you have a more tolerant mindset you will feel at ease with similar people. British Christians have reformed to fit with changing times whereas the US still very conservative and right wing, the abortion ruling says a lot. Muslims haven’t been here long and also have various socioeconomic challenges that lead them to cling to the more purist interpretations so they do not to lose their identity which many feel has been threatened due to racism/islamophobia. I actually think American Muslims are more open minded as their demographics are different to those here so are more accepting so I wonder if I’d have a better time over there and wouldn’t have got that ick as I wouldn’t encounter as many people to put me off, who knows. Islam is a religion of people, we pray in congregation etc it’s a big deal to have community so
witjout it it’s easy to feel like we don’t belong here and look elsewhere for acceptantc we often say to eachother that we must set good examples so people can see islam is good, but then we say Islam is perfect but Muslims aren’t, so which is it. IMO the religions all have good and bad and what influences us to convert is how good the PR machine is and also how the individuals are treating us for us to be influenced. I think that’s human nature.

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 17:42

Thiswillpasstoo · 17/09/2022 16:05

Despite being born into the faith I can confidently say that I didn't go anywhere near embracing it properly before I did my research. Prior to that I had a mindset of a "hippy" (cringe I know) and also lived like one.

My family gave me the freedom to do as I wanted as they weren't particularly religious at the time either.

Also, I looked into all sorts of faiths beforehand as I didn't want to practice something just because it was the "done" thing in my community.

I wouldn't say you were a better person before you became a Muslim. The fact that you are questioning things and are open to opinions and have an evaluative mind shows you still have a good heart.
You are a simply going through a tough time where you have been hurt by those who you trusted most. It's natural to be alarmed at your emotional response. We all have them

Of course, you can ask me anything. 😊

That's a tough question to answer because I will never know the intentions of those who hurt you.

I know that the South Asian community like to marry within the the same ethnicity, perhaps it's that? Its downright unacceptable not to accept someone of good character into the family simply because of their ethnicity.

Especially since the faith can't emphasis enough,the importance of character over everything else. The infamous last sermon of the prophet stressed how no white person is superior over a black person and vice versa and no Arab is superior over a non Arab etc.

What I can confidently say though is that, you have had an experience which I don't believe is typical. It's unfortunate that you feel this way and I hope you heal in every way.

There are numerous interactions I have on a daily basis with converts where they are not only welcomed but have fully integrated into the community. At the same time they have maintained strong bonds with their non Muslim families and that is something that has always been encouraged because it's that's how it should be.

I don’t think my experience is that uncommon though, there was another ama about a white woman who married an Asian man and it was comparable a few weeks back. 9/10 converts leave within the first 5 years i think and I’m not sure it’s down to lack of sincerity. I’m from an area with a large Pakistani population but from a specific region too, and almost every convert I’ve met has been shunned by them, now this might be completely different in another part of the UK, I don’t know. It’s why converts end up at the ultra conservative mosques because they’re the only places open to them. I’ve found a different experience with the few Arab pocket communities that live around me, they’re typically NA Arabs or Yemen and they seem quite friendly to converts. I probably have had the most hostility because I married a south Asian so like you said I had to deal with that reaction, I guess my point is though, I don’t think my experience is that out of the ordinary, it might be extreme but it’s so common to have the pomp of the shahdah ceremony and pressure to marriage and then nothing, ramadans alone, no invites for iftar that were once promised, eid Alone. It can be quite sad. It’s why solace made that advert, don’t know if you’ve seen it but it’s quite moving.
it’s called don’t let her leave.

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mathanxiety · 17/09/2022 17:47

What were the arguments that appealed to you when you felt dissatisfaction with the monotheism of the Trinity? Had you studied the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in any depth?

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 19:01

mathanxiety · 17/09/2022 17:47

What were the arguments that appealed to you when you felt dissatisfaction with the monotheism of the Trinity? Had you studied the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in any depth?

god just being one is a lot more simple and more in line with what you’re taught in the Old Testament so it just made more sense to me that way.

im familiar with the first council of Nicea and when the concept of the trinity was solidified, ive studied the east west schism and Filioque, the Protestant reformation and it’s all fascinating but it didn’t pull me closer to Christianity

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 19:05

Jewel1968 · 17/09/2022 00:15

Why do you think so many humans buy into the notion of religion - any religion? Why do you think we organise ourselves in this way? Do you think on balance humans have benefited from organised religion or not?

I think it’s human nature to want to look for answers, to want to make sense of things and believe there’s a reason for everything. Throw in then a cosmic sense of justice (heaven and hell) and seeing our loved ones again and ‘a better place’ and I think that’s why

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 19:19

Babdoc · 17/09/2022 16:42

I will stick with my presbyterian church of Scotland, where there is no hierarchy - the Moderator is elected annually, and does as the name suggests, moderates the debates, rather than leads or dominates.
My minister is a lesbian feminist, we have had women ministers for over 60 years, and recently female Moderators too.
Christ himself was not in the least hierarchical- he humbly washed his disciples’ feet, and asked us to love and serve each other as he did.
I don’t know what evidence you have for disbelieving the Resurrection.
We have eye witness accounts, dictated to St Paul by St Peter in Rome. And obviously something pretty damn cataclysmic stopped the disciples running away home to Galilee after the crucifixion as they originally intended - an event that gave them the courage to preach the Resurrection even when facing their own crucifixion as accomplices.
You seem too quick to reject an entire religion out of dislike for some authoritarian or sexist sects, or unpleasant individuals. We follow Christ, not his fallible servants!

Actually, there isn’t much evidence Jesus even existed, i think there’s only 3 or so external sources of the time that confirm he even lived (josephus, Pliny and Tacitus) that confirm he existed. There is no archeological evidence he existed. The Romans were excellent record keepers too, so it’s really bizarre that there is no record of him being born, which is literally the purpose of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem. I mean those ‘eye witness accounts’ were told by believers themselves, so frankly to me it’s hardly compelling. Many many Christian contemporary apologists debate the crucifixion and resurrection, John Dominic crossan for one.
others have cast doubt on whether it would have even been possible for Jesus to die on the cross in the relatively short amount of time he was up there, the bible referecnes a few hours, where we know that crucifixion was chosen by the Roman Empire for the long protracted death through suffocation it brought about. There are other historical accounts of someone surviving 10 days on the cross (they’d been brought water), the only gospel that references the spear to the side is John which academically as the most poetic and the least historical as it’s the furthest removed from Jesus’s life time chronologically.

im glad you believe in Christianity, i found nice bits in it but it didn’t quite fit for want of a better phrase. We can believe different things you know

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Thiswillpasstoo · 17/09/2022 19:37

I haven't seen the advert but will check it out.

From what your saying there definitely needs to be more support for converts. I understand that the community can only do so much so it's nice that they are there for you at the beginning but essentially it's family and close friends that need to be there for you as a constant.

As you said, your family have been unsupportive of your choices so perhaps that's where the problem lies?

I am pretty sure I know of the Pakistani demographic you speak of. Unfortunately you have had an awful experience but again it's definitely not the case for everyone in that community.

It looks like you have looked at the main religions in an impressive amount of detail.

Maybe now look at what your gut/heart says?

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 20:09

Thiswillpasstoo · 17/09/2022 19:37

I haven't seen the advert but will check it out.

From what your saying there definitely needs to be more support for converts. I understand that the community can only do so much so it's nice that they are there for you at the beginning but essentially it's family and close friends that need to be there for you as a constant.

As you said, your family have been unsupportive of your choices so perhaps that's where the problem lies?

I am pretty sure I know of the Pakistani demographic you speak of. Unfortunately you have had an awful experience but again it's definitely not the case for everyone in that community.

It looks like you have looked at the main religions in an impressive amount of detail.

Maybe now look at what your gut/heart says?

But that’s the point, most converts will convert much to the dismay of their blood family and friends, most will lose them or the relationships become strained (thanks media for that one), if the Muslim community is an ummah then yeah they should do more. I’m obviously jaded but walk down a popular city high street and there are countless Dawah stalls, spreading the word, if you stop, they put pressure on to convert there and then, (obviously a very specific kind of person would them and there probably a vulnerable one) take pictures for the gram,
get a few likes, get their takbeers and heaven points and then that’s it no after care, no follow up . I think if you are ‘helping’ someone to convert to get the reward you owe them a bit more than that. It’s a little silly To suggest that a new convert would be supported by their non Muslim friends and family

Can’t lie and not looking to be confrontational but maybe you know some people who have been welcomed with open arms and that’s amazing but I know scores that haven’t, but perhaps it’s a uk geographic thing whereby a certain community Are more insular/ hostile than others. Reason I’m making this point is because I think it’s so so important to not dismiss my experience as a minority (not saying you personally are but per chance someone reads the thread at some point) because I think if you spoke to most converts they’d have had some nasty dealings too probably, might not talk about it straight out of the gate but chances are it’s happened (at least where I’m from) and I used to attend one of the big salafi social media mosques (if you know, you know ) and at the ‘revert’ days, every single woman had had some story of being shunned, ignored, rejected for marriage or just general hostility, some had been duped by less than decent blokes too, pretend they were married etc then left them high and dry with a secret child (turns out they married someone else). Some may have had the odd one here or there, again mine magnified for the family I married into. I know it’s not all the community because I’ve met plenty of people not like it, but it does happen far too often, truthfully I think it most likely boils down to education

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 20:25

^^ see I’m a bitter Betty and that’s what I mean, I think I need to remind myself that where I live I’d a unique little bubble, bit of a small town mentality and that’s the problem but it’s all those things together and the truth is they have affected me.

i feel conflicted and meh about the whole shebang, dh too tbh having witnessed so much of it too, it’s changed him too

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BloodAndFire · 17/09/2022 20:56

I'm interested in why you didn't consider converting to Judaism, whether you encountered more overt antisemitism within a Christian or Muslim context, and if you challenged it in either environment

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Thiswillpasstoo · 17/09/2022 21:09

Don't worry your not being confrontational at all.

I have to disagree with you on that it's silly to expect the non Muslim families of converts to be more supportive. After all isn't that the whole purpose of being in a family unit? I would understand if you were a fundamental lunatic or something but if you are simply changing your belief system and way of life to what hopefully will be more peaceful and bring you peace then what's not to support?

There's a Muslim family in our community who have accepted their son as being gay. They have made it clear that it's not something they agree with or will celebrate but the love they showed him previously hasn't changed and neither has their behaviour towards him.

My sincere apologies if I made your experience sound like a minority. Only you know how it feels to be in that situation. It saddens and angers me that , like you said, there are so many people going through the same experience as yourself. And maybe I should take a moment to look outside my own little world and reflect on what your saying a bit more.

And that's something I will do. But I really want you to know that there are some loving, caring and helpful communities out there. Obviously they are not perfect and like anywhere in the world you will meet some people who will test your patience, but I want to leave you with the note that there is love out there.

What you choose to do with that information is totally your choice. It sounds like you have some healing to do first and show yourself some compassion

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 21:45

Thiswillpasstoo · 17/09/2022 21:09

Don't worry your not being confrontational at all.

I have to disagree with you on that it's silly to expect the non Muslim families of converts to be more supportive. After all isn't that the whole purpose of being in a family unit? I would understand if you were a fundamental lunatic or something but if you are simply changing your belief system and way of life to what hopefully will be more peaceful and bring you peace then what's not to support?

There's a Muslim family in our community who have accepted their son as being gay. They have made it clear that it's not something they agree with or will celebrate but the love they showed him previously hasn't changed and neither has their behaviour towards him.

My sincere apologies if I made your experience sound like a minority. Only you know how it feels to be in that situation. It saddens and angers me that , like you said, there are so many people going through the same experience as yourself. And maybe I should take a moment to look outside my own little world and reflect on what your saying a bit more.

And that's something I will do. But I really want you to know that there are some loving, caring and helpful communities out there. Obviously they are not perfect and like anywhere in the world you will meet some people who will test your patience, but I want to leave you with the note that there is love out there.

What you choose to do with that information is totally your choice. It sounds like you have some healing to do first and show yourself some compassion

I mean sure in an ideal world of course all families and friends would unequivocally support their loved ones and I think say if it was another branch of Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism over Islam, I think most would but given the media hysteria over Islam, and candidly I think a lot of people have some pretty strong prejudices against Muslims (they might not come out and say it but it’s there, look at the ridiculous debates there have been on ‘banning the burqa’ and the amount of life style changes involved in becoming a practicing Muslim for most Brits (no drinking and modes dressing) given that clubs/ pub and drinking are pretty much the backbone of British youth culture, most friends would distance themselves. I certainly found that. I was even nearly put on a disciplinary at this awful shit sales company I worked at for not drinking.., (I mean for real?). I think many actually see Islam as the antithesis of ‘British values’ So yes, families should support each other, of course, but unfortunately most when it comes to their child (daughter seems to be worse) converting to Islam ive not seen or heard or any family being ok straight out the gate. Some have come around, mine never did, it always is this elephant in the room, this great ball of tension

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NanaNelly · 17/09/2022 21:49

Tiddlywinx · 16/09/2022 22:11

marry into Islam? That’s not a thing

do you mean convert because I met a Muslim man? If so, no.

did I marry a Muslim man after becoming Muslim? Yes. 5 years after.

muslim men can marry Jewish and Christian women so even if I’d met a Muslim man as a Christian there’d have been no impetus on my to convert

That maybe so. But in reality many countries have laws preventing the non Muslim husband or wife of a Muslim inheriting from them when they die.

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 22:07

BloodAndFire · 17/09/2022 20:56

I'm interested in why you didn't consider converting to Judaism, whether you encountered more overt antisemitism within a Christian or Muslim context, and if you challenged it in either environment

I think because of the continuity you know how Christianity is presented as the continuation of Judaism so to me Islam felt like the continuation of Christianity so moving forward whereas I still did believe in Jesus (just not as the son of god)

so As an adult, I went to church once (aside from a funeral and a Christening) and I’ve never heard any anti Jewish sentiment there. Unfortunately I have heard it in the Muslim community, it usually
stems from israel/ Palestine, but I do wonder if that is just used by some to legitimise anti Jewish sentiment.

(I don’t consider criticism of Israel and their treatment of Muslims or Palestinians to be anti semitic)

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 22:17

NanaNelly · 17/09/2022 21:49

That maybe so. But in reality many countries have laws preventing the non Muslim husband or wife of a Muslim inheriting from them when they die.

i take it you’re talking about Muslim countries? Well firstly just to say there would never be a ‘non Muslim’ husband because Muslim women can only marry Muslim men. Shariah inheritance laws work differently than UK inheritance but yeah a Muslim can’t leave money to non Muslim relatives in a will. It’s similar with adopted children but there are of course ways around this, money can be given away or put in trusts in someone else’s name when that person is alive

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TheBeesKnee · 17/09/2022 22:20

Why do you think we still need religion in 2022?

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BloodAndFire · 17/09/2022 22:32

Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 22:07

I think because of the continuity you know how Christianity is presented as the continuation of Judaism so to me Islam felt like the continuation of Christianity so moving forward whereas I still did believe in Jesus (just not as the son of god)

so As an adult, I went to church once (aside from a funeral and a Christening) and I’ve never heard any anti Jewish sentiment there. Unfortunately I have heard it in the Muslim community, it usually
stems from israel/ Palestine, but I do wonder if that is just used by some to legitimise anti Jewish sentiment.

(I don’t consider criticism of Israel and their treatment of Muslims or Palestinians to be anti semitic)

Thanks for replying. I'm Jewish, married to a Christian man, with many Muslim friends. I agree that criticism of Israel is not necessarily antisemitic. I have many Muslim friends (from Turkey, Iran, Yemen, etc.) who are not personally antisemitic. I also think there is a massive problem with antisemitism within both Christian and Islamic communities, and that criticism of Israel is the currently acceptable form of Jew-hatred in Europe.

I think it's probably more disguised within Christian contexts

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 22:33

TheBeesKnee · 17/09/2022 22:20

Why do you think we still need religion in 2022?

As a collective? Define need haha.

i don’t think we need theocracies that’s for sure,

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 22:49

BloodAndFire · 17/09/2022 22:32

Thanks for replying. I'm Jewish, married to a Christian man, with many Muslim friends. I agree that criticism of Israel is not necessarily antisemitic. I have many Muslim friends (from Turkey, Iran, Yemen, etc.) who are not personally antisemitic. I also think there is a massive problem with antisemitism within both Christian and Islamic communities, and that criticism of Israel is the currently acceptable form of Jew-hatred in Europe.

I think it's probably more disguised within Christian contexts

I think in the white British population out right anti semitism isn’t socially acceptable, so you’d be hard pressed to find someone come out and say something like the Jewish conspiracy or I hate Jews. I think because I’ve attended ‘mainstream’ establishments and of probably quite middle class people, anti Jewish sentiment isn’t something I’ve come across. But saying that, I’ve not heard an iman spout anti Jewish hatred either, it’s come from ‘normal’ people but not very educated ones. I also think that post supersessionsim and this newly forged judeo Christian alliance post holocaust has done a great job in the public mind creating the perception that Jews and Christians have always been besties to erase the centuries of anti Jewish hatred that culminated in the holocaust. I feel like that is very much left out of schools when teaching ww2, I feel as if it’s presented as if hitler was a baddie and invented anti semitism and we were the goodies that fought against it..: which is so far from the truth. Whereas Christians were some of the biggest persecutors of Jews as the theology went that they had committed the greatest crime of all ‘divinicide’ when ‘they killed Jesus’. Historically, even though there are some problematic hadith about Muslims and Jews, Muslims and Jews were much closer allied than Christians and Jews. I believe Jews of the time used to refer to umar as they’re saviour for overturning the Christian imposed Jewish ban in Jerusalem.

im pretty much against illegal landgrabs, forever evictions second class citizens and deprivation of resources to a specific area to target a specific people.

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 22:51

*imam not iman.

i feel like where the far left and the far right meet and merge is on Anti semitism

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NanaNelly · 18/09/2022 03:58

Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 22:17

i take it you’re talking about Muslim countries? Well firstly just to say there would never be a ‘non Muslim’ husband because Muslim women can only marry Muslim men. Shariah inheritance laws work differently than UK inheritance but yeah a Muslim can’t leave money to non Muslim relatives in a will. It’s similar with adopted children but there are of course ways around this, money can be given away or put in trusts in someone else’s name when that person is alive

I knew there was something wrong with my reply but couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I can’t actually believe I made that silly mistake. Even when I re-read what I had written I still couldn’t see what it was. What an embarrassment. 😊

Im well versed in Shariah and yes it’s Muslim countries who do it. It flies completely in the face of a Muslim male being able to marry a non Muslim woman of the book and it’s something I find very difficult to condone.

Its completely different from leaving inheritance to someone in a will and I know of very few Muslim countries that encourage people to make a will and even if a person does still want to go ahead with it it’s controlled by the state as to what they can actually do.

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sashh · 18/09/2022 06:29

Islamically Jesus wasn’t fully human and fully divine, Jesus was a man, a good man and a prophet but just a man, he wasn’t the son of god and he didn’t die and get resurrected.

I think my logical brain is doing this but surely if he existed at all then he was a man and would die, otherwise he would still be around.

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BerriesOnTop · 18/09/2022 06:42

now I’m wondering if that’s actually me who’s wrong and misinterpreted the religion to make it suit my beliefs, you know?

Many such cases.

This is why I don’t trust anyone trying to bring religious traditions into the ‘modern age’. I just don’t believe they are meant for the modern age …

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youlooklikeapenis · 18/09/2022 07:39

Did you ever consider becoming an Ismaili Muslim?

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