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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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Tiddlywinx · 18/09/2022 07:41

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.

pretty Much, my didn’t die and get resurrected meant islamically Jesus isn’t thought to have died on the cross and been resurrected, they do believe he ascended to heaven though

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Tiddlywinx · 18/09/2022 07:43

youlooklikeapenis · 18/09/2022 07:39

Did you ever consider becoming an Ismaili Muslim?

Not really, I never felt too much of a pull towards shia

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Thiswillpasstoo · 18/09/2022 12:43

@magma32 sorry I just saw your post referenced to me.

I totally get what you mean and why you have had such a reaction to religion and the community.

It's only natural to avoid/shun a group of people who have broken your trust

You know what? I have noticed that people who are genuine in their hearts and want to do the right thing and ask all the right questions, are often the ones who become so disillusioned and feel so betrayed that they give up quickly if that makes sense?

I'm not sure why that is, maybe it's because we just want everyone to feel the inner sense of justice that we have, to be felt by everyone around us, I'm just not sure. I'm not sure if I'm even articulating this properly but hey ho.

What I would say though is that despite your experience of these people (and I still encounter these often myself) it's definitely not universal. Otherwise there wouldn't be people entering the faith in droves.

It's a bit like a documentary I watched years ago. The wife of a BNP member said she hated all African people because she was mugged violently by a group of men of that ethnicity. She said she believed they all had similar traits.

That's an extreme example but do you kind of know what I mean?

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magma32 · 18/09/2022 13:37

@Thiswillpasstoo

not sure which post you’re referring to.

my feelings are much more complex than simply based on my experiences with pockets of people in the small community, although of course if everything was hunky dory i wouldn’t have gone down the rabbit hole to the extent that I have. But it’s my experiences whilst in the rabbit hole that have put me off rather the people themselves because I know there are a lot of good people, muslim or not. Really isn’t as simple as that.

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Thiswillpasstoo · 18/09/2022 13:57

magma32 · 17/09/2022 01:12

@Thiswillpasstoo

in my experience the born Muslims or converts that tend to leave the faith or become disillusioned are the ones who have been traumatised in some way in the name of religion. Those that are welcomed and are generally treated well and experience the good side tend to be more faithful. Certainly from myself and other women I know, it’s usually due to double standards, misogyny negatively impacting us that puts us off. When I was 12 I just felt there was nothing after death, there were no negative faith experiences just a natural feel and kept the ‘morals’ I was brought up with just because i was never tempted to do otherwise, but in adulthood I have had many negative experiences amongst the ‘community’ which as much as I tried to defend wasn’t the faith, like op I became ‘meh’ about it as you become so tired. Not sure how to get back from that or even if I want to anymore 🙁

This is the reference I am talking about

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Tiddlywinx · 18/09/2022 16:19

I’m glad you commented on the thread @magma32, we have a lot in common and it’s hard pressed to find people like us ‘In the wild’ as it were.

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mathanxiety · 18/09/2022 16:35

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.

How about the NT though?
Do you see the OT and NT as a continuum or two totally separate philosophical strands? No linkage?

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Tiddlywinx · 18/09/2022 17:57

mathanxiety · 18/09/2022 16:35

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.

How about the NT though?
Do you see the OT and NT as a continuum or two totally separate philosophical strands? No linkage?

its an interesting question as to whether Jesus actually preached the trinity according to the gospels, Muslims and Unitarian’s would say no he didn’t, but Christian doctrine is the trinity.

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mathanxiety · 18/09/2022 18:49

The whole point of the NT, not necessarily just the preaching of Jesus, is that there is one God in three persons. Who is Jesus if not God, in other words, and what is the Holy Spirit. It is the point where Judaism and Islam diverge from Christianity. Either you believe the NT is the Word or you don't, I suppose.

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Tiddlywinx · 18/09/2022 19:02

mathanxiety · 18/09/2022 18:49

The whole point of the NT, not necessarily just the preaching of Jesus, is that there is one God in three persons. Who is Jesus if not God, in other words, and what is the Holy Spirit. It is the point where Judaism and Islam diverge from Christianity. Either you believe the NT is the Word or you don't, I suppose.

yeah so do I believe that ‘god in 3 persons’ is a continuation from the OT, no I don’t nor do I believe it correlates to what Jesus is quoted in saying. The official Muslim position is that Jesus was given the gospel or injeel and over time their meaning was changed, Muslim thought is that is been changed to be more trinitarian

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red4321 · 18/09/2022 19:17

My brother converted to Islam a few years ago. He's pretty conservative in his lifestyle, perhaps because he feels the need to be stricter as a convert. My parents are religious so that's normal in our family but some of his requirements (for example, not drinking out of any glasses that may have ever contained alcohol, including water tumblers, no birthday cards, no photos, no silk ties etc.) can cause a few issues at family gatherings.

I'm respectful of his choice to be a Muslim but I find it quite surprising that he doesn't ever socialise with non-Muslims and pretty much only people from his mosque. We have friends of various religions in our social circle and everyone is happy to socialise together, irrespective of their religion.

My question is whether his social life is typical and whether non-Muslims are perhaps seen as undesirable to have and friends?

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mathanxiety · 18/09/2022 19:19

There is much more in the New Testament then the words of Jesus though, just as there is much more in the OT than God speaking. Christianity emphasises the NT as the fulfillment of the OT, the revelation of a new law based on divine love rather than details of observance found in the OT and the sects of the time of Jesus. The Word is considered to consist of both OT and NT, which can't be seen separately.

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Tiddlywinx · 18/09/2022 20:11

red4321 · 18/09/2022 19:17

My brother converted to Islam a few years ago. He's pretty conservative in his lifestyle, perhaps because he feels the need to be stricter as a convert. My parents are religious so that's normal in our family but some of his requirements (for example, not drinking out of any glasses that may have ever contained alcohol, including water tumblers, no birthday cards, no photos, no silk ties etc.) can cause a few issues at family gatherings.

I'm respectful of his choice to be a Muslim but I find it quite surprising that he doesn't ever socialise with non-Muslims and pretty much only people from his mosque. We have friends of various religions in our social circle and everyone is happy to socialise together, irrespective of their religion.

My question is whether his social life is typical and whether non-Muslims are perhaps seen as undesirable to have and friends?

I think not drinking from a glass that has ever contained alcohol is over kill in for the most conservative Muslims, and sounds like being difficult for the sake of it. I hope your brother softens on that sort of thing as it’s unsustainable. The photos and birthdays are more common conservative Islamic beliefs ans the silk is a ruling on what men can wear, no silk and no gold- they are for women only. I think yes converts always have something to prove, prove that they are Muslim enough but also it’s the most conservative mosques that are the ones that are most open to converts because they don’t tend to be ‘ethnic community’ mosques ie Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Bosnian etc.

so I think there are layers to your question, your brother is clearly incredibly conservative and tbh you and your family sound wonderful, but most non Muslims would, I think it’s fair to say, find his beliefs difficult to accommodate at best and alienating and rigid at worst so I can’t imagine many tolerating or being understanding of his beliefs. I can’t imagine he has female friends either, and most social groups do tend to have some sort of mix. Tbh I think people like that tend to gravitate towards their own, as even quite a lot of other Muslims would find this extreme.
so you can absolutely have non Muslim friends, but it’s ‘better’ to be friends with people who remind you of Allah, and I suspect your brother probably pays close attention to that.

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Tiddlywinx · 18/09/2022 20:13

mathanxiety · 18/09/2022 19:19

There is much more in the New Testament then the words of Jesus though, just as there is much more in the OT than God speaking. Christianity emphasises the NT as the fulfillment of the OT, the revelation of a new law based on divine love rather than details of observance found in the OT and the sects of the time of Jesus. The Word is considered to consist of both OT and NT, which can't be seen separately.

Ok my point is to be Christian is to believe in the trinity, i don’t.

and yes that’s pretty much the Islamic point, that there’s more to the bible and the NT than what Jesus said or revelation ergo it’s innovation and the Quran came to correct it.

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Neverendingdust · 18/09/2022 20:20

Honestly OP, save yourself the mental gymnastics and don’t have any religion. Life is far more simple when you answer to yourself. My belief is ‘God’ could exist, but I don’t think our idealistic notions are anything close to what the truth is.

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red4321 · 18/09/2022 20:24

  • I can’t imagine he has female friends either, and most social groups do tend to have some sort of mix. Tbh I think people like that tend to gravitate towards their own, as even quite a lot of other Muslims would find this extreme.
    so you can absolutely have non Muslim friends, but it’s ‘better’ to be friends with people who remind you of Allah, and I suspect your brother probably pays close attention to that.*

    Thank you, I found your reply very interesting. Yes, it can be pretty hard pleasing everyone at family gatherings! It also means my SIL won't eat any food cooked by my parents.

    I'm very respectful of religion and I love my brother but I find some of the rules he has accepted for women really hard to empathise with. I also can't imagine wanting to accept some of the restrictions my SIL has lived with. Although I have lots of female Muslim friends who don't live the same type of lifestyle so I'm sure it varies hugely.
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Tiddlywinx · 18/09/2022 20:50

red4321 · 18/09/2022 20:24

  • I can’t imagine he has female friends either, and most social groups do tend to have some sort of mix. Tbh I think people like that tend to gravitate towards their own, as even quite a lot of other Muslims would find this extreme.
    so you can absolutely have non Muslim friends, but it’s ‘better’ to be friends with people who remind you of Allah, and I suspect your brother probably pays close attention to that.*

    Thank you, I found your reply very interesting. Yes, it can be pretty hard pleasing everyone at family gatherings! It also means my SIL won't eat any food cooked by my parents.

    I'm very respectful of religion and I love my brother but I find some of the rules he has accepted for women really hard to empathise with. I also can't imagine wanting to accept some of the restrictions my SIL has lived with. Although I have lots of female Muslim friends who don't live the same type of lifestyle so I'm sure it varies hugely.

She won’t eat food made by your parents? That’s outrageous! Even vegetarian or halal meat? Even the Most conservative Muslim scholars think that’s ok!

what a slap In the face to your parents

is she a convert too?

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red4321 · 18/09/2022 21:12

She won’t eat food made by your parents? That’s outrageous! Even vegetarian or halal meat? Even the Most conservative Muslim scholars think that’s ok!

what a slap In the face to your parents

is she a convert too?


No, not even halal meat, fish or vegetables. I think she feels uncomfortable that non-halal meat has previously been cooked in my parents' pans. She does bring her own food but it makes hosting a bit tricky at times.

I should add that my SIL is lovely. She's had a tough life, came to the U.K. from Pakistan at 13 (but on a passport showing her age as 18), had three children by the age of 16 (not via my brother) and has lived here for 40 years. She can't read or write and is one of the hardest-working people I know, although it's tough earning a decent wage in her circumstances.

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Tiddlywinx · 18/09/2022 21:33

red4321 · 18/09/2022 21:12

She won’t eat food made by your parents? That’s outrageous! Even vegetarian or halal meat? Even the Most conservative Muslim scholars think that’s ok!

what a slap In the face to your parents

is she a convert too?


No, not even halal meat, fish or vegetables. I think she feels uncomfortable that non-halal meat has previously been cooked in my parents' pans. She does bring her own food but it makes hosting a bit tricky at times.

I should add that my SIL is lovely. She's had a tough life, came to the U.K. from Pakistan at 13 (but on a passport showing her age as 18), had three children by the age of 16 (not via my brother) and has lived here for 40 years. She can't read or write and is one of the hardest-working people I know, although it's tough earning a decent wage in her circumstances.

well She definitely sounds like she’s had a tough life, is she from close to the Afghan border? But the food thing is ridiculous and it’s not even Islamic. Your parents are lovely for continuing to entertain them, many would have been very offended and stopped. Your brother probably has explained to her it’s ok but must be something she was brought up to think

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red4321 · 18/09/2022 21:46

Actually I'm not sure what area of Pakistan she lived in. My brother tries to follow his religious beliefs to the letter so he's happy to support her choice. As are my parents to a point although it does mean my SIL doesn't really stay much as it's a bit difficult food-wise.

But I think you have to see the funny side. Boxing Day lunch was coronation chicken, salmon, quiche (my mother loves a 70s menu) and a surprise addition of (an extremely spicy) chicken biryani. There was a lot of cold water consumed to quell the hot mouth situation...

Thank you for the AMA, I've found it very interesting.

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Goldenbrowndixi · 18/09/2022 21:53

I could have written this post myself lol, although I never actually ‘came out’ to my family about being a Muslim which I suppose has made it easier to leave, although still I struggle with it. I reverted quite young around 16 and tbh fell quite heavily into the salafi ideology. Although due to my age I couldn’t openly share my belief with family I would wear niqab at the masjid, nasheeds only, and became honestly quite argumentative (online) to ‘deviator’ sects like Ahmadi Ismaili etc. I began to fall out of love with it when the more Hadith I would read honestly I just saw things that went against the way I was raised, blatant homophobia, (relative) sexism and the teachings of the salaf on the punishment for homosexuality. Now I’m only 19 so not really long out of practicing but I get really anxious that I will either return to my religious life and regret it after something like marriage etc or go to hell. I suppose my question is how did you get to this point where you are quite calm about the whole religion, believing or not

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magma32 · 18/09/2022 21:59

@red4321
i agree with OP it could be that once people are newly converted or practising they seem to be attracted to the stricter versions possibly as they like the discipline that comes with it and/or feel like they have to prove themselves to the more established Muslims but don’t realise how much they’re isolating those around them, especially if you’re not muslim.

I’m born muslim and when my brother met his wife (both born muslim) she was practising one these strict versions due to her brothers and my brother was obviously on board with it as he was hanging around with these types, he was almost smug that he was a ‘better’ muslim than the rest of us and we just found him difficult to be around, especially as he’d pick out what we were doing wrong according to him, he told me I dressed like a sl**, shouldn’t be friends with non Muslims etc even though my parents never had a problem mixing with non Muslims people (they were 1st generation Pakistani immigrants Very conservative but were all for mixing as long as you didn’t compromise your own beliefs) he was sick a kill joy but over the years he mellowed out probably because he had kids and realised it wasn’t sustainable, maybe that will happen for your brother. Also some Pakistanis have some ideas that we can only mix it with ‘people of the book’ ie Christians and Jews but not Hindus etc as they are polytheists, or eat from their homes I swear they make it up to suit their own politics.

i have to say you are very patient, I guess he hasn’t yet told you you’re going to hell because you don’t do x y or z as I had to deal with that and I really thought wtf. It just seemed really juvenile. It really strained our relationship and even though he’s quite a mainstream Muslim now I still have a lot of resentment for the way he behaved towards us. I still don’t think he’s gained my respect back and I found those years really damaging for me as a young Muslim woman but because dynamic is different with your brother it shouldn’t really come to that. Hopefully he will chill out soon.

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Tiddlywinx · 18/09/2022 23:58

Goldenbrowndixi · 18/09/2022 21:53

I could have written this post myself lol, although I never actually ‘came out’ to my family about being a Muslim which I suppose has made it easier to leave, although still I struggle with it. I reverted quite young around 16 and tbh fell quite heavily into the salafi ideology. Although due to my age I couldn’t openly share my belief with family I would wear niqab at the masjid, nasheeds only, and became honestly quite argumentative (online) to ‘deviator’ sects like Ahmadi Ismaili etc. I began to fall out of love with it when the more Hadith I would read honestly I just saw things that went against the way I was raised, blatant homophobia, (relative) sexism and the teachings of the salaf on the punishment for homosexuality. Now I’m only 19 so not really long out of practicing but I get really anxious that I will either return to my religious life and regret it after something like marriage etc or go to hell. I suppose my question is how did you get to this point where you are quite calm about the whole religion, believing or not

might you have attended a mosque that has a colour in its name?

it sounds as if you went from 0-60 quite quickly, you were also quite a bit younger than me when I converted. I always disliked sectarianism and this whole proving other sects are deviant or misguided because of xyz so I always gave that a wide berth and avoided those conversations. Because they didn’t sit right me me internally, likewise the homophobia and the sexism. So I’d attend those mosques and basically cherry pick, or as I saw it take the good and leave the bad. I just couldn’t and can’t get behind those types of othering

im a bit confused about your question? You worry you’ll get more religious again and then get married? Do you mean end up married to a ‘religious’ man but the type that uses religion to basically subjugate his wife? Well I don’t worry about that because my husband isn’t like that.

with my first child I had that thinking, that I was being punished with pregnancy complications that would impact my child (potentially leading to still birth) because I wasn’t a good enough Muslim and I’d been hit and miss with prayers etc. Now I think bad things happen to good people and it’s not because you or I deserve it, unfortunately it’s just life. Do I worry about going to hell? Yes! I worry about it in terms of not being a good enough mum and getting cross with my kids, for maybe failing this test of people as now I’m doubting my faith. But then I do try and remember something a Catholic priest once told me actually when I asked him about having doubts, and he said he was once chastised as a trainee (sure there’s a proper word for it) by an old very wealthy very privileged woman for having doubts during a tough period of time. He said that it’s very easy for someone who’s gone through life with relative ease to, scold and say you shouldn’t have doubts, but when you’re struggling to get through each day, it’s natural to have some doubts and you can expect highs and lows over the course of your life. Couldn’t get behind some of the other doctrinal things he said but this one stuck.

maybe there is a mid ground for you? Not extreme conservativism or completely disbelief, maybe you’ll come to find a middle ground you feel comfortable with.

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Fieldfly · 19/09/2022 08:37

It all sounds very sad and lonely to me, with horrible ignorance and bullying in the name of religion. Why are you not able to return to your family and cultural roots and just be a person who doesn’t have much to do with organised religion? You say you can’t tell your family because they would be happy and you don’t want that - why? I would definitely be happy if you were my daughter and were finally free from the sad life you describe.

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Fieldfly · 19/09/2022 08:38

Do you believe that the Christian god and Islamic god are the same thing - just worshipped in different ways?

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