Being a woman of faith

April 11, 2015

Image: I think alone by Gordorca

Image Credit: I think alone by Gordorca

If you watch TV, use the Internet, or go to school, you might get the impression that the world is a largely atheistic place. But since we do much more then this and have intimate relationships with our fellow human beings we know most people believe in God in one form or another and most people hold on to some kind of religious ideology. So why is the world so secular? Well there is of course a lot of history behind that, mostly having to do with Christian leadership alliance with royalty, abuse of power and loads of deceit. So Europe, for one, largely threw out the baby (religion) with the bath water (religious leaders and corruption). Though America is different because we were actually founded on religious freedom we also made it clear from the beginning that there was a separation between church and state, which somehow also extended to school, work and any other public place. If you went through the American school system like myself you know very well how little people want to hear about your beliefs but it isn’t until college -and even more so grad school, that an anti- religion/ pro-atheism sentiment is clearly the dominant acceptable public opinion.

There was one class in grad school where my professor brought up spirituality and her belief in God but she was one of those really old professors who  could get away with saying anything without fear of being ostracized. As a Muslim, though I appreciated the sentiment, I didn’t like the class. Being Muslim I can appreciate religion being kept out of the conversation because I know that what I believe is not the majority of what my peers or teachers believe in the West. Avoiding this topic allows everything else on the table to be picked apart based on logic and not a difference in belief system.

But this is not always a fool proof method. Being a woman of faith I will always disagree with adultery, pre-marital sex, gay marriage, alcohol consumption, etc. And even when I give the reason based on logic, psychological evidence, social justice, etc., I can feel their stares at my head scarf saying all at once, “You’re only say that because you’re Muslim”. In a sense they’re right. What I believe is because of my faith, would a person identical to me without faith still fight for the same arguments I do even with evidence to back their opinions? I don’t know.

For me there are two things with religious rulings: Accept and understand or Accept and don’t understand. Pre- martial sex probably didn’t seem like a big deal for sexual revolutionaries but I think in our times, with STDS, unwanted pregnancy, massive abortions and the mere heartbreak of sex without commitment, we can understand that pre-marital sex has many unfortunate consequences. That doesn’t mean that people will now come to the verdict of God’s law but at the very least they can see the benefit. And that is the case for all of the laws of God, you’ll see the benefit now or later.

When I approach God’s law I have only one question: Is it true? I know it’s true (or not) based on the people who convey it, their trustworthiness, their background in religious knowledge and their chain back to the prophet, peace to him. If it’s true my next step is to accept it and then to strive, often poorly, to achieve it. God created human beings and all creation so His law is only a manifestation of His knowledge. It doesn’t have to make sense to me. Imagine reading the instruction on a (insert product) manual and instead of following it, saying “That doesn’t make any sense! Who are they to tell me what to do?” That would be illogical because the manufacturer made the product and knows best how it works. The grave difference is that God is not only the creator but all knowing, the manufacturer could make a human mistake and the user can guess or learn a way to improve the use of the product, but God doesn’t make mistakes. Once you believe in God you can’t simply imagine Him as a floating heavenly body disconnected from human reality, you have to then ask -what does God want (and deserve) from me? You have to explore the people calling you to God, see what they’re about, if any truth is in them, measure their words against others calling to God and most importantly seek God’s guidance, then make the intention to follow. Find the human logic behind God’s law if possible but realize it’s your duty to follow whether you find it or not. And when we meet God we’ll be happy to say, “We believed, we listened and we obeyed”.

If you find any mistakes in this essay, are confused or want to talk further don’t hesitate to comment below or email me,


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