It’s been nearly 3 years to the week since I committed irtidād (apostasy from Islam). This year has been highly introspective, even more than usual.
One of the most important things I’ve realised is just how deeply Islam screwed up my life and my opinion of myself, in so many little ways it’s mind-boggling and a bit annoying. These are some ideas I’m still getting used to:
- It’s good to let people compliment me on my talent/ achievements/ looks,
- I am worth being loved,
- It’s ok to look at and talk to people I don’t know yet – even good-looking women,
- It’s ok to eat my fill of food*.
* Looking back properly, this issue started in Ramaḍān 2005. The lack of food was exhilarating and liberating! It was so new I categorised my whole life into pre- & post-Ramaḍān 2005. I’d never been consistently happy before then, and I always subconsciously sought to replicate it through eating less. This became inadvertently more pronounced after informing mum of my irtidād.
Also, I’ve finally worked out another major reason I’m prone to pessimism and even where my suicidal tendencies came from. Not just because of living in England and being estranged from my Caribbean cultural heritage (I didn’t start learning Patois ’til I was 16 or 17!), I’m chronically sleep deprived! Have been most of my life! That is undoubtedly Islam’s fault: waking up for fajr (the pre-sunrise prayer). This was every day, apart from the very rare times me & family were all too tired to wake up.
Update: after reading Ronald Wright’s A Short History of Progress and Positive News, I’m now certain that civilisation itself was a major part of it too!
This is what I’m meant to be doing!
Other Islamically-induced beliefs/ behaviours I picked up include:
- People who take drugs (especially alcohol) are inferior, and it’s especially annoying when they try to make me take them. This has happened to me at least thrice in my youth,
- Music is totally useless. Not just because of the religion, I also felt (feel) this because I’ve always hated other people deciding what I should and shouldn’t be good at as a ‘black’ person. I gave up hating music wholesale when I was 16 (sitll a Muslim at the time, just trying to be less hardline) but still take very little interest in it. To this day I can’t name even a single Prince song!
- Men are inherently rapists. The belief in the different kinds of fornication – eyes, hands, feet, heart and sexual organs – and the reasoning behind hijab of both men & women stopped me from even wanting to date ’til I was 22. Now I’m single again I feel uncomfortable at approaching women,
- The shariy’ah is the way forward for muslimiyn everywhere, and by proxy the whole world. Obviously I don’t believe this anymore, but surprisingly many/most muslimiyn don’t either! According to Sadakat Kadri’s Heaven on Earth, muslimiyn don’t even agree on what shariy’ah is!
I’m now convinced more than ever that I shouldn’t be a father. Though I like children, I wouldn’t be up to the task of raising them. I’m still not totally fulfilled spiritually or materially, and I mentioned before my opinion that raising ‘black’ children in ‘white’-majority countries is at best risky and at worst actively abusive. If I’m going to be a father – even a step/foster one – it’d have to be when I’m 100% happy in myself, 100% happy with the mother, rich enough to afford it, and living in a ‘black’-majority country that values children’s freedom.
(So to those guys who advised me to just “breed up” any woman, what good has it done you?)
No offence baby.
Other than all that, I’m good. Irtidād is still the best thing I’ve ever done.
On top of that, I’ve updated my understanding of spiritual topics again:
- Since gods and goddesses are so similar to humans, it’s obvious that they were either real humans in the past (with exaggerated powers) or anthropomorphised ideals of people’s cultural values. Basically we are gods and goddesses, at least potentially. We have the power to decide and realise our own destinies every single second,
- However, what I call the divinity or the meta-force is the collective of unseen forces, physical laws and the rest that created and maintains the universe. I believe it’s intelligent, or at least responsive, otherwise even the law of attraction wouldn’t hold. But it’s not subject to our laws, desires or beliefs; it works and exists independently of us. Nobody has ever or will ever communicate directly with it; people who claim to speak to God/angels/spirits/demons are just talking to themselves. More specifically, parts of their own minds they usually don’t acknowledge,
- Physical activity, regular and intense, is vital to mental health. Exercise tells us where our limits are and forces us to surpass them, thus giving us an example of self-expansion in our lives.
Kathryn Gines and Joyce Mitchell Cook Source: Feminist Philosophies
Online PhD sent me a link to this list about female philosophers and the post generated some thoughts about the lack of attention around women in philosophy, particularly black women, leading me to a few interesting finds. Philosophy, which means “love of knowledge or wisdom,” is one of the oldest studies in human history. Afrofuturism itself can be considered a philosophy or a philosophical field, since it is a way of thinking about, feeling and engaging with the world. But often philosophy is attributed to men, especially white European men. Philosophers like Aristotle, Sophocles, Kant, and Nietzsche are constantly mentioned and praised with little criticism outside of the usual boundaries. Sometimes other cultures are mentioned in philosophy, like Chinese philosophers, Indian philosophers or a brief mention of the Egyptian Ptahotep, but other than that not much else. So, what space…
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This Sunday gone (21/08/2016) I went to Aunt Jean’s Afrikan Culture Market. Most of it consisted of speakers raising issues about building up the ‘black’ community*. Two of the speakers brought up something they personally witnessed: an interracial couple (‘black’ man-‘white’ woman) walking down the street, holding hands, kissing, smiling, and just unable to get enough of each other. A few seconds later came a ‘black’ couple, but according to one speaker you wouldn’t have known they were a couple. She was making sure to walk ahead of him, they weren’t holding hands, kissing, not even smiling at each other. Nothing!
* On a side note, everyone seemed to agree there was a general lack of “manly identity” among us. I’ll go into that in another post.
According to them there’s a palpable lack of affection between ‘black’ men and women – and pride! We’re proud of not being lovey-dovey toward each other! My now ex-girlfriend confirmed exactly the same thing back in her country. It’s like Africans, men & women alike, are too tough (read: cowardly) to express genuine emotion.
This begged the question in my mind: WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Some answers came to mind.
Number 1 – Christianity. Not exactly the most affection-friendly religion out there, what with all the “original sin” and even “marital sex is a necessary evil” doctrines.
Number 2 – It doesn’t match our image of being strong. We’ve bought into the typical dichotomy of strong vs. loving, when it may be more helpful to think of loving as another expression of strength.
Number 3 – Internalisation of the stereotype of lacking emotion, especially men. Because we see it in films, TV shows, music videos (especially modern rap), Youtube vids and like so often we identify with it.
Number 4 – A lot of Africans (pre-colonial that is) come from cultures where intimacy and affection aren’t celebrated. Men and women are expected to just carry on with life as normal, perform their gender roles and done.
Number 5 – Most of us, especially the younger generations at present, don’t trust each other. Women think men are out to bang everything that moves, and men think women are constantly trying to rob the blood from their veins!
Number 6 – ‘White’ people don’t like ‘black’ affection. Deep down ‘whites’ are genuinely disgusted at the prospect of us loving each other, because it implies solidarity and any public solidarity is taken as an act of aggression. Not to mention the current media focus on interracial relationships, implying love can’t exist among our own. Many of us, again especially men, believe it.
This is why ‘black’ love really is a revolutionary act.
Number 7 – We’re English.
But all this moaning gives me a good excuse to lay on more beautiful pics!