The Problem of Muslims …or Islam

When the Egyptian physician and writer Nawal Sa’dawi wrote about women issues in relation with Islamic patriarchal controlled societies in the last 40 years, she was accused of blasphemy, craziness, and infidelity that led to physical threats for killing and expulsion. Until this day, Nawal Sa’dawi name is treated among Muslims as Salman Rushdie’s with his Satanic Verses.
For years, Nawal was a forbidden name and still is. As with many issues related to “sharia” and what is supposedly written and scripted in the Quran and the Hadith, the mere mentioning of Nawal’s facts of what is mentioned or not referred to in the Quran still arouses ignorant debates among Muslims.
I always admired Nawal Sa’dawi for being a woman who decided to fight her battle from within. She remains to be a phenomenal freedom fighter for females, who insisted on her beliefs within the strictest environments ever.
For instance, when Nawal said that a written contract didn’t inaugurate marriage in Islam, and so is her marriage, the world turned upside down against her. When she discussed issues of sex, she was scandalized in the worse attacks ever. When she fought female circumcision saying it has nothing to do with Islam she was accused of blasphemy.
The woman insisted on fighting for her thought and beliefs in Islam through her readings of the Quran, which she insisted that she didn’t need a second or third party to interpret for her.
She remained steadfast in her beliefs, despite all what it cost her from attacks that continue to this day.
The problem of Muslims, apparently since a thousand years, not just today, is that they have been raised in choosing one of the extremes of anything. As if a Muslim cannot function except under strict norms of threatening ideas that will only lead him to heaven or hell.
A discussion among my daughter arose yesterday when the eldest was asking about the possibilities on where to put a tattoo she wants to draw on her body when the youngest quickly said: you are not afraid of going to hell for doing that? “. It took us some lengthy discussion to rationalize the situation. To convince my youngest that, it shouldn’t be an issue of what is allowed or what is not allowed, what will take you to heaven or hell. It should be about what are the odds and cons in having a tattoo. The whole discussion of why we follow those restricted ideals.
Luckily, my daughters are after all my girls. They live in my “ brainwashing “ atmosphere of their minds in many ways. It wasn’t impossible to convince her that our discussion shouldn’t be about what pleases God and what angers him, and God has nothing to do with such a decision or another. This wasn’t easy, however. Mentioning the phrase” God has nothing to do with this “ is by itself a taboo.
This morning, some “silly” news headline, somewhere stopped me. It said: “ Kuwaitis say that they are a nation that is used to alcohol since ages, and the prohibition of alcohol is resulting in the current rise in drug addiction.”
I thought finally we would start hearing Fatwa’s that will play around the different legalizing of alcohol drinking. Finally, Muslims will be faced with an actual reality about the non-prohibition of the prohibited alcohol drinking.
Like in other things such as marriage, Muslims continue to be surprised at what the real Islamic law, if it exists is, and what is it they were raised to believe.
I remember the first shock I received in this matter ten years ago when I was studying for my “sharia law” specializing. I was memorizing family rules, that I thought were undiscussable and factual, when a major Sudanese Mufti “ Al-Turabi” announced in a fatwa that sparked the rage of the Islamic world, declaring that there is nothing in the Quran or the Sunnah that prohibits a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim man.
I thought, what a stupid “ infidel” … It is there in the Quran; I was revising that law I just memorized. I read this passage all the time in the Quran. Until that moment I was a frequently faithful reader of the Quran. I was committed to finishing the Quran at least twice a month in the series of the last fifteen years of my life (back then). I will never forget the moment, when I went to the Quran, my grave and real companion of every single day, and opened that particular Sura; to realize that the verse I was so convinced I have read hundreds of time never existed.
That was my first serious beginning in the shift my life took in the last decade. Of course, I never went to that qualifying exam in Sharia specialization. I never regretted that. Because I knew that moment, that what is preached is different from the truth, and I wasn’t attempting to become a preacher. I needed to search for the truth.
Somehow, this quest for the truth comes with divorce. At some point, as a divorced woman, you suddenly find yourself totally out-tracked from what was yesterday you’re typical walked the path. This doesn’t happen by your choice. You just find yourself kicked out of it. The real believer inside me insisted that what I grew up to believe couldn’t be all a foul play. It couldn’t be just this great fraud. After all, Islam is a great religion. I made a simple calculation. If I decide to disbelieve in the teaching of this faith, I know that I will be looking for a replacement. And by the time I realize the replacement, I will find out about its shortcomings, and since it is all supposed to be the Word of God. I should find my answers within what I was born in. Islam.
Facing this issue on almost daily basis is in many ways a lifestyle. I chose most of the time to become maybe a sort of an invert inside myself and my closed circle of people, which even to them, they found me too much to handle. If it weren’t for this unconditional love my children hold for me, maybe they would have left me. It soothes my heart in a way, listening to my younger daughters “praying “ for me not to go to hell. Because the way I lead life is a direct path to hell, according to what the people around tell them.
The problem of Muslims is the problem of Islam today.
It is a question of people who choose to remain ignorant and close their eyes and hearts from the truth.
It is a problem of choosing to blindly follow teachings and traditions and leave the faith.
It is an issue of faith that turned into ruling class criteria of behavior. What suits them is legitimize and what doesn’t is forbidden. All only in an attempt to keep control of the people.
The problem is in the absence of real faith in God that makes Islam weaker than ever.


  1. I am very much enjoying and relating to your last few essays on Islam and feel comfortable enough to share my story with you. I took Shahadah many years ago after I read the complete Quaran. It was given to me by a man whose belief in Islam was so strong that he converted co-workers and created a community. He gave me the name Bashira and my goal was to be a Bringer of Good Tidings. I was raised as a Catholic and as a teen-ager lived in a convent. But, when I learned of the Catholic Church’s direct responsibility for colonialism, grew tired of confession, and began college, I left the church and never went back. In college I read western philosophers, got married and divorced, and felt adrift, until Mahmoud gave me the Quaran. I was drawn to the passages of the beauty of God’s creation. But, when I joined the community, the women emphasized fear of hell and not sinning. And they were afraid I would be asked to be a second wife because I was single. When the community decided to move to St. Croix I was not ready to go. And I found it impossible to practice Islam without community. I eventually studied Hinduism and then ended up being initiated into a Sufi order whose head was from Iran. That eventually ended. I finally found my spiritual home when I took refuge with my Tibetan Buddhist teacher. Why I like Buddhism is I can practice alone, it demands that one practice to prove the teachings as well as rely on faith. And finally, because my practice has helped me become a better person. Yet, I still sometimes say “alhumduallah.” I love to hear the call to prayer. And I feel more affinity with Islam than Christianity in many ways. But, many of the issues you are raising trouble me too. Well, just wanted to share my story with you.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story … it is funny how this whole search for an inner meaning of our existence takes place within … in many ways we vary in the way we seek this , and somehow , this link between finding oneself and reaching God lead inside the same channel.. You reminded me with Karen Armstrong .. i have no idea why i never tried to look for God outside islam.. something inside me was confident that relgion is not but a tool to outreach God , and God was that inner peace within. I guess I was lucky , or maybe i was too busy fighting for survival . i am happy u found ur path .. i am proud to be a muslim, because islam, like all faiths , carry great human message for a better humanity and life , but like other faiths , it has been sabotaged by power and patriarchy that always led to corruptive systems and hence, souls …

  2. (I am not a Christian, however have strong belief in the Divine). To me the test of any religion follows a simple formula. Is the religion primarily about “God” and mankind’s relation to him? If yes, does belief in “God” suppose that God is the source of all life, without whom we could not draw another breath? If yes, does not this imply we are under a requirement to respect all life. Which includes not mutilating the form which God created. (And in general not vandalising nor abusing God’s creation). The point here is that some of the anti-religions, which worship evil, practice mutilation as a deliberate insult to God. Jesus Christ also warned not to confuse the rules of men, (social customs) with God’s requirements.
    Problems come when religion, any religion becomes hi-jacked to man’s agenda. Religion is a powerful tool of oppression for the political and maintaining vested interests status quo. Serve God (which to me means “good”, because God is the source of all good) not man. But all of us are slaves to political masters. We cannot live any other way if we want to survive. That is the war between good and evil, and there is no safe ground.

    1. i agree…
      however, i think the problem is not wit those who are anti-religons . the problem is that each religion in a way or another pulls towards its own religion , disqualifying the others, even though not officially or with words, but in behaviour. maybe anti religion shouldn’t mean anti God

  3. By anti religion I meant those “religions” which worship evil and either deny the existence of “God” or actively seek to do what is offensive to God, as in “evil be my good”. I am thinking of the mutilated bodies of children pulled out of rivers in Europe, “religious” ritual murders of some African “religions”.
    But in the other sense, anti religion is not necessarily anti God. Sometimes religion is anti God?

Leave a Reply