Tuesday, January 18, 2005Me, Myself and Islam
I received emails from people calling me a disgrace on my religion for supporting Nawal Saadawi. Other emails I got from people are also calling me names because of a support letter that I wrote to a Coptic rights group. Others called me an atheist and even an Egyptian atheist sent me an invitation to atheists’ website forum! Since I will not wait for an invitation to conversion by the Jehovah’s witnesses, I decided to make things clear... I’m a MUSLIM (Sunni) by birth and by choice. Period.
I believe that my faith is something personal between me and my God... I don’t accept interference regarding the way I practice my religion as well as I don’t accept interference in the core of my religion. That means radicals from any sides butt off! I don’t need a cleric to act God and tell me that I’m a sinner and I should be punished, I don’t need a Mufti to issue me “fatwa” whether it Islamic to put my money in a bank and take interests or not. As I also believe in the Prophet’s words that if you have enough faith the best fatwa is from the heart.
I also try hard to follow all the five pillars of Islam, I say the testimony, I pray five times as much as I could, I fast Ramadan, I give out Zakat (Charity) and when I get the time I will go on a Pilgrimage to Mecca.
I also believe that there’s no harm in breaking some rules as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone or have a direct effect on my faith. For examples:- I could be clubbin’ and drinking all Thursday night then I go home and wake up the next morning and attend the Friday prayer. I could gamble little a bit in a poker game or if I couldn’t resist the magic of Las Vegas. As for eating pork I don’t eat it because I have several different other alternatives but if I’m stranded on a deserted island and only thing available to eat is pork I will have no choice. As for pre-martial sex… it’s not your business because it’s too personal lol. It’s not hypocrisy as some radicals might consider it but it is making the best of life while keeping the faith on. Clerics are not God, they don’t predict my future whether I’m going to be thrown in hell or not, as well they can’t pass verdicts on me regarding my actions which doesn’t hurt anyone.
I believe in the separation of religion from the state because Islam is a religion and not a nation or a state ownership. I’m also against polygamy because according to Quran in order to have other wives (four is the limit), you have to have a convincing reason, you have to be fair in every duty between all of your wives and God says you won’t be able to do it! So why God permitted it? Because it was a way to spread Islam and protect the widows in the early era of Islam. But it’s currently being misused by Muslims among many other things.
I believe in Christianity and Judaism as God’s religions too. I also believe in the freedom of religion, you can choose to convert or reconvert become a Christian or a Jew or an atheist... it doesn’t make you a lesser man /woman as it doesn’t matter to me and the perception of this act according to my faith will be also irrelevant to you since you already picked your choice. God gave each one of us a choice and no man whatever his religion can take this choice away.
I believe that reformations must be made to Islamic theologies such as Wahabists etc. and their extreme interpretations of “Hadith and Quran” must be revised. I believe in dialogues between different religions made by Scholars each explaining his point of views in a civilized manners and not in the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson cowboys manners.
As for Jihad the term is misrepresented by the West and by extremist Muslims as a “holy war” first of all Jihad is not a pillar of Islam although it’s consider as a pillar this in some Shiaa sects. The word "Jihad” means “struggle or striving” in the Way of God. Every effort made by a Muslim to do good acts comes under Jihad. For Examples: Studying to succeed in your exams is Jihad, professionalism in your work is Jihad, make a living for your family is Jihad and “defending” your home and religion is Jihad. The latter became the extremist pretext for launching violence.
Finally, this is me an Egyptian, an Arab and a Muslim... an Egyptian by nationality, an Arab by language and a Muslim by faith... three different entities joined together in one man enjoying the aspects of the three cultures.