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Practicing Islam in Short Shorts

Practicing Islam in Short Shorts

This blog post originally appeared on  Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.30.42 PM.

The scenario I’m about to describe has happened to me more times than I can count, in more cities than I can remember, mostly in Western cities here in the U.S. and Europe.

I walk into a store. There’s a woman shopping in the store that I can clearly identify as Muslim. In some scenarios she’s standing behind the cash register tallying up totals and returning change to customers. She’s wearing a headscarf. It’s tightly fastened under her face where her head meets her neck. Arms covered to the wrists. Ankles modestly hidden behind loose fitting pants or a long, flowy dress. She’s Muslim. I know it. Everyone around her knows it. I stare at her briefly and think to myself, “She can’t tell if I’m staring at her because I think she is a spectacle or because I recognize something we share.”

I realize this must make her uncomfortable, so I look away. I want to say something, something that indicates I’m not staring because I’m not familiar with how she chooses to cover herself. Something that indicates that my mother dresses like her. That I grew up in an Arab state touching the Persian Gulf where the majority dresses like her. That I also face East and recite Quran when I pray.

“Should I greet her with A’salamu alaikum?” I ask myself. Then I look at what I picked out to wear on this day. A pair of distressed denim short shorts, a button-down Oxford shirt, and sandals. My hair is a big, curly entity on top of my head; still air-drying after my morning shower. Then I remember my two nose rings, one hugging my right nostril, the other snugly hanging around my septum. The rings have become a part of my face. I don’t notice them until I have to blow my nose or until I meet someone not accustomed to face piercings.

I decide not to say anything to her. I pretend that we have nothing in common and that I don’t understand her native tongue or the language in which she prays. The reason I don’t connect with her is that I’m not prepared for a possibly judgmental glance up and down my body. I don’t want to read her mind as she hesitantly responds, “Wa’alaikum a’salam.”

I’m guilty of judging and projecting my thoughts onto her before giving her a chance to receive this information and respond to it. It’s wrong. My hesitation in these scenarios comes from knowing that a sizable number of people from my religion look at people dressed like me and write us off as women who have lost their way and veered off the path of Islam. I don’t cover my thighs, let alone my ankles. (The most dominant Islamic schools of thought consider a woman’s ankles to be ‘awrah, meaning an intimate part of her body, and revealing it is undoubtedly a sin.) Nothing in my outward appearance speaks to or represents the beliefs I carry. Some might even get to know me and still label me as a non-practicing Muslim—I drink whiskey and I smoke weed regularly.

However, I am a practicing Muslim. I pray (sometimes), fast, recite the travel supplication before I start my car’s engine, pay my zakkah (an annual charitable practice that is obligatory for all that can afford it) and, most importantly, I feel very Muslim. There are many like me. We don’t believe in a monolithic practice of Islam. We love Islam, and because we love it so much we refuse to reduce it to an inflexible and fossilized way of life. Yet we still don’t fit anywhere. We’re more comfortable passing for non-Muslims, if it saves us from one or more of the following: unsolicited warnings about the kind punishment that awaits us in hell, unwelcomed advice from a stranger that starts with “I am like your [insert relative]”, or an impromptu lecture, straight out of a Wahhabi textbook I thought was nonsense at age 13.

Islamic studies was part of my formal education until I graduated from high school in the United States. The textbooks we used were from Saudi Arabia, which is the biggest follower of the Wahhabi sect of Islam. The first time I realized it was okay to verbalize how nonsensical these books were was when I was watching a movie with my mother about a family that lost one of their children due to a terminal disease. I must have been 6 or 7 years old. My mother said something to the effect of, “I know Allah has a special place in heaven for mothers that lose their children at a young age.” I looked at my mom and asked her, “Even if they’re not Muslim?” Without breaking eye contact with the TV set she responded, “Even if they’re not Muslim.”

That was all the permission I needed to allow myself to believe in a more compassionate God than the one spoken about in these textbooks. My parents are pretty religious. They don’t know I smoke or drink. I’m honestly not quite sure how they would react to knowing that I do, but I’m not exactly ready to find out. They encouraged me and my sister to wear headscarves, but they didn’t force us to. Like most parents they didn’t want us wearing anything too revealing or attention grabbing. They would not approve of my wearing shorts.

When it became fairly evident that we weren’t always praying five times a day, they mostly stayed quiet and occasionally spoke to us about the benefits of prayer. My mother loved reading novels by American writers. She loved movies. She loved music. She tried hard to memorize the Quran, but thought she started too late. They welcomed our male friends and didn’t look at us with suspicion when we walked out of the house with them. My parents hoped their children would closely follow in their footsteps, but trusted us with our own choices.

I’m steadfast in my belief that exploring and wandering are the reasons I know I am Muslim. Learning about Buddhism brought me closer to Islam because it taught me what surrendering means, a lesson none of my Islamic studies teachers have been able to teach me even though that’s literally what Islam means. My Islamic studies teachers taught me how to obsess about the mundane—about all the things I’m doing incorrectly and therefore my prayers will not be accepted. They taught me guilt. They taught me fear. They taught me that being a good Muslim is difficult.

I never quite rejected Islam, I just took a break from going through the motions of prayer out of guilt. I wanted to see if I could be compelled to return to my prayer rug. I did. I returned when I felt like my life was empty without worship. I prayed out of gratitude. I prayed and it gave me solace. Ablution became less about splashing water over various parts of my body and felt more like a daily cleanse. A baptism. I stopped obsessing about the small things and my new mantra was “Al-‘amal bil niyat,” which means actions are dependent on their intentions. My other mantra was “Al deen yusr,” which translates to religion is ease.

Exploring and wandering gave me the tools I needed to critically look at the hypocrisy of the ‘ulama’a (Islamic elites/scholars/clerics). I realized that I did not have to practice my religion from the point of view of a largely misogynistic group of people. Two years ago, I denounced most hadith (prophetic traditions and sayings), fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and tafseer (interpretation) because these three things, all of which play a huge part in how Islam is practiced today, are filtered through the perspective of Muslims born into normalized extreme patriarchy.

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I haven’t denounced all hadith. I kept the ones that undisputedly made me a better person by teaching me a lesson in morality, kindness, and patience. The two mantras I mentioned above were, in fact, adopted from hadith. The mantra, “Religion is ease” is from a hadith related by Abu Hurayra, one of the Prophet’s companions and the mantra, “actions are dependent on their intentions” is from a hadith related by Umar ibn al-Khattab, one of the successors of the Prophet.

I mentioned before that there are many like me. Outliers, outsiders, passing as non-Muslims in the vicinity of other Muslims. When confronted, our stance on religion is waived off as a rebellious phase or an urge to fit in with the dominant non-Muslim society we live in. Despite this feeling of not belonging, we are, generally speaking, not tormented by this existence. We live very healthy, dynamic, and diverse lives. We’ve established connections and common ground with many different groups of people and we don’t feel like pariahs. We’ve accepted that until a drastic cultural change happens, we’re going to continue to lead dual or multiple lives.

I have a new mantra these days, a short surah titled Al-Kafirun (the Disbelievers). For me, the disbelievers, commonly understood to mean those who don’t believe in God and the prophet, also take the form of those who disbelieve that I, too, am a Muslim. The last ayah states, “Lakum deenakum wa liya deen,” meaning for you is your religion, and for me is my religion. A simple phrase that holds the power of interconnectedness in spite of our differences. A verse that can empower me to smile at and greet the woman in the headscarf without fear of judgment.

Written by Thanaa El-Naggar

Illustration by Jim Cooke for

View Comments (72)
  • Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I identify with this so much. I wear shorts and don’t feel like I can greet other Muslimahs on the street because I don’t want those judging looks. I am so glad I don’t feel so alone anymore.

    • Welcome to exoneration catharsis. I walk around naked; wonder when will there be someone out there like me. Wish somebody say salaam to me too…

  • Salam dear sister,
    I live in Germany and I’m wearing the hijab. But i never would look at u as a stranger or non-muslim if u wanna greet me i would greet u right back. I want u to know that, you are not alone. You are my sister in islam and my sister in this world. Don.t hesitate, live your religion as u wanna do and be proud of it. So that nobody see.s a chance to show u up for what u are.
    I have also problems with muslims, who think perfect and the beloves ones of god. They critize me if i use nail polish or wear fitting trousers or because i have lot of non-muslim friends. They find always a reason to critize others. Be a strong woman and ignore them.

    Greetings from Germany

  • I only wan to tell you that there are a lot of Sisters that also drink and smoke weed with hijab.. Nd alsl with nose rings and with tattoos….
    If its right ore not isnt on us to judge about!!
    Sooo lets greet each other !
    And if there judge about you better for you. There are given you gifts for your Paradies
    Eselamu aleykum from germanY

  • Dear sister who wrote the article,
    I hope you’re doing well. I’m glad you said you felt the beauty of salah and that you feel the need to be closer to Allah. I also admire your bravery when you decided to express yourself through that article. However, I don’t think it was the right thing to do. I don’t mean to be judgemental and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t talk to anyone. I’m just saying that you should’ve confided in someone you can trust and who can guide you instead of writing an article that can shake the faith of so many young girls who’re in similar situations.
    You said you drank whiskey and smoke weed. Honey, this is forbidden in Islam. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):  “O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al-Ansaab, and Al-Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s (Satan’s) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful” [al-Maa’idah 5:90] 
    Also, you said that you prayed, SOMETIMES! Honey, salah should be performed regularly, and you shouldn’t moss any of the five prayers on purpose. If you missed one for reasons out of your control then it’s ok as long as you perform that salah asap. Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, said: ” Salah is the pillar of Islam”.
    The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said : ﺍﻟﻌﻬﺪ ﺍﻟﺬﻱ ﺑﻴﻨﻨﺎ ﻭﺑﻴﻨﻬﻢ ﺍﻟﺼﻼ‌ﺓ، ﻓﻤﻦ ﺗﺮﻛﻬﺎ ﻓﻘﺪ ﻛﻔﺮ That which differentiates us from the disbelievers and hypocrites is our performance of Salat. He who abandons it, becomes a disbeliever he (peace and blessings be upon him) also said : ‏ﺇﻥ ﺑﻴﻦ ﺍﻟﺮﺟﻞ ﻭﺑﻴﻦ ﺍﻟﺸﺮﻙ ﻭﺍﻟﻜﻔﺮ ﺗﺮﻙ ﺍﻟﺼﻼ‌ﺓ‏ Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salat (prayer)
    That means that if you kept on praying irregularly or stopped praying then you died, you’ll be punished as a kafir. Again, I don’t mean any disrespect I just want to help you because I care.
    As for your clothes, you already said that you know it’s wrong to not cover up. Hijab is obligatory in Islam. It’s purpose is to protect you because you are PRECIOUS.
    I believe that when you start performing all 5 prayers on time and start reading some of the Quran everyday you’ll gradually start loving hijab and you’ll start loving being religous because you’ll find peace and harmony in your life. You’ll find yourself starting to want to become even more religious! Trust me my dear sister when I tell you that this is for your own good.
    This is how you can feel better:
    * Make Tawbah. Make wudoo and pray two rakaahs of tawbah for everything. We all make mistakes and we all sin but it’s never too late to repent to Allah. And be optimistic–insha’Allah Allah WILL forgive you! * Hit the Minimum 5x/day. If you don’t pray your 5x daily prayers, start. Right now. Today. Praying is difficult at first, but over time, it becomes easier. Pick up prayers one at a time, whatever you can do, until you’re at least covering the daliy five consistently. * Add Sunnah/Nafl Prayers. If you already have your five covered, alhamdulillah, start adding the sunnahs–starting with the two before Fajr, and with salaat-ul-Witr. Those are the best. Then gradually add more. Add Tahajjud, if you’re already praying all the sunnah prayers. The sunnahs are like a shield that protect your fard prayers; if you always pray them, in the worst case, you might skip one or two–but if you only pray fard, those are the first to go. * Reflect on the Reward and the Punishment. If you didn’t know, for every fard action, Allah rewards you. Think about THAT. You’re actually getting some ajr! And reflect on the punishment of not praying, ever–capital. * Make Du’a. ‘Aishah said: “You will not even get a shoelace without the permission of Allah.” So ask Allah to help you pray regularly and in the best way. *Find a righteous friend in your community. Go shopping together. Buy beautiful head scarves and hijabi clothes together. Talk to each other about your problems and insecurities. Pray and recite the Quran together. Find a masjid in your area and start attending lessons there.
    Those advices are also aimed to all the sisters struggling with their faith anywhere in the world.
    May Allah guide us all and help us find the path to Jannah. ^_^

  • Dear sister,
    I also do not wear the hijab but at the same time I do take care that what I wear is modest. Why do many women feel the urge to expose their bodies as their right of freedom? I find it ridiculous showing off too much skin…it reduces women to sex objects. No women wants to feel sexy just for herself.Period. She wants to catch people’s attention be it her friends or some guy she wants to impress. So if you wanna dress up like that do it but don’t act like you’re simply doing for yourself. I believe emancipation has nothing to do with a reduced amount of clothes 😉

    Let’s come to the part where you say you refuse to believe in certain hadith and you only believe in stuff that sounds good to you. So actually you’re just trying to make your own life easier by neglecting parts of Islam. If you don’t want to follow the rules then just don’t follow them but don’t try to find verification of your wrong doings by randomly translating hadith and ayah’s. It takes years and years of arabic lessons to even understand the tiniest bit of the quran in the correct way. We can’t just go around and pick some translation and believe we fully understood the depth of it.

    And yes God is great but if your acting against his will and believe he is gonna forgive you anyway then yes that might be BUT you truly and deeply out of your heart must repent for the sins you have commited to get Allahs forgiveness. All depends on your niyah…and you’re actually acting like you don’t regret anything you are doing so just think about that.

    And lastely I would greet you back without judging your outer appearance as mamy muslims in europe run around without hijab. But I would not approve of your habbit of drinking or your believe that it’s all fine with God and that you can randomly select what to believe in or not 😉

    • Very well said. It’s so sad to see that these kinds of articles are complimented as they have such a negative impression towards our younger youth. In Shaa Allah they will get the right guidance in time…Aameen

        • Oh I can explain that one, probably you could too if you actually searched for it. Actually in those times the roads were in different conditions than now, and the narrowest part was actually the safest, so Muslims were directed to do that to best allow the Christians and Jews to travel the roads without issues.

          • what? lol.
            “What it means is that just as you do not initiate the greeting of salaam, you should not make room for them. If they meet a group of you, do not split up to let them pass, rather continue on your way and leave them the narrow space if there is a narrow part of the road. This hadeeth is not meant to put people off Islam, rather it is a manifestation of the Muslim’s pride and a sign that he does not humiliate himself for anyone except his Lord.”

    • so all hadiths should be followed? who declares which ones are authentic? what do you think of the 84th book of bukhari, dealing with apostates?
      “Narrated ‘Ikrima: Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to ‘Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn ‘Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, ‘Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).’ I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'”

        • it’s a well known hadith. I’ve seen muslims use it to justify killing apostates, and not just the Saudis. go to and ask them?

          here is the next one in the same book (the end is the important part):

          “Narrated Abu Burda: Abu Musa said, “I came to the Prophet along with two men (from the tribe) of Ash’ariyin, one on my right and the other on my left, while Allah’s Apostle was brushing his teeth (with a Siwak), and both men asked him for some employment. The Prophet said, ‘O Abu Musa (O ‘Abdullah bin Qais!).’ I said, ‘By Him Who sent you with the Truth, these two men did not tell me what was in their hearts and I did not feel (realize) that they were seeking employment.’ As if I were looking now at his Siwak being drawn to a corner under his lips, and he said, ‘We never (or, we do not) appoint for our affairs anyone who seeks to be employed. But O Abu Musa! (or ‘Abdullah bin Qais!) Go to Yemen.'” The Prophet then sent Mu’adh bin Jabal after him and when Mu’adh reached him, he spread out a cushion for him and requested him to get down (and sit on the cushion). Behold: There was a fettered man beside Abu Muisa. Mu’adh asked, “Who is this (man)?” Abu Muisa said, “He was a Jew and became a Muslim and then reverted back to Judaism.” Then Abu Muisa requested Mu’adh to sit down but Mu’adh said, “I will not sit down till he has been killed. This is the judgment of Allah and His Apostle (for such cases) and repeated it thrice. Then Abu Musa ordered that the man be killed, and he was killed. Abu Musa added, “Then we discussed the night prayers and one of us said, ‘I pray and sleep, and I hope that Allah will reward me for my sleep as well as for my prayers.'”

    • Nobody cares what you think man. If you find it ridiculous when women dress for themselves, well them good sir that truly is your issue abd you need to have your narcissism dealt with.

      • Whats your problem? This is a public form and they have a right to state their opinion, and people obviously care about what Justsaying has to say more more than ypu, they have more likes

    • but i do it for myself-dress up i mean. i get dressed up, take pics and go no where. its not about those that look at me it makes me feel freaking awesome.

    • I agree, i wear my scarf and salwar or abaya But ppl judge me on that!!! Ppl judge me harshly! Im so tired of it, not only does it hurt but im young and i have no family or friends to guide me and practice with me, so im stuck and trying figure things our for myself. I love the abaya And i love dressing modestly, but in some countries ppl really dont like muslims so sometimes i loosely wear scarf with salwar. But ppl see me in all different clothes and hey think im muslim one day and not muslim the next What do i do? I love islam but some muslims r just mean, our Prophet Muhammad SAW would never treat anyone this way

      • Your post reminds me of the phrase, ‘ A Sinner’s tears are more sweeter to Allah than the arrogance of the righteous man’. I see that a lot of practicing muslims are loaded with arrogance and it isn’t right. It’s better to keep your judgments to yourself and worry about your own deen and duas than poking your nose on how your fellow muslims are practicing islam. Arrogance and haughtiness is worse!

    • Very sell said JustSayin.
      These ‘pick and mix,’ muslims are very superficial muslims who have not deeply thought about their life or Islam.
      I work in a school (in the UK)where many non-muslims think drugtaking and drinking is wrong. Some people just have no thinking brain.

  • Assalam alleykum Thanaa, maybe salat, nijab etc.etc. are just Tools feeling closer to Allah, they are not the essence ! So sometimes I sadly guess some People worship more the tool, than the essence. Make your own experiences – Allah will guide you..

  • Ist disrespectful to denounce hadith as you want. Just because they dont fit in your lifestyle. Take the islam as it is, dont try to make a new version of it. What is God-given in your believes, when you just take some verses and interpretend them as you want to? I dont have any problems with your type of living, how could I or anyone, but shouldnt have also. What does it have to mean when you write  “we refuse to reduce it to an inflexible and fossilized way of life”
    Just someone else has more power over his/her nefs you cant write there livestyle ist inflexible or fossilized. Just remember, this was the way our prophet was living.

    • Please keep your beliefs to yourself. Ever heard of freedom of speech? If you have nothing good to say, dont say anything at all.

    • Muslima, You are right. This girl THANAA EL-NAGGAR ,writer of the Article must get good knowledge of Islaam before writing. She has made a mockery of Islam. As she has been brought up in US and according to her statement her parents are not well aware of Islam too. She is a confused Lady—-like non- muslims. The references she has quoted from Quran and Hadith are not undersood by her. These writers are so called Muslims influenced otherwise—-.

      • Another judgmental, arrogant, haughty, self proclaiming righteous muslim. How about you focus on your own deen, duniya and duas? I’m tired of the likes of you making judgments as if you were God. She has NOT mad a mockery of Islam. She is entitled to her own opinion and may even change her opinions on Islam with passage of time. Why do the likes of you always poke your nose around other muslimah’s lives?

    • So you are saying you practice Islam in it’s entirety. So, i can assume you do everything that is not just fard, but also sunnah. Let me assume you are a woman, have you been circumcized since it’s sunnah? Well, after all, no cherry picking business.

  • Love this. Unfortunately, the judgmental comments on this article prove your point exactly. As female muslims, we should all be on the same team and accepting of our differences rather than shunning, or intimidating one another.

  • All Muslims have not stayed on the same course through out their lives. People have gone through belief and disbelief. The point is that when you go through a period in your life when you don’t practice that much, you still need to remember the baseline – the standard – the path- the siratulmustaqeem- to come back to. If you don’t even remember the path that you have to come back to, how do you ever come back? It’s easy to say, “well this new path is Islam” but this can not be supported factually.
    The point is not when people stop practicing their religion – it’s when they create new definitions for their religion – that is very irritating.

    • spoken like a true Saudi.

      at least she took a hadith form ‘the cat guy’, so she must not be a shia? funny here face piercings reminded me of the chick on ‘ameircan muslim’ who married the irish guy.

        • just a curious fascination.
          funny she says she doesn’t go by too many hadiths either. isn’t that what you say?
          so you buddy Jekyll is here. what do you think of a woman leading men in prayer?

          • no. but how do I do that? that would be awesome. how do I get paid to comment?
            matt you do know No_Terrorist is a ‘truther’. she says bin laden died in 2001. her conspiracies are hilarious. do you know who these hasbra guys are that she speaks of? how do I hook up with them?
            so what do you think of islam?

        • I have my doubts about any particular poster who acts like a shill, because there are wackos in Usenet who incessantly obsess over trivial matters that you know nobody would pay for; but I know that even opera companies, for example, have at least sometimes planted a number of people in their audience with instructions to applaud after certain arias to get the rest of the audience more engaged than they probably would otherwise. So now if I can think of an institution who would benefit from paying shills I default to assuming that those institutions /are/ paying shills.

  • ‘We’re more comfortable passing for non-Muslims, if it saves us from one or more of the following: unsolicited warnings about the kind punishment that awaits us in hell, unwelcomed advice from a stranger that starts with “I am like your [insert relative]“, or an impromptu lecture, straight out of a Wahhabi textbook I thought was nonsense at age 13.’

    The writer doesn’t acknowledge that by choosing to dress a certain way and choosing to pass as non-Muslim by not announcing her faith in any discernible way she not only ‘saves’ herself from being condescended to by some Muslims but she also removes herself from the gaze of Islamophobia. I’m pretty sure that people who ‘look’ Muslim have to deal with plenty of stares, comments, racism and xenophobia because of how they dress and live. It seems there are people being killed for being Muslim every week in the US right now.

    It would just be nice if she was able to recognise by choosing to pass as part of normcore generic monoculture she saves herself from two types external judgement.

  • I like it when people throw ayat and ahadith at us like we haven’t actually thought through the decisions we make in our lives. If you want to wear shorts and drink your whiskey, you do that girl. If God actually cares, let him be the one to tell you. In the meantime, head high, walk proud. You’re critically thinking and living a life you’re proud of, and that’s more than most.
    “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

  • It’s ok, please don’t feel blue. Your experience is a very common one in the US and in other European countries. It is very common for immigrants, and children of immigrants to adapt to the mainstream culture. It protects children from risk factors such as poor mental health and development which are much higher in immigrant families. I am from the US and have lived in Saudia Arabia and currently living in the UAE and I’ve even seen the reverse process take place here, children of expats become more religious, pious in dress, and oriented more with the norms of the dominate culture. To put it simply, you are just doing what you need to survive quite literally. This is why so many immigrant children resemble nothing of their parents, because their parents become an obsolete tool of survival in a new culture they know nothing about. It also seems you have lost some respect for your parents, which is also quite common for families in your position. For American converts we don’t feel this need to belong and adapt to “American” culture because we see ourselves as already apart of it. We grow up with strong social networks in place, and a sense of identity as an American, this is why so many American converts to Islam proudly wear the hijab and can adapt to being Muslim quite easily, and often times experience an overwhelming need to tell others, or friends, and community about Islam. We see ourselves as an active part of what the status quo is, we are not busy trying to decipher it or follow it, but change it. Maybe when you are older and you feel like making a difference you will come back to Islam. Why else would there be so many Americans accepting it every year by the thousands? If we think about drugs, drinking, or wearing shorts it’s only to rid ourselves of them.

  • While technically anyone that states There is only one God and Muhammad is His messenger are Muslims, it’s also true that it’s impossible to practice Islam without the Sunnah, and one who rejects Sunnah is “not one of us.”

    I have been an apostate myself, but it is really worse for women because of the forces in place in the West. Feminism is a cancer that many Christians and even atheists are now widely denouncing. I truly hope at the least this sister did not fornicate, as that is something that is harder to come back from, and something that is especially easy for women in the West, any woman, because of all the thirsty men that will constantly pursue.

    The prophets, all of them, were the best examples of Muslims yet they feared Allah and constantly begged for forgiveness and acted very strictly in their faith. Also history shows the Prophet and his Companions did punish people for transgressions, and Allah does command punishment. And it’s obvious that punishment has to happen or else society decays as people feel pressured to act out. Disbelievers are indeed the loudest and are quick to pressure people away from faith, because Satan is very clever and is always suggesting how to best lead others away.

    As a Muslim man who does believe and is very strict with my belief, it is one reason I refuse to marry. At least to marry in the West to a Western Muslimah. I know that feminism is incompatible with Islam and a match would not work because we have such different mindsets.

    Of course, if I reject sunnah, I wouldn’t even have to get married in the first place, as it’s only prescribed in the sunnah and not even commanded even there. But the sunnah indicates Allah wants us to marry and to raise good Muslim children, and that is best for both husband and wife. But in the West that is so hard to do with so many low quality women like the writer of this article running around.

  • i have never related so much to anything. And i hate when i say A’salamu alaikum and they just look at me judging and not responding. My moms christian I’m sorry i can always go behind her back and wear it. And i”m sorry i wear tight things (short shorts are too far sister) . i would love to be like one of you hijabies that do it all the time not just when there mom isn’t there, but I’m not and please stop judging me for it. I grew up doing what i want and only stopping to pray or go to the Mosque.

  • Sadly, possibly b/c arabs (well probably all muslims) tend to mix islam with culture, i feel like everything is haram. My parents have already picked the university they want me to attend (its very close to home so they can keep an eye on me or something) and they’ve made it very clear that i am to have no contact with males (to the point where i have never had an actual conversation with one except for the males in my family). They’ve also said it’s haram for a girl to sleep anywhere but her home and that girls shouldn’t be allowed to go anywhere without their brothers or parents. These are just a few of their many, many rules. Honestly, i feel restricted, suffocated, lost. I don’t want to wear the hijab and wish to take it off. But i cant because i would literally be shunned and i’m only 15. I don’t know what to do. I just want to truly believe in Islam, not just believe in a religion my parents forced onto me. I don’t really believe and that really saddens me because i really want to. I’m just trapped

  • What is the point of picking and choosing parts of the religion? Keeping parts you like and rejecting/changing what you don’t like? You might as well start a brand new religion.

    • You are allowed to say that only IF you practice Islam in entirety and have not consciously committed a single sin in your life. If the answer is No, keep your judgments to yourself. No one needs your opinion if it is not positive or helpful.

  • As for judging

    Maoquf Abdullah Bin Utbah Bin Masoud in Bukhari said: ‘I heard ‘Umar say ‘there were some people excused by the wahi because of Rasoul Allah’ A man Haatib Ibn Abi Balta’ah told the Quraish that the Messenger Muhammad (saw) is coming to kill them all even though he was making rumours about Taa’if. Allah (SWT) asked Jibraeel to tell the Nabi and he did. ‘Umar said ‘let me kill him’ but he claimed that his niyyah was good. 
    ‘Umar said ‘there were some excused by the Wahi before but now we judge by the apparent, whoever shows us anything sou’ we will never believe him even if he says ‘my intention is good’ 

  • I practice Islam the way that I want to practice Islam. I practice Islam the way that makes me feel happy to be Muslim. I pratice Islam the way that makes me proud to be Muslim. Why do we feel the need to shame each other and each other’s way of practice? As Muslims, we must support each other, not tear each other down.

    Lovely article, sister.

  • I’m jealous. I live in Saudi Arabia, and LET me tell you we are not Wahabi, it’s as rare as it is to find an extremist Christian in the West. Don’t believe the media so much, we believe in peace.
    But, I’m jealous. I don’t want to wear hijaab anymore but I’m scared if I take it off my dad will kick me out.. My father doesn’t trust me. At all. If he were to see me just talking to a boy he would missassume. It’s not fair. He uses Islam against us. He can boss us around, because according to Islam a father is the leader. He can hit us. He can hit my mom if she has a friend he does not like ( it is part of Islam ). Don’t make lies. Don’t say it’s Wahhabism. It’s not, it’s in the hadith. To be a Muslin, you have to believe Muhammad was a Prophet, so he says the truth. You cannot ignore the hadith, honestly. Everytime I say this to someone they give me a face of annoyance, acting like they are an Islamic scholar and know Islam is about doing what the “heart” wants. No, it’s called desires. I’ve been lecured about it enough.
    I’m 12, and I love Allah, but not the hadith. That makes me a bad Muslim, whether I like it or not. I want to be free to do what I want, but Islam has taught me that doing what I want will take me to Hell. Help .. I want to find a sect of Islam I am comfortable with! I really hope someone will understand me..

    • You’re only 12 but you’re insight into this is marvellous. When I was 12, I was mostly concerned about everything else but religion. Sadly, there isn’t any sect of Islam that is liberal. But, Sunni Islam i feel, does not obligate quite some things that can make you feel less trapped. But, it’s your decision ultimately. But, stay close to Allah. Ameen.

  • I’m so happy to have found someone like this; I am Muslim, and while I do dress appropriately, I’m not hijabi, I show my arms, sometimes my legs. One of the things you brought up was the Saudi textbooks, and I’ve always believed they were biased; many Muslims now follow the Saudi “version” of Islam and really dislike it when others who disagree w some of the aspects point it out. It’s sad how many ppl (especially Muslims) are so judgemental. In my opinion, no one can judge you for who you are except God, and the Muslims who feel as though they must tell you how to live your life and religion are wrong.

  • In a way, I feel like you are much closer to Islam then many other are. I am scared to leave Islam in fear that I may not be compelled back to it. Dont get me wrong, I love my religion but sometimes it feels like a task instead of me praying from the bottom of my heart. God is the most compassionate and I hope that my faith can be as strong as yours is. You seem to have an unbreakable bond and remember that only God can judge you. 🙂

    • I feel similarly. Do you ever feel like your bond with God is strong but because of some arrogant muslims looking down on you, your faith wavers? I love Islam but I dislike the so called self labeled righteous muslims.

  • I believe Allah looks at our hearts and actions. I feel more of a need for Allah and I count on him more and believe in him more because of my sins, my prayers are more in line with my heart now, than they were when I was fully niqab and everything. I think it’s because I felt comfortable in this state, like hey I’m already pious, I became stuck in a rut, and I didn’t progress my imaan. I took everything off and went back to my old ways and I feel it is rekindling the fire that burns in heart for Allah. I stopped praying so I could value it more, I was starting to feel like a zombie breezing through the rakahs. Everyone sins differently, people don’t know when they see me dressed a certain way that I’m trying to get closer to my Rabb rather than just because I can. May Allah accept us all and forgive us, for He is most forgiving. He is who you make of him. If you see him as just and punishing, he will be. If you see him as fair and compassionate he will be. I’m in awe of Him and what he has created, the complexity of it, the beauty. I believe in him and that’s what will get me through the day.

  • I recently converted to Islam, because I love the Quran and I love Allah. I started wearing a hijab immediately and did my best to read and pray and become the muslim that I saw in the girls around me at school. However, by doing this I was pushing myself away from Allah, because it was not how I viewed life. I felt constant guilt and anxiety that I wasn’t doing things absolutely the correct way. The things that I loved about the openness of western culture were no longer okay. I began drowning and questioning my faith and my decision to convert. I felt lonelier than ever. I began wanting to go back to the vices I previously had. However, something compelled me to stay close to Allah. I wanted to be close because I truly wanted it, not because I felt it was right. It was through this that I realized that I can have both. I can wear makeup and still worship Allah. Allah knows the intent in my heart and that despite the clothing I wear I am closer to him than ever. I no longer feel judged by other muslims that I am not the same as them. The point of this is thank you. Thank you for writing this and allowing me to realize that I am not alone in my journey.

  • I’ve never read something that spoke to me so much. I’m speachless. I feel relieved that I’m not the only one that feels this way. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

  • For the MOST part you NAILED me!!! I’m so happy to have come across this because I actually keep myself away from most Muslims for how I’ll be judged… and yet I’m also judged by my non Muslim friends because most automatically write me off as non Muslim and then laugh if I say that I am… I derive my values from Islam and from Christianity and believe in the one God and the prophets and I respect the Quran and the hadith but I don’t feel inclined to follow each and every teaching… my faith is more spiritual rather than technical and although I speak to God throughout the day I don’t stand in prayer (I might be called to one day…)
    And my attire does force me to live a double life because I tried to be honest and upfront with my family but it always results in their terror and tears and it’s too much for my heart to take and yet I feel it unauthentic to change because of it… and I dread meeting men as much as I want children and family because apparently a woman can marry in Islam without parental consent anyway and the kind of liberal man I hope to have a family with will not be acceptable to my family. Anyway… despite my verbal vomit I’m just really glad to have found that I’m not ALONE…

  • Maybe try Christianity?
    Unlike the hadiths, the gospel bits featuring Jesus are the absolute best bits. No violence, no war, 100% righteous but using compassion, healing, forgiveness and mercy to show why God’s way is best.
    Love God? He doesn’t care about your shorts, providing you have faith in Christ and your heart is right, period. Which seems to be what you believe, and is what Jesus taught, but simply isn’t what Islam teaches.

    • But she believes in islam. She likes being muslim. She’s talking about how she doesn’t like being judged by other muslims. The last verse in Surah kafirun says that no one should be judged

      • It looks like she’s in disagreement with pretty much the whole of fiqh and tafsir and has lots of issues with the hadiths. So is Christianity.
        It looks like she believes God cares about her intent more than her outward obeyance of law so does Christianity.
        It looks like she’s *not* at peace every single time she goes into a shop, even though she doesn’t believe that she’s doing anything wrong.
        So yeah, why not take a religion that she doesn’t really believe in away from her, if she’s happy to leave it?

        Re loving criminals, Jesus taught, “Hate the sin, love the sinner”, and that “I come not to call the righteous, but sinners”, and “It is not the healthy who are in need of a doctor, but the sick”. It works differently in Islam and Christianity, we love sinners (or at least try – its really hard with really bad criminals). In fact, we don’t need to respect them at all – respect is earned. But we do need to love them (hard as it is).

        Re: Kim Kardashian, I don’t like how she dresses, but that’s ultimately between her and God. If she knows its wrong then she’s probably in sin. But the onus lies on men to not look at her, as Jesus said “A man who looks to another woman to lust for her has already committed adultery in her heart”. Don’t blame Kim if you know you shouldn’t look at her, get things right in your own heart first and stop looking at things you shouldn’t. Don’t blame others for your sin.

    • Seanusurelius: we don’t change religion like we change pants (means only when we feel like it or we just want to try) it’s a very serious matter that depends on a strong believe with a very long prospective.

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