Email From Egypt
I recieved this email yesterday from a girl in Egypt with the subject “a muslim who read your blog” and according to my sitemeter – yes, I have had a visitor from Egypt that spent some time on my blog both yesterday and today. So with her permission – I am posting the letter to my blog for feedback from those of you that read my blog and, Inshallah, I will not just be feeding her to the wolves (hehe couldn’t help myself – the song “You’re So Vain” is popping into my head as I type).
I am writing in the mere hope that someone out there will be able to understand me.
I compared your entries to some of those on my blog and see what I need. I need to be able to look at religion from a different perspective. This will not happen as long as I live in this country – Egypt.
Many people think that Muslims in the ME should have no issues with religion since there are educational institutions that can educate people and guide them. Hundreds of students graduate every year from Al Azhar University after having studied all major branches of Islam. Yet, the situation here is a three-ring circus. Not to blame this mess on educational institutions merely, I have to tell you that I don’t know how many other factors are out there.
All my life I had known that religious matters are taken for granted and that our deen is unquestionable. I kept having my issues with various matters and pushed them away. Once I got in contact with non-Arabs I thought to myself that I was not dealing with this matter properly and that the best thing to do was to read about whatever came to my mind, try to understand, and ,therefore, have a more solid faith.
I started reading about hijab. After ten months here are some questions on my mind:
– How is ijma’ (consensus) defined? And who defines it?
– Can I decide to take a single scholar’s opinion even if it’s against consensus? In that case, I can decide to take off hijab, get married to a Christian, and God only knows what else.
– Can scholars base a ruling to kill someone on a hadith? Who said that if someone decides to leave Islam they should be killed? What effect can they have on deen if they decide to leave? Nothing. Can’t the rest of their lives be a chance for them to learn and maybe come back to Islam?
– In Islam if a man or a woman commits fornication and they both sincerely repent to God, insha’allah He forgives them. They don’t have to tell their future spouse about their past. I can see this possible for the man. In the ME it’s impossible for the woman. What solution does religion offer this woman when she wants to start a life and protect herself against sins?
– “Take it all or leave it all” , ” You can’ t pick and choose from Quran” , “Don’t question things. This is a test from God to know if you believe or not.” These are some of the things I heard from Sheikhs when I said I don’t want my husband to get a second wife or discipline me as advised in Quran.
– Who do I trust?
I kept researching all these matters, asked many scholars both in and outside Egypt. Although I’m known to be a strong person, once I decided to face the fact that there were no answers, I cried for a week in a late response to the shock.
Why am I telling you all this? Because when I talked to my family about the possibility that veil may not be mandatory, they thought I was at a ‘dangerous stage’ and that I should ‘stop reading!!’ I am telling you all this because I am starting to lose the beauty of religion and I don’t know why. I am not even sure what kind of lifestyle will suit me. I don’t know what to do, where to go, who to ask.
I have a successful social and professional life(alhamdulellah) and have many plans that don’t allow me to spend hours everyday checking if a hadith is authentic or not and why a scholar used it when it is weak. My life turned into hell since my religion, my solid comfort resort, turned out to be full of unanswered questions.
I keep trying to find people like yourself in an attempt to find answers one day. I hope I could find them soon. I haven’t slept in months.
Thank you for reading this …