free stats Carmen's Web: Condemned to Hell, Again
Monday, October 09, 2006
Condemned to Hell, Again
I find it incredibly frustrating how people assume that I know nothing about my faith because of the way I choose to practice it. I don't veil, I dance with men when I go out clubbing, I date, and I want to marry a Christian. (I won't even begin to discuss the myriad of other offences).

Naturally I wouldn't know anything about Islam if I do this, no? It's at this juncture that people (both in my comments section and in e-mails) offer unsolicited religious advice. "Carmen, you may not know this but...", followed by a multitude of Koranic verses and a couple of hadiths to back their argument up, and often with a "you're going to go to hell if you remain on this path".

So to set the record straight let me just tell you all who have written to me in good and bad faith that I know more about Islam than you do. I know more about Islam than most people do. And why do I know so much about Islam? Because I read critically. Because I question. Because I seek answers from various different sources.

A couple of years ago I asked a sheikh what one would do if a hadith contradicted the Koran. He insisted that there's no way that that could happen. "They supplement each other," he said. Well, what would happen if they hypothetically did, I asked. What should we follow, the Koran or the hadith? Again he insisted that it was impossible for them to be contradictory.

So I asked him what the punishment for fornication was. He told me it was stoning to death. I told him that the Koran does not specify stoning to death as punishment for sex, that he can look and look and he won't find it there. He looked at me as if I were saying something blasphemous.

"Of course it's in the Koran!!!"

"Okay, show me where. Show me the verse that punishes a man or a woman by stoning".

So he looked and looked and guess what, he couldn't find it. He searched in some other books in his collection and acknowledged that it was hadith. "I may have gotten confused, but the punishment is there." "Yes," I said, "but it's not in the Koran as you insisted it was". He cut the conversation short after that.

What would've happened if I took him at his word? What would happen if I took anyone at their word? I read, I study, I know. So for all of you who think that I don't know what the fuck it is that I'm doing, please think again.

Does that make my offences worse? Probably, in the eyes of some. But at least I'm honest about it, at least I don't hide, and at least I admit that I'm human.

It seems that a lot of people are very upset at the thought of me, a Muslim woman, wanting to marry a Christian. When I wrote my post about it, I did not ask whether it was religiously sanctioned for me to do so. Do I know that people consider it a sin in Islam? Yes, I do. Do I need religious advice about it being a sin? If I already know this, obviously not. Those of you who are directing me to all these fatwa sites, please stop. Those of you who are condemning me to hell, try to fix your own lives and direct your anger and frustration towards those who are REALLY ruining Islam.

My cousin, who has fathered three different children from three different women (he was married to all of them) and doesn't support any of them, who is a plain hypocrite, will forever be considered a Muslim in the eyes of the community. My other cousin, who has gotten his girlfriend pregnant three times and paid for abortions three times, is a "troubled" kid, but still considered a Muslim. The crazy fundies blowing up the world are condemned, but I have not heard one sheikh declare them apostates. Maybe if someone did they'd stop blowing shit up. But someone like me who has the nerve to fall in love with a Christian will be kicked out. I, not my male cousins, apparently am the maintainer of all things Muslim.

I know I run the risk of being exiled from the Islamic community if I marry the boyfriend and to be honest with you I'm too tired to fight it. I'm not going to force people to accept any of my decisions. It's enough that I'm going to face ostracization from my family if I ever make such a choice. I can't begin to worry about my community, a community that I haven't been in touch with anyway.

My religion is private. I am recounting my tales as a woman trying to navigate through life. You can try to strip me off my Islam, but you'll never be able to take away my spirituality regardless of how many verses and hadiths you throw at me. Religion for me will never be found in the books nor in the pronouncements of people.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:45 AM
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Who: Carmen

Mini-Bio:
xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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