When Islam is no longer a choice….

They say Islam is a religion of choice and one must be allowed to his/her own liberties when it comes to faith yet that appears a far cry to many of us who ‘inherit’ the faith rather than have their say.So,this is my story on how I lost my faith in the faith itself.

In 2010,while handing out students reports to their parents, I was left with an eerie sensation that cling to my skin for a long time. I was not hijab clad,I was ‘too westernised’ for an Islamic teacher,I raised too many questions in children’s belief about their religion, I carped and raised my voice about what should be ‘hushed’ and best left unheard of.Therefore I was labelled,for a long time to come,as a teacher not fit to teach about Islam,only because I had dared to trouble their minds with the question ‘why’. For they say,Islam has no answer for why, yet I refused to limit my mind within the paradigms of rules of a faith that is more of a legacy in Pakistan instead of a choice.

By the time I had left my teens,I was more agnostic than ever and I met a few more like me;those who dared to question their belief.Conversely,we were put down,by the ‘fear of Allah’, or to change our views and look upon the holier ones amongst us.Time after time,I was left to contemplate,how deeply religious fundamentalism and bigotry had been deeply rooted within the confinements of our minds.In a country that puts blind faith in religion and continues defying the religious fanatics,we are but a nation made of just that.

Suppressed,I resorted to futile arguments with ‘liberal-looking-religious-zealots’,each time arguing against the burden of hijab on women and the permission of polygamy for women,against the religion that was sexist within its base and contradicted itself many a times.The result?Im still an outcast because I demanded most basic of human rights;the right to choose my faith.

About the Author
Hiba Naeem is an undergrad studying literature with minors in European history and mass communications at the University of Karachi. She hopes to work as a journalist on socio-economic topics and loves traveling, especially to Rampur, India, about which she intends to write one day. Hiba Naeem also aims to work as a correspondent for a reputable newspaper soon.