I’m a Muslim and I believe that there is a God and that he’s the creator of the universe. That he sent messengers to humanity. In Islam we believe in all messengers, including Jewish and Christian messengers. They all had pretty much the same message: to worship God exclusively.
I was born into a Muslim household so I learnt Islam that way. But there was a period in my life, in my teenage years, when I started to question a lot of things. I read stuff, thought about stuff, did a lot of soul searching, and eventually I came to the beliefs that I’m telling you about today.
It’s funny: I’ve been talking to a colleague at work who has a lot of doubts about creation and stuff. He’s like “no we were created by the big bang”. But then I’m like “yeah but, you can’t create something out of nothing”. You can’t just tell me that all of this world, with all of its perfect systems – the sun rising at the same time every day, the power of the mind – all that cannot exist just because of an accident.
I appreciate evolutionary theory. But there has never been any proof that a fish became a bird. There’s no change of kinds. What’s more, the Quran says that God created Adam as a human being – he didn’t evolve. Evolutionary theory has a lot of holes. The Quran on the other hand, is so full of marvels.
One of the things that really gets me down is what ISIS is doing. They have absolutely nothing to do with Islam. One of the things that Muslim scholars in the West have done is to call onto ISIS and say “you call yourself an Islamic state, so you must be basing your actions on some understanding of Islam. So who are your scholars? Bring them to us so we can have a discussion.” But nothing happened because they don’t even have scholars. They call themselves ISIS but they’re just a bunch of thugs.
And the media just picks up “oh Muslim guy did this in the US.” Well you know how many white, Christian males kill children in schools? Just took a gun and started shooting? How many white, American, Christian males went and burnt down black churches? Why is it that people don’t ask, “what do Christians think about that?” It’s totally fair to ask what a faith community thinks but you have to be consistent. Why don’t the media ask “what do Jewish people in the US think about what Israel’s doing to Palestinians?” If you want to ask Muslims, do so. But also ask every Christian and every Jew. Just make it fair.
Islam is about you judging yourself and always trying to outdo yourself in trying to be a better person. And you know yourself. No one is there to judge you. So I know I can try to be a nicer person. I know I can do better for my community. But living in Canada there are challenges. Like finding a place to pray. Often you can’t find a mosque. You have to find an empty corner. And then you’ll sometimes hear people making unpleasant comments. But in general it’s fine practicing here.
And at work, before I accepted the contract, I had to say “look, I’m Muslim: on Fridays at noontime I will have to go for prayer. So I’ll take a longer lunchbreak, but I’ll make it up in terms of hours the rest of the week”
So many people ask me “So you’ve never had a drink?” And I’m like “no”.
“Never had intimacy with a woman outside of wedlock?”
For me it’s not strange. It’s the way I was raised. I pray five times a day. I get up to pray at dawn. It changes through the year. Nowadays it’s around 6, but in the summer it can be like 2.45am.
“You do that five times a day?”
I mean, sometimes I do oversleep.