As a Muslim, I participate in Ramadan. Usually, I look forward to it… this year it is something that I feel I need to do, but my heart is torn. I identify myself as a Muslim, for reasons most other Muslims would not understand. I am a spiritual person, but have found that adhering to a religion makes most a self-righteous jack ass; that ascribing to one religion makes you sin free, saintly and far from disgrace. That attitude inevitably leads one to believe that they are the best among mankind and any action they take is justified; absolved of anything our Creator would deem objectionable.
I guess I know too much about people and sadly the aforementioned attitude has permeated my own home, causing heartache and testing my faith to the point I was ready to turn away completely. Thankfully, there have been people like Al Ghazali to learn from. I realize now that Islam was a beautiful path to God, but people have corrupted it as much as they have other religions.
So, for the sake of knowing that fasting Ramadan is good for my soul and purifies my heart… making me a more compassionate, empathetic and loving person, I will participate. I, however, am unsure of how it will be at the masjid- separating women from the imam, knowing the goings on of the bearded, highly respected community leaders, the racist undertones when certain hafiz for tarawih are rejected for less competent Arab counterparts, and the backbiting of wicked women of other women for their attire or lack of Arab cultural norms.
I do not trust myself to bite my tongue and remain silent. In years past, I have pushed my fists into the floor to refrain from unleashing on these fake people who are clueless about the truth of Islam and only follow the ridiculousness of the culture they mistake for deen…but this year, I am ready to wake people up as rudely as possible. Alas, when fasting one is not to get angry!!! I am angry and I am bitter… anyone who has witnessed first hand the hypocrisy that I have would be as well. And let me remind those of other religions, faiths or lack of…. this hypocrisy is just as prevalent in your circles too… just look at the news; the only difference being the cultural Muslims are of those who believe we should not air our dirty laundry. I just ask though, if we do not, how do we get it cleaned?
I want to get the most out of Ramadan, but I want the religion I chose to be revived to what it once was; and no I do not mean salafism or wahhabism or any other version of self-righteous labeling. I want it back to its roots of self-improvement, introspection, purification of the heart and all those things that make us better people… not to proclaim our holiness, but to be a benefit to the world as a whole, humankind, animal and energy alike.
Ramadan is close and not sure if my heart is ready… but it may just be what my heart needs.