OP - August 07, 2017, 09:23 PM
Hello, my name is zephyrus, I am 19 years old and live in Britain. Like many other people here I have a crushing fear of being identified online so I will be vague with personal details: I am a girl, I'm going to begin my second year of university this Autumn and I am a closet ex-Muslim.
I've visited this site intermittently for a few years now, and found comfort reading some of the threads. I stumbled upon it probably when I was 16 or 17 after I typed in something like 'ex-muslim' into Google. I guess I finally decided to make an account and introduce myself, simply because I've never been at such a low point in my life and often feel so hopeless about the future.
My Islamic background is definitely not as horrifying/severe as some of the things I've seen posted on here. I was born into I guess what you would call a moderate Muslim family: for instance, my mum doesn't wear a hijab (and neither do I) and my parents are lax about eating halal meat (but never any pork). We do however practise Ramadan, pray 5 times a day, alcohol is forbidden, no clubbing, no boyfriends, no girlfriends, no hugging/kissing a man/woman before marriage, no tight/revealing clothes etc. I went to an Islamic school until I was around 15 and was forced to pray, memorise surahs from the Quran etc. Whilst I was in the Islamic school I used to go along with it all until I was probably 13, and I remember one day finding out that you didn't have to pray if you had your period, so I lied to the teachers that I had my period so I didn't have to pray. I think at the time it was more out of sheer laziness more than anything, but I remember I lied several times after that, and as time went on unprecedented thoughts starting crowding my preteen mind: why do us girls always have to stand behind the boys when we pray? (It seemed odd to me that a 40 year old woman for example would stand behind a 9 year old boy. I heard a rumour that it was so that the males don't get distracted by a female standing in front of them. All I could think was how there were plenty of cute boys who definitely distracted me during salah) Why can't a girl lead the prayer? If salah is one of the most important things a Muslim can do, why would Allah inflict girls with periods, which can last up to a week, and therefore pray less? And why are periods considered to make you 'dirty'? Why do girls have to cover up during prayer, but boys don't? How does praying 5 times a day make you a better person? Why is wudu such an unnecessarily complicated and frankly stupid way to clean yourself?
Even though these thoughts flitted through my mind, I definitely hadn't at that point starting fully questioning Islam, I just knew I was uncomfortable with it. For example, when my dad would call me to pray, I remember deeply resenting it, especially the fact I would have to cover up. I also hated how you couldn't wear nail varnish as apparently it meant your wudu was invalid. I remember going over to a Muslim friend's house and we prayed with her brother and I remember feeling uncomfortable with how chill they were about the whole thing. I felt alone. Still, at the same time I remember feeling guilty: prayer was super important, right?
It's hard to pinpoint the exact time I actually starting questioning Islam (and eventually identified myself as an apostate). Even though I didn't pray much, I was staunchly against alcohol, sex before marriage and all that good stuff. I still believed in god, heaven and hell. But I know that from probably age 14-17 I seriously questioned some stuff I noticed happening around me: like how my parents were super homophobic (and how as I result I was too for a while) but I remember learning more and more about the LGBT community and even had a friend who was gay and I just couldn't understand how it was wrong; like how my parents never ever talked about sex (I mean, for all they know I still might not know wtf sex even is. My mum didn't even give me consent in year 6 to watch those sex education vids in school) or gave us 'the talk' or whatever - I know this isn't even necessarily to do with Islam, but I notice many muslim parents don't like talking openly with their children about stuff like this, like it's some dirty secret; how there was such a divide between men and women (it's like we're different species. Even when a married couple comes to our house, the women sit on one side of the house and the men on the other. Are our conversations so wildly different we can't even sit in the same room??! I know this again is partly cultural, but it stems Islamic teaching that men and women shouldn't mix freely); how women were hyper-sexualised from a young age (even just earlier today my mum told my 15 year old sister never to wear a certain pair of jeans again because they were too tight); how kaffirs would be punished in the afterlife (I remember asking my brother, who is unfortunately very religious, why isolated tribes in the amazon would deserve to be punished for not 'discovering' Islam) even if they were good people; how the Quran said men could beat their wives; how Muslim men could marry a non-Muslim woman but not vice Verda; how so many girls said the hijab/burqah 'empowered' them and seemed so brainwashed - why should it be the responsibility of a woman to not attract the gaze of a man, so she ends up wearing a piece of cloth around her head even in swealtering heat, even when she's in the comfort of her own home and a man who's not a relative enter the house? Why can't the man just suck it up and stop looking at a woman in sexual terms only? How would men feel if we told them to wear blindfolds around women all the time, and every time they saw a woman, or a woman entered their home they had to wear it? Also isn't the whole you-can-take-off-the-hijab-in-front-of-girls thing basically pointless because I can bet you anything there are some lesbians/bisexuals amongst your female friends? And what about men who fancy other men? It seems to me everyone should wear the hijab! Anyway - you get the point.
What eventually pushed me over the edge and led to me identifying as an apostate was the fact that I quickly realised around 18 years old just how limited my life was and would be. By this point I was still somewhat defending my 'decision' (ha) to be a teetotaller, not believing in sex before marriage etc. None of my school friends are Muslim, so you can imagine what happened: the age of clubbing began and my social life basically ended; people stopped inviting me to stuff because they knew I wouldn't be going out; more and more I realised slowly that they were living life and I was not; whilst they went to festivals, I was in my room doing nothing; whilst they stayed up late and had sleepovers, I was getting angry phone calls off my mum and shut down whenever I even mentioned sleeping over someone's house (it's not nice to sleep in a house with a strange man waking around, my mum claims - talking about my best friends' dads); whilst they told drunken stories, gushed about their first kisses, first times, could wear whatever they wanted (shorts, tank tops, sleeveless dresses) without being viewed as a teenage prostitute, could talk about crushes and boyfriends openly with their parents and siblings, I would sit their with a smile plastered on my face still maintaining the image of a good Muslim girl.
And then uni came and by then I had fully renounced Islam. I drink and I've been clubbing a few times, but funnily enough I've never felt so alone. Only one friend at uni knows (vaguely) about my situation. I'm living a double life and it's crushing me. I'm oscillating between going wild, having sex, getting a secret boyfriend or just forgetting about it all, and accept my destiny to marry a Muslim man and keep faking being Muslim - because I don't want to lose my family. I love them so much and honestly have realised over the years I can't even blame them because we've all be indoctrinated by the same toxic ideology - I'm just one of the lucky few to have seen it for what it really is. I'm not sure if they'd disown me if they knew but there would be extremely bad backlash.
I just needed to vent. Sorry this is so long.