A members Journey from faith to faithless
Author: ZJuly 10, 2020
23 Male Indian
I hope to share some of my experiences, get things off my chest and hopefully impart a few lessons so that you could do better than I did. Obviously, these are my experiences and opinions, so not everything that happened to me might happen to you.
Typical desi kid, kinda nerdy, a lil geeky and was a firm believer in Islam. the family was quite liberal but that changed when an aunt turned Salafi and got the whole family to become conservative. So naturally, the kids (including me) were forced to become religious; not that I knew it at the time, but it feels like a part of my childhood was lost to madrassas, masjids and being pious. Most of my female cousins were married off under 17 to guys at least 10 years older than them. Even had a male cousin who got married at 21. The Muslim society in my city is generally progressive (for Muslim standards) but my extended family would be among the most religious in the city at the very least.
Part 1: Losing Faith
Where it all began:
Curiosity and common sense can be a problem for Islam as we all know by now. I Read a lot of Islamic propaganda literature, fasted, prayed, helped with religious activities etc, but couldn't reconcile a lot of the teachings with science; and also the confusion of how such a peaceful religion could have violent followers.
To be honest, if it weren't for my personal hardship, I wouldn't have bothered to critically analyse my religion, but this obviously differs from person to person. I've Always been good at studies and had managed to secure a rank good enough to get a scholarship in any college I wanted, but unfortunately "abba nahi maane"(parents didn't let me move away from home). My biggest achievement so far was rendered useless. I ended up in a Muslim college in my city (against my wishes) and wasn't happy about it since I didn't see myself going forward in my career and decided to drop out and restart the course in some other college.
The research phase:
I thought that I was unhappy because I wasn't religious enough so I went hard at it hoping Allah will heed my prayers. Prayed all the prayers in the masjid, Read only Quran in Ramadan, stopped music and gaming, obsessed with religion. This is when I wondered, why not understand what Allah has to say to me. How bad could it be? Soon enough like a house of cards, my faith crumbled the more I read the Quran.
The scientific inaccuracies, moral dilemmas, demonizing of the non-Muslim community and the ignorant attitude of the community started chipping away at my faith. I could not justify them, but I tried to ignore them as long as I could (close to 6 months). The scientific inaccuracies were just baffling. The more I read the Quran, the more my faith kept falling until eventually, I understood what surah 4 verse 24 meant (on my 4th readthrough). I could not accept that the creator of this universe would not only allow slavery but making concubines out of war captives? Imagine the outrage if married Muslim women were taken as slaves and raped, and it was justified by any other religious scripture. Sure, men of all religion probably did that, but it is justified by a religious scripture that I had to follow unquestioned, that was ridiculous and that's where I knew I didn't believe anymore.
So Part 1 was about my background, why I started doubting and what made me stop believing.
This post is about my mistakes, which you probably shouldn't make! XD
Part 2: Mistakes
Finally free from my mental shackles, I wanted to live life to it's fullest and what did I do with my newfound freedom? Smoking, drinking and weed! (Yes I left only for this reason). Not my wisest choices but hey, I was young and stupid. For the most part, I did fine, never went overboard with the drinking and weed (smoking not so much), it was only a few times a year that I did it, after the initial phase.
Being overconfident. I knew it would be disasterous if I got caught but that didn't stop me from flaunting coz I was a proud murtad (xD) So in my stupidity, I let my cousin know that I stopped believing (we were both stoned)
Trusting the wrong person. After knowing that I was an exmuslim, my (Haafiz but stoner) cousin was suddenly interested in drinking now, he asked me if he could have his first drink with me. My stupid excited ass couldn't comprehend that he was gonna betray me. We went to the bar and before I could even order my drink, my uncle and another cousin show up to the bar. I knew I was fucked! that betrayal still hurts to this day.
Things got ugly after that. Family intervention, less talking, more beating. Had my head smashed to the wall, chairs stabbed to my stomach and back, tricycle smashed on me. sticks and slaps didn't work on me anymore. The concussion didn't let me feel anything else, grateful for that. My mom tried to stop them, they said it was all her fault. Dad was just shocked.
The beatings didn't break me though. The words did. As I slowly crawled my way to get some water, my aunt spilt all the water and said "Don't touch the water, your unholy touch will taint it, and we won't be able to drink it" there was a very uneasy feeling after that. It still makes me sick to this day. I could relate to Dalits at that point, I finally knew what it meant to be an untouchable.
My concussed head could only think of suicide at the time and suicidal thoughts did me last for the better part of a year. So when everyone else was praying, I grabbed my bag, a few clothes, my documents, 30 bucks and a swiss knife ( If anyone came after me, I'd kill them and then I would've killed myself). They stopped me before I could leave and to their credit, they realised they'd gone too far. The situation calmed down and they locked my in the balcony (My home for the next week)
Consequently, I had to drop out of college, they made me work at a construction site for a week till they decided my future. they decided I would be going away to a madrassa for 6 months. My life was over, I knew I was never going to recover from this. So the night before I was supposed to leave for the madrassa I decided to run away, to either kill myself in peace or try my luck on the streets.
The reason I'm posting this right now is probably because of the one good decision I made at the time. I decided against running away or committing suicide. I thought I was a coward for not finding the courage to commit suicide, but I realized that it would take only a moment of courage to kill myself but I would need courage for a lifetime if I were to live. I realised that this was my only shot at life and even if ending it would mean peace, I wanted to see if I could weather the storm and eventually do what I want to do and live a happy life.
In part 2 I've mentioned what I did as an atheist and my mistakes and some of the bad shit that happened
I guess it got a little too dark at the end, this is my redemption arc:
Part 3: Redemption
So the next morning, they found my stuff at the door and realised I was gonna run away. I used that to somehow get through to my parents and didn't have to go away, but instead attend madrassa near my place where I could come home every day
The next four months of the madrassa were hell but the teacher at the place was a great guy. He was willing to listen to my problems and even debate with me, of course, I didn't buy his justification but at least we had a civilized conversation
Got out early from madrassa for good behaviour. Got myself a job, did well, got a promotion to another city but parents didn't let me (family pressure) Parents agreed to send me back to college but it was late in the semester So lost 2 years of college.
If you're wondering what happened to my backstabbing hafiz stoner cousin, I guess karma got him. He got married (forcibly) a few weeks after he turned 21 to a girl he doesn't like. (they found out he had a non-muslim girlfriend). He was caught roaming with the ex GF after marriage, which caused problems. The cops caught him for weed at a state border, family bailed him out. He tried to push it on me but I'd been sober for 2 years. They asked me if I knew about this, I said yes, they asked me why I didn't tell them about it. I said I wasn't raised to be an asshole, I proved my character at that point. When confronted about these things he got violent and got his friends to beat up my uncles. Things didn't go too well for either one of them
Things are quite good now. My relationship with my parents is better than before, I'm doing well professionally (until I get back to college) Ghosted the extended family, convinced parents how toxic they were This phase would be the middle of my progress montage. I've not exactly made it in life but I'm getting there, so I'm hopeful
These would be the lessons I learnt from my experiences:
- Don't be overconfident and think it's okay to come out of the closet unless you have a backup plan
- Be extra careful who you trust, even your brother can betray you if they've got something to gain.
- Carefully plan all your moves
- Try to gain financial independence as soon as possible and don't try coming out until then.
- Don't let bad things define who you are, hardship reveals character
- Never lose hope, it all works out itself if you want it
- Time heals, things do get better.
- Forgive but never forget.
If you've come this far, thank you for reading Just wanted to get things off my chest, hopefully, you get to learn something from this And if you're struggling right now, hang on. Things get better only if you believe in yourself I can't claim that others haven't suffered worse than me but if I can try coming out of it, so can you Good luck
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Exmuslims of India or any other agency, organization, employer or company. Assumptions made in the blog are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s) – and, since we are critically-thinking human beings, these views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time. Please do not hold us to them in perpetuity.