My Experiences as an Indian Ex Muslim from a city in Andhra PradeshOctober 23, 2020
I came to identify myself as an ex muslim since my 11th standard when I had started going deep into Islam. Mine is the case of leaving Islam after getting intrigued about it and trying to understand it better but instead finding out about violence, primitive ideology and practices.
These are my personal experiences and opinions and everyone is free to disagree with me. I'm open to new perspectives and debate.
The process of becoming an ex muslim was a gradual one for me. Getting access to the internet and my subsequent interest in theology and philosophy and literature had started at the same time when I was exploring and trying to better understand Islam (that's what I thought of it back then). I think that the former was caused by the latter events. And eventually leading me to leave Islam and becoming a unabashed atheist. Life felt more liberating after that no more living my life in accordance with a sky daddy. For me atheism was significant in realising about individualism. I no longer had to adhere to the views of someone else or any scripture of that sort. I could question whatever I want without any fear or guilt.
Growing up as a muslim in India my lifestyle didn't seem much different than my fellow hindu friends. Except a few areas like festivals. It's like Indian Muslims seem to blend with the society around them. They don't stand like in stark contrast of society Muslims in western countries. The Indian society was and is patriarchical, women oppressed, women considered weaker, with big very choices when it comes to choosing a career with huge pressure to be an ideal housemaker and a submissive ideal wife and having less rights and freedoms than men. A huge pressure on men to be masculine, control their female family members, be a symbol of authority, a strong head, the sole breadwinner and yeah one who should never cry. This may not be the same in whole of India but this is what I saw in my town growing up. Many of these things I saw were same or similar in Islam. That's until I started reading literature and started to find out about different cultures and societies and philosophical ideas.
Maybe it's because of this similarity of the present Indian Society and Islam I didn't find much of the things wrong when I started exploring Islam. Though my school education did help instating equal rights for both genders according to law but the world around me manifested a completely different picture. I had come to an understanding that this was how society works and it will work in future.
Being from Indian society I still carry the baggage of the practices and mindset of it. I have a lot of unlearning to do.
Most of the Indian Muslims possess a pride about their identity of being Muslims but seeing their lifestyle and beliefs most of them don't seem much different than the other groups of the Indian society. Very few Muslims pray regularly at five times only seeing the face of mosque on Friday. Go to Theatres watching movies, smoke and do things which are generally considered bad or even taboo things by Arab muslims. Though their ancestors converted to Islam they didn't leave the local cultures and practices, things which are not in Islam or even things which aren't allowed by Islam. They turn to God only when faced with a difficulty and during festivals. Most of them don't know much about Islam and are aware of the more weirder and primitive orders and behaviour of Muhammad. Coming together collectively only when any of their traditions or so called honour is at risk.
Leaving Islam wasn't easy and after leaving it had to figure out a lot of things. My family was still Muslim and quite a religious one. Most of my family members prayed 5 times a day and read books of Islamic Scholars. My family was a bit more religious than other usual Indian Muslims cause my grandfather thought he got a vision from Allah in a dream since which he became a pious Muslim. I have been a closeted ex muslim since I left Islam. My family doesn't have the slightest hint of it. I participate in festivals with them and sometimes enjoy them (solely because of the food ;) ). Coming out as an atheist can have dire consequences for me. I pretend to pray in front of them but try to skip things as much as possible. I'm currently pursuing my bachelor's after which I plan to move out and live separately and as an atheist.
As an ex muslim living in the BJP ruled India I have criticism for both the sides. I feel like both the sides are bigoted and extremist. Being an ex muslim the issue of fighting over religious dogma is utter stupidity to me. Fighting over religious ideas when there are real issues to be addressed is just utter idiocy. Leading the country into a downward spiral.
Again these are solely my views and opinions. I might be wrong about somethings. But hey I'm open if you guys have any counter points.
Thank You for reading such a long story.
Edit 1: I was requested to elaborate on the bigotry on the non BJP side. Here it is
Growing up I have seen hatred for Hindus in my home. My mom considered Hindus impure for things like They don't wash themselves after peeing and they don't maintain personal hygiene. Because of this they smelled of pee according to her. I've seen many of my family members talk about how Hindus are running a secret agenda to wipe out Muslims and how the whole world is against Muslims. Things like Hindus vote solely for Hindus so that they can wipe out Muslims are one of the many statements suggesting Hinduconspiracy and Muslim Khatre mein hai (This was before BJP came to power). After BJP came in power every policy was criticised by coming up with a conspiracy theory against muslims. Most of the bigotry and hatred on the non BJP side is off record and happens behind closed doors.
This is what I have seen around me it might be different in different parts.