Really Muslim

Posted by Sophiaa on June 29, 2017 Blog | | No comments

I recently have come out very publicly as a Muslim American woman and furthermore incorporated it as part of my musical campaign. I want to be clear, I am not a human rights activist I am simply here to say I am Muslim, not hide, and show people a way of seeing a Muslim American woman. Simply expressing my experience with my faith and sharing my music along with it. So far the experience has been very positive. I have people at my shows that will say “How cool, you’re a Muslim girl up there singing so powerfully and passionately it’s awesome.” I’ve also received a lot of praise for being brave enough in such a scary time to come out and say “I am Muslim” but that’s a whole other subject I will address in another blog.

The experience I wanted to share is actually with my closest friends. While talking about my campaign a couple have said: “Its great but you’re not really Muslim.”

My reaction at first was a bit insulted but mainly confused, I replied “yea I am really Muslim.” I thought more on it and this is what I’ve come up with. As a generalization of course, I think people see or know Muslim women or Muslim Americans or Muslims only as an “extreme” version and that’s what they think is a “real” Muslim woman.

Cut and dry the five pillars of the Islamic faith are: Shahada (Confession of faith, I find to be most important), Salat (prayer: talking to, asking and praising god), Zakat (almsgiving: giving money or food to poor people), Sawm (Fasting, especially during the months of Ramadan) and Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca).

The image of what they may think a “real” Muslim woman is: the woman who choses to wear the Hijab (head scarf), she covers her skin showing only hands and feet, she prays 5 times a day at the exact times of prayer, she doesn’t go out, she doesn’t drink, she may be oppressed, she follows Ramadan, and you wouldn’t see her singing her butt off, flipping her hair around in front of thousands of people on stage for example. While this is beautiful (except for the oppression part) and can characterize a Muslim woman it is not the only way to be Muslim.

Lets look at other religions. If you were talking to a Catholic woman, who doesn’t wear the veil and tunic (dress) that a nun may wear (which by the way is the same thing as wearing a Hijab, but again a discussion for another blog), she doesn’t live in the church, takes vows of silence, devote her life completely to God and pray all day, does that mean she isn’t really Catholic? Or for example your friend Sandra who doesn’t go to church every Sunday does that mean she isn’t really Christian? How about Orthodox Jews, if you don’t wear the Kippah everyday, have the beard, and wear the suit, does that mean you are not really Jewish?

The most appealing entity that brought me to follow the Muslim faith was that the religion follows the precipice: “it is between you and Allah (God)” no one else. You have the Quran to help you along the way and you do your best but your conflict’s to being a good person and having a strong faith is work that is done between you and Allah (god) and then the rest follows. As I said I think that choosing your faith and believing is the most important and special part of religion and within that: your relationship with God.

Ill finish by telling you a little of whom I am: I chose not to wear the Hijab or to cover up, I don’t pray at the exact prayer times 5 times a day but I do pray and talk to Allah daily, I drink alcohol (working on stopping), I go to the Mosque when I can but not every Friday, I follow Ramadan, I am a good person, I try to never judge, I don’t steal, I don’t lie, I try to be a good daughter, I help the homeless and less fortunate, I am a college graduate, I donate blood, I sing, I am a performer, I am a musician, and I am proud to say I am really Muslim.