I've been trying to write this one for a while, which is funny because it's short and not really all that complicated. It's just that, even though the words are accurate, I feel like they don't quite touch exactly what I mean.
And maybe it's also because I think it's a little awkward? Or that people won't understand it the way I feel it?
Well. It is what it is at this point.
So. I think you're all (or at least most of you) aware that I'm something of a religious...*waves hands* I think of myself in a metaphor sometimes. I'm a little dinghy, okay? And I'm lost at sea but I can see that there are a couple of islands over to the right and there's a larger ship to the left. And some other islands in front of me. Now of course all these places look safe and I can see the people waving, telling me to come join them. I need to make a choice, one of the islands or the ship or to just stay
in my little dinghy and keep on going alone in the ocean. And the last
option is not appealing to me. But are any of the other choices really what they seem? Can I really trust the promises of safety and shelter and help that they're giving out? The islands might be inhabited by cannibals, the ship might be a pirate ship or a slave ship. Or they might all be hallucinations from being alone at sea for so long.
That's how I feel about my search for, I won't even call it religious truth, but religious fulfillment.
And for some reason I keep circling Islam. I'm trying to figure out exactly why, because I'm honestly not sure. I know that, in the beginning, I was attracted to Islam because of the hijab. Because of what it represents and because I honestly believe that hijabis are beautiful in a way that has nothing to do with physical characteristics. Which is not to say that all hijabis are perfect people or anything. Or that I believe that every woman should wear hijab. Just...there's a beauty there that I can't (again) quite put into words.
That was my first attraction, because I felt at the time that God was calling me and calling me to cover my hair and dress modestly. Things have changed, clearly, in that respect. And I know now that that's a very shallow reason to be attracted to anything. 'Hey, I don't know anything about your faith, really, but I want to wear your hats.' No.
With that out of the way though, I still have this fascination/attraction to Islam. Why?
I think I've figured out at least one reason for it.
Islam is simple. Which is not to be confused with simplistic. What I mean is that the core of Islamic belief is more easily rational than some others.
There is one God who created everything. He has sent down prophets who convey his message to the people around them. Follow the rules contained in the message, believe in the messenger and that's that.
There's something about this simplicity that appeals to me. It gives a strong, basic core from which one can have interesting theological arguments. It's simplicity doesn't negate the complexity of faith in and of itself.
But. There are also reasons holding me back and the one I think of when I think about the simplicity of Islam is the fact that it feels like a betrayal.
It feels like if I chose Islam then I would be betraying my ancestors. After all, Islam is a Middle Eastern faith. Like Judaism and Christianity. It was born out of a region and a culture that I have no connection to. My ancestors were pagans. They worshiped versions of the Norse deities. Why is that not good enough for me? Or even if I can't mesh myself with paganism? Why not stick with the Christianity of my more recent ancestors, the religion I was born into? And I can't answer that with any clarity except that I haven't found fulfillment in either of those places. But then why does it feel like I'm turning my back on my ancestors when I consider Islam?