Saying Goodbye to Islam
Today is my last day as a Muslim. No more constantly checking the time for salat, no more reading/wrestling with passages from the Qur’an, no more “Salaam’s” or “Ramadan mubarak’s”, no more standing toe-to-toe/shoulder-to-shoulder in a line of men prostrating to Allah, no more listening to the ethereal melody of the adhan (call to prayer), no more washing dishes with ”Allahu Akbar” on repeat upon my lips.
No more, Islam.
Out of every month so far, this one has witnessed the most change. Islam and I were once sworn enemies. Now, we are friends. Once upon a time, I wanted to kill Muslims. Every. Last. One of them. Now, I’d welcome them into my home.
Islam taught me that Muslims are not terrorists. Terrorists, are terrorists. Muslims do not kill innocent people. Murderers kill innocent people. So there are no Islamic terrorists. That term is oxymoronic. Don’t make the mistake of confusing these terms.
Before Ramadan, I didn’t really understand hunger or physical/spiritual discipline. Islam taught me temperance and empathy. Before Islam, I thought Muhammad was a selfish and delusional man. In my opinion, he was not. He and I are brothers now. We understand one another, because we know what it means to desire change in the world. We know what it’s like to experience things we don’t fully understand and be haunted by them day and night. Day, and night…
His wisdom is teaching me how to accept one’s calling.
Peace and blessings upon you, Prophet Muhammad. Peace and blessings at last, brother.
But this isn’t just the end of Islam for me. As the sun sets on August 31st, 2011, Project Conversion enters into the last third–the last four months of the year. The first 1/3 of the year chiseled away years of animosity toward the world of faith, the middle 1/3 planted a seed. This month, that seed burst violently…with terrifying beauty, from the soil tilled by the first eight faiths. As I open my eyes on September 1st and rise as a Sikh, I will step forward–trembling but faithful–toward what the last 1/3 of the year holds.
Who will I be? What, will I be?
Only the universe, God, and destiny knows. But as scared and exhausted as I am, as much as my mind and soul ache and my spirit cries for mercy, I have no choice but to go forward. I cannot stop now. The muezzin of destiny calls me forth like a gentle lover’s voice.
I must be the change, I must be, I must.
Thank you, Mentor Adam Beyah, for guiding me this month and for welcoming me into your world of faith. To the brothers and sisters at Masjid Omar Ibn Sayyid, your house of worship and the warmth of your welcome every jum’ah (Friday prayers) will be sorely missed. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you for your kindness.
To all the Muslim brothers and sisters of our Congregation, you are indeed a chest of gems, and have kept the tradition of our vibrant community alive. Inshallah, you will stay with us for the remaining months and offer your insight.
Now that you’ve known me as a Muslim, how do you feel about Islam? Where you once like me, an enemy of the faith? Have you looked into Islam more or learned something new since we began on August 1st? Inshallah, you have learned and come to respect Islam just as I have these last 31 days. To learn more, visit your local masjid or simply ask a Muslim you know. I promise, they will be honored to answer your kind inquiry.
It is my pleasure to offer you a final asalaam alaikum. Peace be upon you, and thanks for joining me this month.