Thursday, December 26, 2013

I envy people who believe in a loving, merciful God.

I got the idea for the below post from a friend who's going through a rough time in her life right now and who, too, was raised being taught only about a mean, judgmental god to whom she finds it hard to turn in times of need.

Sure, all except one of the 114 chapters of the Qur'an begins with the phrase "In the name of God, the most merciful, most beneficent," but that's not the same God I grew up being forced to believe in. But I envy anyone who does believe in that God. I need a loving God. I'm sick and tired of the mean one. And I'm sick and tired of anyone who talks to me about the mean one. Go to hell - you know who you are, you so-called "god-fearing" hypocrites and meanies.

This is what happens when the first things we teach our kids are about what sins not to commit or what's sinful and what's not or don't do this and don't do that. Or that "God is watching you." Or "God will punish you." Screw you and that god of yours. No one ever taught me that God was actually very loving and merciful.  

The God I grew up to is a mean, evil, arrogant, vicious being who finds fault with every little thing a he gave human the power to do and think. I grew up learning about a God who I am to fear and fear only. He wasn't (and still isn't) worth loving because he doesn't love his creations; he only judges--and judges meanly so--and he punishes. So harshly. And he punishes women more than he punishes men, though. He cares about whether or not a woman's hair is covered, whether someone prayed a certain way a certain times a day or not in a certain direction and in what language, what time people open and break their fast, and so on. Things that are relevant to only a small portion of the human population.

But I know people who believe in a Loving God. In a God who truly, sincerely loves those whom He has created. And I want to love and believe in that God. It's just, I really don't know how to because I've spent the last 27 years of my life fearing the vicious god everyone around me believes me. My friends talk about a little god who punishes people for eating Doritos and gummy bears and gummy worms because they have gelatin in them and gelatin have pork in them, they say, and anything with even an atom of pork in it is forbidden, they say. I pity these people and anyone who believes like them. Other friends attempt to instill fear in my mind of a petty god who punishes women but not men for a lot of things--like leading gender-mixed prayers, showing hair or skin (arms, legs, tummy, cleavage, neck, etc.), marrying non-Muslim men. These same people focus incessantly on the obligations of women (as they understand them) but not as much on the obligations of men (as they understand them), and so everyone ends up judging women, hating women, controlling women, immobilizing women. This little god is so obsessed with the female sexuality and the female body that he forgets about the actual problems of the world--like genocides, wars, rape, murder, pedophilia, theft, human sacrifices, female infanticides, breast ironing, child-brides, and so on.

I'm sick of those people and I'm sick of that little god who has given them any reason to believe that.

This god is little more than what we call "bao" in Pashto. (Bao = a monster). But I'm in need of love from the One who created me, so that god has failed me. Completely. I want a loving, merciful, kind, loving God who actually gives a damn about me and my being and doesn't define me by the sins that have accompanied me all of my life. If the God you believe in is a loving God, consider yourself lucky! Because it's extremely hard to find way to that loving God once you have been fooled all your life into fearing a god totally opposite of that. 

Believing in a merciful God makes it really easy to turn to Him in time of need and hardship. It makes it easy to pray to Him. The god I grew up with is too mean for me to love enough to turn to him when I need him and when I feel like praying. 'Cause he's gonna judge me, he's gonna punish me, he's gonna blame me. He won't understand me, take my situation or circumstances or reasons into consideration, respect me, take my side, help me.

And so I envy anyone who believes in a God who's far bigger than these people and their insecurities and judgments and bigotry and narrowness, a God who's much bigger than the rules that he's apparently obsessed with, a God who is too Great to be offended by my showing my hair or skin or leading men in prayer or marrying a non-Muslim man or talking to men or traveling without a male chaperone and so on.

I hope to one day soon reach a stage at which I'll finally develop a relationship the merciful, loving, kind God I want to believe in and that i need to believe in for my own sanity's sake.


  1. Find the one within you. It will answer all your queries and give you love, peace and all powers. But for that you would have to give up various dogmas and live life with as less hypocrisy as possible.

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      Great advice! Thank you for your readership!

  2. I have found a safe, quiet haven in El- Tawhid Juma Circle. Social Justice and spiritual healing are not only preached there, they are enacted.

    1. Thanks for your comment and the link, F2B! I'm a fan of that group on FB and I love it! :) Such an excellent step in the right direction! Keep it up!

  3. I feel you I used to have the same resentment but getting away from everyone and everything for a while and just being alone for university has helped me understand who God is instead of what others believe God to be. Some people have souls which are sparked to faith through fear and others through love but the one thing I always remember and rejoice at is the fact that

    Allah said, I am as my servant says I am. This is a sound narration reported in all Bukhari

    And the scholars commented as such:
    The Scholars (may Allah have mercy upon them) commented on the above Hadith Qudsi, where the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said that Allah said, “I am as my slave expects Me to be”:

    Ibn Hajar (may Allah have Mercy upon him) said: “meaning, I am able to do whatever he expects I will do.” [Fath al-Bari]

    Imam Nawawi (may Allah have Mercy upon him) said: “The scholars say that expecting the best of Allah is to expect that He will have Mercy on him and relieve him of hardship.” [Sharh Sahih Muslim]

    Imam Nawawi (may Allah have Mercy upon him) also said: “al-Qadi ‘Iyad said that this means He will forgive him if he seeks such, will accept his repentance if he repents, will answer him if he supplicates, and will suffice him if he asks for something. It is also said that it refers to having hope and longing for relief, and this is more correct.” [Sharh Sahih Muslim]

    Faith is a long journey but I hope you will find a way :) <3

    1. Faith is certainly a long (and sometimes difficult) journey! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and for your readership!

      God be with you (and me! hah)!

  4. I went to a Sunday school with a friend at age three or four. We made a little plaque on wood: a wooden lamb was glued onto a base, and under it a pink piece of construction paper had been cut and drawn to look like a scroll rolling on both ends. I glued it underneath the lamb. On the scroll are the words "god is love".

    I've seen evidence of the angry, wrathful, misogynistic God which you speak of. However that is the God who will be present in the lives of angry, wrathful, misogynistic people... and these are learned behaviors.

    I'd like to believe that, for me, 'God' and 'Love' are still synonymous. It's a hard concept to hang on to when everything you see around you tells you to live in fear... if you continue to believe, I pray your journey will bring you to the places where you can see the love.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts! There's still a part of me that believes there's no way that misogynistic, mean God that most people around me believe in isn't real, and I'm on my way to go embrace the nice, kinder God. Beliefs like yours and the other commenters here are a great reminder of what all God actually IS! So thank you!

  5. @who reads this stuf anyway? ''God is Love'' and Love is God. But one can't find this without enduring Pain, of course one says a lot of hateful and bad things about God during that dreadful period of pain and suffering but ultimately one gets to know the ONE(God/love).

    May God bless us all.

    1. Indeed. Aameen to your prayer, and thank you for your readership and thoughts!

  6. Its true that God has been presented to us(since c/hood) as someone identical to a school master with a heavy stick in his hand. Why don't we teach our kids and the general public that he's(if there is one at all!) like 'Rab Zama Janaan', as Ghani Khan would say. By the way, can't one live without having a belief in such an entity? I often laugh at my wife telling kids, 'don't do this or that bcz it's GUNAH/sin'. The concept of sin should be used to attain a peaceful society, rather than to terrify/harass the believers. I wish I were in a world free of this concept at all, let alone to believe in!

    Siraj Khan

    1. Thanks for your comment, Siraj!

      Many people do and can live without belief in any deity, and they're doing quite well. But a lot of others are doing just as well believing in one. So for me, the issue isn't whether to believe or not--it's the character of the deity I was taught to believe in since birth. I fully agree that the concept of sin should be used to attain a peaceful society instead of terrifying or harassing believers (or anyone who doesn't agree with those sins as sins).

  7. Dear miss Orbala,

    I found this post of yours (the first post that introduced me in your blog) and I was very happy to finally find someone who shares the same frustration about this ideal of God that many of us have grown to fear. I am a muslim sunni and the funny thing is, before finding this post and blog of yours I was having a conversation with my bigger sister who believes that people that are non-muslim are destined to rot in hell, even if they have done good deeds and have been the most goodest people ever (as she explains that they will be rewarded on earth for this and punished gravely in death for just being...non-muslims :|). I was angered about how she accepted such an ideal and how she keeps contradicting herself by later showing things that talk about how God is compassionate and such.

    Sadly, I cannot have discussions with most of my family members like her (well, no one mostly). I've nearly had a fight with my mother simply because I kept asking her why she was determined that a mariage between a muslim woman and a non-muslim man was haram (something she judges worse than prostitution) and not know the specific reasons other than "I've heard an imam saying it from the qu'ran" or "the qu'ran said so". And forget about bringing the subject of homosexuality and people that don't fit in socially accepted gender identities.If I persist, I get accused of being gay and out of my mind LOL

    I'll be honest, I do doubt myself on how God should be perceived and what's good and bad. But I do believe that God is compassionate and not a fear-inducing God that easily punishes his own creations.

    But anyways, I do look forward to more of yours posts ! May Allah be with you :) (and also sorry for the long text post !)

    1. Dear Sarah,
      (You can call me just plain Orbala :) )

      Thank you for your "long text post"! I actually enjoy reading longer comments; I develop a certain kind of relationship with the writer of the post/comment as I read. Thank you for taking your time to share your thoughts.

      I know the feeling, and I'm sorry you're going through it. Well, actually, on the one hand, I'm sorry because it can be a scary and hurtful feeling, but on the other hand, it teaches you so much that there's little to be sorry about! I wish you peace with and in it.

      Your family seems to have ideals similar to my family's and most of my Muslim friends. If you defend homosexuality and homosexuals' right to justice and existence, people become suspicious and wonder if you're a homosexual. I find nothing wrong with homosexuality, so most will hear me say, "Even if I am, so what - but I'm hetero, and I prefer it that way for myself, and it works for me." Similarly, if I defend black people (I don't know what your race is, and I'm so sorry if this ends up being terrible to hear - but I don't uphold this thinking myself and fight against it with others around me), I get told, "Oh, you wanna run away with a black man!! Is that why you're defending black people!????!!!" And by "running away," they simply mean "marry"! But where I come from, marrying without the community's approval is akin to eloping, so.

      It's quite frustrating that so many of us believe things without understanding them. Not knowing why women can't marry non-Muslims, not knowing why X is forbidden or allowed, or why something's okay for men but not women (or vice versa), but I'm learning to try really, really hard to just remain patients in moments like this. Today, I went to a talk by a convert (former Catholic) who was basically bashing Catholicism--and the Muslim audience thought it was brilliant, hilarious, and logical--and who said, "I cannot pray for my parents no matter how much I want to or try. I just can't." She'd mentioned before that that they were on the wrong path. It seemed so unfair to me. To deny your parents of sending them prayers after they have died just because in *your* belief/opinion, they are on the wrong path is just so selfish to me, so wrong, so unacceptable. What kind of a religion can be okay with that?

      If you want to email me to share similar frustrations or other thoughts, please feel free to do so. Here's my email address:

      I wish you peace, happiness, and love wherever you go at every point in your life, aameen!

  8. Dear Admin,
    I'd like to share with you a little verse from the New Testament (I know, not your source of scripture, but I think it's relevant to the topic at hand):

    'There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love' John 4:18

    I think that once you realize that fear and love are complete opposite states of being and that you cannot truly have both at the same time, you realize you have to decide either or. Imagine a loved one commanding you to love him/her at gunpoint. How can you possibly love out of fear? Once you really understand the power of love you have no need of fear because love means pure intentions, not harming anyone, doing the best you can to all those around you, serving with love, so what do you have to fear? Fear may be functional to those who do not have a clear conscience and true understanding, but not for someone who understands love and their purpose. As for showing hair, skin, etc and expecting punishment for such things, these are petty things that distracts one from the big picture. Always remember the big picture. :)

    1. Also, one last quote, "Belief in a cruel God creates a cruel man." -Thomas Paine. It's only logical!

    2. Thank you so much for dropping by and sharing your thoughts, Anonymous! :) I appreciate them!

      I love the quote! It does make sense that belief in a cruel God would create a cruel man. History proves it as well.

      Islam, Christianity, and all other religion have a decent concept of God that I believe we miss out when we focus on petty things (like showing skin, hair, maybe even daily prayers, etc.) instead of focusing on the bigger picture, as you said. If only those who teach us religions and hold high positions of power in our communities and societies would realize the value of teaching love to people and teaching about a loving God instead of the mean one many of us are grown up fearing, this world might witness some universal peace at all.

  9. That is the age old dilemma that is being fully flushed out now...what kind of God should be believe in now ? A God who loves everybody, homosexuals, fornicators, atheists, etc, or a wrathful God that condemns everybody. Do people believe in God out of fear or love ? Can you literally finish off all the rules of Islam and still believe in Allah ? Is the inner kaffir just a shot away ? Whatever you, or I or anybody else is going through, or children will take it one step closer and then the children after that one step closer.

    Many Muslims I met are actually closest agnostics, they just don't know it yet. It's hard to say you don't believe when your 18 to conservative parents but not too difficult when your living with your girlfriend/boyfriend in your twenties.

    I have met Muslim girls who said they only reason they are getting married to Muslim men is because they have to. I met Muslims who have said such horrible things about the Prophet makes you wonder what is going on ?

    As a student of Islamic Eschatology, I see that the run of religion is coming to an end. And Islam is no different. The signs of the end are pretty self evident. All the taboos and lifestyles that were eschewed before are readily being allowed today. Liberalism and secularism is the real religion of the day.
    I used to know Muslims that were regular mosque goers, now are into drugs, sex (I do not want to call sex zina or fornication anymore, because zina is seen as a bad thing, while sex isn't. Many people have sex without any guilt hence they do not see it as a bad thing. But ironically sex in today's society has become tasteless as it is pumped 24/7 in all media avenues and whatnot).
    Tis the age of nafs..I want what I need and what I want lol.

    So as we try to formulate God into our minds as we need "Him" to be, two things follow: Are we really in need of a new introduction to God or and really let's ask ourselves this: Do we even believe anymore or our children will ?

    Remember the world will end in disbelief not a utopia of happiness and tolerance.,

    (More homosexuals want to get married than heterosexuals lol )

    1. Thanks for your comment, Hyde!
      See, I'm neither interested in the End Times or the signs of qiyamah, nor in whether anyone believes in God--nor in whether homosexuals or heterosexuals wanna marry more. I still know more heterosexuals who want to get married than homosexuals, but that's because I don't know as many homosexuals as I do heterosexuals, perhaps.

      I just want our elders and guardians and parents and communities to stop suffocating us with ideas of a selfish, mean, cruel God because that destroys us.

  10. This is the best prayer, ever. How over the course of my life I too thought god was this sex obsessed hypocrite who hated me because I'm female. So I kicked against Him hard but it wasn't God; it was those selfish, mean people who wanted Him to themselves and tried to hoard Him in exclusive buildings. My biggest difficulty is to rebuild this relationship with Him and Him alone with all this noise and finger pointing. This is a fantastic piece and I really want to show my teacher. Salams

    1. I'm still having difficulty rebuilding a good relationship with God, too, DL! :)
      I think so many of us go through the same thing (and for the same reasons), but there's such little, if any, space to talk about it that we all just suffocate and spiritually die alone.


Dare to opine :)

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