Since moving to Istanbul, a city with a majority Sunni Muslim population, questions about Islam or choices the faithful make have been thrown at me – both into my subconscious by an event or act witnessed personally or by others assuming that as I live amongst Muslims, I should have answers to questions. Converting to Islam and covering my head intensified both internal and external questions, from topics surrounding hijab, to polygamy and food and drink. It’s often hard to answer these questions. Those generated by my subconscious normally contain a challenge to myself, a test of faith, ask the limit to interpretation; those posed by others often look for definitive when often things are not so clear-cut.
I wrote a few weeks ago about trying to find the balance with what’s real; between who one really is and whom others choose to see. I touched on how the most difficult aspect is in getting the tone right – defending without doing so, clarifying without condemning, praising without preaching. Being true to living life as a Muslim is not easy, even if living amongst Muslims.
The thing about religion, the trick to a faith no matter what title you give it; it’s not about anyone else, or agreeing with each other. It’s your relationship with God, your interpretation of your Book, your actions reflecting an intention you feel.
Personally when answering a question, be it mine or someone elses, the answer that sits well in my heart tends to come in a three-stage debate:
Each answer I find changes my perception somewhat. Reflection is key to remembering, to centering yourself in the being; this blog is my personal reflection and this new category “May you? Should you? Would I?” is a live way to remember.
Do you have any questions about Islam? On living sunnah in Turkey? Do you wonder why an educated, British woman from a (mostly) liberal, bacon-loving family chooses to life behind a veil in a pork free, tea-total, timed-to-a-prayer-call way?
Please ask — I almost certainly won’t give the right answer, but I’d love to find my own response.