To Ali Sina,
My story may appear to be the regular teenage drama at first glance. But if you delve deeper, you’ll find that I’m dealing with this big problem: a crush on this boy.
Wait! I know what it looks like at first. “Muslim girl gets a crush on another Muslim boy from the mosque and doesn’t know how to handle it.”
I promise you that it isn’t. It has very little to do with teenage angst. I’m typing this fast so some things might be rushed because I need to finish writing this before my mom wakes up from her nap. If you need any clarifications you can email me back till I’m satisfied with your advice.
I have suffered through depression and didn’t know exactly what was making me feel that way around late 2011. They thought it was a chemical imbalance. I thought I was stressed from my bad grades at school. But now I know that it was the fear of Hell that was burning away my spirit.
I will try to make this part of the story brief so I can get down to the main point. But I need to get this out: Islam has psychologically damaged me. This damage is being healed but some scars will never fade. I may have left Islam but a part of Islam will never leave me. The idea of having to accept sharing my husband with 72 virgins in the afterlife, the idea that the familiar, non-Muslim faces I see at school everyday were going to hell, ideas of angels beating me up in my grave and crushing me so severely that my ribs would overlap just because I failed to bow down to a narcissistic “god”, Allah humiliating me with every little petty thing I’ve done in life, the graphic descriptions of hell that were repeated to me for many years since I was very young…it has messed up my mind and distorted my sense of safety. It didn’t matter if everyone in the world loved me, because the wrath of Allah in the afterlife for making any mistake was sure to ruin a good mood.
To top that off, I learned so much too fast on a plethora of various subjects. I think too much for a 15 year old, hence being called a little philosopher. I don’t say this to brag but I want you to understand that being too smart led to mental isolation. Most teens don’t worry about worldly issues like I do. I wish I wasn’t this way sometimes because it seems like a curse to be so enlightened, for ignorance is a bliss I wish I could bask in. Instead I am aware of the horrible truth called Islam, and I’m aware of the long journey I’m going to have to do endure. I consider myself agnostic.
There is this boy who is in the same grade and school as me as well as mosque. I’ve noticed that he displays signs of being a potential apostate. We’d both ask the sheikh deep questions about Islam. Of course we got lame answers. I even talked to him about Islam briefly once at school. I asked him if the religion confused him sometimes. He said it would keep him up all night at times. He said things don’t make sense but all he can do is trust Allah.
He said he felt suicidal at times, like me. We talked a bit more and I saw he went through a lot of mental and emotional scarring like me such as bullying and isolation. He is literally the only person I have left. And I started to like him because of that. If he really is confused about Islam, then I guess he needs me too so we can support each other.
Two days ago I accidentally told my parents I didn’t believe in Islam. It was terrifying to discover that the love a Muslim parent has for their child could be so conditional. They threatened to kick me out of the house and didn’t care about what I would do with myself. So it took hours to pretend that I didn’t know what I was saying and that I believe in Islam again.
Now I have to pretend to be Muslim for a few more years till I can move out. Then I want to be free. But I want to and have to get married when I grow up, and it has to be a Muslim man. Of course, I can’t marry a Muslim because then I’d have to lie to him too and be stuck with Islam for the rest of my life. There is no way I could get away with marrying a non-Muslim either.
So my idea sounds really crazy, which is why I need your advice. Well, I was thinking…the boy I have been talking to, I like him and if I can somehow convince him Islam is not true, we can marry and move far away so our parents will be happy with us. Since we’re both “Muslims” they won’t suspect anything. But this will only work if he agrees with me. If he doesn’t, I am scared for my future. I am not doing this because of crazy teenage hormones, but I’m trying to be reasonable and I’m working on my future, and this is the only solution I have come up with. Even if we may turn out not to be compatible, we can just be friends, marry in front of our family, live in the same house (but different rooms) for show and have the relationships we want to have.
Lastly, I have one obstacle to get around with this: the imam of our mosque is brainwashing him and other youth. The imam is confusing him and I need to speak with him as soon as I can before it’s too late to reverse the damage. I’d like to explain but it’s a long story and I wanted to keep this letter short.
I really want to know what you think and how I should approach the situation and any tips you can give me. Thank you for reading, and please know that, and you’ve probably heard this so many times, you’ve helped me renounce Islam. I don’t really leave comments on your articles but it doesn’t mean I don’t read them. I appreciate your work. You are helping to move the world to a better state.
Dear M.A. (or maybe I should call you little philosopher too),
You are smarter beyond your age. Often smarter people are more sensitive. One peculiarity of teen years is that everything looks more dramatic. Simple problems that have easy solutions, for teenagers appear transcendental and insurmountable.
Thinking about suicide is also normal for teenagers. Happily, few act on it. You don’t have to think about it too much. Just know that most of the problems that at this age seem real to you, are not. And if they are, they are insignificant. When you grow up you will face real problems. Now isn’t that some consolation!
A life without problems is an illusion. Think of life as a game, say football or any game. The fun of the game is facing resistance and overcoming it. If there is no resistance there is no game. No one wants to play such game. The same is true in life. Happiness and success are in facing and overcoming obstacles not in not having them. Life is full of obstacles and problems. The important thing is to confidently tackle them.
Looks like nature wants to tell us, from the moment of our birth, with all the resistance and pains that it throws at us that life in this world is going to be struggle. There is no such thing as happiness. There are hardships and problems and intervals of no problems. It is up to us to make the most of those intervals when problems are not many and be happy. What is health? Doesn’t health mean not having an illness? Happiness is also lack of sorrows.
Sadly, the belief in the lies of Muhammad makes everyone depressive. By following a madman, all Muslims have become mad. This madness manifests itself in myriads of ways. It is hard to find an emotionally healthy Muslim. They have low self-esteem, are shy or depressive or narcissist or paranoid or all of them together. As a matter of fact Muslims suffer from more mental and emotional disorders than any other people.
You did not tell me where you live. If you live in a western country you have more options than if you live in an Islamic country. Even in an Islamic country you are not helpless. At the age of 15 I would not be too concerned about marriage. You have another ten years to go before thinking about marriage. In my personal view the best age for marriage is late twenties. Statistically, there are more divorces among people marring younger than 25.
You are fortunate because you are intelligent. This means your chance of living a free life is much higher. You are already free from the shackles of Islam. No bogyman in the sky, no hell and no sadistic angels in grave can scare you anymore. That is a lot for a 15 years old girl to achieve when over a billion grownups, many of whom educated and accomplished people are still trapped in that web of silly lies.
You are afraid of your physical entrapment. That is also an unfounded fear. It is much easier to break the physical chains than the psychological ones. You have set yourself free psychologically. Attaining your physical freedom is much easier.
The key to your freedom is independence. At this moment you have to focus on your studies. Go to the best university and get the best education you can afford. You are smart; don’t settle for an undergraduate degree. Aim high. Once you are educated you will be on demand anywhere in the world. All doors will be open to you.
Don’t marry early. Marriage is not the way out of the problems at home. Independence is. During this time, hang your philosopher hat and put on your student hat. Go after science. Learning is the key to your freedom. Once you have a good job, living independently and earning your own living, nobody can tell you what to do with your life or whom to marry.
You have to realize that the parents control over their children diminishes in time. It reaches a stage that the balance of powers will be totally reversed and the parents will become dependent on the children. In about ten years, when you have your own career and earn your own living, you and your parents reach equilibrium of powers. By then they can’t boss you around. From there on, every day, you gain more power while they lose. This hierarchy of powers that at this moment seems so oppressive to you will be reversed. Give time a chance. In a decade, none of these problems that today seem so daunting will exist. They will melt gradually, like a mountain of ice under the sun.
Another strange phenomenon is that the younger you are the longer time seems to last. For older people time passes quickly, when for younger people it seems to be very slow. But ten years is not much when you compare it with the rest of your life.
As for this boy in your school, if you can encourage him to read my articles he may also realize the deception of Islam.
You should also know that people’s characters are not yet formed at young age. You and this boy will go through some very fundamental changes in the coming 15 years and will be very different people. So don’t take any relationship with someone of opposite sex at this age too seriously. You probably will fall in love a few times before you find your right life partner. There is plenty of fish in the sea. At this time, your focus should not be on finding a life partner, but on studying and becoming the best you can be.
There is a time for everything. For you, this is the time to study. All other things come next. Plan your life correctly and you will have a very happy life. Don’t study just for the diploma, but for the knowledge. Your diploma will not find you a job, your expertise will.