I was born into a muslim family in a democratic country, growing up I was told that Islam was the one true religion and I remember when I was really young me and my sister asked my mother "But how do you know your right? and all the other religions are wrong?" I don't quite remember her answer but I think it was along the lines of "Because Islam is perfect and the one true religion yada yada..." (the usual in other words).
As a child I was quite inquisitive, but I became indoctrinated by my religion. In only the first grade I had told my friend that she would go to hell because she was an atheist, I was a child and was only repeating what I was told. My mother and grandmother use to enforce the idea that we should attend Saturday school for muslim girls, so every saturday we would go and learn the Quran and they taught us about heaven and hell (I hated going, I wanted to stay home and play). My Grandma is a full on muslim, and she would also teach at this school, one day a friend of hers who also taught their had the girls (us) over her house for a religious slumber party (needless to say I led a sheltered life). Though that night the lady put on a video tape and made us watch a women supposedly burning in hell and begging for mercy (it went on for ages) and she was there in hell going on and on about how she regretted everything she did in life and begging to be freed but help never came...
I think that video scarred me, cause I still remember it today... And then we were constantly reminded of hell as-well. And thus forth a beast of fear was awakened in me which would later go on to be the cause of my OCD, Anxiety, and Depression.
As time went on I became very dedicated to my religion, and the rituals... I began praying at 7 years of age because I was taught that if I didn't my mother would be punished by hell fire, can you believe that? A young girl my age who should be having fun and playing had to worry about 5 daily prayers to save her mom from hell!?
At around age 14 or 15 I found myself questioning everything but only in my head, and I was questioning without wanting to question, the fact that I was questioning terrified me. I am by nature, a worrier. And things got worse when after being so fanatical about my religion, unwanted thoughts in the forms of questions or critiques of my religion would pass through my head, instantly I would feel a deep sense of guilt and regret, then I would think I'm going to be punished and that God hated me. This led me down a long road of struggling with OCD, each intrusive thought meant I did a ritual to relieve it.
I began to develop anger in me, and I feared that I would somehow release this anger at God, and he would punish me? And so for fear of doing something wrong I would, for example: stop moving my fingers and keep them still, not look at certain colors, not step on certain colors and the list goes on.
All this stress and frustration then led to depression. I had to be taken to the hospital one night when I was so most excellent sick in the head, I didn't want to do anything, I didn't want to eat, sleep, and if I slept I didn't want to wake up. That night I was convinced I was guilty of a great crime, why? because I moved a finger, that's why.
I began counselling and I had to be medicated, my anxiety grew and I found myself actually talking back to those intrusive thoughts, every time I would get a bad thought (anything criticizing islam, Allah or the prophet), and this happened literally every 2 seconds, I would say 'no' over and over to myself, my dad probably thought I was going insane and ended up dragging me to my room and locking me in and told me he won't let me out till I got a grip. (I can't, till this day, forgive him for that...)
See what such teachings do to you? because I was taught that criticising Islam, Allah or the prophet) meant losing your faith and hell, I became obsessed.
I was constantly worried that I was losing my faith (and for good reason cause I questioned everything!). I found myself annoyed when my parents would refer to non-muslims as 'kaffir' as if they do not deserve the title of human beings!?
I then found myself looking and observing the good deeds of so called 'kaffirs' and wondering to myself how God could be so unfair, cause apparently everything that Kaffir's do means nothing, all their good deeds might as well turn to dust. And then my parents and especially grandmother would tell me that we are quote "So lucky to be born muslim", and I can tell you, I was not lucky. And that was another thing that bothered me, God made us 'lucky' he supposedly favored me? and what about those other non-muslims? doesn't he care about them? And then I was told, "Everyone has a brain, they should find Islam, and therefore everyone has an equal chance" and now get this, when we see on the news that a child of a kaffir has died, everyone would get upset at the notion and then my grandmother would say to me "But you know what RedOak (replacing my name, wanna stay unknown), I'm not upset by this, those kids are in heaven now, were they to have grown up they most likely wouldn't go to heaven" and everyone would agree on that! So then wtf does that mean!? You just went through telling me that EVERYONE has an equal chance cause they all have brains and can find Islam, but you yourself just admitted that the chances of that happening to 'kaffirs' is less!
And so started (at around age 18) a depression that would last almost 2 years. I could not allow myself to believe that Christians and unbelievers would go to hell, I kept telling myself 'No!, this can't be true!' and then I would hear the translation of the quran and that would confirm my fears, I would cry every night, and I began to self harm. I cut myself and then proceeded to hit myself anywhere I could with a closed fist. I almost became suicidal, the only thing keeping me from it was probably the fact that I was scared and then people who commit suicide apparently will suffer in hell for eternity.
I began doing this thing, I can't really explain it but I would put pressure on my chest, by squeezing my muscles when I was really hysteric in order to try and stop my heart from working, I often felt I was losing it, I lost all will to live.
I would sometimes open the quran translation and read it, and I couldn't get far because of how often God seemed to mention hell, and punishment. It was like this God of mine, was obsessed with punishment.
All these years I was generally taken to a Muslim psychologist, and nothing ever changed, all my problems were still there. At around the age of 19 I went to see a christian psychologist and that's when my world began to turn around, he questioned everything and allowed me to feel safe in questioning, I allowed myself to feel angry to God for the first time, and found that that pent up anger was ruining me from the inside. I voiced my pain and I began to heal. Ever since then a whole new way of thought opened to me. I felt the bondage's of Islam loosen it's hold on me, and it was liberating, and at the age of 20 now, I have let them fall altogether, and I feel like a new person. Although no one yet knows, I have stopped praying but have chosen to be a humanist, but I still do however believe in God, not because of Islam, but because I found God myself.
Finally I am able to think freely and creatively, I am currently studying in Commercial Arts and am an aspiring artist, and would also like to try my hand at some acting some time, who knows? something a Muslim girl would never be allowed to do.
Hi intelligent lad Thank you for the post, I am currently reading that site! looks good, thank you sooo much! And what you said makes a LOT of sense, unfortunately though, people who are indoctrinated don't see it. I still suffer from alot of stress related problems, not so much religion now but other things, my dad tells me that what I need is to read the quran, apparently this is gonna help me?
THATS where all of these problems started from! wth is he thinking!? Gosh. I don't understand how he can believe, that reading a book that talks about hell and punishment in such a graphic nature, is going to cure my problems in life!?
May I fear no friend. May I fear no enemy. May I be fearless of all whom I know and whom I don’t. May my days remain fearless and so remain the nights. O Supreme Lord! May all be my friends. May I never fear anyone nor should anyone fear me. [Atharvaved] https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =3&theater
O Supreme Lord, If ever I committed a sin against anybody - in day or night, while awake or in dreams, in public or in private, against a scholar or an ignorant, through any organ of body, knowingly or unknowingly - please forgive me. Eradicate the very root of ignorance that made me commit the sin. Please enlighten my mind with wisdom so that even the thought of any sin does not occur to me and I continue to improve through noble actions. Thank you Lord! Thank you very much! (Yajurveda 20.15-17) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =3&theater
O Supreme Lord! I am your little child. I have nothing but my selfless deeds to offer to you. But I am sure that like any father, you will be touched when your cute little child attempts to gift its petty toys to you! (Rigveda 184.108.40.206)
I am so happy! I feel so secure! You are so caring! You are giving me the best of best every moment! After all you are my Ultimate Father! And I am your cutest child! Thank you Papa! Thank you for everything! (Yajurveda 3.24)
My happiness has no bounds! My enthusiasm has no limits. All griefs, guilts and fears have evaporated away. I only see a glow of bliss everywhere. My heart is full of confidence, compassion and delight. I have suddenly realized that He is with me, within me. (Yajurveda 31.18)
She is the source of our breaths. She is behind every vibration our heart witnesses. She is the one who introduces us to ourselves! She knows us more than ourselves! Our love and salutes to that Greatest Mom, The Supreme Lord! [Yajurved 25/13] https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =3&theater
RedOak you should inspire yourself out of depression. I have also suffered depression. I came out. Inspire yourself.You don't need to go to doctor,you have to remove the fear from within .Fear is a great enemy. O soul! You will not die! You will not die!! You are immortal. Don’t fear. Keep walking! [Atharvaved]