Archive for the ‘Courage’ Category

Hey there, yes you! Are you an Alpha or a Beta? Well how about you just say you’re a fucking Charlie and be yourself without caging yourself into a societal frame that is not designed to set you free but instead is designed to imprison you into a shadow of your true self.

Yes, there is a certain pressure with being both male and female in today’s World, yet being a Man myself i feel that i can kick my feet back and have a little say on this subject. I was a weird kid, without doubt, growing up as a young boy i didn’t really fit into any particular stereotype of what it is to be a young man. I experimented, just like all kids do.

Some days i pulled out the race cars and drove them around my fold out street map that i’d place on the floor and other days i’d open my Mothers cupboard and have a laugh as i tried to wobble in her high heels…and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, in fact i take back that “weird” kid jibe i just hit myself with.

63848_438761009155_6793344_n

Growing up from a boy to a teenager to a man is one rollercoaster.

As i hit adulthood i was at the receiving end of intense bullying, both physical and mental that lasted for 7 years- it was relentless and for a number of factors. Whether it was my weight, my nose, my heritage or simply that i apparently had a slappable head- all i know is that turning from a “Boy” to a “Man” was going to be a long and difficult journey, as it is with many others.

Either way, eventually my confidence boosted, i joined the gym and lost 22kg and my lovable personality came out to shine, for years it had been hidden in some dark grim closet that was so comfortably sad, it had developed cobwebs and mould.

In this transformation from Teenager to Man i knew the battle wasn’t over because not only was i facing the trials of my own personal demons- i now had to put myself on show. I was exposed to the World and had to try and find my “place”. Where did i fit in the paradigm of being a Man in today’s world.?

First of all, don’t compare yourself to others for it is not a helpful route. Comparing yourself to others isn’t a motivational call to self improvement, in fact it is simply a road that will lead to being a false carbon copy of another being. In today’s World a Man is categorized in two main ways, either as the “Alpha”– who is a dominant and strong leader that has drive and success or the “Beta” who is a submissive and weak follower that is at best a pushover.

4MWCjT2x_400x400

The Mythological “Alpha”.

Society always throws “A Real Man” Memes at us but again, these memes are not inspirational, in fact they form part of the problem. There is no “real man” – indeed he is simply a mythological creature that belongs in fairy tale books. We are then confronted with confusing labels such as being referred to as “gentlemen” whilst we are also expected to be strong forces that are rough around the edges.

We are shunned for saying “Boys will be Boys” yet then also shunned if a boy acts like a girl. We see these grown Men nowadays who are so controlled by their label that they walk around with their thick necks, staunched shoulders and intimidating attitudes trying to play character. Almost like a Cos-play of a mythological figure, these Men are not in control of themselves, in fact they are daily on edge trying to be legitimate pretenders- society expects this of them, apparently so, and they fall for it hook, line and sinker.

Recently i was invited by a close friend to a “Mens Club” on Facebook and this page was truly disturbing. It was the epitome of what is wrong with society and how Men are falling trap to this system they can voluntarily pull out of but clearly are afraid to do so.¬†In this group are thousands and thousands of Men from all around the World, who are venting to each other, disclosing personal issues, family dramas, relationship woes and true cries for help all in the midst of the security blanket of a “Male Ear” because they are afraid to express themselves in the real World, a World where Family, Friends, Women and Counselors exist.

All of these Men are afraid to express themselves to the Real World, so instead they create a club, a “safe haven” where they can use their God given right- their voices.
I didn’t find this empowering, that all of my Brothers around the World need secret clubs like this where they only want a fellow Man to hear their problems. It was blatantly obvious that these guys of all different races, ages and regions felt that if they were to speak out in the World how they are in this page, they’d be ostracized and suddenly downgraded to “Beta Males” for shedding tears and expressing true Human Emotions…It’s a train wreck. A calamity.

Image2dfg

I scrub off alright for being a “Charlie” Male ūüėČ

True success is in being comfortable in your own skin and not being afraid to be a Human Being. True success is not giving a damn what people think and its utilizing all of your natural faculties- your logic, reason and yes, your emotions! It is funny that the same people that once told me to “Man Up” when i expressed myself to them are the same Men that are found on these Facebook Pages where men are hiding under a metaphorical blanket. Is it more cowardly to outwardly express yourself and your vulnerabilities as a man to the Entire World or to lurk in hidden groups and express yourself solely to other Men in secret? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Each day i am trying to “perfect” who i truly am and i have no shame in being a Man. A Man that is so raw and real that if i’m having a shit day, i will tell you, or if i feel like a shoulder to lean on i will go ahead and do it! Or if i need to shed some tears like i am watching “The Notebook” re-runs then i will rightfully do so, all without losing my claim as a Man because i don’t belong to a label, i am not a product for you to stick your labels on and i wish more Men could take that attitude on board and create their own empire, as opposed to ignorantly sitting in a shelf along with their fellow Man. It’s a comfortable place to be but it’s an exceptionally sad and boring place to be.

Salam.

-Ramey.E

 

 

Advertisements

 

“Stop it. How would you like it if somebody did that to you?” – these were one of my first lines of empathy that i remember yelling out to a fellow student in my Music class when i was 12 years old as he started torturing a Moth that happened to fall on his lap by slowly plucking its wings and laughing in ecstasy.

His response?

“Shut the fuck up before i punch your head in.”

At that moment i realized something…Something monumental. I am BETTER than this person. Yes that is right, i confidently could say that at that place and time i could attest to the fact that i was indeed superior to this fellow Human Being by my side who felt no empathy, remorse or regret over the torture of an animal, yes a mere insect but it did not matter to me.

You see i used to see the World in quite a naive light- i believed that no body was above me and that i was above nobody. That somehow we are all seeing each other at the exact same level, eye to eye. This disturbing stance of mine led me to overlook the heinous behaviours of my fellow humans both in childhood and adulthood.

Besides, how could any of us reach for betterment if we are all “equal?” If there is only one throne- 7 billion rears cannot be seated on it at the same time and that is the ultimate reality in life, its the hierarchy of truth, sometimes one person is entitled to that throne- and that one day as a twelve year old kid i can confidently say i earned it.

 

Image1gdf

My views of the World have changed.

 

This might seem like a petty example but there are many more examples of how i was the “better man” in many situations that had occured to me. Like a few years later when a few “friends” of mine cornered a cat in the unit block hall and let it shriek, cower and scream in fear as they were throwing screwdrivers and other tools at it. The fact that i felt an intense sickness in my gut and a seething hatred to these supposed friends in that moment made me realize that i was the better man, too good for their company not only then but even now.

How about the other time a supposed “friend” from a popular group suddenly asked me to “burrow” him my PlayStation and in pure manipulation never spoke to me at high school after i gave it to him. When i finally confronted him months later about giving it back to me he physically threatened to beat me up. I shriveled up as he was a big and intimidating guy but i left with a lesson that day – to trust people less- and to realize despite this happening to me i would never do it to anybody else.

Then there was the work colleague with her wide smile and friendly demeanor who worked at a cafe i had been employed at for a year. I trained her vigorously and would drive her home every time we finished work at night . I thought i had formed a bond and friendship with Will – to only learn that she had been secretly telling my bosses the fabrication that she must “follow up” everything that i do and that i am not pulling my weight- eventually she got me fired and took my job. Even then i would never do that to somebody. I attest to the fact that i am superior in my morals and she was inferior in every way that she had to stoop to such a low to achieve a “success” in her life.

What about the bullies in my school that tormented me every single day for 7 years physically and mentally? Assaulting me in every manner possible, dropping my confidence and marks to all time low. Forcing me to avoid school for three months straight and making me lick a urinal in a dirty school toilet. Why? Because i was a kind natured guy? The truth of the matter is these bullies 25 years later are still the low life scum that they were when they were kids because they were and are inherently , psychologically, mentally and spiritually void beings.

Let me tell you something, success comes from a drive that thrives within you. You don’t use other people to step on to climb to the top, you use other people as motivation on how you can better yourself and all this can be done without putting others down. This false peak of success is short lived and far from satisfying and i am proud to say that everything i achieved in my life was with clean hands.

Never did i drop to such levels in order to get somewhere in life. Each and every single achievement of mine was done with my own drive, work and integrity. Lets be honest, there are shit people in this World. People who are not on your level, people who are sub- par and limited. Do not let these people define the model of which you decide to pave your life, they are mere distractions from the fact that you are wonderful, amazing, beautiful and successful whereas they are the bottom dwellers of our societal framework.

No. We are not equal. I am better and perhaps, so are you? ūüôā

PEACE, SALAM.

You see and hear it all the time, inspirational quotes and memes floating all over the internet inspiring you to “be yourself” yet what exactly does it mean to be yourself and do people really accept you for being you?

There is an internal and external struggle that occurs when one person truly attempts the endeavor to be themselves. The internal struggle comes from self acceptance and seeking your inner genuine thoughts. Do you have your thoughts and beliefs? Do you stand by them? These are important questions.

If you fear your own inner thoughts then we have a problem. Sure we do not have to broadcast everything about ourselves yet when it comes to persistence in character and being able to remain consistent in who you are and what you stand for- there should be no shame nor fear in holding on to what you believe in.

RPckfNy

The inner fight is actually being who you are meant to be, not shaped by society or the expectations of others but that internal acknowledgement between your mind and body that speaks to you in a language you understand. When you are doing and saying things counter to your inner self then there is a war waging inside of you.

For example, i am a Muslim and there is a huge stigma that comes with that package nowadays. Often i will be “ashamed” to express that fact and i will attempt to keep my beliefs and thoughts hidden lest i be judged. So then i try to “fit in” with everybody else and that yet again is when the struggle becomes real- you cannot appease everybody else whilst abandoning your true self.

This fight can be said about any human being under any certain context, when they are trying to express themselves but suppress it in order to make others happy- its an unhealthy move that will not pave the way for any fruition.

Now this is only part of the hurdle, the inner struggle to “be yourself” is difficult enough, then comes to external element- how receptive would people be to you truly being yourself? Well the few moments i have been brave enough to tell people who i am and what i am about the searing judgement was at an intense level- the questioning, mockery, suspicion and skepticism was coming.

It was then that i realized- you don’t want me to “be myself” – you want me to be somebody else.! Acceptance is a difficult thing, nobody likes the feeling of being rejected or being the black sheep so often people will alter and adjust themselves to fit comfortably into society.

Why? What is the benefit for you besides living in a mirage? A mirage of false security where you live in a World that wants you to be just like them. ? A democracy where you either “fit in” or become ostracized.

It’s a baffling conundrum but its something i wish to fix on all levels. I am as genuine as i can be but i do things to please others and neglect myself. Many people are truly afraid to be who they REALLY are– no matter who you are out there- find that outlet that genuinely will accept you and take you in for your entire being.

It will be a hard journey where you can be at peace with yourself and everybody else around you but at the end of the day you can live your life as a pretender to make everybody else sleep well at night or you can live your life being true to yourself and allow yourself to sleep well at night. Which would you rather? One sounds much healthier. ūüôā

Peace, Salam.

-R

 

 

 

It’s a difficult road ahead for all of us here on Earth. The recent terror attack in Manchester is only one of many tragic events of violence, injustice and horror inflicted on innocent people here in this World and naturally such stories make us lose a bit of morale.

Stories that deal with the death of innocents, whether they be men, women or children constantly flash on our television screens and one thing we must understand is that we cannot become “comfortable” with terrorism, nor can we become desensitized to a violent World.

The Media does not help in this situation because as tragic as the story is we come to find that the media swamps us with the imagery, sounds and woes coming from such attacks and eventually we switch off and miss on many other true stories that are happening in response to such sad news.

You see since the horrors on Manchester there have been many uplifting, amazing and inspiring stories coming from Manchester itself! You very likely would have missed on most of these humble headlines but i present to you my selected top 10 stories to restore your faith in humanity post Manchester. Enjoy!

1.  £5 million raised for Manchester bombing victims in just three days

A fundraising appeal for the victims of the Manchester terrorist atrocity has raised more than £5 million in just three days.

2. The English Defence League have their rally and protest shut down by locals

Mancunians were quick to condemn a group of English Defence League protesters following the deadly explosion

ariana-grande

Ariana Grande has offered to pay for the funerals of all the victims.

3. Singer Ariana Grande made the generous offer to pay for the funerals of all victims

Ariana Grande has reportedly offered to pay for the funerals of the 22 people who tragically lost their lives when a suspected terrorist attack took place after her concert in Manchester.

4. Homeless hero awarded free rent after saving children following Manchester attack

A homeless man who frantically pulled nails and glass from injured people’s eyes during the aftermath of the Manchester bombing has been awarded a place to live for his bravery.

40BF5D6200000578-4546604-image-a-59_1495834641887

The tragedy exposed beautiful friendships

5. An unexpected & deep friendship is revealed between a Muslim man and Jewish woman.

It was the photo that touched Britain, a Jewish woman and a Muslim man united in grief. The story of their 10-year friendship will restore your faith in humanity

6. ¬†Manchester attack: The Blood bank is ‘full to the rafters’

Blood banks in the UK have received so many donations for victims of Monday’s Manchester attack they already have met their goals.

manchester-1495554994

Taxi drivers offered free lifts during and after the tragedy.

7.  Generous locals offer concert goers lifts home, free taxis and rooms for the night

Generous Mancunians are offering people who were at the Ariana Grande gig either accommodation or a lift home in a taxi – while others are simply offering a cup of tea and a hug.

8. A simple Muslim social experiment in Manchester reveals a united community

A young Muslim man is going viral tonight with a moving video about how he trusted strangers Рand asked them to trust him. The response is truly something wonderful.

9. Great Manchester Run: Thousands take part amid heightened security

Tens of thousands of runners pounded the streets during an emotional occasion for Manchester. The latest large-scale event to take place since Monday’s suicide bombing.

_96252556_38577f38-52c3-4cd1-9b31-fcb1031a031a

Despite tension- thousands showed up for the Manchester Marathon.

I hope these nine stories made you realize that beneath the ugly surface of terrorism there will always shine bright a common humanity that we all share. In the face of tragedy we come together and we never let hate win, if only the media used all of these actions as stories worthy of a lengthy spotlight.

Peace, Salam
-R

More information is unfolding about the tragic event that unfolded in Orlando, Florida two days ago. Omar Mateen a 29 year old American Born male of Afghan descent visited the Pulse Nightclub whilst heavily armed at about 2am to unleash a tirade of bullets, leaving a frightening trail of 50 people dead and 53 injured.

Many people jumped the gun at the news that Omar Mateen was a man of “Afghan” descent with a Taliban supporting father and apparently pledged allegiance to ISIS before committing his heinous act on the crowd.

Politicians took charge immediately with tweets, including Donald trump who appreciated the “congratulations” from his fans that he was right about Islam and immigration. Such information and conclusions are¬†very preliminary, which is why its important to give such an event some time so the information could be clarified and verified. Even ISIS were quick to put their hands up and somewhat claim ownership for the crime, praising this Martyr- yet something tells me after¬†the latest revelations- ISIS will quickly be retracting their words of support and encouragement.

Imagesg1

Donald Trump was quick to take advantage of the atrocity to push his political message.

You see Omar Mateen was most likely gay, given the information that has been provided to officials by his ex wife, friends and strangers who communicated with him on Gay meetup application GRIND’R. A lot of people may get angry for me saying this but we must really pull into question, was this really a homophobic crime? Was Omar Mateen truly a Homophobe that hated or despised gays? Or is it more fair to say that Omar Mateen was actually gay and hated himself for the fact that due to his religious environment- he¬†had no freedom to express it.

The fact that he asked his friend out in the past and that he frequented the gay bar shows that he actually had no problem with homosexuals and that perhaps he was very comfortable in that environment. Perhaps it was his “safe place” where he could be himself and fear no retribution of a strict family, culture or religion.

Yet this perhaps is where the problem lies, believe me when i say i am making no excuses for this criminal. At the same time i think its very important to get a true character evaluation of each individual that commits such acts, so perhaps we could avoid it from happening again. Omar Mateen was perhaps fighting his homosexuality for a long time, getting married, perhaps living a double life and feeling the pressure of needing to conform to his spiritual faith whilst his physical needs led him elsewhere.

CkwTYcRWkAEDFAg

New investigations and testimonies show Omar Mateen may have been gay.

Omar Mateen most likely could not satisfy both Worlds, he couldn’t be the devout Muslim and be drinking in clubs whilst flirting with men- perhaps in his mind his self hatred and frustration led to him despising the very thing he couldn’t become.

May i dare say that most terror attacks have nothing to do with the perpetrators hating us for our “freedom” yet in this rare case i could say with enough confidence that maybe Omar Mateen hated these people for¬†their freedom. ¬†He possibly hated the fact that these people WERE free to be who they wanted to be and who were free to proudly flaunt their sexuality.

The sad reality is that even though his father states this had “nothing to do with religion” and the fact that President Barrack Obama concluded there is not “enough evidence” to suggest he had strong ties to ISIS or any other terror group. We must face one harsh reality, if Omar had not been in this crossroad, between faith and expression he most likely would not have committed this crime. Knowing he couldn’t embrace both philosophies possibly enraged him to the core and justified- ¬†in his own diseased mind– that such actions would relieve him of such pressures.

gettyimages-539534464

Pulse nightclub, Orlando, Florida. The scene of the horrific crime.

He didn’t vent with words but a deadly arsenal of weapons, a scathing attack on individuals that never did any harm to him, nor to anybody else. In essence Omar Mateen was a coward for he had no courage to step up and overcome his “hurdle”. I am sure many Muslims are in the same boat, yet the huge majority do not go shooting up gay clubs.

Essentially this attack was an attack on both himself and others. I personally believe at this point this was an attack of an identity. An identity that Omar Mateen could never be proud of. An identity that he wished to rob off other people because the difference between them and him- was freedom.

160613114758-orlando-victims-t1-13-victims-large-169

RIP to all victims.

Peace, Salam Alaykum.

Sure sure, this “buzz word” has been out and about years and just while you were hoping it would have died down and fizzled by now, i have applied CPR to it and this zombie is back from the grave and ¬†is here to stay. Yes the word is BROMANCE.¬†

According to dictionary.com РBromance is: 
a relationship or friendship between two men that is extremely close but does not involve sex.

You are probably thinking this defines the huge majority of your friends but think again. This “extreme” closeness is super extreme. Like Al Qaeda on steroids. Just think Donald Trump and North Korea extreme. Now that you’ve narrowed down these mates to single digits it’s time to appreciate them and truly recognize that you are in a Bromantic relationship. The Phenomena is nothing new, even the Bible is PRO BRO!¬†

 

2_final-message

Bromance is not a new idea . King David & Jonathan were Super Bros in the Bible.


I have always been first to admit i love my bro’s and i am not ashamed to admit it. These Bro’s of mine are people that accept me for me, and i for them. We reserve judgement. Offer polite criticism and stellar advice. Our support is like the frame works of a building. When you smile, we smile- when you cry, we cry. Yes, the weight of being a bro does not come easy, it is a role with huge responsibility.

There is no time for them fake Press On Nail type mates. Your Bro is the real deal! Now before all my fellow Muslims shout “Haram” and assume this post is treading on “dangerous territory”- think about what our own Prophet did in the below situation.

A¬†man was with the Prophet when another man passed by and he said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I love this man.” The Prophet said to him: ‚ÄúHave you told him?‚ÄĚ He said: “No.” He said: ‚ÄúTell him.‚ÄĚ So he caught up with him and said: “I love you for the sake of Allah“. He said: “May the one for Whose sake you love me-¬†also love you.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (no. 5125)

Woah, dude. SO MUCH LOVE. Am i right? Or am i right? You see i appreciate my Bro’s because they have been there through thick and thin. We can talk about anything and have no fear about preconceived notions or post conversational judgement. We are cool.! Now as much as i love my womenfolk i do feel a little bit more reserved to wear my heart on my sleeve, i tend to take it slowly and cautiously.

 

670px-Be-a-Bro-Step-3

Below are 5 steps to become a BRO!

If you want to become someones Bro it’s actually not rocket science. Here are the tips.

Tip #1) Be generous.

A true Bro is willing to extend his hand generously to his friend.

Tip #2) Be supportive.

There is no better feeling than knowing your Bro has “got your back”

Tip #3) Be involved.

Get yourself involved in your Bros life. Play sports with them. Stay updated on their life events.

Tip #4) Be open.

Your Bro might be in a 9-1-1 dilemma and need you. Always let them know you’re a phone call or a door knock away.

Tip #5) Be real.

There is nothing to hide from your Bro. Whether good or bad you know you can say anything you want to each other.

So what are you waiting for? BE A BRO TODAY! Now when i say Bro i don’t mean i am Batman and you are Robin. No! That is not how a Bromance works! I am Batman and you are Batman and together we make Bratman! Just picture¬†when you are looking in the mirror your Bro looking right back at you, giving you the Bro-fist of approval! If a girl were to find you both attractive¬†you wouldn’t compete and leave your Bro in the dirt. You’d pretend you were Siamese twins and tell her it’s all or nothing!

ohdOQIRdfs

“We’re actually Siamese twins. If you¬†like one you’ll have to like us both! ūüėČ “


Do you get it now!!?

Peace, Ramey.

Ramey, you cannot be half Muslim and half Christian, you can only be one“…These words echoed by my Religion teacher Mrs. Young at my former High School in 1998 had to have been one of the most earth shattering, mind boggling and mentally challenging words i had ever heard at the tender age of 15.

You see, i had a very interesting upbringing. I was raised in a household that was interfaith. My Mother of Croatian ancestry is a Christian whilst my father of Lebanese ancestry is a Muslim. Their marriage in the late 1970’s caused shock-waves through both communities and families from both sides couldn’t understand it, due to the supposed “taboo” of it all.

Not only two very different cultures but also two different religions. What about the children? would be the cry of concerned relatives from both ends of the spectrum, little did they knew this upbringing of mine was one of the most healthiest and happiest when it came to tolerance and understanding.

200387_4288739155_3808_n

My brother hugging me under our Christmas tree. 1983.

So what was it like growing up in a household where i was both exposed to Christian and Muslim elements? Let me be honest. Pretty amazing! I truly looked forward to every Christmas and decking out that tree, helping my Mother decorate it and turning it on every night ensuring it faced a window so our neighbours could get tree envy!

I remember the excitement of sitting under the Christmas tree with all of those amazing colours shining on the floor and my obsession with the Christmas tree Angel we used to have sitting on top with her glittery halo and roughed up blonde hair. There was something so euphoric, beautiful and heartfelt about this time of the year and my house felt like a sanctuary.

Then came the period of Ramadan, the month long Muslim Holy month where Muslims are told to fast, read the Quran, pray and give to charity.¬†Growing up i always remember being in complete awe as to how my father could refrain from food and water for long periods of the day. The unifying factor was dinner time, come sunset- we would all converge over a delicious feast that my mother would make up and my father would listen to the radio waiting for the Adhan (call to prayer) to start before we’d enjoy our usually eccentric over the top dinner.

Then came the “Eid” festivities where all the family from my Dads side would dress up in their best attire, head over to cafes and restaurants and enjoy time with family and friends. The vibe of the streets in our area during Ramadan was buzzing with excitement and energy, it truly was a beautiful time of the year that i grew further fond of .

188641_4288814155_2964_n

My too cool for school parents 1970s’.

Yet then came that moment, when i was happily 50% Christian and 50% Muslim in my own eyes- where all of that fantasy came to a sudden crash. When my High School Religion teacher asked me what religion i was- i stared her right in the eyes with a big smile and said “I am half Christian and half Muslim” – assuming that was a perfectly acceptable answer. She glared at me and smiled telling me that indeed my “beliefs” are in pure conflict and that i cannot be both, i had to pick one. This was when my perception of religions and the religious changed, almost like a perversion entered my mind about the life that i was living and it was time to reflect. She had basically told me my religious expression was invalid.

During this time neither of my parents pushed their religions onto me, respectably. Even though both parents were observant to degrees in their religion, neither was completely compliant. Yet i always felt religiously free to think as i wanted to think and this was a blessing in disguise. After doing a brief study of the religions i decided that for the time being i was happy to simply be an Agnostic. A person that is unsure about the existence of God, yet someone who still holds appreciation and respect for what religion can do to people. During my Agnostic stage of my life (from 15 years of age until about 18) i did not express my beliefs to anybody. I felt no need to and even though i had a numb feeling for religion, there was a yearning inside me to find out more and continue to explore.

Then at about 18 years of age i decided to become a Unitarian. This religion was very interesting because it was very inclusive and it mirrored my thoughts exactly. The Christian branch of Unitarianism was even better because it saw Jesus as a role model but also rejected him as a God figure.

I felt proud of my decision to become a Unitarian and i would engage with other people on discussion boards about it. When i told my Mother i had identified myself as a Unitarian (Christian branch) she was ecstatic. She expressed that i was “chosen” and that God loved me. ¬†(Suddenly?)

11539753_10153716943964156_6438546135827338019_n

Me in front of Zagreb Cathedral 2015

When i expressed to my father that i identified with the Unitarian movement in my late teens, he was not impressed. He concluded that i was lost and needed some guidance. Hell was potentially on the horizon. Either way it was interesting to see that the more i expressed myself when it came to my faith and beliefs the more it would irritate and irk my parents- at different times, for different reasons. As i become more profound in my beliefs the perversions of religion and the religious reared its ugly head again.

Years down the path, especially after all the horrible terror attacks committed by supposed Muslims i had decided to study Islam. I truly needed to know and find out if indeed my father held the same beliefs as these lunatics. I knew instantly that there is no way, my Father, whom i love dearly would actively engage himself in a religion that encourages Murder and terrorism. So i hit the books again in my Early 20’s and i really studied the faith and the Qur’an. I remember each night before bed i would open a copy of my Dads Quran and read it for 30 minutes.

It was a mesmerizing read at times, i often remember nodding my head, in agreement, at what i read because the God concept the Qur’an expressed was exactly the God concept i believed in and when it started talking about the Prophets, especially Jesus (pbuh) it really chimed intensely for me. By the time i hit 23 years of age i decided to “Upgrade” my beliefs from a Unitarian to a Muslim and this again was something i had not immediately shared.

10431181_10152883447634156_4112813098961619672_o

Me in front of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul, 2014.

This time the tables turned and when i expressed my love and faith for Islam to my father he ¬†was jubilant and happy, confidently asserting he knew i’d make the decision. Whereas my Mother was highly irritated, she saw it as some sort of betrayal and her Son was indeed lost in a Philosophical limbo.

Then it all became crystal clear to me. Even though my parents played it cool, deep down inside both of them had yearned for me to bat for their “team”. The bottom line is my spiritual journey is my own and i came to it without an indoctrinated mind. When i expected people to be happy that i, as a grown man, was taking observation¬†and fleeting decisions about the World around me, i noticed it only increased their agitation and there was little support.

I remember my Father one day looking downcast and saying to me “I wish i taught you Islam when you were a kid“. I looked at him puzzled and asked why? Look at me today, i came to Islam all on my own, with a fresh mind that queried and alternated between different beliefs to come to my own “truth” or conclusion. I thanked him for not shoving religion down my throat as a kid.

I explained to him that kids that are¬†forced into religion turn into Adults that don’t actually KNOW about their religion but instead repeat religious duties like chores. I also noticed that kids that were religiously forced into things in later years turned out to “rebel”. ¬†I told him the fact that you both left me alone to take my own spiritual adventure was a blessing and that he has nothing to be ashamed of.

When i have children i will NOT force feed them my religious beliefs. My reasoning behind it is that i will explain to my children my beliefs and why i believe what i do, yet i will encourage them to research and embark on their journey through the path of curiosity and honesty. 

I had high hopes and expectations that my family would be proud of my spiritual journey from a lack of belief, to a Unifying belief to finally a belief of Submitting my will to the Almighty. Yet the way my Parents saw it was that i was playing with fire, quite literally! They’d selectively be happy for me if my journey stopped at their station of beliefs, yet then be upset and harsh if my beliefs went on to explore other stations.

Snow-let-it-all-go

I will teach my kids to embark on their own spiritual journey and explain my own to them as well.

That is what i mean by the hypocrisy of religion and the religious. It is only about YOUR religion. Yet for me its about ALL religions and what you connect with the most. I want my children to find their way on their own, with their own senses, intuition and faith of which they naturally will develop. As opposed to me “corrupting” them at a young age and forcing them – out of their own will- to be a carbon copy of myself.

Today i can proudly say i am a Muslim, even if it annoys family, friends or strangers. Either side i am accused of being “brainwashed” into the religion or a “betrayer” for abandoning another. The bottom line is i have abandoned nobody or nothing. My upbringing under the Christmas lights and Crescent Moon of Ramadan really was the light of tolerance beaming down upon me and truly became the staple of my spiritual journey.

I wish my parents were more proud as to how they brought me up and held no regrets for their decisions in life. I believe because i truly believe, from the¬†heart- as an Adult. Not a child that was forced to become an adult too soon and have their journey “cut short” because their ignorant parents don’t want them to face the reality of choice.

Peace, Salam Alaykum.
Ramey