Post-Traumatic Sheikh Disorder | Part 2: Healing and Understanding

Teddy bear with a patch

Healing

As I mentioned in Part One, I turned to the internet for my answers. In my search for understanding, I came across a major problem: I didn’t know when to stop.  I hopped from website to website, following the breadcrumbs of the search results. I would think I had it beat, when suddenly I would read someone’s opinion on it, and the whole loop would start again.

I had opportunities to find closure on it. I was invited to a mosque where the imam and a sheikh were discussing the issue with a group of Muslim converts.

But I declined, partly because I felt I had reached my own conclusions, but mostly because I was afraid. As time progressed, I became frustrated with myself, that I wasn’t able to just shut the issue away and move on with my life.

Continue reading “Post-Traumatic Sheikh Disorder | Part 2: Healing and Understanding”

Post-Traumatic Sheikh Disorder | Part 1: Causes and Symptoms

Broken glass pane

The image of the sheikh standing up on stage, practically shouting to everyone “You better not have non-Muslim friends! You better not have non-Muslim friends!” became a screw my mind, twisting deeper every time I thought of it. Every time he stamped his foot, it drove a nail further into my heart.

That was the moment my long bout with Post-Traumatic Sheikh Disorder started.

Continue reading “Post-Traumatic Sheikh Disorder | Part 1: Causes and Symptoms”

Where Do We Go From Here?

Last night, Paris was hit with the worst attacks of terrorism since World War II. As suspected, ISIS claimed responsibility for these attacks as if it’s their own sick badge of honour. My prayers go out to the families of the deceased and to the injured. May they find a measure of peace in these difficult times. And also to the people of France as well; I pray that this cowardly act of barbarism doesn’t blind them to the humanity present in each and every one of us; I pray that they do not seek revenge against Muslims that, with them, denounce these radicals. Continue reading “Where Do We Go From Here?”

Much Ado About Death

Dead roses in a vase

 

I remember the first time death touched my life.

It was my seventh or eighth birthday when Stevie, the family cat, died. Prior to that, death was just a minor inconvenience in a video game, or something that happened in movies. I knew what death was, but I didn’t fully grasp what it meant until that day. I lay in bed crying because I had finally realized the finality of death: Stevie was gone, and he wasn’t coming back.

Death came into my life many times after that.

Continue reading “Much Ado About Death”

Before you go and join ISIS…

A short letter to potential recruits

 

Salam alaikum,

Peace be with you, whoever you are. You may be a young Muslim, anywhere between 18 to 30, most likely male. Perhaps you’re a convert, swept up in the religious zeal of your newfound faith. You’re angry at the injustice going on in the world. You’re distraught by the discrimination you face as a Muslim.

Regardless, you have been drawn into the ISIS war machine by their promise of adventure and the romance of restoring the glory of Islam. Maybe your bags are already packed and you’re ready to go.

But before you board your flight to Syria or Iraq or wherever, ask yourself this simple question:

Are they merciful?

Continue reading “Before you go and join ISIS…”

Check-ins with God | Part 3

People sitting in a prayer hall for Friday Prayer.

Author Willow G. Wilson said it best in her memoir, The Butterfly Mosque: “The line levels everyone. No Muslim is exempt from it; a saint must stand shoulder to shoulder with a murderer if a murderer is who he finds to his right.”

Every Friday, Muslims gather in mosques and musallahs for congregational prayer (jum’ah). Following a brief spiritual reminder, they all condense into lines, shoulder to shoulder, foot to foot, and pray together in unison. Everyone is on equal ground before God. Continue reading “Check-ins with God | Part 3”