Comment: I’m a Muslim and a Believer… and you?

I’ve kept my opinions about religion to myself for a long time now. Even when I was verbally tortured in school all those years ago because of the mere reason that I did not wear the head scarf, at the most I’d say to the abusers to let me be a Muslim in my own right and to keep their version of Islam to themselves.

Discussions about Islam would mostly take place between my close friends and my family and that’s just about it, because I knew if I were to protect my right and my practices I’d be unjustifiably compared to a Kafir.

Women like me shouldn’t have to tell people like them how many times a day we pray and how many good deeds we do in a day! We shouldn’t have to tell them that we actually do not resort to narcotics, alcohol, violence and premarital sex!

So I always kept my good deeds and my belief in my Allah who is my sole guardian, who protected me through bad times and gave me much luck, to myself.

But I can see clearly now that I’m amongst the minority. So it’s high time I came out of my shell and spoke out. I’m not even in the Maldives right now and yet I feel like I’m going to be an outcast when I go back.

I’m here in a far off country studying to pursue a career in a field that would allow me to actively involve in helping my fellow Maldivians whom I’ve loved every single day since the beginning. I’ve always heard of Maldivian hospitality and our broadmindedness and how highly appreciated all these attributes are (were?) worldwide.

But then I came to know about these threats again non-buruga-wearers and how hard the Muslims that are higher on the extreme scale are trying to implement their islam into people’s hearts and minds. And then this whole Nazim vs Dr Zakir Naik plus the rest of the extremists thing came up and now everything is in a stir up!

Is it safe for me to go back to my home country at the end of my course? Will I be forced to take refuge somewhere else?

I thought I came from a religion which encourages people to ask questions about their doubts so that the people who know the answers can answer them and then everyone will be at peace! And I also thought my religion was one which had its foundation on peace and harmony with no bloodshed and violence.

Well, and I also supported Dr Zakir Naik and his logic, science and other various beliefs which I thought were more moderate than some other people who were, like I said, higher on the extreme scale. I supported him until he lost his cool [during his Friday lecture in the Maldives].

I expected to see something miraculous when Nazim asked his question; something remarkable where a Muslim ‘scholar’ peacefully instills belief in Allah and Islam into a non believer merely by his words, logic and science.

And then it ended rather abruptly without any satisfaction on my part, on Nazim’s part and I highly think neither on Dr Zakir Naik’s part.

Islam is a religion of peace (oh yes! I sill believe so) and I wanted something beautiful to happen! There could have been, I think, various efforts that Dr Zakir Naik could have made on his part to answer all the questions asked, that could have brought out an incredible result, rather than to ask the non-believer questions to deliberately humiliate him and create an unstable atmosphere.

Or, even when Dr Zakir Naik couldn’t satisfactorily answer the question, the rest of the “knowledgeable” people, also higher on the extreme scale, could have more peacefully taken the non-believers circumstances into their hands and attempted to also instill some belief into him.

All these could have been done more gently rather than build and uproar, threaten to kill and then actually attempt to do this eventually!

Where is the peace in all this that has happened? Isn’t Islam a religion of peace? Where is the beauty in all this? Where is the possibility of something remarkable happening? Oh wait a minute! Did those people who claim to know their religion better actually lose their footing and resort to something non-Muslim? Who are the non-Muslims now? I didn’t certainly go and threatened to behead a non-believer and run after him, so certainly I cannot be a “Kafir” now, can I?

I hope there are more people like me, who are more knowledgeable in this area willing to come out and prove their points in the face of all this injustice! Our beautiful paradise on Earth is in bloodshed and sinking in its own blood.

I say, we need to come out of this shell, prepare for anything that can possibly happen and attempt to bring an end to all this nonsense and violence happening in the name of Islam. What on Earth is President Nasheed doing?

First published on Reprinted with permission.

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46 thoughts on “Comment: I’m a Muslim and a Believer… and you?”

  1. The biggest threat to Maldives today is minivan news and its associated groups like Rehendi.

  2. Sara, I agree with you and I can understand your point completely. Islam is not just about the Hijab and / or buruqa and about how we dress and how we speak and everything outward! Its more about who we are on the inside and about how pure our hearts and minds really are.

    So if any woman wearing a buruqa or if any man claiming to be a religious person has actually judged you wrongly for not wearing one, I'd like to ask them where is their faith in Islam? For Islam does not encourage anyone to judge anyone else or to speak bad about anyone, for there are somethings that are only between Allah and that individual. Just because a woman wears a Buruqa or hijab and a man has a beard, wears ankle length trousers or preaches religion, does it mean that she or he is doing everything else according to the way it is prescribed in Islam? Who is to know that? Only Allah would know. The outward appearance or dress or what a person says should not be taken as a measure of how strong or weak a muslim that person is. How many adulterers are there who actually admit to being one? How many people who abuse child and / or women actually admit that they are one? So any man who doesn't dress in an "islamic way" can be one while every man dressed such a way can't possibly be one? And every woman not wearing a buruqa or a hijab is asking to be raped or harassed? Where in the Quran does it say that it is encouraged for men to rape and harass women if they are not wearing a buruqa or hijab? Its actually not the quran that says it, its the make believe world of sadistic men who want an excuse to be who they really are on the inside!

    What's ironic is that the people who claim to be superior muslims are actually so bent on manipulating the religion to suit their own selfish needs that they are turning people against Islam in general. Why don't these so called religious scholars and superior muslims believe in patience and in showing people the right way of Islam through their actions of leading a peaceful and exemplary life of true muslims, rather than trying to bully people into accepting their way of Islam?!!

  3. This artical is very true, so its not only me who hate, they say "islamic scholars"...For the sake of Allah why can't we live peacefully with the help of Islam? I think Islamic ministry need to read these articals and try to learn a lesson,instead of calling "jihad"...

  4. it is worth sparing a thought for the following statements:

    - if one criticises non-whites it is catgorised as racism
    - if one criticises jews it is catgorised as anti-sematic
    - if one criticises women it is catgorised as sexism
    - if one criticises homosexuality it is catgorised as homophobic
    - if one criticises attacks a country it is catgorised as treason
    - if one criticises religion it is catgorised as hate
    - if one criticises islam or muslim it is catgorised as 'freedom of speech'

    Now very interestingly if a muslim criticises any of the above he is a "terrorist", "does not like our way of life", "hate preacher"

    Life would be much easier if we all were consistant in our actions!

  5. Sara is a good example of our 'confused' generation. I put the blame for this squarely on our ex-president Maumoon for depriving this generation from good islamic education. However, nothing is lost. Sara has still time to gather this knowledge from the islamic scholars in Maldives. Thanks to Anni government.

  6. this is really true. the good values in our society like tolerance has been wiped out by the wahabees ideologists and mainly who to be blamed is the new government that came to power under a liberal banner. this is shame that there is no space for liberals in the Maldives.


  8. Well, to answer your question, "... and you?", I say to you I am a Muslim. However, my being a Muslim does not depend on anyone else being one. If you choose to be one, that's your choice, and if you choose not to be, that's also your choice. It does not bother me at all, and I for one is not going to threaten you for a choice you have made. If you have your own interpretation of Islam and its values and what its stands for, and even if that does not agree with mine, again that would not bother me at all, and I would say to you that you have every right to your opinion and interpretation. And I believe,that there are many Muslim Maldivians, albeit, not that vocal, who do not have a mass mentality and whose faith is not threatened, I beleive, by others' lack of faith or their alternative interpretations.

  9. A well-witten article. Most of the more contentious issues of Islam come from its fringes - meaning on issues where the verdict is not absolutely clear. This leads to some people believing one thing and others believing a different thing.

    My logic on these is that if the All Mighty, All Knowing Allah meant those issues to be critical to the core of Islam, it would have been presented plainly without lots of room for human interpretation - just like other major rules of Islam. Leaving these for interpretation to me is a signal that study the subject yourself and then follow your own mind's true path.

    When the issue is not plainly clear and there are scholars on both sides of the argument, I believe either way is right as long as you have done your part to study and decide which path you are going to take.

    Those who then claim their way (which they have interpreted) is the only way are the extremists and they are abundant in Maldives.

  10. Dear Sara,

    Allah created women inferior to man.(Quran 2.228)

    Men are superior to women(Quran 4.34)

    When doomsday comes pregnant women will have miscarriages and suckling mothers will discard babies. (Quran 22.1-2)

    When a man goes to hell his wife will go with him. (Quran 37.22)

    Any more proof needed? Sorry you are a woman!

  11. In Holy gruan is clearly mention that Hijab is Must for muslim women. If u don't beleive that, then u cant be a muslim. I want ask one question to you. Do you believe Qruan? if please refer it.

  12. Dear Sara,
    As long as you follow Quran and Sunnah you are a true Muslim and you are on the right path. If you differ in opinion about something in Islam for an example hejab, see what Quran and authentic hadeeths say.
    There are probably a group of people who go about excommunicating other Muslims, but then that is not Islam.

  13. @ visnaalaa: A simple reading of the translation of the Qur'an does not ensure that you will walk a "good path".

    Islamic theologists have grappled with existential, philosophical and legal questions regarding the application of the Qur'an to practical situations at different places and times. These efforts should not be forgotten and cast aside for what fools and populists like to call "fundamentalism".

    It is highly attractive to believe that anyone and everyone will inevitably lead to the same conclusions when they attempt a literal interpretation of Qur'anic verses, however, this does not happen in reality. Most "muslims" or people in general have neither the time nor the intellectual capacity to adapt platitudes and normative statements to suit the wants and needs of complex societies. So what they do is resort to adopting the interpretations of preachers and con-men wholesale, while loudly proclaiming that they acquired such "knowledge" independently.

    I expect most "Islamists" to shudder with anger at the suggestions I make above but that is to be expected. In truth, the contempt and hatred felt by those of less intellect and mental capacity towards those who are more gifted is a worldwide social issue.

  14. you read wrong books on islam, your basic knowlegde on islam is wrong.. so you have to educate yourself from scratch..

  15. Come out of what shell? I don't understand what you are trying to say here.

    Anyway Sara, nobody will stone you if you don't wear the buruga, atleast I have not heard of any incident. Ofcourse there might be pressure from friends or family who wear the Buruga, which is very common in any society.

    I would be interested to hear your knowledgeable argument to prove your point. People can do whatever they want, wear whatever they want, because that is the nature of being a human being ... free will.

    However, you will never be able to prove that Islam is something other than what was revealed by Allah, and what was practised by our prophet (phuh). However much you get educated, you should understand that Islam is designed for the whole of humanity, and so a human who opens his/her mind and thinks logically will understand it. A person who picks stuff from here and mixes it up with selected human philosophies to suits his argument will not understand it.

    So, although you are getting an education on a useful field, you need to get your religious education right. So start from the beginning, ponder about the existence of the earth and you existence, and why Allah would send you to this earth. May Allah show you hidhaaya

  16. Well written and precise. This is how a lot of women in this country are feeling at the moment. Thank you for sharing Sara.

  17. oh please girl, i'm a liberal woman here, i wear what i like and i've been abroad for several years. i wasn't threatened when i got back. i am not threatened now. stop being so dramatic and get a hold of yourself :s nobody cares what you do, as long as you're not running around nude. sure there are sermons and all that. but your fear of coming back and wondering if you have to seek refuge is blowing it out of proportion. come to think of it, thats an understatement. like someone else said here, we're not in afghanistan, or saudi arabia, or wherever. trust me, you dont need to go into hiding, the thought of it begs for laugheter.

  18. Sara, I don't think the Mullahs will run after you with a buruga if you happen to step out without one.

    But there are people (apparently gang members) who can harm you with sharp objects. These people will terrify you much more than a Mullah with a Buruga (lol).

    Your return or refuge elsewhere should, I think, be decided based on how safe our roads are. Not on whether or not you will be asked to wear a Buruga.

  19. @ mode

    "In Holy gruan is clearly mention that Hijab is Must for muslim women."

    PLEASE do tell me where.
    Honestly, I am genuinely interested to know.
    As far as I know, The Holy Quran DOES NOT say women should cover their head.

  20. i can t stop laughing when i see people who support Wahhabi trying to put jihad and attack free writers articles..good article sara

  21. i find hamzas comment very enlightening and true. just what i would have said, although not that eloquently.

    the truth is, no one is actually interest in religion in its pure form, not interested in understanding the god question (btw the most important question in human history).all people are interested is in power, fame and authority and rest of us acting stupid sheeps..

  22. This article is very nice, but the problem with her is the foundation of islam. well first thing is thawheed. I urge Sara start learning thawheed. InAllah she may be in the right path. Just dont take small things like varing buruga small, this is the foundation. If you cannot dress islamicly then dont try and talk about what Islam is. first this we all must do is get our belief straight i guess. Yeah I would also rather say that this has happened during last 30years. Only our foundation in islam has been laid strong, today we will not be asking simple and stupid question of basis of islam today. But yeah I truely believes this has changed today, the government has been doing lots of things to get our deed and our basic of islam right to the people. Two generations has been forgotton, now it will take three generations to restore what is been lost. Insha Allah show us the true path to all Maldivians

  23. I applaud you for speaking out. That's the problem these days, the extreme vocal minority is exactly that. The most vocal.

  24. @SHILO..
    "And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them" 2.228.
    "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women" 4.34
    "The Day ye shall see it, every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling- babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load (unformed): thou shalt see mankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk: but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah" 22.2
    "Bring ye up", it shall be said, "The wrong-doers and their wives, and the things they worshiped- "Besides Allah, and lead them to the Way to the (Fierce) Fire!" 37.22 &23.
    Don't use phrases from Quran and out of context to mislead people.
    I do understand the concerns of Sara. Religion is without compulsion, and it is not for the bearded Mullas to dictate. If you submit your will to God, U are a submitter.

  25. @SHILO...
    ". O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may Take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good" QURAN 4.19

  26. Hey Lady. As a muslim you should be afraid of your creator - Allah s.w. He will protect you. Have your imaan and faith. No harm will inflict on you as long as you practice this. Ladies got the highest position in islam. we can enter paradise under the feet of mother. this sentence seems very short, but if you expand this you can write a thesis on this......


  28. @Baazu:
    1- " have a degree over them". Ha ha ha.

    2- "Men are the protectors of and mainainers of women". Ha ha ha.

    3- "...every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling babe...every pregnant female shal drop her load...". Ha ha ha.

    4- "The wrong doers and their wives...." Ha ha ha.

    Who has quoted out of context?

    And you forget that a woman has to share a man with 3 other women.

    HA HA HA!

  29. Dear Sara

    You have spoken very honestly and pointed out some valid facts that unfortunately will never be accepted by majority of muslims in our country. I believed that muslims in our country acted very irrationally towards Nazim and that proves everyone (including us) are very on a very deviated course from the real islam.

    I have grown up abroad for a fair part of my life and i know i will experience discrimination purely because of the difference in my opinions and views on various subjects. But dont lose faith Sara. I believe islam like any religion is a personal relationship between the believer and the almighty. So stick to what you believe is right and dont let anyone scare you into doing otherwise.

    You are not alone

  30. i agree with robin. you are over reacting. every society is different. someone living in new york might find the conservative nature of people in a town in united states' bible belt. yet its the same country, and the one which exports the most liberal thought througout the world.

    some people may judge you by what you wear, but everyone knows wearing buruga does not make you chaste. its more important that you pray. and i think in any society, decency and modesty will be admired, no matter where you are in the world. 🙂

  31. @ SHLO
    I wonder if u ever read Quran or you are also trying to find a reason to read the Quran.Stop laughing like hyena!

    Adultery and fornication is forbidden in Islam. In western societies, you can legally marry one woman at a time, but you cohabit with thousands others. This is worse than having 4 wives.

    Maldivian society is still far safer for woman because here less rapes taking place than in your society.

  32. @SHILO..
    again u r quoting just phrases out of context. If you say "u can't kill a man" and if you take the phrase "kill a man" from the sentence, it is misleading. Even the sentence may be related to a broader paragraph. You have to read the whole thing and understand. That is what i mean by "within the context" and "out of context". I do not have any thing personal with you. Just letting my view being known. Peace!

  33. this is not the Maldives we used to be. it been hijacked by fundamentalists who support extremism.hijacked meaning a minority is dictating over the majority because with the change in government Adhaalath ( fundamentalists & whahaabee) party got a seat at the table which they would have never got if not for liberals who granted. The liberals and freedom fighters should stand up and wipe this out just like they wipe out dictatorship/ autocracy. The world should not give way to a small Afghanistan in the middle of Indian ocean.

    have you see that when God create man or woman?there no evidence and if you say that your are nut and your target is to make slave from woman i hate wahabitth.i dont believe what some part of Guruan say because science it is not religion speculation much more.
    i beleve in Creator but i dont believe in any religion because it is lie and way to make from people a slaves of mullah.i am not a muslim or hindhu but my science is chemistry and maths and it is great.

  35. it is religion?

  36. "if one criticises islam or muslim it is catgorised as ‘freedom of speech’"

    No. It is categorized as grounds for death penalty.

  37. @Hameed

    I agree with you.Western societyt is depraved with fornication and cohabitation. You forgot what is worse that women too cohabitate!

    For critisising Islam or Muslim is death penalty. Salman Rushdie is living under a death sentence.


    I can only compare u with Geert Wilders

    I pity ur knowledge of Quran

    u said:

    "Allah created women inferior to man.(Quran 2.228)
    Men are superior to women(Quran 4.34)
    When doomsday comes pregnant women will have miscarriages and suckling mothers will discard babies. (Quran 22.1-2)
    When a man goes to hell his wife will go with him. (Quran 37.22)"

    But these are not the verses of Quran. These ur own words.

    you are but a rabid liar!you can try in vein but Quran will prevail and Islam will prevail. Because, when truth is hurled against falsehood, falsehood will perish.


    You must be reading the "man made" Quran translations that are so overused to try and dominate women. You say that women are inferior to men, but ironically you sound so inferior and insecure about yourself. Poor you, so misinformed tsk tsk.

  40. In my personal comparison, on the face of it - Bhuddism is a calm religion, chistianity is a fun religion, hindu is a complex religion, and islam is becoming a miserable tough religion.

  41. government should consider banning this web site.what ever you are, who ever you are you know nuthin abt islam.there are no versions in islam.

  42. @Sara
    You are a big fat liar, WHY?
    First of all "all those years ago" in Maldives, verbal abuse would be directed at those who had WORN the 'head scarf'. Not the OTHER WAY AROUND!

    The scenario you are giving in which a girl is getting abused in a class in Maldives "all those years ago" for not wearing the 'buruga' is hard to digest.

    Even female TVM anchors got the liberty to wear head scarf only very recently!!


    You Islam hater?

    Try as much as you can but you can't discredit the Quran.

    The more you try to discredit Islam and Quran the more backfiring you will get!

    About your out of context Quranic verse 37:22. The original Arabic verse in the Quran talks about "azwajahum" which also has the literal arabic meaning "companions"

    It means the evil doers along with their "companions in wrong doing" not "wives" as such!

    This is the problem you face when you poke your head into hate websites limiting your trust to just the English translations of selected verses of Quran. This is an often misinterprted verse in the Quran in the English translations.

    In any case how can just limit the word "wife" to a female nowadays?

    Those men who resort to gay-marriage is also evil doing in Islam, but who are their wives? Are they MALE or FEMALE? So how can you interpret this verse to be "against women"?

    You are a short sighted moron whose hobby is to molest Islam! That's who you are!


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