Taking a life- One minute you’re here the next you’re gone

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What do you do when someone you thought you know so well suddenly dies? You cry of course and think about all the great times you had? But, what if that person chose to take his or her own life. Do you still feel the same remorse and sadness? “How could they do that”, “They must be weak”. Are these the thoughts running through your head as you read this? Let me tell you something taking your own life is not easy. We cry and wince with pain when we cut ourselves and most of us are afraid of dying. I am afraid of dying, but there have been points in my life where I have said yes I am fed up and don’t want to live. But, I am not able to inflict harm on myself. I faint if I see a needle.

So how do we feel when someone takes his or her own life? Kurt cobain and various other celebrities have done it. They had everything you could want, fame and fortune, what else did they need. But, were they happy? And obviously, they didn’t have everything because they reached a low and a point were they couldn’t cope with life or anything. So, they choose a different option to end their pain and suffering.

Imagine seeing someone you know lying on a hospital bed with drips attached to them and knowing they don’t have a chance in hell of living. What hurts more is knowing that they don’t want to live. The moment comes when the Dr tells you the person is dead. Emotion hits you and you either freeze or break down. People around you are hysterical with screaming and wailing. The friend/relative/partner you loved has gone. You will never ever be able to hear them laugh or cry again. But, you’ll always be able to hear yourself cry, as their memory will always stay with you.

What could you have done differently? Could you have stopped it or been there more for her or him? “Maybe If I had listened more things would have been different”. STOP. There is nothing you could have done. Once someone has made this decision, they are going to see it through and it’s not your fault.

We all want answers when a tragedy like this happens. But, sometimes there is no clear answer and you will never know. Losing a loved one is never easy, but when it happens like this, it is worse. So don’t judge those that have taken their own life, as you don’t know their story or pain. In Islam Suicide is not allowed and I do not agree with it. But, when you see and experience the pain of losing someone to suicide you realise why it is not a good way of dying. But, I will always pray and hope that my angel enters heaven. Miss you…

Revert- choosing a different faith

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Are we born Muslim, Jewish or Christian?

Muslims believe that everyone is born a Muslim so they call people who become Muslims reverts. Why does someone revert or convert to a different religion? What makes someone change his or her beliefs and adopt a new way of life? Do people change religion for: love, greater understanding of another belief, or closeness to god? Whatever reason someone chooses to change his or her religion, we should respect that.

How easy is it to change religions? It is pretty easy to convert to Christianity. To revert to Islam one must pronounce the “Shahada”. The “Shahada” is the first and most important of the five pillars of Islam. It is a much lengthier process to convert to Judaism as conversion is a gradual process and the transition takes time.

How easy is to live your life as Muslim? A Hindu friend of mine converted a few years ago and she said that it was a hard process and she hid it from her family, as they wouldn’t approve. Surely, if you’re going to practice another religion and take that step you should embrace it fully,  you might think. But, this is not always the case for everyone.  So why did she hide it? She knew her parents would not accept and wanted to bide her time before she came out as a Muslim and married a Muslim. She prayed in her room and observed fasts all oblivious to those around her. Gradually her tight clothes were traded for looser fitting clothes and long tops. She has not chosen to wear the hijab. Why not? Some of us identify a revert female as one who adopts the hijab and abaya as part and parcel of converting. So is this girl not classed as a Muslim even though she prays five times a day, believes in Islam, observes her fasts and has performed Umrah? Who are we to judge and decide this? Surely, we should praise those who take a step forward instead of criticising and picking faults. Which one of us is a perfect Muslim, Jew or Christian?

When asked why she converted, she stated that she believed that Islam was the right religion and is happy to be a Muslim. When asked if she would ever wear the hijab, she replied that she is not sure, but she will try to dress more modestly. So do we condemn or praise her?

For me it is all about intention and trying to better yourself as a person. I respect all religions and I think it is very hard to embrace another religion, as people are not always welcoming, so I admire those who are bold enough to take that step.

Fanatical about religion…

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Does the way you dress and look determine your religious belief and identity?

If you see a bearded man or a woman with a hijab on, do you automatically think terrorist or Islamic fanatic? Do you assume the bearded man or covered woman walking down the street is oppressed or uneducated? The amount of types I have heard people say things like ‘”Oh my god, I feel so sorry for her. It’s hot and she is forced to wear that black thing”. “Why does she cover her face or her hair”? You may not do, but some ignorant people in our society do. Having a beard or wearing a hijab is a choice for some Muslims who want to be identified as Muslims and form a closer relationship to Allah. Not all Muslim women wear a hijab out of force. It is their choice as they want to make a statement, form a better relationship with god or don’t want men staring at them. The hijab is about modesty of the body and the mind. The woman in the hijab can look at scantily clad women on a Saturday night and think, “Aren’t these women cold, it’s freezing and they have no clothes on.” “Looking at them is making me feel cold”.

An educated man and woman can make a decision to represent their identity and still have a brain and opinion. The woman with the hijab sat opposite you could be a brain surgeon, speak five different languages fluently, and be a martial arts expert. However, some see her as an oppressed fanatic who needs to inject some colour into her life and try wearing a different colour to black.

The bearded man walking across the street has not forgotten how to shave and is not going for the hippy look. He wants society to identify him as a Muslim or just likes sporting a beard. It is not cool or funny to shout Bin Laden or the Taliban as he walks past. It is immature and ignorant. So even if you think it, don’t say it out aloud as a sarky comment or rude reply back can offend. Do not be cautious of this man or speak very slowly as he can understand what you say and may have a PHD in nuclear physics and likes Cold Play.

I am fed up of society and the media that depict Muslims who choose to sport a beard or wear a hijab as Islamic fanatics. They are not fanatics. Nuns dress modestly and wear all black. Do you see a Nun as an oppressed woman and feel sorry for her because she isn’t wearing the latest mini skirt in summer? Or when you see an Orthodox Jew or Greek, do you see them as fanatics with their beards and skullcaps. Why is it acceptable for them to dress in this way and not be classed as fanatics? Figure out what a person is truly about before making assumptions. The media loves to portray Muslims as fanatic. I am a Muslim educated middle class woman and I don’t wear a hijab, but I pray, fast and believe in my religion. Am I fanatic to?

Yes I’m #Pakistani and what?

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Yes I’m #Pakistani, but if I don’t choose to talk to you, that doesn’t make me racist because you’re not the same colour as me, I just don’t want to talk to you, but don’t call me a  paki…”

Why do men take offence if you turn them down?

Why can’t a man take it on the chin when you’re not interested, instead of lashing out? I mean seriously did “I ask you to speak to me or approach you? No, I didn’t, so why should I share the same air space as you”

What makes a man approach a woman and think he’s in with a chance? “Yeah baby, I’m the Mcdaddy, what you saying”?” “Ermmm, nothing at all to you, so leave me alone” this is what we’re thinking in our heads, but don’t actually say it out loud. Are some men so deluded that they think that any and every woman is interested in them?

How can you politely refuse this type of man? You can’t, as they don’t take kindly to the words “no, go away and not interested”. This kind of man can turn nasty and hurl abuse as you’ve hurt his manly pride. So you’re in a no win situation really. The best thing to do, is to just ignore this type of man, or be prepared for abuse if you choose to answer back.