When I took a survey on Beliefnet the other day, I was asked what kind of Muslim I am. There were only three choices: traditional, moderate and progressive. I found it difficult to answer because I feel that I am all three, depending on the issue. I wear the hijab and adhere to the Five Pillars, for instance, but I also think that the Qur’an is open to interpretation, I don’t believe that homosexuality is a sin, and I support a woman’s right to abortion and birth control. That is what I believe today. I can’t speak for the future, because I know that Allah isn’t done with me yet. I will always be developing as a Muslim, until the day I die.
No doubt I will have sisters and brothers who will think that I’m wrong about some of my positions and who will take it upon themselves to correct me. I welcome advice, but I’m not fond of being preached at, especially by someone who doesn’t know me, my situation or my background. I feel strongly that a Muslim’s greatest tool is prayer and that it is only through prayer that he or she can be transformed. Allah alone has the power to change me.
That doesn’t mean that I want to exist in a social vacuum. I do feel a responsibility to the ummah. I know that there is strength in numbers and that my brothers and sisters have much to teach me. I will listen, but what I really covet are their prayers.
So what kind of Muslim am I? I hope I am the kind who:
- Is not afraid to witness to my faith.
- Seeks knowledge and is always open to new ideas and teachings.
- Is humble and willing to listen to others.
- Participates in the life of the ummah.
- Is faithful in the practice of Islam.
- Treats others better than I do myself.
- Is sensitive to the needs of others, both Muslim and non-Muslim.
- Lives fully in this world while looking forward to the world to come.
- Submits to Allah in all things.