The reason why I looked into Islam was the age-old reason of becoming involved with a Muslim man (very westernized and liberal - a lovely person by the way, we're not together anymore but still get on well). He never pushed me to take up his religion, but remarked one day that if that if he ever married a westerner, to be acceptable to his family she would have to 'convert', although he himself wasn't bothered if it was in name only. This I couldn't do - I didn't want to feel like a fraud, spiritual matters are very close to my heart and I would have to either convert sincerely or not at all. So I tried to look into the religion to see if there was something there that I could accept. I've always felt in tune with Buddhist ways of thinking, and I was shocked by the concept of hell and punishment for the unbelievers in the Quran. On the plus side though, I was assured that the Quran is less harsh and makes more sense in Arabic. I was also impressed by some of the "scientific" statements in the Quran - support for the big bang and the expanding universe (although the bit about seven heavens and the stars being in the lowest one confused me a bit). I persevered, reading everything I could, I especially tried to find a translation of the Quran that came close to the "beautiful and gentle" Arabic original I'd been told about. I found the commentary of Abdullah Yusuf Ali inspiring, I read about Sufism, the stories of converts especially the book "Struggling to Surrender" by Jeffrey Lang. I very much wanted to believe, I could see the "pure spiritual state" that some people have as a result and and I wanted to be part of that. But I still had questions that wouldn't go away. If God is compassionate, why would he torture people in Hell for eternity simply because they don't believe in Him? I never got a satisfactory answer. The final straw came when I read: "Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeedl" (Q.4: 48). So being serial killer is a lesser sin and being polytheist such as a Hindu is the worst evil of all? At this point I thought enough is enough, I can't accept this. Once I had the courage to admit this to myself, I felt a sense of relief. It has however taken me several months disentangle myself from Islamic thinking without feeling guilty about being a Western Colonialist Muslim-basher and without being afraid for my soul.
permission from Faith