BECOMING A TRUE FAITH ISLAM IN RELIGION AND LIFE
From the book “INFIDEL” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
ALL BLACK LETTERING IS MINE FOR EMPHSIS - Keith Hunt
Playing Tag in Allah's Palace
Having to Move
……My mother didn't want to move to Ethiopia, because Ethiopians were Christians: unbelievers. Saudi Arabia was God's country, the homeland of the Prophet Muhammad. A truly Muslim country, it was resonant with Allah, the most suitable place to bring up children. My mother had learned Arabic in Aden; more important, she also imbibed a vision that Islam was purer, deeper, closer to God in the countries of the Arabian peninsula. Saudi Arabian law came straight from the Quran: it was the law of Allah. Inevitably, the life of our family, reunited in Saudi Arabia, would be predictable, certain, and good.
Somehow she convinced our father of this plan. He found a job in Saudi Arabia, at one of the government ministries. I remember his job as deciphering Morse code for some government office. He moved to Riyadh and lived at a clan mate's house while he waited for the preparations for our flight to be completed…..
My mother found comfort in the vastness and beauty of the Grand Mosque, and it seemed to give her hope and a sense of peace. We all liked going there; we even got ice cream afterward. Gradually, the rituals and stories centered on this place began to mean something to me. People were patient with each other in the Grand Mosque, and communal— everyone washing his or her feet in the same fountain, with no shoving or prejudice. We were all Muslims in God's house, and it was beautiful. It had a quality of timelessness. I think this is one reason Muslims believe that Islam means peace: because in a large, cool place full of kindness you do feel peaceful.
But as soon as we left the mosque, Saudi Arabia meant intense heat and filth and cruelty.
People had their heads cut off in public squares. Adults spoke of it. It was a normal, routine thing: after the Friday noon prayer you could go home for lunch, or you could go and watch the executions. Hands were cut off. Men were flogged. Women were stoned.
In the late 1970s, Saudi Arabia was booming, but though the price of oil was tugging the country's economy into the modern world, its society seemed fixed in the Middle Ages……
Some of the Saudi women in our neighborhood were regularly beaten by their husbands. You could hear them at night. Their screams resounded across the courtyards: "No! Please! By Allah!"
This appalled my father. He saw this horrible, casual violence as a prime example of the crudeness of the Saudis, and when he caught sight of the men who did it—all the neighborhood could identify who it was, from the voices—he would mutter, "Stupid bully, like all the Saudis." He never lifted a hand to my mother in this way; he thought it was unspeakably low…….
In Saudi Arabia, everything bad was the fault of the Jews.
When the air conditioner broke or suddenly the tap stopped running, the Saudi women next door used to say the Jews did it. The children next door were taught to pray for the health of their parents and the destruction of the Jews. Later, when we went to school, our teachers lamented at length all the evil things Jews had done and planned to do against Muslims. When they were gossiping, the women next door used to say, "She's ugly, she's disobedient, she's a whore—she's sleeping with a Jew." Jews were like djinns, I decided. I had never met a Jew. (Neither had these Saudis.)…….
Things were not going well at home. My parents' once strong bond was breaking down. Each had very different expectations of life. My mother felt that my father was not attentive enough to his family. It often fell to my mother to accompany us to school and back—different schools, because Mahad was a boy—-returning alone. She hated having to go out without a man, hated being hissed at by men on the street, stared at with insolence. All the Somalis told stories about women who had been accosted on the street, driven away, dumped on the roadside hours later, or simply never seen again. To be a woman out on her own was bad enough. To be a foreigner, and moreover a black foreigner, meant you were barely human, unprotected: fair game.
When my mother went shopping without a male driver or spouse to act as guardian, grocers wouldn't attend to her. Even when she took Mahad along, some shop assistants wouldn't speak to her. She would collect tomatoes and fruit and spices and ask loudly, "How much?" When she received no reply she'd put the money down and say "Take it or leave it" and walk out. The next day she would have to go back to the same grocer. Mahad saw it all and couldn't really help her; he was only ten.
My mother never saw her tribulations as in any way the fault of the Saudis. She just wanted my father to do the shopping and the outdoor work, like all the Saudi men did. None of the Saudi women we knew went out in the street alone. They couldn't: their husbands locked their front doors when they left their houses. All the neighborhood women pitied my mother, having to walk on her own. It was humiliating; it was low……..
Some time after we moved to Riyadh we started school, real school, in the morning, with Quran school in the afternoon. But real school in Saudi Arabia was just like madrassah. We studied only Arabic, math, and the Quran, and the Quran must have taken up four-fifths of our time.
Quran study was divided into a reciting class, a class on meaning, a class on the hadith, which are the holy verses written after the Quran, a class on the sirat, the traditional biographies of the Prophet Muhammad, and a class on fiqh, Islamic law.
We learned to recite the ninety-nine names of Allah, and we learned how good Muslim girls should behave: what to say when we sneezed; on which side we should begin to sleep, and to what position it was permissible to move during sleep; with which foot to step into the toilet, and in what posture to sit. The teacher was an Egyptian woman, and she used to beat me. I was sure she picked on me because I was the only black child. When she hit me with a ruler she called me Aswad Ahda: black slave-girl. I hated Saudi Arabia…….
We told our father we didn't want to be girls. It wasn't fair that we weren't allowed to go out with him and do all the things that Mahad could. Abeh would always protest, and quote the Quran: "Paradise is at the feet of your mother!" But when we looked down at them, our mother's bare feet were cracked from washing the floor every day and Abeh's were clad in expensive Italian leather shoes. We burst out laughing every time, because in every sense of the word, Paradise was not at her feet but at his. He was important, he was saving Somalia, he had lovely clothes, he went outside when he wanted to. And we, and she, were not allowed to do as we wished.
The separation was etched into every detail of every day. If we wanted to go somewhere as a family, we had to take separate buses: my father and Mahad in the men's bus, Ma and Haweya and I in the women's. My father would mutter with rage at the stupidity of it all when we finally met up together, at the bazaar or the gold market. "This isn't Muslim at all!" he would rage. "This is from the time of Ignorance! The Saudis are as stupid as livestock!" In practice, the rule of separate buses applied only to foreign workers. All the Saudis seemed to be rich, and Saudi women were driven around by drivers in their husband's car……..
When my father heard what had happened to Obah he was enraged. "This is not Islam—this is the Saudis, perverting Islam," he roared. My father was Muslim, but he hated Saudi judges and Saudi law; he thought it was all barbaric, all Arab desert culture. Whenever we heard of an execution or a stoning, my mother always said, "It is God's law and God's will, and who are we to judge it?" But we also knew that no Somali could ever win if a Saudi decided to take him to court.
My father's scorn for the Saudis was all-embracing. On September 16, 1978, there was an eclipse of the moon in Riyadh. Late one afternoon it became visible: a dark shadow moving slowly across the face of the pale moon in the darkening blue sky. There was a frantic knocking on the door. When I opened it, our neighbor asked if we were safe. He said it was the Day of Judgment, when the Quran says the sun will rise from the west and the seas will flood, when all the dead will rise and Allah's angels will weigh our sins and virtue, expediting the good to Paradise and the bad to Hell.
Though it was barely twilight, the muezzin suddenly called for prayer—not one mosque calling carefully after the other, as they usually did, but all the mosques clamoring all at once, all over the city. There was shouting across the neighborhood. When I looked outside I saw people praying in the street. Ma called us indoors and said, "Everybody is praying. We should pray."
The sky grew dark. It was a sign! Now more neighbors came knocking, asking us to pardon past misdeeds. They told us children to pray for them, because children's prayers are answered most. The gates of Hell yawned open before us. We were panicked. Finally, Abeh came home, well after nightfall. "Abeh!" We ran to him. "It's the Day of Judgment. You must ask Ma to forgive you!"
My father bent down till he was level with us and he hugged us. He said, slowly, "If you go to a Saudi and do this"—and he clapped loudly in our faces—"it will cause the Day of Judgment, for the Saudis. They are sheep."
"So it's not the Day of Judgment?"
"A shadow has fallen over the moon," he explained. "It is normal. It will pass."
Abeh was right. On the Day of Judgment, the sun will rise in the west, but the next morning, the sun was safely in its usual place, fat and implacable, and the world wasn't ending after all……..
One day in 1979 my father came home early and said we had been deported. We had twenty-four hours to leave the country. I never learned the reason.
Instead of going to school, we had to pack, while my Ma raged at my father with horrible anger. "It's your fault," she told him. "If you cared enough about your family this wouldn't have happened. You trust everyone with your secrets."
We went to the airport. My father said we had to get on the first flight out or the Saudi policemen would come to take us away. There was a plane leaving for Ethiopia, but Ma insisted we could not go to a non-Muslim country. The only other flight was to Sudan. Through the whole flight my Ma stared blackly at the sky.
When we landed in Sudan we weren't allowed in the country. We spent four days at the airport in Khartoum. Finally we got on another plane, and this time it was indeed to Ethiopia. The evil unbelievers lived there, but we had no choice.
Weeping Orphans and Widowed Wives
The first place we stayed in Ethiopia was an old mansion in the heart of the capital. It had chairs, which felt peculiar after a life of sitting on the floor. There were wooden floors and a Persian carpet and, intimidatingly even servants to cook and clean. I think it was the first time I had ever seen a garden, with hedges and flowers and a little pond, and a gardener.
I suppose this mansion must have belonged to the Ethiopian government and was used to house visiting dignitaries. For in this country, my father was an important man. An official car came to drive him away to places. Meetings constantly took place downstairs; large, dark men smoked a lot and shouted at each other, sitting on gilt chairs in the formal dining room……
TEACHER SISTER AZIZA
But Sister Aziza was different from any other teacher we had ever had.
For one thing, she wanted to be called by her first name, Sister Aziza, rather than Miss Said. For another, she was veiled. Not just with a headscarf, which many teachers wore; Sister Aziza cloaked herself in full hid-jab. Thick black cloth fell from the top of her head to the tips of her gloves and the very limit of her toes. It was spectacular. Her pale, heart-shaped face stood out against a sea of black. Sister Aziza was young and beautiful—light-skinned and fine-nosed-—and she had a smile in her eyes. She never shouted the way other teachers did.
HOW MANY OF YOU ARE MUSLIMS??
The first thing Sister Aziza asked was, "How many of you are Muslims?" The whole class put their hands up, of course. We were clearly Muslims, had been since birth. But Sister Aziza shook her head sadly, and said, "I don't think you are Muslims."
We were startled. Not Muslims? What could she possibly mean? She pointed at me. "When was the last time you prayed?" I quaked inwardly. It had been over a year since I had ritually washed myself and put on the white cloth and prostrated myself for the long ritual submission to God. "I don't remember," I mumbled. Sister Aziza pointed to other girls in the class. And you? And you?" All but a few said they couldn't remember either.
We were not true Muslims, Sister Aziza sadly informed the abashed and suddenly silent classroom. Allah did not look on us with delight. He could see into our hearts, and He knew we were not dedicated to Him. The goal of prayer was awareness—constant awareness of the presence of God and the angels—and an inward submission to God's will that permeated every thought and action, every day.
Sister Aziza reminded us of the angels we had learned about in school in Saudi Arabia, who hovered above each of our shoulders. On the left and on the right, they recorded our thoughts, intentions, and ideas—bad and good. Even if we did cover ourselves and pray, that was not sufficiently meaningful for God. What counted was the intention. If your mind strayed—if you were doing it for the wrong reasons—God and the angels could look in your heart and know.
We had heard all about Hell.
That was what Quran school was mostly about: Hell and all the mistakes that could put us there.
The Quran lists Hell's torments in vivid detail: sores, boiling water, peeling skin, burning flesh, dissolving bowels, the everlasting fire that burns you forever, for as your flesh chars and your juices boil, you form a new skin.
These details overpower you, ensuring that you will obey. The ma'alim whose class Haweya and I now had to attend on Saturdays used to shriek out the taboos and restrictions, the rules to obey, spitting sometimes with the excitement of it: "You will go to Hell! And YOU will go to Hell! And YOU, and YOU—UNLESS!..."
SOUNDS LIKE THE OLD CHRISTIAN TENT CAMP MEETING OF DECADES AGO……BURNING HELL FIRE FOR EVER, FOR UNREPENTANT SINNERS, WHO WILL SUFFER PHYSICAL PAIN AND MENTAL TORMENT FOREVER - Keith Hunt
Hell in the Quran has seven gates.
The heat and pain of burning are endless. The thirst is intense and causes so much pain, so much more than any thirst does on earth, that you start wailing for water. The searing juices from your burning body are thrown into your mouth. You long for Heaven, and this longing goes on forever and ever. This intensely harsh, desertlike Hereafter was much more vivid to us than Heaven. In the Quran, Heaven was a cool climate, with breezes and delicious drinks; this was pleasant, but rather vague.
Sister Aziza believed in Hell, there was no question about that. But she didn't emphasize fear, as all the other preachers did. She told us it was our choice. We could choose to submit to God's pureness and light and earn a place in Heaven, or we could take the low road.
FOR THE TRUE TEACHING OF “HELL” IT IS FOUND IN THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE; IT IS NOT AT ALL LIKE THE HELL OF ISLAM OR THE HELL OF PAST HUNDREDS OF YEARS AS TAUGHT BY THE POPULAR CHRISTIANITY; YOU CAN FIND THE TRUTH OF HELL ON THIS WEBSITE IN MANY STUDIES - Keith Hunt
Her classes were compelling, but I didn't become an instant convert. And what was so great about Sister Aziza was that she didn't mind. She didn't mind if we didn't wear white trousers under our skirts to hide our legs. She didn't mind if we didn't pray five times a day. She told us God didn't want us to do anything—not even pray—without the inner intention. He wanted true, deep submission: this is the meaning of Islam. "This is how Allah and the Prophet want us to dress," she told us. "But you should do it only when you're ready, because if you do it earlier and you take the robe off again, you'll only be sinning more. When you're ready for it, you'll choose, and then you'll never take it off.”………
Sister Aziza never actually told us we should robe as she did, or not to go to the cinema or talk to boys. She just read through the verses in the Holy Quran, using an English-Arabic edition, so we could understand it. Then she talked about them. She said, "I'm not telling you to behave like this. I'm only telling you what God said: avoid sin.”…….
Seductions of Satan…..Purer life
In the classroom, Sister Aziza listed the seductions of Satan: the desire to look beautiful and attract men; the thrill of having fun; and music and evil books. She knew about these things. Sister Aziza was an Arab Kenyan, from the coast, and after she left school she was a stewardess and a bank teller in Nairobi. For both jobs, she told us, she had to dress in pumps and Western dresses and fix her hair.
But that life had been too empty for her. She found that what she truly wanted was to become a good Muslim, so she went to study in Saudi Arabia, in Medina. Her faith had become deeper, straighter, more pure. She had cast aside ignorant practices, such as praying to saints. She had returned to the true faith at the source of Islam; this was why she had chosen to cover herself, to seek the deeper satisfaction of pleasing God.
ALL SOUNDS PRETTY NICE…..THIS DEEPER CLOSENESS WITH GOD…..AND SISTER AZIZA WOULD CLAIM SHE FOUND IT….TRUE DEEP ISLAM RELIGION. SO NOW WE AGAIN SEE WHY IT IS NOT HARD FOR GROUPS LIKE ISIS AND OTHERS TO RECUIT SOME YOUNG MINDS FROM ISLAMIC FAMILIES [AND SOME EVEN FROM NON-ISLAMIC FAMILIES] IN WESTERN NATIONS TO PACK UP AND LEAVE, TO JOIN WITH ISLAMIC GROUPS TO FIGHT A HOLY WAR AGAINST THE EVIL, SINFUL, UNHOLY, WICKED WESTERN NATIONS - Keith Hunt
Power of women
As women, we were immensely powerful, Sister Aziza explained. The way Allah had created us, our hair, our nails, our heels, our neck, and ankles—every little curve in our body was arousing. If a woman aroused a man who was not her husband, she was sinning doubly in God's eyes, by leading the man into temptation and evil thoughts to match her own. Only the robe worn by the wives of the Prophet could prevent us from arousing men and leading society into jitna, uncontrollable confusion and social chaos.
YES IT IS TRUE MANY PRACTICES, MANY WAYS OF DRESSING, OR NOT DRESSING [SHOWING WAY TOO MUCH] THE FEMALE BODY IS WRONG IN CHRISTIAN TEACHING ALSO. PARTIES WITH LOUD WILD MUSIC AND SINGERS WHO SCREECH, OVER-AMPLIFIED SOUND OF WAILING GUITARS, AND JUST OVERBEARING AMPLIFIED SOUND. ALL THE DRUGS AND ALCOHOL CONSUMED AT THESE PARTIES; AND NEARLY FORGETTING….ALL THE PRE-MARITAL SEX THAT GOES ON. WITH SOME VILE HOLLYWOOD MOVIES; ALL THE BASHING AND SMASHING IN PRO STORTS. FREE PORNOGRAPHY EASY TO OBTAIN ON SMART-PHONES AND LAP-TOPS. ALL OF THIS BREEDS A SICK, EVERY SICK, WESTERN WORLD. SO ISLAM CAN BE THE ANSWER FOR THOSE SERIOUS ENOUGH TO BE THE DEDICATED TO THE “TRUE ISLAMIC RELIGION” - THEY DO NOT THINK OF THEMSELVES AS “EXTREMISTS” - THEY ARE JUST FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN TO MUHAMMAD. WE HAVE ALREADY SEEN QUITE A FEW - Keith Hunt
She was strict about obedience and hygiene. Every month, Sister Aziza told us, we must shave our underarms and pubic hair to make ourselves pure. We must purify ourselves after our periods. Womanhood was both irresistibly desirable and essentially filthy, and all these interventions were necessary to earn Allah's pleasure.
Sister Aziza introduced us to the inner struggle. There were two kinds of struggle for Allah, and the first effort was the jihad within ourselves: submission of our will.
We must want to obey our parents, and to behave in a manner that spreads kindness.
We must want to be dutiful. We must think about Allah's will in every gesture of every day and choose to lay down ourselves before Him.
She ignored the textbooks that were supposed to prepare us for the national exam in Islamic studies. Like our Quran teachers in Saudi Arabia, Sister Aziza was preparing us for a practice of faith, not prepping us in the history of Islam.
I began praying in the evenings sometimes. It is a long ritual. First you wash and cover yourself in the long white cloth, fixing your gaze to the floor, because Allah is present and you do not look God in the eye. You recite the opening chapter of the Quran, a short chapter made up of just seven verses. Then you prostrate yourself, with your palms open toward Mecca, the heartland of religion. You say Praise be to Allah, and stand up again; you say another verse of the Quran—you are free to choose which verse. You repeat the whole procedure, two, three, or four times, depending on what time of day it is. Each time you must recite the first chapter of the Quran and one other small chapter or some verses from a longer chapter of your choosing. Then you sit and end the prayer by looking sideways, first right and then left, and you cup your hands together and ask for God's blessing. You beg: Allah make me wise, forgive my sins. Bless my parents and give them health, and please Allah, put my parents in Paradise. Please Allah, keep me on the safe path.
Then you take your prayer beads, which are a multiple of thirty-three—or, as I did, for I had no beads, you use your finger bones. Each hand has fifteen bones in it, counting the base of your thumbs, so two hands, plus the three digits of one extra finger, are thirty-three. You say Praise be to Allah thirty-three times; God forgive me thirty-three times; Allah is great thirty-three times; and then, if you choose, you may also say Gratitude to Allah.
Prayer is a long procedure, and it is required five times a day. In the beginning I almost never managed to do all of it, but it felt good to be trying.
AND MOST IS THE VERY OPPOSITE TO JESUS’ TEACHING ON PRAYER….. USE NOT VAIN REPETITIONS. THERE IS NO SET TIME OF THE DAY TO PRAY FOR CHRISTIANS. THERE IS NO SET NUMBER OF TIMES TO PRAY FOR CHRISTIANS - Keith Hunt
Sister Aziza told us about the Jews. She described them in such a way that I imagined them as physically monstrous: they had horns on their heads, and noses so large they stuck right out of their faces like great beaks. Devils and djinns literally flew out of their heads to mislead Muslims and spread evil. Everything that went wrong was the fault of the Jews. The Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein, who had attacked the Islamic Revolution in Iran, was a Jew. The Americans, who were giving money to Saddam, were controlled by the Jews. The Jews controlled the world, and that was why we had to be pure: to resist this evil influence. Islam was under attack, and we should step forward and fight the Jews, for only if all Jews were destroyed would peace come for Muslims.
I began to experiment with the headscarf. I wore it long, so the shape of my neck and shoulders could not be seen. I wore trousers under my school uniform, to hide my bare legs. I wanted to be like Sister Aziza. I wanted to be pure, and good, and serve Allah. I began to pray five times a day, fighting to collect my thoughts through the whole long process. I wanted to understand better how to live the life that Allah, who was infinitely just, wanted for me.
I asked my mother for money so Sister Aziza's tailor could make me a huge black cloak, with just three tight bands around my wrists and neck and a long zipper. It fell to my toes. I began wearing this robe to school, on top of the school uniform that hung off my scrawny frame, with a black scarf over my hair and shoulders.
It had a thrill to it, a sensuous feeling. It made me feel powerful: underneath this screen lay a previously unsuspected, but potentially lethal, femininity. I was unique: very few people walked about like that in those days in Nairobi. Weirdly, it made me feel like an individual. It sent out a message of superiority: I was the one true Muslim. All those other girls with their little white headscarves were children, hypocrites. I was a star of God. When I spread out my hands I felt like I could fly.
I was one of the first to robe in school. Some of the Yemeni girls, like Halwa, wore long buttoned coats, but these were tailored to fit the body; you could see a female shape inside. The hidjab I draped over my scrawny frame was overwhelmingly enveloping: there was simply nothing left to see except a small face and two hands.
When I arrived in school, I took off my robe and folded it up inside my desk. Then, at the end of the day, I modestly unfolded it and put it on—and suddenly I was interesting, mysterious, powerful. I could see it just by looking at my classmates. And the delight in my mother's eyes when she saw me in that garment! It was the silver lining to the long, dark cloud of her life. Finally I was doing something right.
Sister Aziza told us it was our duty to convert our Christian classmates. She told us it was the only way to spare our friends the pain of Hell. I tried my best to approach the other girls with the message of the true faith. They answered things like, "How would you feel if I tried to make you a Christian?" They said their parents had taught them about Jesus just as mine had taught me about the Prophet Muhammad, and I should respect their beliefs.
I had to admit I could see their point. Still, I really wanted to prevent these friends of mine from going to Hell.
I remember telling Emily one day about the torments that lay in store for her in the afterlife. She said, "But I just don't believe in that. I am saved. Jesus has come for me, he died for me, and he will redeem me." The Christian girls talked about their Trinity: God, the Holy Spirit, and God's Son, all one. To me, this was first-class blasphemy.
YES, WE HAVE SEEN IN THE QURAN, TIME AND AGAIN, HOW IT TEACHES THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSONAL GOD [ALLAH]; AND SO JESUS COULD NOT BE GOD ALSO, WHICH THE CHRISTIAN NEW TESTAMENT SHOWS HE IS GOD, AS WELL AS BEING WITH GOD [GOSPEL OF JOHN CHAPTER ONE]. THERE IS ONE GODHEAD, BUT TWO PERSONAL BEINGS IN THAT GODHEAD, BOTH WITH THE NAME OR TITLE “GOD” - I’VE PROVED THAT IN MANY STUDIES ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt
We'd bicker about theology till it swiftly got to the point where if we didn't leave the subject alone our friendships would have been over. I went to Sister Aziza and said, “The other girls will not become Muslims. Their parents have taught them other religions. It isn't their fault, and I don't think it's fair that they'll burn in Hell." Sister Aziza told me I was wrong. Through me, Allah had given them a choice. If these girls rejected the true religion, then it was right that they should burn. It made me think that by even trying I was probably making things worse, so I stopped trying to convert my classmates.
Still, it bothered me. If we were created by Allah, and before our birth He had already determined whether we would come to rest in Heaven or Hell, then why would we take the trouble to try to convert these girls, who were also created the way they were by God? Sister Aziza had a very complex theological explanation for predestination. Besides the path that Allah had already determined for us in the womb, there was a further dimension, which was that we had free will, and if you bent your will to the service of God instead of Satan then you pleased God. It wasn't very convincing, but I thought it was my fault that I couldn't understand her……..
EVEN SOME CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY CHURCHES BELIEVE IN PREDESTINATION - BEING SAVED OR LOST FROM BIRTH - IT IS COMPLETELY WRONG! THERE IS A STUDY ON THIS WEBSITE PROVING THE TRUTH ON “PREDESTINATION.” Keith Hunt
The state in Kenya was crumbling from within, buckling under the larceny and nepotism of the men in control. People were given jobs in ministries who couldn't spell the word minister. The mayor, who was supposed to look after the streets of Nairobi, was barely literate. The government was only there to take your money; its services were minimal. Citizens were no longer citizens—the people who had put such hope in the future of their own, independent nation so short a time ago weren't loyal to the nation any longer. More and more, Kenyan people saw themselves as members of their tribe above all. And any kind of interaction between the tribes was mediated through religion. Religion and a stronger awareness of tribe and clan belonging were replacing any shared national feeling.
The same thing was also happening in Somalia, though I didn't know it then. It was happening, in fact, almost everywhere in Africa and throughout the Islamic world. The more corrupt and unreliable the apparatus of government—the more it persecuted its people—the more those people headed back into their tribe, traditions, their church or mosque, and hunkered down, like among like.
A new kind of Islam was on the march, much clearer and stronger—much closer to the source of the religion—than the old kind of Islam my grandmother believed in, along with her spirit ancestors and djinns. It was not like the Islam in the mosques, where imams mostly recited by memory old sermons written by long-dead scholars, in an Arabic that barely anyone could understand. It was not a passive, mostly ignorant, acceptance of the rules: Insh' Allah, "God wills it." It was about studying the Quran, really learning about it, getting to the heart of the nature of the Prophet's message.
It was a huge evangelical sect backed massively by Saudi Arabian oil wealth and Iranian martyr propaganda. It was militant, and it was growing. And I was becoming a very small part of it.
SO THAT IS HOW YOU BECOME A TRUE FOLLOWER OF MUHAMMAD AND THE ISLAM FAITH. MOST IN THE WESTERN WORLD HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT BEING A DEDICATED MUSLIM. AND IF YOU BELIEVE ONE PART OF THE QURAN, THEN YOU MUST BELIEVE THE OTHER PART ALSO. THE QURAN CLAIMS TO BE THE INSPIRED WORD OF ALLAH, GIVEN TO HIS MESSENGER MUHAMMAD. WE HAVE SEEN IN STUDIES ON ISLAM AND THE QURAN, SOME OF THE STRAIGHT UP VERSES OF TEACHING, THAT NO OTHER VERSE/S DISREGARD OR SAY ARE ABOLISHED.
HENCE WE SEE THAT CONVERTING SOME YOUNG PEOPLE TO FIGHT FOR ISIS AND OTHER ISLAMIC GROUPS, IN A HOLY WAR, IS NOT THAT HARD, IF THE PERSON WANTS TO FOLLOW ALL THAT IS WRITTEN IN THE QURAN, AND DEDICATE THEMSELVES FULLY TO THE GOD THEY CALL ALLAH.