My parents were Muslims; or ‘parent’ rather- as I am not sure if my dad has a religion. If not an atheist, he might be an agnostic who is still looking for answers; much like I am, but to me it does seem most likely to me that God does not exist, I guess that makes me more of an atheist than an agnostic.
My mum, though, is a practicing Muslim; when I say ‘practicing’, I mean she says her prayers five times a day and fasts through the Arabic month of Ramadan. She is a Muslim; and to her- yesterday was significant. It was Eid yesterday. It is the most prominent Muslim festival of the lunar year. ‘Eid’ means happiness in Arabic and it does make her very happy.
When I was younger- I used to hate hate hate Eid. It made me socialize with people I did not care about, and say my prayers and praises to a God I did not believe in. That God (or any other Abrahamic God, for the matter) has never been mine. In me the concept of God never sank in- how can you be omnipotent and merciful, and then expect the humans to keep ‘praising’ you all the time? Egomaniac? Yea, that sounds more like it. Megalomaniac control freak? Absolutely! One thing is for sure, even if God exists- he does not deserve to be praised. Also, look around- I have to say that he is doing a rather poor job for someone who is omnipotent.
I thought it was simple enough, but apparently it’s not.
I refused God long time back. Social obligation, though, is a different story altogether. I know- you don’t have to be a Muslim, to celebrate Eid; just like you don’t have to be a Christian to celebrate Christmas. But it hurts my heart to be not able to have control over my choices. I NEED to have a choice to reject or accept religious festivities, just like any cultural one. Eids, thus, continued to be pure torture when I was back home.
Being free from religion in my mind was not enough. I left my country partly to be free from social obligations; so that I am not dragged to the milads, so that I am not made to praise a God when I see a beautiful art rather than the human to painted it. I would like to thank the doctor who saved my life than the God… so that I am not made to bow down and say that things will happen if it is indeed the will of God.
As I was saying- yesterday was Eid. As far as I was concerned, it was just another day for me- a lazy Sunday eating left-overs and chatting over cups of tea and coffee with Crazy and a friend who is staying over at ours. We celebrated too, not Eid- but the freedom to have control over our weekend on an Eid day.
We realize it has been a long walk to this supposedly small personal freedom.
… and it’s priceless.