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Life Update – August 2017

I thought it was time for an update on where my life is at right now.

I’m not sure if this happens to anyone else, but I make plans, have goals I want to achieve and then when I start putting plans into action and working towards those goals, the universe throws life in the way and that halts or significantly changes all my plans! Surely others experience this?

I hope I’m not the only one.


So what have been my life hopes, plans and aspirations this year so far? Let’s review…


Become a mum.

That’s my aspiration every year. Every year since I was 19 that’s been my goal. Now that I’m 30 and still don’t have a child… well it’s not a nice feeling. IVF has previously been out of our financial scope. You can’t build a business, funnel everything into that dream AND have loads of spare cash floating around. That’s not how life works.

However, I found a Fertility Clinic that, if you were earning a low wage, you could qualify for heavily discounted IVF! WELL!!! How excited was I? Potentially going from $2,ooo per cycle to $300 per cycle! I mean, we were going to go make a baby!

Then they advised me that my husband could not be present for the egg extraction or the implantation… I left the office in tears I can assure you and I cried all afternoon. I realize many women would be happy and comfortable going ahead without someone present, but the extraction means sedation etc. and I refuse to undergo a procedure where I am unable to advocate on my own behalf AND the service won’t allow someone I trust to be present.

That service has refused. So I am still without a baby/child. But life goes on.


Finally become a Foster Carer

I wrote about this in another post titled Road to Caring.
We both went and did the training weekend and it was great. I completed my homework, had all the personal reflections done (it takes HOURS to get through the homework). I was prepared to take in up to 2 children of primary school age, etc.

Unfortunately, my husband didn’t get in and do his homework and reflections. Not because he didn’t want to, he did, but it takes hours upon hours to complete the homework and the personal reflection (about your family, your history, etc) take even longer. With him busily running a company, growing and expanding into a new region… well he just simply didn’t have the time.

In the end I took it as a sign. If he doesn’t have the time/capacity to complete the homework/reflections, will he be able to commit to 2 children in need of therapeutic care? Probably not. I handed back the work we had completed and advised we wouldn’t be able to progress at this time.

Another plan/goal crushed for the year.


Moving house, selling a house, buying a house

So, not that long ago I was so excited to be moving house! If you remember, we had been approved for a great new house to rent, paid the bond and first several weeks of rent, etc. We had packed up the house and were ready to get a truck and move.

WELL! The DAY BEFORE we were due to move, the home owners CHANGED THEIR MINDS! Instead they wanted family members to move in. They refused to provide us keys. Refused to let us move in.

We were nearly homeless. I don’t care if I have to be homeless… but we have the dogs?! For a terrifying 24 hours I 100% thought I was going to have to put my dogs to sleep.

Thankfully the house we were living in had not yet rented to someone else and we were able to stay here another 6 months.

Only now they want to sell it… *sigh* and we can’t afford to buy it. We have to try and sell our other property (at a loss) so we might be able to buy something.


Working in the company

It’s sad, but I am simply not enjoying working in the company. It’s not my passion. Service desk and customer service calls… I’d rather be working with children, in the human services industry or something.

So I have recently made the decision to find a job outside the family business. That’s a bit daunting, but I’m not happy which in turn means I’m not being productive, which is bad for business.


Learning to Do Islam

So many changes and upheavals have had another sad impact. I don’t have Friday’s free.

I just can’t get away from work consistently. It has been WEEKS since I’ve been able to attend Friday prayers.

I know people say you need to make time for the things that are important, but when 100 things are important… something somewhere has to give. And while I really want to learn more, I have to prioritize living, earning and paying the rent over learning more about Islam.


Not all doom and gloom

It’s not all bad though.

I have a lovely home to live in at the moment, with a beautiful outdoor space.

I have a phone interview this afternoon for a potential job and there are several jobs popping up every other day that I can apply for.

Things are tough, but one day they will get better.

 

Learning to Do Islam ~ First day at Prayer

NOTE: This post was drafted WAY back in the beginning of 2017, or end of 2016. I’m finally getting a chance to post it. 🙂


DATE: Early 2017 or late 2016

Today I attended my first prayer gathering with the Muslims of the Sunshine Coast.

Let me set the scene a little.

I really don’t own ‘Muslim appropriate’ clothing. So I wore black work pants and a regular t-shirt. I tied my hair back in a pony, but this was only because the day was incredibly hot and I wanted my hair off my face.

So, I arrived early… like REALLY early. I was a good 25 minutes early. I live about 3o minutes away so I left ridiculously early because what if there was traffic? Or a road incident along the way. I didn’t want to be late. So I waited in the car for about 15 minutes before I went in.

I’ll be honest. I was anxious. I don’t think I’ve every really had that ‘first day at a new school’ experience, but I imagine it felt something like this!

As I walked into the community centre (the Mosque is under renovation), I saw a pile of shoes, so I removed mine. No biggie, lots of cultures have a ‘no shoes’ type policy. The space was like any other community centre. An indoor space, bathrooms off to the left then as you walk through the open space there is a big doorway (like garage door size) and a regular door leading to an outdoor covered area and behind that a children’s play space. I imagine playgroups would use this space too.

I was the first woman there. Awkward.
A man entered the centre and walked past me, greeting me with Assalam. I think I remember vaguely mumbling assalam back, absolutely NO confidence! I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to issue the same greeting back or say something else. Also, what if I pronounce it all wrong?!

I saw the Imam/Sheik Zain, who I recognized as I had googled him before coming (research, very important). I walked over and half-heartedly explained who I was. He gestured to the area inside that looks out via the large doorframe and advised that this is the women’s area.

He moved on. Must be busy!

Now, I admit, I had no idea what to do with this women’s area. Women have an area? Why? Why is it here? Do women do something different here?

While I waited for 1pm, I had a brief wander around the community space, looking at the posters and various signs for the different groups that use the space.

After a few minutes, another gentleman came to let me know about the women’s area. I thanked him. I assumed we must be about to start, and perhaps Zain had sent him. Which means I’m supposed to do something… ok… let’s look at the women’s area..

There were patterned rugs on the floor, clearly for comfort and prayer. I was still the only woman here.
I saw in the men’s area that those who had arrived were either sitting or kneeling on the rugs. Some people were in prayer. Not being sure if there is something I should do first, I simply sat down on a run at the very front of the women’s space and waited.

When things began, one of the men recited something, an opening prayer of some sort (mental note, google what actually happens at these things). Then Sheik Zain began to talk. It was much like a sermon you’d have in church where the priest talks about something, generally related to what’s happening in the real world, and links the religious text to that. This talk was on social justice, how zakah or zakat (essentially Muslim Tax) was used.

During Sheik Zain’s talk, more people kept arriving. Men who were coming in late would briefly do some sort of prayer then sit or kneel and listen.
Women started to arrive! I felt more at ease once the talk began and women arrived. I know how to listen and I can copy what the ladies do if I need to.
And, because I think maybe god knew I needed a baby on my lap to provide me with something I was experienced in, one of the ladies who sat next to me had a beautiful 9 month old girl, who I had the pleasure of holding and sitting with.

Towards the end, the talk ended and the Muslim prayer began.
As I don’t know how to do the prayers, and I certainly don’t know the Arabic, I just sat and watched. The women around me were doing the prayers as well. But it wasn’t awkward for me, I had a baby to hold. 🙂

Then it was finished! People started leaving. The ladies began to talk with me and introduce themselves and I explained briefly how I came to be here.
I was invited out to the shopping centre where they go afterwards and grab coffee and subway etc.
As it was still school holidays, someone’s primary school aged son came up to me and said Assalamu Alaikum (forgive the spelling, it’s spelt differently all over the web!) and I said that I’d love to give him the response to that greeting, but I don’t know it.
And he graciously told me what it was, and helped me out a little. 🙂 I instantly forgot how to say it, but he didn’t mind at all.


So there you have it, my first visit to a Muslim prayer gathering.

I wouldn’t say I learnt how to ‘do Islam’ today. But I learnt who some of the people are, I learnt how to greet someone and I generally just took the opportunity to become accustomed to the flow of things.

Will I return? Absolutely. There is so much I want to learn and understand. Though I will go looking for a hijab and more appropriate clothing. No one said anything negative, however I will feel 100% more comfortable if I can blend in a little.

Reaching Out ~ from Learning About to Learning To Do…

Consider this post a bit of a segue, a gap fill between one series and the next.

If you haven’t yet read how I came to be interested in Islam or my series on Learning About Islam, please remember to take some time and read about it. You can find the list of blogs HERE. (or at least you will when I make a space for it)


At some point, I reached a natural conclusion to what I was going to discover by google and logical consideration. I’m not entirely sure when this was, but a few weeks after that I decided that I wanted to learn more. I wanted to meet Muslim people and learn how to DO Islam. I say Do Islam, because for a non-believer like I am at the time of seeking more in-depth knowledge, I feel it is disrespectful to write Be Muslim. How can someone Be Muslim, or Become Muslim, if you don’t know anything about it or what it actually means to Be Muslim.

But what I can do, is learn to Do Islam and maybe by learning how Muslims live, what they believe and how they prey and live their life, I might discover that I do want to be Muslim and believe as they do.

Until then, I feel I am learning to Do Islam and great deal of respect and honour is given to the Muslims of the Sunshine Coast community who are allowing me into their lives and their space to learn.


So, I reached this conclusion that I wanted to know more.

I reached out to the Muslim community via an email address on their website and was forwarded onto their Imam.

His response was quick, pleasant and positive. Essentially he introduced himself, offered to answer any questions I may have, invited me to their Friday prayer and talk time and recommended several YouTube videos that would be of benefit.

(For those interested, he recommended Islam Unveil and Contemporary Issues. At the time of writing I have only had the time to watch up to episode 21/24 of Islam Unveiled and I recommend it. I have yet to start the 2nd.)

I inturn advised I would attend if I could (the prayer time is near midday and I work), and asked what I should wear. Remember guys, I am entering someone else’s faith. I feel deeply that I should be as respectful as I can and not intentionally or unintentionally offend others who I wish to learn from.
Either way, his response was that it would be ok to wear what I would normally wear as we were not meeting in a mosque.

So that’s it people. It was that simple. I attended on the Friday, but that is another post which will begin my next series Learning to Do Islam.

 

3 fridays

NOTE: I drafted this post back in April? It’s now August, so it’s been sitting here a while. I’m sad that I didn’t get it posted sooner, but I am going to post it as I want to be able to share my thoughts and learnings on Islam.

 

I’ve attended the Friday prayer time 3 times now… and my favorite part is listening to Sheik speak. I’m in aww really. Just listening to him speak, this time about some of the terrible acts occurring around the world and at home, I couldn’t help but feel like I was truly sitting amongst a group of people who were apart of this country but also cast aside by it.

I’m not saying the people don’t want to be part of the country, not at all. I’m simply saying that as Muslims, they feel such a strong connection to the ‘brothers and sisters’ (other Muslims) who are being persecuted and murdered around the world.
It is strikingly similar to how many Christian people feel about their Christian brethren. Afterall, you hear on the news about certain groups of people who feel we shouldn’t take Muslims in from certain countries, but if they are Christians then yes we should help them.

Not for the first time did I feel like I had stepped into a whole new world. As if crossing the threshold to the community centre was actually a crazy dimensional portal to some far-off country. They are all so exactly the same as me, and yet because of their daily routines and rituals, because of the people who their hearts ache for, they are so very different to me.

My least favorite part of the prayer time is when everyone prays. PLEASE note that ‘least favorite’ does not mean I dislike it or hate it. It simply means that it was my least favorite and here is why…

Muslim prayers are done in Arabic. They are never done in English.
Muslim prayers are very ritualistic, certain positions at certain times, etc.

I don’t know Arabic or the ritual prayer motions… so I just sit quietly (usually I get to hold a baby! So that actually should make this my fav part), I listen and try to watch without staring at people.

I need to find (make) time to read about the different prays and begin to learn them… I wonder how long do new people sit around not joining prayer before they join in? Would it be weird if 8 weeks from now I still wasn’t praying? 8 months? What if I never pray? When would it become to awkward to continue to turn up if I were not praying… Also when everyone else prays, should I stand up and move away from the area? Should I remove myself from the rugs? Is it rude to be in the middle of people praying and not pray?

Wow, so many questions I didn’t even realize I had.

Learning About Islam ~ Seeking Answers 5

Welcome to my 5th and final post in my series Learning About Islam.

As I mention in a previous post ‘Learning About Islam ~ My Questions’, my initial exploration into what Islam is all about left me with quite a few questions. Obviously I didn’t get these answered all at once! In fact, I didn’t even think of all these questions at the same time. Rather, they developed over several months, just spinning around in the back of my mind.

Seeking answers to these questions also didn’t occur all at once. Instead, I’d see something and want to know more. Below is a summation of some of the information I found that lead to ‘answers’ for my questions.

(NOTE: these answers may not be true or accurate. They are simply what I found and observed on my own during my time of information seeking)


5 ~ What’s up with the hate against Muslims? How do Muslim people feel about that?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (perhaps Uluru?) you will have noticed there is a lot of hate towards Muslims. Trumps banning them entry, a random Australian is yanking someone’s Hijab off, Muslims viciously attacked as they exit their Mosque, etc.

I’d like to think the majority of Australians are no ‘anti-islam’. I think most Australians recognise the difference between extremism and Muslim Australians… but then you listen to what some people say, they propaganda they throw around… and it just makes me question more and more of what people say.

1) Why are communities against ‘Sharia’.

I get the distinct impression that the call for ‘no Sharia here’ has 2 parts.

1 – people don’t know/understand what sharia is
2 – people don’t realize that the way Sharia law works overseas is different to how it could work in Australia

My understanding of what Sharia is, is that it is the Muslim laws of behavior, what’s permissible and what is not. For example, multiple wives is permissible but eating pork is not.
Now, if I so choose, I can choose to live my life according to Sharia law. Australia won’t recognise it as law, which is irrelevant as Sharia is about abiding by the Muslim view of Gods laws laid out in the Quran.
So long as Sharia is followed within the laws of Australia, there is no issue. And I have not been able to find something that you could do in Islam where you couldn’t find a way of doing it in a legal manner here.

Feel free to comment if you can think of one, I’d like to know as much as I can.

The reason Sharia Law is different overseas, is that countries where government and legislation is based on Islam have no problem with people choosing to follow Sharia law… much like in Australia our Christian based legislation makes it very easy for us to follow it but it would be more challenging for us to try to follow Australia Law overseas.

2) Why are people against Muslims having a Mosque or a place to pray?

As far as I can tell, this comes down to ignorance and fear.

Ignorant of what Muslim people believe and how they live their faith, and fearful of what a Muslim person might do or that the ‘wrong type of people’ will move into an area.

If I could jump back to the ‘no Sharia here’ argument, those same people who don’t want Sharia, maybe they would do well to acknowledge that laws Australia currently has. Like people having the right to a place of worship and to practice their own beliefs without fear of persecution or harassment.

3) Why can’t Australia just allow Muslim people to live in peace?

Fear I think. The media has a lot of responsibility here, but I believe that the sheeple need to learn, listen, pull apart a story, look for evidence and STOP taking things at face value. Dig a little deeper. Think a little harder. Look just a little further.

Don’t accept the truth, find the truth.

 4) How can I support Muslim people? Is it awkward for them if I am not Muslim and don’t wear a head covering?

I’m not sure how I can support Muslim people. As I don’t have a lot of contact with Muslim people, I think the same way I would support any human would be sufficient.

  • smile
  • say hello
  • attend a big Ramadan celebration
  • refuse to share or pass on Islamophobic postings on facebook or other media.

5) What would happen if I wore a hijab?

Well, I wrote a little about this in my last post.

I thought if I wore a hijab I would get accosted or abused at some point. That didn’t happen.

There was one cranky lady behind the counter, but she was cranky at EVERYONE so I assume it wasn’t the hijab.

So, since nothing of great interest happened initially, I’ve started to think more ‘long term’.

What if I wore a hijab all the time? How would the islamophobic people in my life respond? How would my Christian aunts and uncles cope? What would my parents say?

I guess I can’t really answer these questions.


Well, there you have it!

That’s the end of my series on Learning About Islam! Yeah! We did it! Thanks for reading through these, assuming you have.

Until my next little series, thank you and keep checking in!

Learning About Islam ~ Seeking Answers 3

Welcome to my third post in my series Learning About Islam.

As I mention in a previous post ‘Learning About Islam ~ My Questions’, my initial exploration into what Islam is all about left me with quite a few questions. Obviously I didn’t get these answered all at once! In fact, I didn’t even think of all these questions at the same time. Rather, they developed over several months, just spinning around in the back of my mind.

Seeking answers to these questions also didn’t occur all at once. Instead, I’d see something and want to know more. Below is a summation of some of the information I found that lead to ‘answers’ for my questions.

(NOTE: these answers may not be true or accurate. They are simply what I found and observed on my own during my time of information seeking)


3 ~ Are women being denigrated and subjugated by men? Is that what Islam actually does?

It can be very difficult to separate Religion and Culture, particularly in the more strict Muslim countries were their cultural norm is based around the Laws of Islam, hence they are known as Islamic or Muslim countries.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking Australia doesn’t do this. Australia (Like America and many European countries) have laws that are based on Christian beliefs and values. You only need to look at Australia’s public holiday system to see that the majority of our holidays are Christian. To my knowledge we don’t have special public holidays where Australia openly celebrates non-Christian holidays. We have a few secular (non-religious) holidays, but the country doesn’t stop for other religious festivities.

Why is that important? Well, my exploration of ‘are women being denigrated and subjugated’ is limited to the Australian context. I have not explore this within the context of Muslim/Islamic countries. I simply couldn’t do that topic justice, given the varied social, political and culture issues that come into play. So, let’s just focus on Australia.

Are Muslim women forced to wear Hijab? Forced by who? The government? Obviously not, Australia has a fairly lax dress code. Meter Maids anyone? The key is wear what you want. During my exploration of this topic, I read someone say ‘but Muslim Australian women and migrant women don’t know any different’… wow, ok, way to deny someone’s intelligence. Muslim women are not inherently stupid and unable to think and consider options because they are Muslim (or choose to be Muslim). But if I were to entertain that argument, I could say that Australian women don’t know the difference, as they haven’t worn one and may not know the reasons why women might choose to wear one.

Look, to the best of my knowledge, no one is in a Muslim woman’s home, holding them down and force wrapping a Hijab around their head. I realise that is a little extreme. I am aware people mean culturally forced to wear one. Or that if they don’t wear one, they will be shamed and isolated from their family or friends.

Well, I have a news flash here for you. Being shamed or isolated from family and friends isn’t a Muslim thing, and it’s not just occurring around Hijab wearing. Here are some Australian cultural examples:

  • go to the beach in a bikini, but you’re not stick thin
  • the debate over public education, private education or homeschooling
  • catholic vs uniting church vs Anglican, etc
  • boys playing with dolls, girls playing with trucks
  • being gay!

And not too long ago, interracial marriages!

So, no one is forced to wear Hijab in Australia. There may be religious and cultural pressures to wear one, but you cannot force someone to wear it.

What rules of men are women being forced to live by?

This one had me really confused for a while. My conclusion is that we find it difficult to accept the patriarchal nature of the Muslim culture. And on many levels, I agree that it is definitely patriarchal. So is Australia. The fight is there to even the scales, but it is deeply rooted in culture and religion.

But let’s not forget, patriarchal society doesn’t always benefit the man. To be a ‘man’ in a patriarchal society comes with a lot of pressure. It all rests on him. HE must provide for the family. HE must be strong. HE must be capable of providing spiritual guidance. HE must protect his wife and family. HE holds the ultimate responsibility for all the deeds, good and bad, that happens to his family or that his family do.

I’m reminded that each and every law and rule we follow in this country has it’s origins as man made or decided. I argue that we are all, Muslim or non-Muslim, living by laws that were decided on by men.

Other than that, I don’t know a lot more about this particular topic. My research hasn’t made it clear what ‘rules’ people refer to. It appears to be a generalised statement about women doing what their husband say, or what the male religious leaders say.

But again, in the Australian context, the only law you can be ‘forced’ to live by is the Australian law. Everything else is social and religious pressure.

Is there a difference between Australian Muslim women and Muslim women overseas?

From the blogs I’ve read, there doesn’t seem to be too much.

I did not that a lot more women overseas are speaking up about issue that would be termed ‘feminist’ or women’s rights however the lack of content from Australian women may simply be because many Australian Muslim women already enjoy the freedoms that Muslim women overseas are pushing for.

Muslim Australian or Muslim from overseas, they are religiously more or less the same. Guided by the same book. There may be cultural differences, but again I stress that people should not confuse cultural behaviour and religious behaviour as the same thing.

If women are being harmed, what’s the underlying cause? Is it religion? Is it cultural? Is it prevalent in Australia?

This is so hard to find. News, blogs and some gov websites, have noted that migrant populations often experience more conflicts with our laws than people born in Australia.

This could be for any number of reasons, for example, lower socio-economic status has been shown to be a significant indicator of whether someone will engage in criminal activities to have their needs met (like stealing).Many people who come to this country are often disadvantaged with lower education or standards different to ours, challenges with language, finding work is difficult, etc.

As I’ve mentioned in another post, a hot topic of ‘women being harmed’ is domestic violence. I couldn’t find any information to support the idea that more Muslim women are the victims of violence than any other cohort in this country.

What is it like to wear a Hijab? If I wore one, would I experience negative responses from the community I live in?

This seems like the kind of question you can only answer by actually wearing a Hijab!

So I scrounged around in my cupboard to find a scarf that I would normally wear around my neck in winter, watched a few YouTube videos, practiced putting one on, then I ventured out into the big bad, scary world of the sunshine coast.

img_3345I did this on 2 different occasions (For those of you reading this who are Muslim, please pardon my hair. I was learning!).

This first time I went out, my ever supportive Husband
came along. We went out and had breakfast at a café in
Maroochydore then went for a stroll along the water.

I admit, I was disappointed. No one stared for hours on
end, no one insulted me or shamed Islam. It was all
incredibly normal. Within a minute I’d forgotten I was
even wearing it.

img_3445The second time I went out and about, my husband dropped me off at Sunshine Plaza. I wandered around by myself, looking in clothing stores, grabbing some lunch, bought an instant scratchy, etc.

I smiled at random people, I helped a lovely elderly couple to locate a particular store (they were trying to use the shopping centres computerized screen to lookup stores), I stopped to assist a lost child who’d walked out of a shop away from his mum, etc.

After a few hours, I was exhausted from shopping, but still I remained unaccosted by the general public. In fact, I’d had nothing but positive experiences… again as I was disappointed as I hadn’t been able to recreate what the news and media were leading me to believe… Namely that Australians hate the very sight of a Hijab or Muslim person.

What was it like to wear it? Actually incredibly normal. Ever pulled the hoody up on your jacket? Or held an umbrella over your head? Or worn a hat? It’s pretty much like that.
Depending on interpretation, you do need to be careful about your hair showing (oh but my color is soooo pretty!!!) and readjust occasionally, but to my surprise they don’t move around that much.

(And to make some of you feel a little better, here is a photo to show my Hijab skills, knowledge and wardrobe did improve over the following months)

img_3920

Stay tuned for the next post in this series.

‘I’m waiting for her to ask a question’

Image result for free image questionThis post might seem a little out of place in the timeline of my Learning Islam posts, but I want to put it in here regardless.

I recently attended my 2nd Friday prayer time after which those who were able (didn’t have to rush of to work or other commitments), gathered at the nearby shopping centre for some lunch and a time to be together. It was great and the people were lovely, but I’ll skip ahead for now as that’s not the focus of this post.

As the numbers dwindled, myself, the Imam and 1 other couple remained. It was fascinating to listen to them speak with him as they had questions about organ donation (permissible or not), and then the topics rolled to prayers, and then fasting for Ramadan and everyone’s experiences of this so far.

I cannot remember what they were discussing, but Mrs Muslim (because obviously I don’t want to use her name, I’ve not sought permission and she may not want to be identified), suggested that Imam explain for me something that he’d just said. He responded with, ‘I’m waiting for her to ask a question’.

Now, some people might find that harsh, or dismissive but I don’t think that was the case at all. I suspect he was being respectful. From our brief email correspondence, he knew I was interested in learning about Islam. Likely he’d noticed  I was eagerly listening to their conversation and surmised that I would ask a question if I wanted clarification. I felt the conversations they were having were providing me with a much broader understanding and context than direct question answer ever could. I said I was picking up a lot from just listening. And hopefully I sounded more confident than I felt.

But that was Friday. It is now Sunday. And I’ve been pondering that concept ‘waiting for her to ask a question’. Why haven’t I asked any questions? When I’m at home I have plenty of questions. And as they arise, I google them and look through as many varied sources as I can find, especially ones who reference the Quran in some way.
So why haven’t I asked any questions?

It isn’t that I don’t have questions. I currently have 2 questions, in fact one of them is quite an important question! The lesser question is ‘How can there be Devine Destiny and still humans have free will?’. This seems contradictory to me. I re-watched Episode 20 of Islam Unveiled (highly recommend watching), on Devine Destiny and I’m still not clear on how both can exist. The second question, the one which is ever more important, is if I converted to Islam in the future, what would Allah expect me to do with my marriage? This I have googled, and found mildly conflicting information, but my instincts tell me I know where the truth lies, and I probably don’t want to hear it.
Don’t misunderstand, I do want to know what the Quran says regarding the matter, but part of me feels that once I know, it will be much harder to continue learning. I don’t want to experience the ‘what’s the point then’ feeling and stop learning.

Now, returning to why I don’t ask questions. Growing up, asking questions was strongly discouraged. Not by adults or not intentionally. No one ever sat me down and said ‘ok you shouldn’t ask questions. It’s not ok to ask questions so don’t.’ In fact, it was quite the opposite. I felt encouraged by adults, the education system, TV etc, to ask questions. The discouragement came in the form of responses.

I try not to think back on this, because the feelings are as raw and stabbing as they were when they happened, but I can recall numerous occasions were I would ask a question and be laughed at, ridiculed, told to shut up, called names and generally dismissed from ‘peers’. That stuff hurts and it has long lasting impacts on people.

People’s nature is to avoid hurt. To create various coping mechanism to avoid being hurt. In my case, I stopped asking questions to other people unless I was certain I either knew the answer or knew the type of response I would receive (that it would be positive), or knew that I could hold my own in the following conversation (particularly if our opinions differed).

I have questions, but I’m not used to the traditional means of acquiring answers (asking someone) being a safe option. I know that the Imam will provide a safe and positively worded answer, so time and conversation permitting, I will seek an answer on Friday next.