In the 8th grade, I willingly started performing salat. I wanted to be a better Muslim, and fulfilling my religious duties made me happy. My looks were unfitting when I started high school. People didn’t believe that I was a Muslim. This bothered me a lot. I wanted to prove myself, and I felt guilty that I was unveiled. I decided to veil. My family didn’t force me to do this. They didn’t put pressure on us, even though they were conservative people. I veiled at the age of 15. Everything was going very well. I was happy, and I had proven myself. I was willingly taking lessons to learn the Quran. My faith was making me happy and provided me with great satisfaction. I had become such a religious person that I thought everyone around me was sinners. I had nothing I could connect emotionally. I only had my faith.
In 11th grade, I met a history teacher. They had found my religiousness weird. When they realized that I loved researching and learning, they gave me some books; they started to talk to me about my faith. They believed in God but were not religious. They never intended to change my belief, and they just wanted me to learn different ideas too. I began questioning. I read the books. I had a lot of questions in mind, but Islam was not answering them. Why did people have to be punished for eternity just because they believed in another god? Why did women have so much pressure on them? Why was homosexuality a sin? I loved animals and wanted to become a vegetarian. Did Qurban have to be a compulsory religious duty? Why did we hate non-Muslims so much? Why was Quran so insufficient even though it was the book of Allah? I talked to everyone I can. I never got reasonable answers to my questions.
Now I’m 18. I don’t believe in Allah. I haven’t told anyone. Even writing here gives me pain. What I learned and read has given me a whole different point of view. I changed. My family thinks that my faith has just weakened, and they want me to be like before. For some reason, my mother and father started to become very religious people for the past 1-2 years. I jokingly told my mother that I wanted to unveil, and this alone drove her mad. I can’t talk to them about science. They have very closed minds. They deny evolution; they believe that women need to be protected by men. We constantly fight. They would never accept it if I unveiled. They get mad at me a lot because I don’t read the Quran and perform the salat. I can’t tell them that I don’t believe it like before. I’m afraid of their reaction.
I’m preparing for the college exam. I want to study out of town and unveil. I’m afraid that they will hate me. I don’t know how I can get them used to this idea. All I know is my unhappiness. I’m not free, and my freedom will make them unhappy.
(Image: Nastya Rauba)