By Naureen A
A good Muslim wakes up early in the morning and says her prayers. Well, I wake up and look at social media. One day I am dismayed to read that according to a Muslim scholar I have sinned all night by sleeping on my stomach. Now I don’t claim to be a paragon of virtue, but to think that I have spent the last eight hours (involuntarily) sinning is a little depressing. That’s in addition to missing morning prayers. Am I just living my life one sin to another? I decide to take a mental inventory today.
I get up and throw my gown over my tank top. No one here except for my (female) cat to witness my bare arms - except of course, I suddenly remember that scholars say the perverted jinns (genies) can watch you. Ugh!
I go downstairs and grab a glass of water. I realize that I am using my left hand instead of my right and not sitting while drinking – both of which are apparently frowned upon by scholars. I switch hands and try doing an air squat and almost fall and give up. Never mind. I feed my cat who purrs in delight at her favorite non-halal (non-permissible) morsels. I love my cat whom I rescued a few years ago and today I am glad it’s a cat and not a dog. Apparently having a pet dog is also a grave sin.
I make my kids breakfast. Eggs -as halal as you can get, and get the kids off to school.
I get ready and wear my dress with opaque tights. No skin is showing, but my head is uncovered.
Sin or no sin? It’s controversial, I remind myself and that God is all forgiving – I hope.
As I drive to work, I recall another article on Facebook where scholars are worried that vibrating cars could “excite” women. I laugh and feel sorry that my car runs too smoothly.
I see an elderly woman trying to cross the street. I brake to let her pass and immediately get honked at from behind. In a moment of rage I let out a string of curses. Ooops! Sin.
I arrive at work and find ‘thank you’ cards in my inbox from the secretaries whom I gave Christmas gifts to. I have given a lot of Christmas gifts this year. From the office staff to the mailman, from my cleaning lady to the woman who delivers the newspapers.
I have been told by good Muslims a “holiday gift” is fine, but that “Christmas gifts” make me an apostate. I decide if it’s a sin it must be low on the totem pole. I try and forget what apostate means and am easily distracted by a familiar song and start singing the lyrics. The secretaries laugh and I enhance my performance with a little dance. Haram! Haram! A voice rings in my ear and I stop abruptly.
The day goes by in a whirlwind. I am a psychiatrist. I listen and prescribe meds. But mostly I listen.
At lunchtime, I get the broccoli cheddar soup. It’s vegetarian, aka halal. Except for the cheddar cheese in it, which is probably not halal. I forgive myself as the soup is delicious and I am hungry. Later in the afternoon, I speak to an insurance agent who does not want to cover a medication I have prescribed. He is giving me a hard time, citing other cheaper alternatives. I exaggerate a little and say that the patient is suicidal. Is an exaggeration a lie? Probably, but it’s for a good cause, I console myself. The lie has worked and in a few minutes later I get a faxed approval for the medication. I do a fist pump and stop myself. Is there some decree about fist pumps too? Very likely. I am sure some scholar thinks this is a sin. I should Google this in my free time, I remind myself.
When I get home there is no time to do my sin inventory. I am in mom mode, making dinner and helping my kids with homework. We watch CNN together and discuss LGBTQ rights. I feel proud that my kids are good human beings and morally- and socially-conscious. I feel that I must be doing something right. Although I realize many Muslims would think I’m not teaching my kids good values. We clean up and my daughter affectionately calls me a recycle Nazi as I admonish her for throwing paper in the trash. I compost and recycle. That must be good. Right?
As I lie in bed, after a long day, I try to recount my sins and feel the heat of hell fire. Too many.
Some are grave, like not saying my prayers and others less so but probably just as bad if you think about the quantity. I thought I was a good person but according to what I read nowadays, apparently, I am sinning every second that I breathe. What happened to the religion not being a difficult decree?
Anyway, I hope Allah forgives my transgressions. I will try and do better tomorrow, I swear. But right now I need distraction from these disturbing visions of hell. I scroll through various Facebook posts and find one that has gone viral about Elizabeth Hurley dancing in a bikini. I ignore the post and do a mental flip-off to shaytan (the devil) who was trying to lead me astray. Then I remember flipping off anyone, even shaytan, is also probably a sin.
Oh well, at least I recycle.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Muslim World Today.