Whatever your rabbi, imam, or holy book has to say, answer to yourself

Have faith in the truth inside you

I get a lot of girls writing to me, concerned over their parent’s desire for them to veil against their own wishes. To them I say: that is between you and Allah, and no one else

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In the Torah, the Bible, and the Quaran, there are passages that conflict. There are parts that are not entirely clear. There are aspects that only make sense in the culture in which they were written. Whatever your faith understands the creator as, he has created a world where things change. We drive cars, we don’t ride camels. We use vaccines and antibiotics, not sacred cloth and herbs. Ultimately, the truth of the world lies within yourself, not the way the world reacts and shifts around you.

Every human, whatever faith, culture, race or gender, has an inner sense of justice. Even as infants, a child can tell when someone is being unfairly rewarded or punished for a task, or when they have not been appropriately interacted with. Whether you call that innate behaviour, conscience or a soul, that is a universal. That is a compass that warns us against being cruel, overly zealous or immoral. In some people, it is stronger than others. People go mad with guilt over what they have done. Others brush their inner discomfort under scripture and legal excuses. Some people are even able to completely ignore their sense of guilt by viewing it as weakness.

When you wear a hijab, do it because your relationship with Allah wills you to. Do not do it to make your mother happy. Do not do it because it is the law. Do not do it because it is ‘what a muslim woman must do’. Unless you engage with your inner relationship with your God, any ritual, prayer or observance is nothing more than routine or the desire to please other humans. Same with Christian girls who remain virgins until marriage: do it because you want to. Do it because that is what feels right for you. Don’t do it because you will be mocked or shamed for going against society. There is nothing holy about avoiding the evil of others. And Jewish girls; be kosher because it helps you feel ritually closer to God, it helps you feel more at one with his guidance. Not because you have to. There is no have to in faith. Imperatives poison the joy and truth of faith.

If you look within yourself, you will find the truth. You know that murder and violence repulses you. You know that lying to your partner or stealing will make you feel guilty. You know that beating your wife or oppressing others is wrong. That is the voice of God, that is the word of God, and it is between you and your Lord, not you and any dictator, cult leader, religious scholar or tradition. True faith is trusting in your conscience for guidance. If something feels evil, cruel or morally repugnant, then do not do it.

If something does not help you enjoy your faith and explore your relationship with the world, then do not do it. And do not be a sheep and simply follow what everyone else demands Allah/Jehovah/Yaweh wants you to do. Again and again in all the holy texts, the will of God changes. The people who get punished the most by God are, in any Abrahamic faith, those who follow the crowd instead of what is known to be right. Even as kids, are not told that blindly doing things because your friends do them is wrong? Doesn’t beating up gay people, murdering women and throwing acid over your sisters feel wrong?

There is true, real light in every person, of every faith or otherwise. Other lights may light your way, but ultimately your goodness must shine the brightest of them all. Because when others fade or go their own way, you must trust in your own path and your own conscience.

No holy book outweighs the blessing or truth of your being.

Written by

24 year old with an awful lot to say about everything. Opinions entirely my own. Usually. madelaine@madelainehanson.co.uk

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