When I was a Muslim, I thought infidel was the worst thing to be. It meant someone who was destined to hellfire, someone who was disgusting and a filthy kafir. My mind was polluted with verses spilling over with hatred for disbelievers in the Qua’ran, 8:55, 8:22, 98:6, 3:151, 8:12, 8:59-8:60, 9:14, 9:5, 9:29, 9:30, 9:73, 9:123, 25:52, 48:29, 66:9, 2:19, 2:24, 2:89, 2:90, 2:98, 2:104, 2:191, ect. Even as a Muslim reading this, I would think why is it so repetitive? Why does Allah care who disbelieves or believes? The Lord of the universe should be above this. He should be so vast, so majestic, he doesn’t care about a small issue such as belief. I did believe non Muslims would go to eternal hell, as I felt desperately sorry for my non Muslim friends, family and teachers. I thought I had true knowledge after death, and I knew when they would die, Allah would send them to eternal hell because they rejected Islam. It gave me nightmares and sleeping troubles imagining my mothers face being burned off again and again and being forced to drink scalding water.
I was terrified of Allah. Very terrified. To me he was all encompassing, I couldn’t escape Him. He saw me no matter what I was doing. He was the companion with me in my bed whilst I slept, His presence was in my Qua’ran, His gaze followed me when I was getting dressed, bathing, outside. I couldn’t escape Allah, he was with me everywhere I went, recording my sins and deeds. But I really couldn’t escape Allah in death. I dreaded my death and spent my time preparing for it, to maximise my chances of getting into jannah. I had two angels on my shoulder, one recording my good deeds and bad deeds and I would greet them with peace in praying. I was terrified. I was utterly restricted from anything. I could never even do anything, as Allah would see me and make a note of it. I couldn’t think anything sinful as the Angels would record it and Allah would know, and I’d be sent to eternal hellfire where my face would be burnt off and I would eat food from the tree of zaqqum and boiling discharge.
I was a muslimah. And I would rather die than be a disbeliever, an infidel, a kafir. They were words used to dehumanise an individual, they were the ultimate insult. No Muslim wanted to be a kafir. The infidels hated our prophet and our religion. They wanted to make our women unveiled and whores. They wanted us to stop being Muslims, to drink, to fornicate, to stop praying and to forget Allah. They smeared my prophet with the words ‘Paedophile’ for his marriage to 6 year old Aisha. May Allah forgive me. That accusation filled my chest with rapid panic. I couldn’t be hearing this, I would go to hell. He wasn’t a Paedophile because he was my prophet pbuh, he was perfect. He wasn’t a rapist, he didn’t rape Aisha, safiya, reyhana, because… He was my prophet, he was perfect. It’s all just filthy lies from the kafir. The devil’s soldiers.
I grew with my dad’s heavy influence to see the infidels as my worst enemy. I was a child, and I was taught they were my clear enemies and they were working with the devil to strip me of my faith. It was my answer to everything. When I grew disturbed at reading my prophet ordered apostates from Islam to be killed, his answer was ‘I’d rather die without any faith’. And that’s the way it was. Faith. The most important thing to make a person. The key to identification. If you weren’t a Muslim, you were a filthy kafir. The most dishonourable thing to be.
Of course, I grew to be a kafir after I left Islam. My dad had already guessed I had left Islam because I wasn’t acting like I usually did. Accepting Islam even if it went against my moral compass, because I was taught I had no choice. Allah is my lord, how can I, a lowly human, oppose something He declared? Even when I vocally opposed cousin marriage, my dad slapped me and said I didn’t know better than Allah, as he didn’t declare it haraam, and our prophet pbuh married his cousin, zainab. I challenged. I said the Jews didn’t worship Ezra as a son of God. Why does Allah say so, when it isn’t true? Why does evolution have so much evidence? Why does Allah contradict what he said with the creation of Adam? ‘Different verses were revealed at different times’. That didn’t answer my question. I saw new possibilities, that Islam was false. I stopped blindly accepting.
A girl is sitting in her chair at college, typing up an essay. She pauses in wonder at the sight of her hair trailing down her shoulders and her bare arms. Kafir. Kafir. Kafir. The word might as well be tattooed into her skin, embedded in her arms in black ink. Kafir. Kafir. Kafir. Infidel. Infidel. Disbeliever. Infidel. Those words were flung at her by her family, meant to insult and sting. But instead she smiles. She loves being a kafir, because she has freedom.
I am proud of being an infidel. For me, I have reclaimed the words infidel, kafir, disbeliever. They are what I am, and I’m immensely proud. It’s no longer means degenerate morals, to me it means liberty, acceptance and tolerance. It means no longer submitting to a religion that is full of violence and the violation of women and human beings. It means I no longer have to believe I’m going to hell just for thinking. It means I’m open minded and secular and healthy. It means I am who I am. I am a infidel. And I am so proud of that.