I was born into a very staunch Muslim family in the US. Learning to read the Quran the moment I could read. I was under the misconception that if I did not do as Allah told me to do, I would be punished severely. I was also told that if I didn’t wear modest clothes I was being immoral. Right from a little girl I wore the head scarf. My friends would ask me why, and I would tell them “because God said so’.
As I grew strictness of my family started to go out of hand as they started disciplining me in just about everything. Pointing out to me things that I should do and forced me to do whatever they wanted. I was allowed no freedom outside as well as within the house for the most stupid reasons. My father also refrained me from going out. I was not allowed to speak to the opposite sex but being stubborn, I did just that. When my father found out, about me talking to a guy, when I was 14, my grandmother scolded me and even called me a prostitute. I cried for hours, her words cutting me deep. Once My garandfather and grandmother went to meet our relative, that day I wore jeans and T-shirt and went out with the consent of my mother. I enjoyed with my school friends. When I came to home I saw my grandmother was at home and she was abusing and beating my mother for allowing me to go out without Hijab. My grandmother called me prostitute again and again.
I remember during Bakra eid (sheep slaughtering festival), my mother and myself used to confine into room and used to cry while my family used to celebrate and taking rejoice in killing innocent animals. My mother and myself were nothing but prisoner of our own house. I grew up seeing beating and abusing of my mother by my father and his family.
My majority of school friends were Non-muslims, I was very much comfortable with Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. When my grandmother got to know about this, my grandmother scolded me and my mom and told me that we are not allowed to be friends with kafirs. When I asked her why? she said Hindus are filthy, Jews and Christians are apes and pigs and they are not Humans, they follow satan. I was shocked.
Around the age of 14, I realized how much of life I was missing out on. How my father commanded that I do my prayers 5 times a day and never play any sports because they would only lead me to the devil. One night I was talking to my parents about college and my father said that I would never go to college because he had chosen a boy for me and I was about to get married to him as soon as I turned 18. I was shocked….my mother ran out of the room crying. I began to plead with my father to let me go to college. But he said no. When I asked him why, he told me that Muslim women are not supposed to be educated or go to work. They are supposed to be good wives, who never disagree with their husbands and be good honorable women. I couldn’t belive my ears. This man was still living in the dark-ages.
The next day after school I went to the mosque to talk with our Maulvi Sahab. When I told him about my father’s irrational behavior—he agreed with him. He told me that if all the Muslim men in our community thought like your father, we would be in a really good place right now.
I was stuck and didn’t know what to do. I kept thinking about it till late that night. At around 2am my mom came to check up on me and found me crying. That night I came to know what a sick religion Islam was. She told me that she had been a well educated (Doctor) Hindu woman who had fallen in love with my father in India. During their courtship my father had told her that he was very broad-minded and did not want her to convert when they got married. Against my grand-parent’s wishes she married him and did the Nikaah just so her mother-in-law would like her. Thats where her nightmare began. Her In-laws would not let her go out of the house. No one could come and visit her. She was confined in a home where everyone would spit on her for being a ‘Kafir’. They made her read the Quran and do Namaz. If she didn’t they would beat her. My father would come home and force himself on her. When she would ask him not to, he would tell her that it was written in the Quran, and she was nothing more than a slave to him. After about a year of their marriage, they left for the US. My mom was already pregnant with me.
When I was born he was not too happy with my Mom. He said that if he had married someone of his own faith he would have had a boy for sure. Giving him a girl was the way Allah was punishing him for marrying a Hindu.
When I heard all this I began to hate my father and Islam. I promised to get my mom out of this situation and also never ever end up like her. When I turned 18, along with the help of a lawyer, I managed to get my mom and dad divorced. My mom actually went back to school and has a flourishing practice now.
As for me, you might say that I reverted. I am a practising and loving Hindu now. I have changed my name (new name is not given with the fear of punishment of death for apostasy). I live a life full of love and adoration for a God who does not preach hate, who encourages me to think and gain knowledge, who shows me the way without fear and who loves everyone no matter who they are.
At the age of 23 I got married to my Hindu boy friend and now we have one beautiful daughter. My loving hubby is a great guy, he gave me complete freedom and my rights which my father and his family never gave me. My hubby’s family treat me like their own daughter, and even treat my mom as a part of our family. I thank God for all these.