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in which my creep factor metre has broken
I have decided to remove my headscarf for the time being in solidarity with the girls + women of Iran and all across the globe who live under the boot of the hyper masculine d1ckbaggery of forced hijab. I am old enough to remember that there was a freer Iran in existence before the Khomeini betrayed his people by becoming a hardline + idolatrous d1ckbag who founded a barbaric and evil regime that imprisons people for dancing. I see this choice I am making as kind of like Johnny Cash being The Man in Black. To clarify—I hate having my hair uncovered, I feel bare and exposed and I don’t like thinking of how does my hair look too much—the headscarf or turban removes the burden of that mind noise from my heart and enables me to achieve a modicum of nervous system calm.
Still, the rage I feel from the righteous anger that floods me when I look at these photographs and contemplate what it means for these little girls, also injects chaos into my mind. I’m not crazy about the inevitable + well meaning championing and yet I think it’s important to recognise that I did this thing, not because I’m a needy b1tch who wants everyone to give me a ribbon, because I’m a fierce compassion warrior who wants others to pay attention and see the familiar in a new light, know they can do this too. I would stand beside them when the backlash starts, which is exactly why more of us need to fully exercise the choice, too take back our modesty practise from the d1cktopians.
The Dina Torkio Saga tell us all that hijab as the mainstream Muslim world promotes it is NOT about spiritual modesty, rather a political statement about women as a currency and women bearing the burden of hyper masculinity. The headscarf pretending to be an identity in the west acts like a scapegoat, like that stroke of blood on the door that says to the ‘Angel of Rape’ you can spare me I am pure. Put bluntly, this is how radical Islamists see it. That is why, even though I did not wear my headscarf for that reason, I see how my choice to wear it does promote that rule and vision of gender roles currently killing the women in Iran and setting up girls for a life of subjugation and currently putting women in Afghanistan on the path to genocide.
I have always known that I have a choice. I genuinely chose to cover my hair, many maybe don’t understand that. I was raised around a grey nun and women who genuinely practised modesty in their daily lives. Sr Simone’s habit was not a man shield, it had nothing to do with men. Her nun’s habit was a choice, even after Vatican 2 when she didn’t have to, she chose to wear it. And she owned only a few outfits, because vow of poverty. The men saw her hair, it was short and simple, like all the women in my family—short hair styled simply was our modesty and I resented it as a young girl when my hair was cut at the age of 4 actually and then my mum let my have a choice when I grew older and I still chose short hair mostly.
I can see how Muslim women do not have a choice, despite the lie being peddled that they do—people who truly have a choice don’t need to convince the entire world, no one questions them because it becomes apparent. The radicals keep lying about forced hijab, misinterpreting the Qur’an and appealing to the fake texts of Hadith, and their influence grows so it’s important to me to acknowledge that—this is part of my spiritual practise of hijab. Spiritual literacy is a thing life can teach us if we let it. Lying isn’t modest. Identity isn’t modest, it is the anathema to modest as a value.
The photos above [of the Ayatollah and the girls he is grooming] and the stories of forced hijab I hear from Islamic regime countries hurt my heart, the seat of intention, the place where the Divine lives. That I take as a sign from God to pay attention to what I am doing in my spiritual practise. When my home has a physical/structural issue needing repair, I address it to protect the sanctity and integrity of my home and family and me. It is an obligation of the housing contract we signed with the housing co-op, to maintain the integrity of this home. My psyche + my heart is the home of my person. My life is the contract with the Creator which I must honour.
Lent and Ramadan are on the horizon, each being similar in providing the faithful with a time for reflection and contemplation and renewal through poverty of spirit, i.e. doing more with less, giving up a thing you like (including fasting and certain hedonistic pleasures) to get closer to the living God who emerges in that liminal space of longing. In this spirit, I remove my headscarf. Removing my headscarf is not physical freedom, I renounced that when I decided to cover after many many years of thinking quietly and secretly about it. No one knew I was thinking about it. Anti-Muslim hatred drew me to the Qur’an, to Sufism, [ultimately I took a journey that resulted in me taking my Shahada] because the Qur’an caused me to take a closer look at a perspective I never considered in my religious journey.
I didn’t realise I could have God without the trinity for a long long time. I am not like you if you are a Muslim because your parents were: if you have never left your spiritual or religious postal code you are not like me, who has journeyed far from her religious postal code to see the God that I connected with as a child when I could see the mystical truth of Him [because my mother taught and showed me], which I lost as I grew up and became cynical and tried to get back. I even tried to not believe in God. Yes, I gave atheism a go and it didn’t work for my hardwiring or rationality. I respect that it works for others, that is part of my freedom of religion—no religion is also a choice I support. I don’t need to convince anyone to see things my way, I just need to convince everyone to think for themselves and really mean what they say and know what their values and beliefs are and take compassionate action if they discover a misalignment.
Anyone can have spirituality, not just believers in God. I mean that with my heart — I want spirituality to be accessible to all. Religion is a choice not an obligation. We are responsible to God individually, and that includes how we treat others, and that includes abusing others to force religion onto them in deep throat fashion when they said NO. Spiritual rape—forcing oneself on another spirit against that spirit’s will— is wrong. We are each accountable to God for the ways we abuse Him in order to abuse His creation in our self idolatry compulsion. That is a code I live by, taught to me by my mother, whom I love like the sky and the sea and the air.
This decision to remove my headscarf frees me because it brings me closer to God and enables me to live a life going forward that honours my mother, who was forced in the Catholic version of hijab during her childhood — wearing dresses and having short hair. A compassionate relationship with God is the greatest gift my mother gave me, it is a direct fruit of Rahma, R-H-M, the love one only can get from a mother figure and the truest expression of God’s love + mercy in existence. (If you dislike the word God feel free to substitute the word universal)
Heaven, the place where God hovers, [call this the Holy Spirit if you want], really does exist at the foot of my mother, or more accurately at the doorway to her heart (Qalb). Mama’s beauty and charisma came from her honest vulnerability, her courage to lean in + be present in the connection. Mama understood each of her kids — even when we did not understand ourselves. She never wavered. Mama knew exactly how much to say and when. It was the thing we talked about at her funeral, one that my sister remarked on in her speech at the funeral, reflecting on a time in her twenties when she struggled with a severe chronic infection that hospitalised her multiple times :: Mum was sitting there when I woke up (in the hospital) and I had a lot of pain and she said I would take your pain if I could and I knew she meant it. Those were my sister’s words and if you only knew what a remarkable journey that sentence captures.
You could not help but just love my mother when you met her, like you love the big wild magical fragrance that hits your nose when you enter a garden. Mum was alive and vibrant and present and vulnerable and courageous in a way that could take your breath away. The delights of the spirit come to mind when I think of her joy and beauty and vibrancy. It is also in honour of her that I do this thing.
Hijab is a practise not a rule. Best practises change when we receive new information.
Aren’t you glad we aren’t using ancient medical theory in current medical practise? I know I am glad that I didn’t get the bloodletting treatment for my iron deficient anemia or any fevers or infections I had, and I’m glad we don’t have medieval infection control practises. I’m glad we have moved on from floppy disks and I’m glad my computer has a hard drive larger than 40 MB! Can you imagine if we refused technology upgrades because we thought they degraded the core purpose of the technology or the spirit in which it was made or whatever stupid horsesh1t?
Question: So, why is religious spirituality different, then? Answer: It isn’t.
The Qur’an is a fixed text with dynamic meaning. The interpretation will change over time as human society advances + changes the way it connects with itself. Spirituality is connection with Self first + foremost, with a view to self control, i.e. nervous system regulation. We can only know God through knowing + facing the Self. Fanatics + extremists + terrorists have a severe affliction of nafsi spiritual illiteracy, which prevents them from achieving nervous system regulation—they do not know themselves, so how can they know God? In short they let The Asshole Inside Their Head reign. To use brain lingo, The Amgdala is Driving the Bus — prefrontal cortex offline, reasoning/rationality neural circuitry not accessible, this is not a choice, it is a lack of capacity. [By capacity I mean, it’s like you cannot play Fallout 4 on a Comodore 64.] Any remedy must consider this reality, any remedy must provide a means to get the individual back online and up the polyvagal ladder to the place where s/he can engage in a safe social manner.
I think spiritual practises require updating because technology + modernity changes society and we need spiritual literacy to help us cope with these changes. When I entered the professional workforce 30 years ago there was no need to learn how to live without your mobile phone, or to stop yourself Twitter doom scrolling or getting sucked into pointless debates with emotionally stunted strangers. We didn’t face the same collective struggle against the isolation of working at home [which strangely also intrudes into our family living] that Covid has thrust upon us. These are challenges that technology presents to us and we need to transform and adjust spiritual practises to meet the needs that emerge from our intersection with it.
That’s how I approach spirituality and that’s why I have outgrown religious tribalism. I choose an approach centred in what I’ve decided to call Abrahamic Mysticism. I do not want to be forced to centre Arab nationalism in this ridiculous faux rivalry the mainstream Muslim world seems to have with Judaism + Zionism — it is not the same thing, muppets. Can you all get over the Jews? They exist, they aren’t going anywhere, cry harder. Also, can Muslims stop LARPing the Isaac V Ishmael rivalry, can we look to the future for the future and leave the false imperial glory + romanticising of history where it belongs—behind us?
Can we stop taking sh1t so flipping literally? Like maybe that was a dream and this silly battle over the Temple Mount is a dog whistle for hating Jews … maybe that makes the most logical sense. [Oh I know, I’m an insufferable b1tch, it’s why have no friends, it’s fine.] I loathe religious literalism—it’s mind-numbingly boring and dumb, it insults my intelligence. I like to think God gave my this insane Aspergian hardwiring that had me doing Mensa puzzles for fun in my early 20s for a reason—so that literalism doesn’t cut my intellectual teeth, dude. The Qur’an culminates the journey I have taken, complements + clarifies, does not replace or erase. I don’t need the arrogance of Truth Ownership to advance my spiritual well-being. That mindset distances me from the Divine. It makes no sense to hate anything in my path to loving God—that is the lie of self-idolatry which extremists themselves and the rest of us
I don’t see God and spirituality as a matter of Who Owns Truth, I see the Ownership of Truth as the ego distraction from Iblis/Satan/Beelzebub — that is why I still love Lent and what it represents. It has taken me many many lonely years to arrive at this point where I see that God is in the seeking, He is in the process of discovery you engage with yourself and the world around you as you live life. That means my practises must change because I do—humanity is like a set of lungs and a heart—constantly breathing and beating. Every day my body regenerates 1% of it’s cells. If God programmed my physiology to change constantly like this, then surely that is a signal God expects me do the same in my existence, which = the seeking of Him—isn’t that what breathing means, an exchange at the cellular level?
Bismillah, may our hearts be wise and know.
We will now (in our next posts) return to the topics of British Fascists and Palestine the Arab-Jewish civil war of the British Mandate for Palestine and Muslim anti-semitism.
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