Where to start!? I’m setting up this blog, as part journal, of my own renewed exploration of Islam and, potentially a simple platform for dialogue with fellow muslims and non muslims who are interested in better understanding Islam as a world religion, its roots, its history, its trajectory, its current myriad manifestations, its cultural impact, and most importantly, its potential to evolve.
I grew up a Muslim in the UK, and its core has never really left me, even while I dived deeply into a different spiritual path for 20 years. Now coming out the other side of that, with a whole array of rich, positive and also negative experiences, I find that Islam still remains a touchstone for me. It still brings me home in the closest way to myself.
Why is that?
Besides the obvious, that its because that’s how I was raised, it’s most familiar, and I associate it with a loving environment growing up, it’s always been the unequivocal teaching that there is no intermediary between me and God that has given me an inner sense of independence and strength: “God is closer to ‘you’ than your own jugular vein.”
I remember thinking about this teaching when I was young. If God is closer to me than my own jugular vein, then ‘he’ is closer to me than my own mind and brain–he knows me better than I ‘think’ I do (I didn’t know the difference between arteries and veins at the time, but it had an impact!)
This belief as a Muslim that God is closer than close has been there from a young age, but it was through my engagement with meditation and eastern-derived teachings of enlightenment, that I found direct contact with the spiritual dimension and which carried me for 20 years.
Now, coming full circle, I feel drawn again to the essence of Islam, but with more experience and self-knowledge under my belt. And it feels like I’m just beginning a very important journey of my life.
On this blog, I want to explore premodern, modern, postmodern, and emerging ‘post-postmodern’ interpretations and expressions of Islam. I hope that my ongoing research will be useful for anyone also wanting to better understand the history, current faces and possible future iterations of Islam.
For my own personal journey, I want to come to a deeper integration in myself that will bring together the two spiritual paths that have brought me this far. And, most importantly, I want to discover, learn, express and share my own re-interpretation of Islam as an evolving Muslim woman in the 21st century.