Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Secular Muslim Women

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” John 4:10

At the last minute I changed my mind what I would wear to the party. Good thing, too, because the women were dressed in stylish western dresses. The conservative outfit I had originally selected would have definitely looked out of place; more for the religious hijabi Muslim women type.  By the absence of the hijab these were secular Muslims who had gathered together to socialize and dance the evening away. Some of the men drank alcohol in the adjoining lounge area. Animated chatting, loud music, and flashing strobe lights filled the room. There was no chanting of the Qur’an to begin the party with as is customary when religious Muslims commence a function. In fact the words Islam, Mohammed, or the Qur’an were not mentioned once. At first glance it did not appear these secular freedom loving Muslims had any real problems in life. Suddenly to my surprise, Maryam who was sitting next to me divulged some of her personal problems. When I inquired if she was a Muslim she answered, “I am supposed to be."  

Many secular Muslim women I meet appear free and assimilated into western culture. They are usually educated and pursuing freedom, western ways, wealth and prestige. Many of them have close friends from non-Islamic countries. Everything looks just fine outwardly but once I really get to know them I discover many of them have suffered anguish for refusing to be put in what they call a "religious box". They have paid a price for not conforming. They dared to ask questions but did not receive satisfactory answers.

Some of my secular Muslim friends develop a faith that combines appealing elements from different religions while others abandon all religious beliefs. Frequently they are drawn toward Buddhism and energy dynamics. Nevertheless they retain a love for their culture and roots. It can be challenging to talk about spiritual matters because many of them have been harassed by religious Muslims for not walking on the path of Islam. They have felt condemned leaving them disillusioned with Islam and clerics and finding it hard to trust Allah. When women like Maryam find other secular Muslims who think just like them some of the inner confusion, condemnation, and emptiness is alleviated temporarily. They form their own little community.  But I  get the impression Maryam does not know what she really wants. Yes, something is missing. Satan is taking her down a path which brings ultimate soul emptiness. There is a vacuum.

The Holy Spirit knows how to draw Muslim women to Jesus Christ, even secular ones. My friend, Karima, was a secular freedom loving Muslim woman who appeared at peace. But inwardly she was spiritually empty and hungry and thirsty for something to fill the vacuum in her heart. A spirit of condemnation for not being religious enough rested heavily on her.Today that burden has been removed and she overflows with the love of Jesus. Together we serve Jesus.  

Dear heavenly Father, please cause my secular Muslim friends to become thirsty for your Living Water. In Jesus’ name, Amen