Thursday, 30 April 2015
The Sharing Group Discussion on Faith Fatigue
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following was posted on The Sharing Group, on the 06th May, 2014, by myself: “I would like to know so that we can all learn and understand, how many of us have ever come to the stage where we almost gave up on Islam. Could you share what brought you there? And if applicable, what brought you back? And if you ever met someone in a similar situation, what would you say to them?”
Brother Roy Nahar: I did. I gave up on Islam is because every single time I asked something about Islam, the elders keep saying, “Better ask an ustadz.” The thing is, if I had known an ustadz, I would not have asked him. My uncle asked if I even knew Surah al-Fatihah and condemned my ignorance in front of his two young sons. I was embarrassed. Even though I do know how to recite it, I refused to answer. The arrogance of the Malay Muslim community in Singapore really turns me off. After finding out more about Jehovah’s Witnesses, and then, Church of Our Savior, I was happy with how they accepted me with open arms. They did not judge or condemn me.
The problem was when I asked certain questions related to the Bible, and they could not answer me. I realised I was only at the church to be accepted, but I questioned myself, “Is Christianity the ‘Truth’? I found it incomplete. I started doing research on scientific evidences. I ask the church a lot of things which they could not answer. I was soon ostracised as a trouble maker. I decided to ask a few extremely patient Muslims. They gave me a copy of the Qur’an, the English translation. And I was surprised that all my questions had been answered in the book. In my search of Truth, I found God.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: And what would you say to someone in your position then, brother?
Brother Roy Nahar: I advise that they do a lot of research before committing to something whilst in the need for acceptance. We tend to agree too easily with those who are so ready to accept us but there is always a catch. They should take a step back and analyse. I realise that those who said, “Ask an ustadz,” were only afraid of saying or making me understand something that they might not be quite clear about and hence would not want to unnecessarily spread blasphemy.
Sister Rina Tung-Vose: I will not judge or criticise the person who wants to leave, simply because I am a strong believer that there is no coercion in religion. You simply cannot dictate one’s freedom of conscience. I will still be there for the person, Muslim or otherwise.
Sister Marjorie Abdullah: Coming from a Catholic farming area in Ireland, where nearly everyone was basically good , honest , kind and friendly, I was shocked to find that a lot of Muslims I met in Malaysia were not honest, were very judgemental, sexist, thought nothing of watching pornography ,treated animals cruelly and were very racist. I found Malay-Muslim men especially, were very arrogant, and wives always had the fear of divorce or him taking other wives in front of them if they were not ‘obedient’ enough. This all really made me question Islam, but al-Hamdillah, I did have some examples of good Muslims and my reading showed me it was not Islam that was at fault but some chauvinistic Muslim men.
Sister Nico Le: I am at this point right now. It has its ups and downs. There are days I just want to leave and the only thing holding me in Islam is that I would need to explain myself to the rest of the Muslim Students’ Association, and then there are other days where I read stuff here and see not everything about Islam is cold, dark and condemning.
Sister Kareema Abdul Latif: Salaam. I am a convert of 14 years, and I go through crisis of faith regularly. My issue is isolation, being ostracised and misogyny in my community. I have essentially spent almost 14 years alone. I have one reliable friend who is a brother and people like to tell me it is not allowed but without him, I would have no one. I get angry with Allah sometimes because I do not understand why I came to this beautiful religion to be left unmarried, without a family or much of a community; to be treated like I should just shut the hell up, to be back bitten and slandered - the list goes on. I have been accused of terrorism, tortured by the police and such. But I am still here, praying and doing my bit. al-Hamdulillah, a lot of good things are also going for me too. They just do not seem to be enough for me. I have come to really dislike a lot of Muslims.
During my crisis, I say what is on my mind to Allah, right or wrong. I shout sometimes. And somehow, I get through it. This life is not easy for any of us; we all have our issues. I just wish that the Muslim community had some more brains, a lot more heart and a willingness to build something together which includes women participating fully rather than being the token to somehow prove that Islam really does love women.
Sister Jennifer Giove: Sister Kareema, I know what you mean when you say you shout at Allah. 4 years ago I went through a series of multiple traumatic trials. I screamed at Allah, swearing even and told him that while I wanted to pray, I could not. It was like a block or something. So I told Him that He was just going to have to be patient and wait until I got over my temper tantrum. 3 months later, out of fear for a friend’s safety and empathy for his long-time girlfriend, I prayed for them. Within hours, my prayer was Answered. Personally, I do not think Allah gave one whoot that I swore. I was honest with Him and with myself and was sincere. Allah Knows our hearts so not admitting that we have those negative feelings of Him or ourselves is lying and that is damaging. With Him, it is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Sister Shauna Simon: What a lot of people fail to understand from a convert’s perspective, is being patient with us when we ask so many questions. I come from a Catholic background where I attended classes and had priests telling me I should not be asking questions at all and that everything they say goes. And, I get very frustrated when I am told that I am supposed to accept everything blindly. How can I accept something whole heartedly with faith if I am not even sure if something I should be doing is right? How then, will I be able to do my worship in all facets with certainty and love? People cannot see what is in your heart when you ask questions. They just write it off as unwillingness to comply or defiance or that I do not trust them. On the contrary, I ask because I can feel that my heart is simply not at ease and I am searching for a way to understand before I act on anything. At the end of my life, when I stand in Judgment in front of Allah, at least I can tell Him that I was trying my best to make sure that I got things right.
The above is just one of the many things that frustrate me as a convert, and have on many occasions made me feel like I have just hopped on the same bandwagon as when I was Catholic - Believe blindly, and do not ask questions. I have gone from being mad at Allah (s.w.t.) to now just being mad at people. Every time I feel compelled to leave Islam because people just make it so difficult, I just cannot. Because, where else is there to go? Which other religion is there superior to Islam? None. Who can argue with the facts and logic that Allah (s.w.t.) is One and that Muhammad (s.a.w.) is the Final Messenger? I am still only Muslim not because of the majority of Muslims in my immediate surroundings, but by the Grace and Mercy of Allah (s.w.t.).
I would just advise the frustrated Muslim to focus solely on his or her relationship with Allah and the intentions of the heart. If at all, I feel that giving some space to the already frustrated and overburdened Muslim and just being around for them, encouraging them to make the 5 prayers at least keeps them close to Allah (s.w.t.).
Brother Colin Turner: Never. It has never occurred to me to leave Him. However, it has often occurred to me to leave those who claim to love Him but clearly do not.
Sister Shauna Simon: Dr. Colin Turner, the problem will never go away if the people who are the main cause of frustration are family. So I just feel like it is a constant struggle trying to be patient or accepting and always having to continue the struggle of at least fulfilling the obligations of 5 prayers and so forth. Or find other ways to strengthen and focus on Allah.
Brother Zarqa Yusuf: I think, as a born Muslim, I have no other option as I have never experienced any other religion or any other way of life. I have my ups and downs like every person does but I have a strong belief that if you call on Allah, He always Helps whether it is opening the Qur’an and reading some verses or praying an extra prayer and asking Allah for Guidance with all your heart. Crying and asking Allah for Forgiveness for any wrongdoings also is part of my prayer. To my friends, I have always given the same advice. In actual fact, I think it was my mother who gave me this advice and I continue to use it today and I try to pass it on.
Sister Samra Hussain: I am born Muslim and I sometimes feel like renouncing my faith because of overly aggressive and pushy Muslims.
Brother Colin Turner: But, Sister Samra, that would like me wanting to renounce my masculinity because of misogynistic, ignorant males.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: In 2009, I left Islam: A Muslim Convert Once More: Starting from Scratch.
Brother Colin Turner: Masha’Allah, may Allah Protect you and Keep you in His Fold, insha’Allah.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Amin. It was for three days, and I did not miss a single prayer. But I was very upset. In retrospect, I resigned from the ummah.
Sister Shauna Simon: So you did not leave Islam then, brother.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I wanted to. But I had nowhere else to go. I only knew one God. And everything was His, so I had nowhere else to run.
Brother James Harris: Like Brother Colin, I have never considered actually leaving Islam, in spite of the often bad things I and others have received by the ‘pious’, and what often seems like a hopeless situation for Muslims. I just go on and that is all there is to do. It was simply a case of not renouncing what I believed in. One cannot choose what they believe in. You believe what you understand is the truth, and that cannot be forced out of you! I just took it that many of the Muslims who misrepresent Islam do not understand what they are doing. I largely stopped dealing with Muslim communities over the years though, in order to protect my faith, which is an odd situation to be in. I have often felt a tremendous sense of hopelessness when being around people who misrepresent what I hold as sacred.
Brother Colin Turner: There is no reason to feel hopeless any more, Brother James, for any of us. Not only because despair is proscribed, but because if there is at least one person in the world who thinks as you do, it is as though the whole world thinks as you do. In that respect, none of us need ever be alone.
Sister Nimali Rodrigo: I have been in touch with my fithrah since I was seven and long before I knew anything about Islam, but some of my experiences in the ummah have certainly left me disheartened and lonely because it did not confirm to what my fithrah felt comfortable with. On several occasions, I did not keep up with the Muslim lifestyle but I could not deny the truth of God and my own terrible weaknesses. Over time, I have come to terms with the fact that my faith and that of some Muslims is not the same but that the biggest deceit of all is that I am more spiritually aware than others. I have learned that each person goes through the learning curve of life in our own way and that it is not my place to judge the direction of a moving ship when it has not yet anchored and, indeed, I myself have not yet anchored. I have also learned that, while I may not be very comfortable around many Muslims, I cannot be an island because the practice of my Diyn requires support and a spirit of Rahmah and comradery, and that ‘need’ does not diminish my iman in any way.
Sister Nico Le: As it seems, everybody here agrees that the Muslims are the problem. I somewhat disagree. I see Islam as a far bigger problem than the Muslims. They are just a nasty byproduct of being Muslim. However Islam itself, and Allah, in particular, are very hard. It is downright impossible to please Allah or follow enough Commandments to be a ‘good’ Muslim.
Sister Nimali Rodrigo: How specifically, Sister Nico Le?
Brother Colin Turner: Interesting comment, Sister Nico Le. Could you elaborate on why and how you think God and Islam are ‘hard’? It is a very honest admission and it would be a shame if we were not able to unpack and discuss it.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I think it is significant that someone could come out and say something they would never say in any other convert group.
Sister Nico Le: In another group, I would now have been declared a kafir and got the haram card. So thank you all. It is just a general thing. And I know one should not complain about Islam. Actually, one should not complain at all. I just wanted to add it to the discussion. By the way, Sister Nimali Rodrigo, I absolutely loved your comment above mine. I wanted to say that. What I see is that we are bombarded with Commands. In the Catholic tradition I come from there were no commands that I know. However, most followers were still better humans than most Muslims I know.
In Islam, it is all done via negative reinforcement. I know I should just have faith that this is the best way for things to be. Another thing is Heaven. It seems lovely if you are a 16-year-old boy who cannot keep it in his pants. The ideal of a woman is a houri. I can tell you I am pretty much the opposite. Even if I had strong faith and would just submit to everything, I could not in good faith marry in good brother; I would feel sorry for him that he needs to have a wife like me. Allah Created me in a way that does not fit into Islam. And now, He Says, “Fit in or burn forever!” If Allah would accept any other religion except Islam, I would leave. But right now, I cannot do it. Somehow, I have already accepted defeat. I no longer expect to go to Heaven. My only hope is that I will not go to Hell forever; that is the reason I am still a Muslim. That and that my only friends are from the Muslim Students’ Association. I live alone so if I did not know them, there would be days where I would not speak a single word to another person since the Swiss are very shy; they do not just talk to people.
Brother Colin Turner: Sister Nico Le, an older brother in Istanbul recently asked me how we in this country approach converts when they voice concerns over the difficulties they face in praying, fasting and so on. I mentioned this forum and told him a little about the people here. Later that evening at a talk we were giving, the brother told the audience that the way to approach converts who are experiencing difficulties is with compassion, “like they do in the UK.” I did not want to shatter his illusions by telling him that the only place to my knowledge where compassion is the keyword is The Sharing Group! But it certainly seems that way sometimes.
Sister Rina Tung-Vose: Sister Nico Le, I feel your sorrow. Personally, I find that it is alright to complain, especially to Allah. People around me, the pretentious pious, would say count your blessing. Complaint should not be taken as negativity. It is just a form of communication with Allah. I complain in meetings with Allah. But at the same time, I ask for Guidance, Help, and Assistance to get me out of the misery. Simply put, I do not stop at complaints. Please do not feel bad about it.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Perhaps, Sister Nico Le, you should find your place with your lord without all these helpers and their noise. The God you knew as a Catholic is the same God you know now. If calling Him ‘Allah’ brings with it all the baggage and association of fire and brimstone, then call Him by whatever Name you want. He will still Answer. There is many a time when I feel that God I worship and the God that other Muslims worship seem to be different. But then, people can only talk about what they know. If they only knew anger and punishment, that is the God they introduce. And if they see love and compassion, that is the God they talk about. So worship your God, not theirs.
It is recorded, in Swahih al-Bukhari, the following hadits qudsi where the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Allah the Most High Said, ‘I am as My servant thinks of me. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I Mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I Mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I Draw Near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I Go to him at speed.’”
Sister Rhiannon Roesler Alobeid: Oh God, at least once every 6 months this happens. I am frustrated because of my community. Then something or someone intervenes; it is like Divine Intervention.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Is it not a miracle that after all this, we are all still here?
Sister Fazie A Hadi: I have personally always derived so much comfort in this and always want to remember this: “If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I Draw Near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I Go to him at speed.” How is it possible that we can turn away from a God Who is this Loving?
Sister Rina Tung-Vose: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, as much as we speak our mind out on The Sharing Group, I must say I do have some reservation to do so for the fear of my safety as to where I am located. With all the gibberish and rubbish back home, one can easily be held heresy or even apostasy for the slightest reason. I am frustrated having to filter my mind.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Are you in Malaysia, sister?
Sister Rina Tung-Vose: Correct!
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The group is closed so there is a modicum of privacy. And although the membership is large, there are very few Malaysians. Most of our members are Singaporeans, followed by American, British and then other Europeans. We have more Americans than we have Malaysians and most of those Malaysians are based in Singapore, or are converts.
Sister Rina Tung-Vose: Thank you for the information, Brother Terence.
Sister Marjorie Abdullah: I was called a kafir today in another forum, because I oppose the proposed hudud laws in Malaysia that are clearly discriminating to women. It is no wonder people are afraid to speak out against the Islamic powers that be.
Brother Colin Turner: Sister Marjorie, you know you are doing something right when someone calls you a kafir to your face. And could you tell us something about the proposed hudud laws? The Brunei situation is well-known but nothing much has been said, at least in our press, about the Malaysian plan.
Sister Rina Tung-Vose: I really feel repugnant with the hudud talk in Malaysia. The ummah, be it institution or people, that pushes it really has no idea what they are dealing with. They cannot even handle the condition of a dual court system, in this case, the shari’ah and civil law, let alone the hudud. When I converted, I did not sign up for this.
Sister Nimali Rodrigo: Sister Nico Le, do feel free to exhale and take time out if you need to from all the rituals that seem mind-numbing to you. All that jazz about the do’s and do not’s is just Muslim-spiel, not God’s ‘spiel’ and, like in Christianity, Allah Admits people to Heaven not by their deeds, but by His Grace. There are so many examples of people who only committed the do not’s but who actually loved God and sought His Forgiveness and these people were called the people of Paradise. This does not mean the deeds do not matter, but that the intention behind them matter more - and that intention needs to be to walk towards His Nearness.
There is a story you might have heard before of a man who did no good in his life and killed 99 people but who repented. He was told to walk to a certain point overland to be Forgiven. On his way there, he killed another man for he just could not seem to control his temper, then he felt awful for it and repented again and continued walking. He did not make it to the destination point before he died, but because of his yearning for God, the proportions of the earth were altered such that the destination was Brought to him and God still Accepted him into Paradise. Can you imagine doing no good deeds and killing 100 people and still being Accepted by God? That is Grace. There are so many stories of God’s Love that we do not get told because people think it is better to motivate us by horrific imaginations of fire and brimstones dangling under our every misdeed.
For me, my God is not a great big man wearing a scowl over all of us, holding a tablet of ticks and crosses for our every move, and a short list of only 20,000 who can make it to his heavenly brothel. No! Astaghfirullah! I resist that image of God, and seek only to love He Who Loves and Provides for me so much. In trying to get closer to Him, I bungled so many times. I mean every day. Sister, I probably do more wrongs than you can even think of doing yourself. And I slip up ten times more in my Islamic rituals than I do in my worldly tasks, but I know that there is still hope for me with His Grace to be balanced in my daily life, and so, like the killer of 99, I continue my walk, stumbling and falling, with trust that I walk in the right direction and prayers for sincerity in my heart. And I know that even if I do not get there, what matters is that I am walking.
Sister Nico Le: Sister Nimali Rodrigo, thank you for your words, sister. I should have been more precise actually with the do’s and do not’s. I included all the inner feelings like loving God, trusting in him, having a good intention, and so forth. But honestly, sister, I really love what you wrote it is full with so much love and trust for Allah.
Brother Colin Turner: It is quite instructive to think that most of the people who criticise this group do so because they accuse it of trying to impose a certain collective view. In reality, they criticise the group because the group latches on to the fact that they are trying to impose a certain view. In short, their criticisms are nothing more than projection: they accuse the group of what they themselves have been criticised for doing. One of the reasons I came here, and stayed, was both the openness of the group to diverse ideas and opinions, and the insistence of the group that trying to close down discussion on account of the perceived righteousness of one’s own position should be proscribed. It seems that the group has kept to its principles admirably.
Sister Nimali Rodrigo: Iman swings up and down. We are not angels, after all. Thank God, He does not expect us to be. I love the Buddhist saying that whatever negative thought or feeling comes over us is only passing so let it pass. Even bad intentions and spite towards God and man will come and go like clouds. If we are honest to each other, we all have shitty days where we just want to scream, “I don't care anymore! Let me out of here! It's too much!” Hey, did not Maryam (a.s.) also say that in the Qur’an?
Brother Colin Turner: Another reason that this forum is special is the fact that it is mainstream and inclusive, which is how mainstream was always meant to be.
There are twenty people in a boat, and one is a murderer. Would it be justified, in order to punish the murderer, to sink the whole boat? Of course not. We are that boat. By our own admission, you have major flaws. So, would it be justifiable to sink the boat of our being on account of one major flaw, while overlooking nineteen positive points? Of course not. Even if we had nineteen negative points and only one positive point, no-one would be justified in dismissing each of us as out of hand. The people on this forum are generous of spirit; no-one is ready to capsize our ships on account of one negative character trait.
Brother Tarek Sourani: Peace altogether. What a beautiful and honest dialogue here. This really is how people and Muslims should communicate between each other, with love and compassion. There was a time, shortly after my conversion, in which I distanced myself from religion, because of you could say, worldly pleasures but I have not officially rejected Islam. As for the general community, I have to say that I have met a lot of positive, honest and warm people and I am very happy about that. But I think, as a woman, it must be gruesome among the general Muslim community and that is one thing which bothers me a lot and makes me really sad. In every respect, I am in favour of strengthening woman. Also I think that if the Muslims in my community would knew my hidden views on certain topics, the friendship and good behavior would quickly disappear. I will keep them, therefore, for me.
Beside my best friends, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, it is the first time I am talking more openly of topics which concerns me in this forum. So for the topic, I do not doubt the ‘ibadah or beliefs, but I have had a long struggle with God and myself concerning the salvation of others and the last eschatological realities. But, al-Hamdulillah, I have found my personal answers. Now I struggle in few matters such as certain events from the sirah of the Rasul (s.a.w.) and the punishments of shari’ah.
Sister Nico Le, a shaykh once told me, if only we knew or could imagine how Merciful God is, He Whose Essence is Goodness, we would not have to pray. It is for our own good. It is true, the Qur’an is sometimes hard then again at the same time very warm, but we need to keep in mind His Absolute and Infinite Goodness, Mercy and Love. . Rahmah is His Essence. Whoever closes the door to God’s Rahmah is indeed a shaythan. Wa as-Salaam.
Sister Samra Hussain: Brother, you are right about women’s issues. It is quite disgusting the state of women’s rights in many Muslim institutions, especially mosques. I wish I had no emotions sometimes because the complete indifference with which many a’immah treat women is heart wrenching. Basically, women and children are a nuisance. I am a woman and I have children and I do not see any strong campaign by any Toronto mosque to draw us in.
Sister Marjorie Abdullah: Brother Colin Turner, you asked about the hudud in Malaysia. I hope this helps: “Let’s Not be Hoodwinked into Hudud”.
Sister Angela Marie Young: I am a day late, but this question was one that really spoke to me at the moment, since I am once again on the down swing of the pendulum. I have come close to leaving Islam more than once. I will try and make this short, since it can be a long series of stories that led me to where I am.
First thing I wanted to do was learn how to pray. This was done by telling me just to do what everyone else is doing. When they got around to sharing the words with me, it was all Arabic, and I had no clue what I was saying. 6 years later, and I am not too much better off. More important it seemed, was to pick a new name - which I never did since I like mine, enter and exit the bathroom with the correct foot, and of course, hijab, hijab, hijab. There was no celebrating birthdays, holidays and events, no more music, and a long list of things that are haram.
Then, there is the masjid ridiculousness: cultural politics; racism; lack of good, honest leadership; lack of organisation; no da’wah programmes; no convert programmes or help; no service programmes; and no social welfare programs. I was raised Catholic, so service and care for the needy was a huge thing growing up. There was no assistance for people in the Muslim community much less the local community as whole, and yet they were always bragging about being the ones who know the truth, or are on the right path. The audacity to act and think and vocalise this way about a people who do not even feed the hungry in their community just finally made me sick. And when I tried to get something going, and get us out there as I was not the only one who felt this way, the backlash was unbelievable and really, all I did was isolate myself from the ummah and make myself a target for scapegoating of the shutdown of the local women’s halaqah, after taking place for 17 years, and the destruction of the women’s community. I live in a Salafi nest. Separation has always been strict over here.
There is corruption. I will not say too much about it, but it is sufficient to say there are money issues, law breaking issues, cover-ups and general grossness that I just cannot sit by and watch.
There is extremism. The local mosque managers quote ‘Abdullah ‘Azzam; call Osama bin Laden ‘shaykh’, and tell male converts to go learn Islam at camps in al-Munifiyyah, Egypt and Damajj, Yemen. The things they say about Jews, Christians, and women are bewildering and scary and I do not want to be anywhere near it.
They are generally assholes. Sadly, I have not been around a group of people that are more kind and generous and loving, and yet, are so judgmental, cruel, cocky, and mean. Learning about the Prophet (s.a.w.), and being around Muslims is like being in a twilight zone. You cannot imagine these people have learned, absorbed and claim to follow the man's teachings.
So there is my story. I have a blog about my journey. I have not updated it in a while because things have been so bad for so long, I do not even know what to say anymore. I am still stuck, still lost, although I am an ounce better than last year at this time. I do not know what will bring me back. But I hope something does soon.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Thank you so much, Sister Angela, for your heartfelt comments. It is an indictment of how, as an ummah, we have a long way to go.
Sister Samra Hussain: Sister Angela, I am so sorry you have had to go through so much. I am not sure if it is much consolation, but despite being a born Muslim, I have isolated myself from the Muslim community. I can't stand mosques for the very same reasons you witnessed yourself. I worked as a teacher at a few Islamic schools and see the mismanagement, corruption, and downright cruelty towards staff and students by the administrators. Most of my friends are Muslim. However, they are all of the same cultural background as I am, so it is based more on cultural connections than religious affiliation. Feel free to friend me on Facebook if you like. I pray you can hold on to Allah (s.w.t.) and Rasul (s.a.w.).
Brother Ishaq Mohammed: Sister Angela, I am so very sorry to hear about this. I t was painful to read your story and the more painful realising that it is true from other accounts I have seen and read.
I would love to go on the defense of the Diyn and say, “Well, that was not true Islam,” and so forth, and for sure it was not, but that is some of the experiences both converts and born Muslims have experienced. It is enough to make one throw in the towel all together. I feel very privileged that I got to know the bulk of the Diyn through this group and self study, and that my local muswalah is very small at only 10 people, of which I am one, and fairly moderate. Had I the same experiences as you, I would be grilling pork chops and drinking Jack Daniels the very next day.
I think that is the number one enemy of Islam; not the West, not Christians, not Jews – but Muslims. Or rather, MINOs, Muslims in Name Only. The ones who strain at gnats and swallow she camels, who are quick to declare everything from Goldfish Crackers to Bozo the Clown as haram, and they claim to be the spokespeople for Islam. Yet the Qur’an States:
Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, “We believe," and that they will not be Tested? We did Test those before them, and Allah will certainly Know those who are true from those who are false. (Surah al-‘Ankabut:2-3)
Please take heart, my sister, and know the true Reward is for those like you who are not about rules and regulations, but the love of Allah (s.w.t.), and the Prophet (s.a.w.) alone.