Patheos has asked it’s writers to finish this sentence Why I Am A… in 200 words, and here is my response.
As a child, I once asked a Sunday school teacher where God is. She said, “Allah is in the sky; you can’t see Him!” A silly, convenient answer. God isn’t seen, but known. God is the First and the Last; the Merciful and the Just; the Creator. The concept of tauheed, the belief in the unity and oneness of God, is the foundation of the soul’s relationship to God and to the rest of creation.
Tauheed was the message preached by the Prophets (peace be upon them). Tauheed is mastering the id and fasting in Ramadan. Tauheed is the breath uttered when a forehead meets the ground. Tauheed is the ego honoring the value of all creation. Tauheed is the soul meeting God in a sea of millions in Makkah. Tauheed honors the One.
My parents raised us in an observant, mosque-centered home. I started praying when I turned 7. I wore hijab at 14. I don’t consume alcohol or pork. I vote for environmentalists and equal rights supporters. I build interfaith bridges. When people see me they know that I am Muslim, but they don’t know why.
I am a Muslim because Islam’s monotheism lights my soul with meaning.