When you wake up every morning and you don’t have to worry about what to say and how to pretend for the rest of the day about who you are, you seem to forget how precious freedom is. It’s because you lose touch with the reality that you once lived in, when you had to be careful about every step that you took, when being careless for a single second could mean the end of your life—when you breathed carefully as you always knew that there could be a point when you’ve breathed enough and that’s it.
People fight for freedom vehemently when they don’t have it. The passion dies down over generations that have known nothing but freedom. Those that take part in the war for independence start longing for peace and lose the will to fight again if it ever comes to it. They want to sit in peace and bask in the pure, fresh air, and want to breathe in as much as they want and whenever they want to do it. The past is forgotten. The present is what they want to hold on to—and soon, the freedom that they so dearly fought for is taken for granted.
I have been more or less independent for over a year now. It used to be suffocating before as I wasn’t able to worship the way I wanted—I wasn’t able to read the Bible whenever I wanted, I wasn’t able to talk about Christ whenever I felt like it. However, today, I have more Bibles than I have ever had and I can pick up a Bible whenever I choose to do so. Today, I can pray and talk to my “Father” (God) whenever I want. Yes, in some ways, I have attained the freedom that I longed for so long. Today, when I wake up, I don’t have to worry if I will get through the day without lying about one thing or another. Every weekend, whenever I am in Dubai, I hardly ever have to doubt that I will be going to Church and worship God with fellow believers. I have even changed my name to a Christian one so people don’t always have to assume I am a Muslim when they meet me—today, I am not an ex-Muslim but living as a Christian, a follower of Christ.
Even with all that God has helped me achieve, today as I was talking to some friends of mine, who are in a similar situation as I, I felt like even with all the progress that I thought I’d made, I was still at square one. My family still doesn’t know about my faith and the paperwork, including my passport, mostly attests to the lie that I am a Muslim.
Today, I am feeling depressed after a very long time—however, this depression is good in the sense that I am realizing, also, that I am freer than I ever was before. As I look back today, I remember the suffocating feeling that I always had and about which many here read articles upon articles. Today, I breathe relatively freely. Today, I am blessed with friends and family in Christ that I didn’t have before. Today I am blessed with the most beautiful girl on this earth who is so faithful and self sacrificing toward both me and God.
I have lost my family but I have gained a 100-fold. My God has held up to the promise he made. Today, I am reminded of why I started writing here. What was the primary reason? It wasn’t just because I hated Islam. It was also because I didn’t want anyone to go through what I’d been through in Islam and at the same time, I also wanted people to feel the freedom that I have felt since I have left Islam. I still believe in that mission of mine to this day and I still fight on.
I am left with a question though: My family is still Muslim and they have no idea about the fight that I fight here; when should I tell them? When should I bring the fight into my own home, to my own people? It’s a question to which the answer is not easy to find. I hope I stumble upon it before I break though. I hope I know which direction to go before it’s too late.
We all have our reasons to fight. I was reminded of mine today and I wanted to share.