Saturday, April 10, 2010


As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

Bismillah ar-rahman ar-raheem

I went to a lecture today about authenticity. Specifically it was about African American literature and how it is affected by the need to establish "authenticity" and "keep it real" while at the same time is no longer able to define African American culture with such strict limitations. It talked about authenticity as a mask that conceals as much as it reveals and how just because you are born into the African American community does not mean that you fit into the "New Black Aesthetic."

It was a great lecture and it got me thinking so much about Muslims and how we deal with a lot of the same "authenticity" issues. Who are the real authentic Muslims? We argue about this all the time. Sunni/Shi'ah, Arab/Non-Arab, Born/Convert, Fundamentalist/Liberal.

Also on a more personal level it made me think: What Am I? Am I an Authentic Anything? What makes a person authentic?

Am I an Authentic American? The government thinks so, but I don't think a lot of other Americans do. I have turned my back on most of the "main stream" American ideals. Does being BORN in America make me authentic American? Or does accepting all the precepts of American society make me authentic American?

Am I an Authentic Muslim? Alhamdulillah Allah thinks I am. But would every Muslim recognize me? Or to some will I always be just American? Someone who might revert to my "old life" at any moment?

I cannot be fully American because I don't fit here, but because I happened to be born here, I'm not sure if I can fit anywhere else.

What do I do?


Rukhpar Mor said...

Assalam Alaykum,

No one else except Allah can judge our 'authenticity' in any matters, whether religious or otherwise.

Take care=)


NeverEver said...

Wa alaikum as-salam

You are right in a way, but what I mean by "authenticity" is more the social construct than really myself as a human being. Allah determined who I am from the inside and out alhamdulillah, but I live in this dunya with other people who like to put labels.

I felt like I needed to explore those labels and see what they mean to me and what they mean to other people. Also, why do humans feel the need to put labels in the first place? It is interesting to think about anyway :-)

Thanks for the comment!

Rukhpar Mor said...

Yeah I know what you mean by the labels. I don't know why people do that. I think subconsciously a lot of individuals tend to put different people into a certain category when he/she meets them. I don't know if it is because it makes it easier for them to deal with people, or some other reason. Allahu a'alim, but it is certainly something that makes one wonder.


Twizzle said...

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah,

hmmm it is interesting how people love to put labels on everyone. It is unfortunate that some labelling can cause divisions and discrimination too.

NeverEver said...

Twizzle: wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. so true... It is stressful!

Candice said...

I'm really facinated by labels and what means what to who, so I totally get this post. I consider myself Muslim and I hope I am one to Allah, but lots of Muslims might not consier me Muslims... It's their own problem, I say!

At the same time this whole label issue has made me not feel comfortable coming out as Muslim just yet because of what it means to my family. It's just confusing.

NeverEver said...

Candice: yes I know exactly what you mean. I think converts experience this a lot since we have to balance a culture that may not be open to the value of Islam. It just really makes me stop and think sometimes...

Musa said...

Saw you checked out my blog, and thought I'd check out yours. I've been having the exact same wonders recently; and for me, throwing in the Jewish equation into it really mixes up the complexity of it. I guess in the end, you have more than one identity, and you're the one who gets to define who you are. No one else can tell you, or even know who you are.

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