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?