Is it possible to be both a Quaker and a Muslim? For Naveed, the two faiths enhance each other.
How would I define myself? I was born into a Muslim family, and I grew up in a Muslim tradition and I still keep to many of those Islamic traditions, but I am a Quaker and I’m a Quaker by conviction.
Why I Am a Quaker and a Muslim
There is a verse in the Qur’an that goes:
Qul kulluny ya’malu ‘alaa shaakilatihee fa rabbukum a’lamu biman huwa ahdaa sabeelaa
Which translates loosely as “Let everyone act according to their own disposition. It is only God who knows who is truly on the right path.”
And to me, that embraces both Islam and how Friends think about coming to the Light. As Friends, we know that there are multiple, legitimate ways to the Light, and personally I don’t see a conflict between that and what Islam teaches.
The Gathering of People
The ability for people whose individual beliefs may differ to be able to sit in silence and to bring a sense of “Gathered Meeting,” that relates to some very Islamic principles of the “Jamia,” the gathering of people, and the gathering of people for a spiritual purpose.
To me, being a Friend and being a Friend in worship is about listening not just to my still, small voice, but to discern within the silence and the messages, the still small voice of others.
Whether it’s the Bible or the Torah or the Qur’an, religious texts (and even some non-religious texts) are inspirational, and in my life I have drawn a lot of inspiration from the Qur’an. And, as Quakers believe in the messages that come from the divine, so I believe that that book also came as a message through Mohammed (peace be upon him) the messenger. Being able to open my heart to the Qur’an and the Bible was probably one of the biggest leaps of faith that I’ve had to make.
Practicing Islam in a Quakerly Manner
I came to Quakerism when I was 23, 24, and I proudly label myself as a “Muslim Quaker.” I choose to practice Islam in a Quakerly manner. I still subscribe to the tenets of Islam, the pillars of Islam. I still give to charity and that is no less Quakerly. I still establish a declaration of faith, and that is no less Quakerly. I still establish an observance to God on a regular basis, and that is no less Quakerly.
In looking at the Islamic teachings that I was brought up with, and in looking at Quakerism, I found that—and I still find—that there is no difference in the fundamental principles of loving your fellow human being, of being able to walk in the Light with others and of seeking the good in others.