Note: Refer to the Original post as the starting point for the ‘Fringe Benefits’ series.
Narrated Abu Hurayrah that Muhammad said: “None of you should walk wearing one shoe; you should either wear them both or take them both off”. Abu Hurayrah also said that Muhammad said: “Indeed the Shaytaan walks in one shoe”.
The above hadith(along with many others) has caused much paranoia in my life and childrens lives. It is the habit of Muslims, in their zeal to worship Allah, to implement ahadith to the letter. Once my ex-husband found out walking in one shoe is the equivalent of being like the devil, he made sure no one did it. The minute anyone was caught walking without a shoe he would shriek at the top of his lungs for the offender to stop in their tracks. Said offender was not allowed to move while everyone else was sent on a frantic search to find the other shoe(or sometimes sock). Sometimes the offender’s foot was in mid-air when the order came to ‘halt’. Islam has proven to have the added benefit of training one how to be a temporary statue.
As I came out of the bereavement phase of apostacy, I started taking note of things I could do and not worry about being progeny of the devil. The first few things were more out of rebellion. I thought to myself:
– I am going to start drinking with my left hand*.
– While I am drinking with my left hand, I think I will walk around with one shoe on and one shoe off.
– While I am drinking with my left hand, I will walk with one shoe on and one shoe off, and pass gas.
I started laughing hysterically at my newfound freedom and at the thought of gleefully walking shoeless, drinking as a lefty, and farting. And then, as I had done the few days before, I broke down into tears.
I thought to myself “I sound like I am stark-raving mad and like a complete lunatic”. What kind of insane religion makes people believe, with all earnest, that doing these simple things either gets you closer to God or makes you from the Shayateen? But what brought me to tears was asking what kind of person would believe such silliness and that all I had to do was go look in the mirror to see one.
It has been a bitter pill to swallow that I was in a religious cult. Part of my healing is not only recognition but the sobering fact that I will return to doing a number of things that was once just a regular part of life. Those small things will take huge effort on my part to remove from my system and my childrens. But the little things will forever be a reminder to the bigger picture of gratitude for having the choice of living a free life.
With that, I am off to go put my left shoe on first**.
*Muhammad said: Do not eat(drink) with your left hand, for Satan eats(drinks) with his left hand
**Muhammad said: When one of you puts on sandals, he should put the right shoe on first and then the left. When he takes them off, he should take the left one off first and then the right.