A Journey Through Hell Fire
by Khaled Hammad
Chapter 1: The “Now”
The 7th of October 2023, approximately 25 years past my conversion from Islam to Agnosticism, and about thirty-two days after I turned 51, my life has taken a turn that I would have never expected. It might be hard to imagine that after 25 years of a dismal, lonely journey of a Muslim from complete submission to Allah to a complete dismissal of his teachings, and at a stage where grey hair has crept up that dark-skinned skull of mine, A dramatic change in the way you perceive the world. It certainly was for me! It was probably more challenging to comprehend how quickly the house of cards collapsed than to digest the event and its consequences.
I do not know much about agnostics from other backgrounds, but it is apparent to me now that when a Muslim leaves his religion, the religion does not leave them very quickly, perhaps does not leave them at all. A trace element of the indoctrination that a Muslim has been subject to since childhood, stays with a rather bitter taste and undesired effects.
During the first thirty days of the war in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas, I surrounded myself with nothing but my thoughts, some essential food and my TV, I did not pay attention to anything, what time it was, which day I was living or what tasks I need to carry on to survive. I took a break from my entire life to follow what was going on around me. I felt alone, worried and sad. I had big questions. How did we get to where we are now as human beings? What happened to just and human rights? Are we, in the West, democratic humanitarian nations, or do we just dictate to the world through the dynamics of the Security Council? The most pressing question of all of them was, How do I align myself, being an atheist who has nothing but love for life and living beings, with my thoughts against Israel and with a deep desire to see Hamas win that war when I know the ideology that drives their actions. After thirty days of trying to digest the suffering and the death, kids running away from collapsing houses and adults moaning about their loved ones, I made the decision to switch off the TV and contemplate.
The outcome was astonishing, but perhaps instead of bothering the reader with my political stance from all that, I will take you on a journey through my life. How I was brought up, What kind of ideas I lived with during my adolescence, What formed my beliefs and why I became agnostic a long time ago. Way before the internet has made its way to our homes.
It all started around 1992 when I was studying accountancy at the University of Cairo.
To Be Continued