In 1968 I decided at last, after about a year contemplating it, to become a Muslim. I thought it was a rational thing to do. It was, in fact, an emotional thing. I found what I thought I was missing – companionship: people who seemed interested in me and what I had to say. Instead of being rejected by my peers as being rather weird and old-fashioned I was treated as a person with views and opinions which carried weight. I was flattered and felt worth-while. I felt I had a place where I belonged.
When I looked at the Qur’ān the first time I thought that this was really very detailed and told us almost everything we had to do and to avoid. What an incredible restriction of freedom. And then I rationalised it. If the basic details of life – the everyday decisions were taken care of then this could allow us paradoxically even greater freedom. A train can travel faster than road transport because it doesn’t have to negotiate traffic.
I should, of course, have listened to my first instincts. I am a human being, not a train and negotiating the traffic is what life is all about. I’d rather find my own slow, sure path than hurtle towards lunacy, no matter how amenable the fellow passengers.
It has been a very long night.