I had never really given much thought to how being Female, Vegan and Muslim in one body may affect someone else’s perception.
It was only until someone pointed it out that I started to think more deeply about this.
Now I’m at the stage where I’m more sure of each of my identities.
I’ve never considered myself oppressed or lacking in opportunities because I’ve been lucky enough to have grown up in a rather democratic society and that my parents were able to afford my education.
Unlike a century or so ago, most women nowadays can get an education and express themselves.
But I know not all females in this world are lucky in that sense.
Some of us might seem to be living in a ‘free’ society but trapped within cultural norms that impede women’s freedom of opinion.
Some might just be living too comfortably and have no reason to complain.
That was the case for me.
Because I was too complacent and had not formed any political opinion, I never really knew where I stood in certain situations.
Regardless, I do believe that everyone deserves justice.
I had never really been vocal about any identity, not even as a Muslim, until I decided to embrace the vegan lifestyle.
Before being vegan, I didn’t give a hoot about any environmental or ethical issues.
But university changed my perspective as I began learning about plants, food production and personal health.
Before that, it didn’t occur to me that I should eat healthier despite experiencing sickness in many forms.
No doctor gave helpful advice on nutrition.
But then I learnt that “food is thy medicine” and so I began to educate myself on what’s best for my body.
So during my university education and with my quest for eating better, I eventually came across veganism.
I grew up in a Muslim family and had an Islamic education in school.
I enjoyed learning about the history, not so much the rules.
It’s a missed opportunity that we (or at least I) weren’t taught the Arabic language (unless you went to an Islamic after-school program). For most of us, we could only read the Quran but not understand it completely.
Not having the understanding as to why the rules and practice were imposed, and not understanding the lessons, I felt that I didn’t really have a deep connection with my religion growing up.
But I held on to Islam when I was not at my best and my faith pulled me through.
I did eventually see the beauty of Islam and became more attracted to it when I took the time to learn more about its history.
But I’m also learning about other faiths and perspectives.
In short, while I do have a strong faith in Islam, I’m also open to learning about other ways of life.
And It All Clicked
Our food is produced in a way that is unhealthy and unethical.
The animals bred for meat are treated with a load of antibiotics and kept in very unhygienic, limited spaces. Even the vegetables are grown using fertilisers in a monoculture method. Such depressing and unhealthy conditions are then being fed to us and we absorb all the anxiety, antibiotics and fertilisers.
No wonder we’re all sick.
So one way to prevent my body from consuming such negativity is by adopting the vegan diet.
And when I learnt more about it, I understood that it has to be more than a diet.
I needed to take a stance, a political stance, against such exploitation and injustice to the animals and the land.
So I embraced the vegan lifestyle.
3-in-1: Female Vegan Muslim
I had acquired and developed those 3 identities at different stages of my life.
I was born a female, I was taught to be Muslim, and I learned about the vegan lifestyle.
At this point in my life, those identities have merged as one.
I’m more aware of how each one of them contributes to the other and what impact it has on my life.
It’s also interesting to discover other people’s perceptions about this.
I’m keen to see what my position can contribute to society, what opinions I may form that’s different from others with a similar identity, and what discussions or debates I might have with people.
Here’s to discovering and embracing all your quirky identities!