Monday, December 18, 2006

Let a Muslim be a Muslim.

My mom and her husband flew back to Canada today. My mom couldn't get over "all of the different types of hijabs". Alhamdulillah she left here trying to include the word "insha'Allah" in some of her sentences, I think her coming here showed her a small portion of what Islam is and what it isn't.

The wedding was yesterday, it was one of those lost in translation moments where everyone around me is talking and it is as though i am standing still as the words just fly by. Alhamdulillah there was an interpreter but I pray Allah (SWT) will make this language easy for me to learn.
After the wedding we went back to my husband's family's house. Numerous relatives many of which whom have never met a convert before. By the end of the night we ended up discussing my conversion.
The one woman who initiated the discussion did so with the intent of trying to disclose whether I had converted to Islam for the sake of my husband. Was I being forced to wear hijab? Of course this opened up the long ( and emotional) story of my conversion. Insha'Allah it was a witness to this woman and it will show her the power of Allah (SWT).

I was thinking about the entire conversation later in the evening, and was thinking about things I wished I had said in that situation that I didn't. Of course hindsight is 20/20. The thing is, Alhamdulillah Allah (SWT) showed me the beauty of His religion and has taught be many things through the Qur'an, books, hadith, friends etc. and it is that knowledge and truth which he has shown me that caused me to convert. But even if that wasn't the case, and I did convert for the sake of my husband, or so I could be married to him, than I would say Alhamdulillah Allah (SWT) used that method of showing me Islam. You see, Allah (SWT) works in incredible ways, and in ways that we as humans will never understand. He chooses who He will guide and who will go astray, and if He uses something as beautiful as love to guide someone to Islam, than Alahamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah.

It is my prayer that when we as Muslims look at one another, we don't see convert, or Arab, or skin colour or age... I pray that we would look at one another and say Alhamdulillah we are all Muslim, who believe in the same one God and prophets. Insha'Allah we will keep that in mind and encourage one another to pursue a strong faith full of devotion and knoweldge, and not try to negate the significance of a person's belief based on how they came to truth.

A couple of days ago, a good friend of my husband's who lives in Canada but was from Turkey, had to fly back urgently as his father passed away. (May Allah (SWT) have mercy on his soul, and be with the family as they grieve his loss). Talking about death is really difficult for me at this point as it makes me consider the fact that I am the only Muslim in my family... When I am in a place like Turkey where families are full of Islam, and truth, my heart aches for those who are close to me who do not know the truth. Not only my family, but the many people in the world who do not know about Islam. We need to be grateful for those who are Muslim, celebrate the truth that we know, praise Allah (SWT) for guiding us, pray to Him that He would keep us on the true path of Islam, and then support everyone is our trials.
Alhamdulillah there is Islam, lets always keep that in the forefront of our minds.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A long time coming...

Assalam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh

Brothers and sisters in Islam, it has been much too long since I have written. I am sure many of you have stopped reading, thinking I have vanished into thin air. Alhamdulillah things are good and I am back with time to write this post for the sake of Allah (SWT).

I am in Turkey right now, Alhamdullilah. School is done, and Alhamdulillah Allah (SWT) provided me with the strength I needed to get through the days.

My thoughts today are about Turkey... Alhamdulillah, I have only been here for two days so far, but I have been loving every minute. My husband's family is throwing us a wedding reception... Alhamdulillah Allah (SWT) has blessed me with wonderful in-laws.

I found myself crying as we were driving through Istanbul today, it is like nothing I have ever seen. Mosques in every direction... And not just small, house-like, hidden mosques (but not that one is better than the other in anyway,) but big architecturally beautiful mosques with minarath's that can be seen soaring atop the roofs of houses and buildings. In honesty there is probably a mosque every 500feet. I am being completely honest... Alhamdulillah it is wonderful. I wish I could take a picture of each one... walk into each one... pray in each one. Maybe another year when inshallah I return.
Alhamdulillah there is always people in them. At one of them I was at yesterday, there was a outdoor fountain for brothers to make wudu in. It was so wonderful. So much like how it should be... lacking extravagance, people coming together to join in prayer for the sake of Islam. The first mosque I went to the sisters side was so full for the Asr prayer in the afternoon we couldn't get in. Alhamdulillah there are people practicing their religion. Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah Ahamdulillah.
I know it says that it is more rewarding for sisters to pray at home, but imagine the beauty of the when people are out shopping for groceries or picking up something from the local market and the Athan is called, and people hurry to the mosque.
Alhamdulillah it is what I have seen.

But as I thought about it there was a moment when it became bittersweet. Alhamdulillah it must be so easy to be Muslim in this country. Mosques everywhere, halal everything, 99% of the people in Turkey are Muslim... Alhamdulillah it is a blessing from Allah (SWT).
I think of Winnipeg where, alhamdulillah, there are 5 mosques, 9,000 Muslims, and two Halal restaurants in a city of almost 1 million. (May Allah (SWT) continue to bless our city and draw more people to Islam.) But where it became bittersweet is when I looked around, there were many who never blinked their eye when the Athan was called, that their tight jeans, low cut shirts, and long flowing hair, disguised the truth of Islam that I believe somewhere in their hearts they must know.
It broke my heart... In a city where it is so easy to know Islam, to see the truth, to practice your faith, why would these people choose not to. May Allah (SWT) guide us all and keep us all on the straight path.
Of course it is hard not to be influenced by the secular world, and secular government that has banned women from wearing hijab in government buildings and schools...
But Alhamdulillah Allah has touched the hearts of these people... Insha'Allah He will guide the hearts of us all. Insha'Allah He will answer my prayers and teach me more and more about Him as I spend my time here.
Insha'Allah I will learn about Him, this beautiful faith and myself in a way I have never thought imaginable.

My mom and her husband arrived today... Insha'allah the mosques, my husbands family, the people, the generosity, the love and the beauty will soften their hearts towards the beauty of Islam. Insha'Allah...

I will be sure to keep posting while I am here to share with everyone my experiences and thoughts. I hope there are still a few people reading...
I will try to include some pictures as well.
In Islam...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

We Flew the Coop!

Ramadan has come and gone... Now that Eid is finished and the excitement and celebration has died down, I want to encourage all Muslims to sit and reflect on their month of Ramadan-- What did you learn? What did it mean to you? How did it change your life? Did it change your life??

I was recently discussing a Khutbah from a mosque in Toronto where the Shaikh was asking his community why now that Ramadan was finished did the community vanish? Over the month of Ramadan the mosque was full for Isha prayer and the morning prayers, but now that the month is over everyone has "flown the coop" and doesn't come to the mosque unless it is for the Friday Jummah prayer (which is obligatory for men).
This really caused me to think about things... I am totally guilty of that. I went to the mosque for most of the month of Ramadan and now when the prayers are shorter and the time to pray is earlier I haven't been going... It should be easier for me now more than ever, but for some reason I haven't gone?
What is Ramadan if not to help train ourselves to submit to Allah (SWT) and give up our personal needs and desires and count on Him. Why during this amazing month is He and our religion important enough to get to the mosque for but on a regular basis it isn't. Granted I know that it is better for a woman to pray at home, but it is the principle.

Allah (SWT) loves consistency. He loves the deeds that we do on a regular basis. Ramadan is very much to help us to train ourselves to be in devotion to Him. What good is the reward and training of this month if we abandon it on Eid and go back to our old habits. No longer waking to pray at night, no longer fasting (now on optional days), no longer reading Qur'an feverishly...
Allah (SWT) says that for some their fasts will not be accepted despite the deprevation of food... I have recently been asking myself if this behaviour could be what nullifies a persons fast. The more I think about it the more I believe it would. Because even if we are given the amazing gift of having our fasts accepted during the month of Ramadan, the reward and blessings we are given will be easily negated by the actions that are unIslamic, or sinful in nature, or how we lose sight of the importance of Islam immediately after Ramadan.

The thought of this scares me, I pray to Allah for forgiveness as I realize that my focus and dedication to Him and his perfect religion has dwindled since the end of Ramadan.
I have been reading the book "The Ideal Muslimah" by Muhammad Ali-Al-Hashimi (which I recommed to all Muslim women-- There is also "The Ideal Muslim") and I found a quote which really spoke to me and I wish to share it with you all...

"The Muslim...may find herself becoming neglectful and slipping from the Straight Path, so she may fall short in her practice of Islam in a way that does not befit the believing [Muslim]. But she will soon notice her error, seek forgiveness for her mistakes or shortcomings, and return to the protection of Allah (SWT):

Those who fear Allah, when a thought of evil from Satan assaults them, bring Allah to remembrance when lo! They see [aright] ~Quran 7:201

The heart that is filled with love and fear of Allah will not be overcome by negligence... The heart of the sincere Muslim... is ever eager to repent and seek forgiveness, and rejoices in obedience, guidance, and the pleasure of Allah (SWT)."

Let us be like the those who prayed for six months after Ramadan for Allah (SWT) to accept their fasts, and then for the six months after that that Allah would accept our fast the following year. Let us reflect on the month and see if we are still devoting the same amount of time and effort to Allah (SWT). Insha'Allah the amazing mercy and grace of Allah will wash over us as we fall prostrate on the floor asking that Allah (SWT) would accept our fasts, and that He would forgive us if we have lost sight in only a few short days, of the importance of sincere worship and devotion to Him... Ameen

Monday, October 16, 2006

Eternal Gratitude in a Temporary Existence...


Alhamdulillah Allah is so good. Alhamdulillah He is the sustainer, the provider, the protector and everything I could ever want or need in life.
What is so amazing to me... so humbling in its entirety is that Allah (SWT) takes the time to answer our Du'a and give us all that we need, hearing our prayers, giving us contentment in this life despite how completely inconsequential it will be when we meet Allah on the day of judgement. What love and compassion He has for us despite our faults and mistakes, and yet when we fall out of line He will insha'Allah show us our faults and then grant us the opportunity to seek His mercy when we fall short. Alhamdulillah I am eternally grateful to this perfect creator for all that I am given, all that I am not given, and all that I seek...

As this Ramadan starts its fast pace towards its completion I have been sitting and reflecting on all that I have learned. What this month has truly meant to me... Did I change, did I learn something? Will any of what is new in me stay as time goes on?

In my last entry I expressed my desire for Allah (SWT) to shower with me those in the community I could learn from and spend Ramadan with... Alhamdulillah He did just that. He provided me with an entire ummah to learn about Islam from. To show me my faults, to teach me to be stronger, better, and more dedicated. Alhamdulillah much of what I learned was from people I never expected would be a teacher to me... people I am sure do not know the impact they have made in my life this Ramadan-- an impact that will insha'Allah last me for the rest of this temporary life, and allow me to get closer to achieving a life of jannah in the hereafter.

Insha'Allah my goal in this next portion of this entry not to give glory to any person here on earth... only Allah (SWT) is worthy of all glory and praise, but rather my hope is that I would show those of you who take the precious moments out of your days to read this blog that you don't need to be a scholar to make an impact. That (to be cliche) "Actions speak louder than words" and often I believe at times we are most influential when we don't try to be... That when we just be who Allah (SWT) has created us to be, without pride, or selfish motivation, it is then that we see how He works in our lives. Alhamdulillah I saw many of those moments in the ummah this Ramadan

To the sister who struggles with surrendering her faith fully to Allah (SWT), and forgetting about a hurtful past full of disbelief and anger, the way I see you lower your head in sajood reminds me to humble myself before Allah, to remember the authority I pray to, and that I am inconsequential in comparison. Alhamdulillah the trust I see you putting in Allah (SWT) by just seeking Him out, still uncertain at times of the outcome is a trust we all need to have in Allah (SWT). I know you feel that your faith is still "in progress" but it has shown me how to give up control and "trust" that Allah will work as He has planned. I make du'a that you will see this, you will draw closer to Him, and He will make Himself more and more real to you.

To the auntie in the masjid who I see every week, never missing a prayer, devoting herself to prayer and dhikr the entire time she remains in the mosque... prostrating despite a body that is failing in this world, I find inspiration. Of course I don't know your heart, but way you lower yourself to ground before Allah (SWT) the way I see tears fall from your eyes while you humbly dry them so as to not cause attention, I pray that when I am in those years I will dedicate me days to Allah as I see you doing. Alhamdulillah you inspire me to prostrate to Allah and never get up...

To the Imam of the community who has recently had a child with his wife yet spends his nights and days reciting the Qur'an and leading this community in prayer, and wisdom, I pray Allah (SWT) will reward your for your commitment to Him. Jazakallum Khair for the work you do in this community for the sake of Allah (SWT) Jazakallum Khair for the days you answer endless questions despite your busy schedule to better the community you help to lead. Meshallah your recitation and dedication make me want to memorize the Qur'an.

To the sister who recently converted and is so passionate about standing for what is right, showing the ummah where we need to better serve Allah, seeking and achieving an understanding of Jihad and devotion to Allah (SWT) that we all need to question our dedication to Him and the perfect religion of Islam, thank you for speaking your mind. Thank you for your passion and the way you help the community to think about "the tough issues" that often get swept under the rug.

To the sister who is finding strength in Allah (SWT) to help her to reconsider the topic of modesty... to decide what it means to her, what it means as a Muslima, I see Allah (SWT) working in you and it reminds me all of the time that as we draw closer to Him, He will draw closer to us. The way you welcome all of those in the community, are kind in your nature is beautiful, but you also have a strength that goes unnoticed. You have taught me much about how to talk to people, characteristics in my personality that I don't like, and that are unislamic, insha'Allah that lesson will make me more able to become "the ideal Muslima" that we are learning about.

Oh... the list could go on and on.... The people that Allah has provided to impact my life this Ramadan-- All glory and praise are due to Allah (SWT) alone. This Ramadan I have seen so many parts of me and my faith that were working totally against me in the perfect religion. Alhamdulillah I have seen faults that now I will change with the strength of Allah (SWT). Insha'Allah giving up these earthy desires, sins, and stumbling blocks will help me to perfect my faith and serve Allah (SWT) in the way that I desire.

Alhamdulillah, I truly feel that should my sinful nature, and mistakes I have made in this life... over this month, cause me to not receive the beautiful reward of Ramadan from Allah (SWT) I know this month has not been in vain. I have learned so much about who I am in and who I am not that I don't know how I could ever look at my life in this world the same... That gives me much happiness and indeed an eternal gratitude in this temporary existence to the one TRUE GOD... Allah Subhanna Wa Ta'Allah.

May Allah bless all of us, accept our du'a, accept our fast, and help us to seek out the night of Qadar in these last days of Ramadan...Ameen.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

So this is Ramadan...

Alhamdulillah Ramadan has been (for the most part) going well. Spending time in community, listening to the recitation of Qur'an in Tarawih prayer, the khutbahs... Alhamdulillah I learn so much and find myself being charged by those moments. So why is that I say Ramadan hasn't been UNBELIEVABLE!?!?
Maybe it is because I had such enormous expectations coming into Ramadan... everyone telling me what a spiritual time it is, how incredible it feels, that my expectations were totally unrealistic, (or maybe fully realistic but I seem to be failing to meet them). Alhamdulillah the moments I have mentioned are great, but where I feel like I am still waiting for Ramadan to really penetrate, is all of the moments when I am not in community, or at the mosque, or listening to the Imam recite the Holy Qur'an.
I want so badly to wake up and feel "this is Ramadan" spend all day in a state of dhikr, reading Qur'an and when I pray for my prayers to be more dedicated and focused then they ever have been. Instead I find my hours disrupted by the daily tasks that fill my time: school, work, life in general, and I still struggle for focus in prayers. I pray with full entirety that Allah (SWT) would bring me closer to Him, help me to draw nearer to Him-- That I would feel as though I am totally in His presence, but alas I am still struggling with my sinful nature. I am always in fear that I will be one of the people who despite my fast, prayers, and recitation will be left with no reward for Ramadan. That my focus, my intention, my desire will not be enough to get me the beautiful reward this month has to offer.
Oh... I am so afraid.

I ask myself if my actions, speech, modesty, and thoughts have changed at all. If they have, will they stay that way? I still have pride, envy, anger, frustrations... What is wrong with me that I can't give it all up and be among the pious? In all of history there have only been three women who had perfect faith-- I suppose it seems unrealistic to think I could ever be the fourth, but how I desire to be. Isn't that how we should be living? In pursuit of perfection of faith? To live as the Prophet (SAW) lived and instructed us to? Why does it seem so unattainable at times? Why do I feel so inadequate?
I am so aware of my wrongs and my sins, yet there are days I feel powerless to stop them. Now in this beautiful month will they cause me to fail at achieving my reward? Oh Allah (SWT) have mercy on me and help me.

I wish I could be surrounded by strong Muslims all of the time. People who would teach and strengthen me. Surrounded by those who can teach me all that I am lacking, help make me into a better Muslima. Alhamdulillah I have people in the community who are knowledgeable and encouraging, but I pray for people I could spend time with. Muslimas I could spend nights with that would have knowledge to share with me..

Oh Allah (SWT) I pray for your help, that you would send someone (or 'some-many') to help me, teach me, and hold me accountable everyday. To show me who I am and who I am not. To help me live like the Prophet (SAW) did... increasing my love for him with every breath. Allah, please make all of us like him, make us all among the pious. Accept our prayers, and please accept our Ramadan.... Ameen.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I am reluctant to use this picture with this post as I don't want to suggest that modesty is only for women, or in the same breath, that modesty = hijab. The latter of the two notions is actually what I wish to discuss this morning. More specifically how I struggle to remember the full definition of modesty and how to apply it in my life.

One of the elements that drew me towards Islam was the component of modesty. That women and men would guard themselves against explicitness or that which draws attention. I remember one instance when I walked into one of our local halal stores, a brother from the community who works there, greeted me, and asked if I needed assistance, all the while never making eye-contact with me. For some (especially in a North American society) this may sound like it would be something disrespectful. On that day however, let me assure you it was one of the times I felt most respected. Averting one's gaze, acting appropriately around others (especially when in the company of the opposite sex), and behaving in a manner that is humble with pure intention is what modesty is all about.

I looked the definition of modesty up in the dictionary this morning and here is what was written:
"Freedom from vanity, boastfulness etc. Regard for decency of behaviour, speech, dress etc. Simplicity and moderation."

Now let me start by saying that although I can write about modesty and provide definitions and examples, I am the first to say that putting it into practice on a daily basis has been a continual struggle for me. Maybe my goal in writing this entry is to seek accountability-- as though if I write in encouragement to others, I must certainly be ever-striving to achieve modesty in its truest form in my life.

It is a daily frustration for me... I understand the concept of modesty in its entirety but submitting myself on a daily basis to feel as though I incorporate it properly into my actions is another story. Maybe it is due to the fact that I was raised in a fairly vocal and lively family. I am certainly an extrovert, who likes to talk and to lead, and I often have to consciously think about whether my actions and speech are modest. I find myself looking at my friends who have that naturally quiet manner about them, and at times wish I had been given that personality. (Alhamdulillah I am not complaining, Allah knows best, and who I am is who He made me to be.)

But I believe that if I was able to master modesty then other aspects of my faith would be elevated to an entirely new and more sincere level. Take for example the concept of intention. Those who are modest have that aspect of humility and humbleness about them such that they don't want to be in the spotlight or draw attention to themselves. Praise often makes them feel uncomfortable as because of that their actions never (or very rarely) are for the recognition by others. Imagine living in a way that all of your actions are never for gaining praise or attention of others. You would be living as we are called to live. With intention only to serve and to worship Allah (SWT). You would have mastered such a huge component of living the perfect faith.

It is that point that makes my failure to attain perfect modesty so devastating for me. I know that the more I fail to encompass modesty in all aspects of my life, the more I fail to perfect my faith. That my intention can never be as pure and devoted as it should be.

May Allah guide me, and make this easier for me... for all of us. May He increase our sense of modesty and take away our pride. May He show us the areas of our life where we fall short. Ameen.

If we submit fully to Allah (SWT) it is then that we will be living the religion as it should be.. after all Islam means submission.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Power of Prayer, PART II

This post is in response to a recent request I had by one of our brothers or sisters in Islam, who desired to know what my personal thoughts about prayer are... What goes through my mind as I perform the 5 obligatory prayers of the day.

I wish that I could say that nothing went through my mind except full submission to Allah (SWT) and that I had such intense focus and dedication that there was nothing I focused on except humbling myself before Allah (SWT). Unfortunately, it takes a conscious effort for me to submit at every position in my prayer. Even at the times I feel most connected during my salaat (prayers) I still question at times if I performed everything in its entirety as the Prophet (SAW) told us to. Alhamdulillah many days that agony, the agony of knowing how inadequate my prayers are in comparison to that of the Prophets (SAW) and his companions (RA) are what help me to submit. Some days I focus on that, that I fall short and am undeserving. In sujood I cry out to Allah (SWT) that He would accept my prayers and forgive me for my inadequacies. Everyday that I feel my mind wander in prayer or I have to motivate myself to get up and pray when I should be running to place my forehead on the ground in submission to our one true God, I am reminded of Allah's constant mercy... a mercy that I pray He will bestow upon me when my time comes. When I come to prayer, I am reminded about how inadequate I am in that even with something I perform 5 times a day regularly, I still don't do it as it should be done... in full submission and concentration.

But what do I try to focus on and think of when I pray? It is a different question for sure. Every day, at every time of salaat I try to remember that if not for the grace of Allah, I wouldn't even be reciting His precious words, and then bowing myself towards Him. I remember how only just over four short months ago, I didn't know the full beauty of Islam. I start there and try to make my prayers devoted worship to the one true God who saved me. That every position. Every bow and prostration would be lowering myself in thanks and humility to devote all that I am to the one who showed me His truth and Glory.
I recently read a Khutbah online by M. Waleed Kadous that discussed some of the main ideas that were highlighted in the comment that was just posted by "_._" (re:The Power of Prayer)
It begins with talking about understanding each of the postures we take while praying. Knowing what each position symbolizes, what each word means. That when I say Allahu Akbar as I start my prayer, I am stating that Allah is greater than anything and because He is so great I am going to solely devote that time to His greatness. Then when I recite Al-Fatihah I am asking Allah to keep me on the right path and save me from going astray.
When I bow I try to consciously think that "I will only bow to you Allah", that during my prayer it would be the only time I would EVER take a bowing position, because only Allah is worth that position, and on the day that I am standing before Allah (SWT) I pray that I will be flat on the ground as low as I can be before His glory and power.
When I prostrate and am in the lowest of the postures we are in when we pray I imagine Allah (SWT) being in the room with me. If I were to be successful in this thought I am sure I would never want to end my prayer.

There are times that I question my sincerity in my prayer and wonder if it is one that would be accepted by Allah (SWT) and if that thought is one that passes through my mind, then I know I am doing something wrong.
Alhamdulillah maybe that is part of the Takwah that we as Muslims are all seeking. That living with the respect and fear of Allah that we imagine He is physically present witnessing all that we do. I need to ask myself more often, "if I could see Allah here in the room with me would I have prayed the same way? Would I have done something different?" That is the kind of prayer I know I should be praying. One that I would feel would be worthy of being prayed in the presence of God. Why is it that I have the constant struggle to get to that point? Alhamdulillah Allah is merciful and we have Ramadaan, Umrah, Hajj and so many other things to give us the chance to redeem ourselves.

How do I feel about my prayer? That it will never suffice, but I constantly pray for Allah's help to make them better, more sincere, and that my concentration would be so intense I would be like the Sahabi who was struck with an arrow and knew if he was praying he would be focused enough it could be removed. Upon completion of his prayer he didn't even know it had been taken out... that is what I pray for.

May Allah (SWT) have mercy on us all and may He help those who want their prayers to be more dedicated and sincere to become that way. May He make us among the pious and constantly remind us that "Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their prayer with full solemnity and full submissiveness" 23:1-2.

The Power of Prayer... a Comment

There was recently a post on the comments about the "Power of Prayer" entry. I thought the comment itself was so powerful that it needed to be shared with everyone in case they don't regularly read the comments. To the brother or sister who posted it, I hope you don't mind my sharing it with the rest of our online Ummah. May Allah reward you for your faith, and sharing your Iman with us all. May He use it to strengthen everyone in this incredible month as we prepare ourselves for Ramadan. Jazak'Allah Khair

There are four moments in prayers that just completely blows me away. First when reciting Surah Al-Fateha (the opening surah) and according to the saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) [] that Allah Himself replies to the calling of the faithful. When i realize that if i concentrate hard enough and recite the Surah with enough sincerity and humbleness then Allah is actually replying to ME (little me, and the Glorious Allah) right at that moment as i say each verse, it just makes my shoulders go down and the weight of this realization makes me sooooo humble and i feel soooo connected to the Allmighty. And that I'm reciting the words that Allah himself said and wrote, then told to Jibra'eel, who said it to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and now im saying exactly the same words. What an honor.

Second when making Rukoo', my hands on my knees, realizing that one is now in front of a King, just as when in the courtyard of great kings, people bow, I see that Kings of all kings is on His throne and I am now in front of him, paying my respect and He is watching me, and maybe if i do it with enough humbleness and respect that is worthy of Him only, He may acknowledge me and accept this servant's praise. Just imagine that the Allmight King acknowledges your presence.. wow....And how Merciful He must be if He accepts my presence in His Courtyard, despite my countless shortcomings and mistakes.

And the best part, when in Sujood, my forehead on the ground Im on His feet, I imagine a mighty being in white, standing so tall that i can just make His Mighty presence and nothing else and Im at His feet, He is looking at me and if i praise Him with enough sincerity, and invoke him during this state and ask Him in all humbleness mybe He will grant me His Mercy. Sometimes I think as if my hands are around His Feet. I of course cant imagine being so near to Him, but i just want to grab His feet and beg for forgiveness, knowing that i cant do that, and yet i want to do that, and i praise him and ask for His forgiveness, since physically i cant move my hands it just makes me grab the ground more firmly.

Then lastly, while sitting and asking Allah to send His blessings on His beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), i know if i have enough love for the prophet, i will mean it with the bottom of my heart, and then i realize that maybe i'll never be able to meet him and the righteous, as they will be so far from me. Me being perhaps in hell, or even if I somehow make it only because of Allah's mercy alone, then i'll have such a low level and they will be so high. I want to sit with them and maybe share a glass of milk with them in the company of Prophet in a living room provided by Allah. (wow, the thought of this company just makes me cry, coz i know i dont deserve it, but maybe Allah will have mercy on me) Then i remind myself of the Prophet's saying that "You shall be(on that Day with whom you love" [] and when sending blessing on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), I have to be sincere and what is sincerity without love. And it increases my love for His beloved Prophet Muhammad(peace and blessings be upon him)ofcourse these feelings occur when im high on emaan, and at other times prayers becomes just physical actions devoid of devotion and sincerity, i despise such days. For reading this is really very nice 33 ways to develop humility and submission during prayers html

Every day Islam makes me fall in love with itself, Allah, and His Prophet and the righteous. It simply rocks :)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Are You Ready for Ramadan?

Alhamdulillah this weekend the local Muslim Students Association put on a conference at one of the local universities. It was a weekend packed full of teaching lead by our local Imaam and a couple of mehsha'Allah very knowledgeable brothers in the community. It was exciting for me as it was the first time I would attend a conference since my conversion and I was very much looking forward to seeing the community together, learning, and bettering ourselves for the sake of Allah (SWT).

Alhamdulillah what an optimal time to attend a conference.... during the month of Sha'aban where we should all strive to do good deeds and get ourselves ready for Ramadan.
The conference was full of various presentations, covering topics like: the Quran, the biography of the Prophet (SAW), fiqh, Aqeedah, and "Manners and Etiquette". To make the package even more enticing, to attend was FREE and included lunch on both days, and dinner the final night.
Alhamdulillah what an incredible opportunity for the community!

After all of the preparation, and posters being put up, advertisements in the local MSA newsletter, and announcements at the masjid would you guess how many people showed up??? My approximation is 30 the first day and 20 the second day. Needless to say I am shocked.

Here it is, weeks before Ramadan and the community has a chance to learn, prepare and get themselves "in the zone", insha'Allah increasing their knowledge and faith in Islam and of 2000+ Muslims in our city 20-30 attend? I was so embarrassed!
Then when I mention it to people, excuses are made... "there weren't enough posters put up," "it wasn't advertised well enough"...
Either way, we as a community are responsible. If not enough publicity was done why not? Why weren't we promoting this? Personally I received two newsletters, saw 4 posters, and heard the announcement at the masjid. Is nobody else attending the mosque? Does nobody else have email?

Alhamdulillah Ramadan is a month where we as Muslims can shape up and look at ourselves in our faith, but it should not be the only time that happens. We as Muslims are called to seek knowledge and better ourselves. Weekends like this one are perfect opportunities for that. What is wrong with us when we feel like we don't need to support the local student association or increase our hikma? I have a hard time believing that all of the 2000+ Muslims were working this weekend.

We need to be sure that our faith isn't practiced only in one month. That we don't become Ramadan-Muslims. I know this is my first Ramadan and I am still a new Muslim, but I know that living like that-- trying to survive off of a "spiritual high" that lasts for a month, will leave you plummeting down from the top in the months to follow.

There are still two weeks before Ramadan... what are you going to do to get ready?? Ramadan aside, what are you going to do to show Allah (SWT) that you are committed to Him, His religion, and bettering yourself as a Muslim.

To those who put on the conference this weekend, Jazakum Allah Khair! Insha'Allah Allah will reward you for your efforts and service to Him. To the speakers, Alhamdulillah Allah has given you knowledge and the ability to communicate it to the community. I pray that we would all be eager to hear it.
May Allah have mercy on our souls, keep us in His deen and make us among the pious... ameen

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Power of Prayer.


"Say your prayers regularly, especially the middle prayers, and stand before Allah with all devotion." 2:238

""Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their prayer with full solemnity and full submissiveness" 23:1-2

"Pray to Him with fear and longing (in your heart): for the Mercy of Allah is near to those who do good." 7:56

The references to prayer in the Qur'an are numerous. I could continue to go on for hours, but the point is as Muslims prayer is incredibly important. The Prophet (PBUH) has said that our prayers will be the first thing that we are called to account for on the day of judgment. As one of the pillars of Islam, prayer holds such value that it literally makes up a cornerstone of the religion. Abandoning your prayer is abandoning a major part of Islam.

As a convert, one of the hardest things I have had to adjust to is the prayer; getting up for fajr, making sure I am saying everything I need to, performing it as the Prophet did, concentrating, making it an act of worship to Allah (SWT) in moments I am so tired I think I would rather go to bed.
It has been one of the areas of faith that I constantly have fear over in my faith as I wonder if my prayers are good enough, focused enough, devoted enough, performed properly... I pray that Allah will accept my prayers and have mercy on my many shortcomings, but let me tell you that Allah is so good. Even in my fear that my prayers are inadequate, and I feel that my concentration wanders, Allah shows that He cares, and answers prayer.

Yesterday I was making Du'a that Allah would send someone to help me with my prayers. To teach me how to better them, make them more focused, help me improve my concentration. I was feeling so guilty about times I was going to prayer tired, or lacking motivation. Even while making the du'a I half expected Allah to ignore my request because of my weak prayer ( may Allah forgive me for my lack of trust in Him.)
Last night, I met with a sister I try to get together with weekly. She is a mentor to me and we spend time working on recitation and discussing Islam. I have been working on a Surrah and I expected that we would go over that as we usually work on Qur'an. For no reason (other than the grace of Allah (SWT)) we began to talk about prayer. We ended up spending HOURS going over the various parts of prayer. What elements are wajib (mandatory), which are sunnah, how to better concentrate, the value of prayer, the beauty of prayer... Alhamdulillah, with every element we discussed, I became more grateful to Allah (SWT).
How incredible that in my areas of weakness, He desires to give me strength. How merciful that even in a prayer that is certainly not offered with the focus and intensity of the Prophet (PBUH)or many of his companions, that Allah still makes my request important enough to answer. How humbling, that Allah cares enough about my life and prayers that He sent someone to show me more about one of the pillars of Islam.
I am continually humbled, and put in awe of the wonderful, powerful, merciful, ONLY God I serve.
All Glory to Allah (SWT).

I pray that we as Muslims reflect on our prayers. Seek to make them better, and in our weakness, find strength in Allah.
May He have mercy on us all.

Monday, August 28, 2006

By the Grace of Allah...

Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah...

I have been away for the last couple of weeks (thus the delay in blog entries.) While I was gone, I had some amazing opportunities to reflect on my faith and all that Allah (SWT) has done in my life that has brought me to this point. The more I sat back and looked at my life as a whole, the more glory I need to give Him as it is ONLY by His grace and mercy that I have the faith of Islam, the passion to serve Him, and to be a Muslima that is dedicated to God and living her life as I am asked to by Allah and as is written in the Holy Qur'an.

I am unsure how to go about writing this blog entry, as I don't want to come across as talking about the ways I feel I am correctly practicing my faith... Believe me this is not my intention at all. Rather, I want to give praise and Glory to Allah (SWT) by showing that it is only by His strength and power working in me that I am able to accomplish anything.

I met a Muslim couple on my trip and am not sure whether they were practicing or not (of course Allah knows best). The husband asked me why it was that I had put on hijab. Was I in a relationship and my husband had asked me to put it on? Was it expected of me? I told him that nobody had asked or forced me to wear it but rather I made the choice after I converted. Initially I was surprised by the question. I initially thought "Why wouldn't I want to wear it?" but then I was totally reminded of the power of Allah (SWT).

When I first was considering accepting Islam, I knew in my heart I wanted to wear hijab, but I honestly didn't think I could do it. Cover up my hair? It seemed so far from anything I knew or could possibly imagine. I knew the meaning and symbolism behind it, I thought it was a beautiful concept in theory, but I didn't think I personally would be strong enough or have the ability to put it on. I began to pray to Allah (SWT) that He would soften my heart towards hijab and give me the ability to put it on should I convert. Alhamdulillah, He did. And I can say with total certainty that it was FULLY Allah who gave me the ability to put it on. Reflecting on this, I understood where the comment had come from by this man, because especially for those who have not grown up in a culture or family where hijab is worn, it can be a big decision to put it on. I began to consider this even more while I was watching a documentary about women who wear hijab called "Transparency." It presents various perspectives about hijab and why women feel that Muslimas wear it.
Naturally there were contrasting perspectives. Two women supported the donning of hijab, while two others opposed it strongly. The two women that were in strong opposition of the hijab talked about how it was oppressive, and based only on culture. That it was not specifically outlined in the Qur'an and especially in a western society, served the opposite purpose as women who wear it draw more attention to themselves.
I tried to listen with a neutral ear, but my heart was hurting. If a woman chooses not to wear hijab for whatever reason it is between her and Allah (SWT), but the criticism of hijab and its meaning, importance, and significance to women who choose to wear it made my heart ache. Alhamdulillah, it caused me to reflect on months before... what were my thoughts before I understood the beauty of Islam and its many areas of the faith. Alhamdulillah Allah (SWT) and His endless grace have slowly been moving in my heart.

I also had an opportunity to meet a woman who is currently Catholic but is looking into Islam. I see so much of myself in her. The questions she is asking, the thoughts she has about both Islam and her current faith. I keep thinking "I was just there". What an exciting time for her, although I don't know that that she fully realizes this yet. With every question she asks, and every conversation we have I see Allah working in her. Coming closer to her. Changing her heart. What an amazing gift. What incredible grace! Seeing Allah pour out His grace and bounty on someone. Watching as she asks and seeks, how He brings Himself closer to her.
Alhamdulillah... This experience makes me so grateful to Allah for the way He has worked in my life.
My challenge to everyone who is reading this... Reflect on Allah's grace in your life. How has He worked in your life? What has He softened your heart about? What has He shown you about yourself, your faith, your life?
Please feel free to write some of the amazing things Allah has done as a comment. I would love to hear about them, and I think we as a community should be reminded of the constant power and Grace of Allah (SWT).

Thursday, August 03, 2006

için benim Türk aile.

mabut -ecek biz -ecek dua etmek burada biraraya, I ham dolsun Allah için benim üç kız kardeş

Monday, July 31, 2006


M.E.- Masjid Etiquette... Something that I feel needs to be discussed.

Alhamdulillah recently there have been many people coming to the masjid for prayer on Fridays. For brothers of course this is a necessity but the number of sisters I have seen has be growing. May Allah reward everyone for their desire to serve Him and give us all the greater reward for praying in congregation.

Of course, with large groups there are always differences in opinion, but lately I have been witness to some things that I feel need to be mentioned if only to serve as a reminder to us all about the beauty of our place of prayer, the sacredness of the Qur'an, and the importance of Friday prayer.

Alhamdulillah, the sister's side of the masjid was so full last week that we had to keep the door open as we were literally almost spilling out trying to all fit in the prayer room. What was unfortunate was that there was a group of young girls (early teen 10-12yrs) that were sitting in the stairs with no intention of listening to the Khutbah. Insha'Allah Allah will move in their hearts and give them desire to listen to what the Imam is speaking about. What has made me mention these girls is that they were talking and laughing very loudly during the entire Khutbah. They saw the door was open and it was an obvious disruption to the rest of the mosque but they didn't stop. Even when a sister motioned to them on numerous occasions to quiet down, they disregarded her and continued to talk. Now I know the thought might be here, that they are "still young" but I truly believe they are old enough to know better. In addition to that I have also heard women talk to each other while the Khutbah is being delivered. Not only does this compromise their ability to focus on what is being said, and goes against what is asked of us as Muslims, but it directly impacts other brothers' and sisters' ability to focus on what is being said. Here is a hadith to consider...
In Sahih Muslim:Narrated Abu Huraira "The person who takes a bath then comes to the Jum`a prayer, then offers the prayer that was destined for him, and then keeps silent till the Imam finishes the sermon, and then prays along with him, his sins between that time and the next Friday would be forgiven, and even of three days more"(similar hadiths appear in Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, & Ahmad binHanbal)
Not only does it mention being silent during the Khutbah, but look at the reward insha'Allah a Muslim gets for doing such things.

But it should be mentioned that it is FORBIDDEN to talk during the Khutbah. Several sayings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) cover this subject. In an authentic hadith reported by the group of Ahadith collectors except Ibn-Majah, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, "If you told your friend to pay attention on Friday while the Imam is delivering the speech then you committed a sin of vain talk." Another authentic hadith which was reported by Imam Ibn-Majah and Attermizi that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, "Even who touches the gravel on the floor then he committed vain talk, and he who does commit that there will be no (Jummah) Friday for him."

Related to that, "The Muslim should not distract other praying Muslims in the Masjid, because the praying Muslim is in contact with Allah (S.W.T.) so he should not be distracted not even with reciting Qur'an, supplication, or remembrance of Allah. Imam Ahmad reported Abdullah bin Omar (R.A.) narrated that the Prophet (S.A.W.) saw some people praying, and they became loud in their prayer. He said: "The praying person is in contact with his Lord, so let him concentrate on whom he is in contact with, and do not raise your voices over one another with Qur'an."

It is said that Muslims should keep themselves busy supplicating and remembering Allah (S.W.T.) while they are sitting in the Masjid, because they are in the prayer as long as they are waiting for the prayer.

I believe if everyone knew this, the talking would cease.

I also wanted to mention the importance of coming on time to the masjid. Of course there are things that are at times outside of our control, and Allah knows best, but look at the following...
In a authentic hadith reported by Imam Abu-Dawod the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, "On Friday the angels come to stand on the doors of the mosque (masjid), the angels record who comes first, if the Imam starts delivering the speech, the angels close their files and come to listen to the speech."

Wouldn't it certainly be best to be among those whose names are recorded in the files of the angels?

But now something that is very frustrating... I have seen gum placed on furniture inside the prayer room, shoes left on, and Qur'ans placed on the ground.
The Qur'an is a sacred text. It is fairly common knowledge that the Qur'an should be placed on an elevated position such as a rihal (Qur'an stand), desk, or pillow. It should not be placed on the carpet or on any place which people stand or sit, and especially not on the ground.

Regarding the gum. What a sign of disrespect. The closest comparison I can find from the time of the Prophet (S.A.W.) is spit. The Prophet (S.A.W.) considered spitting in the Masjid to be a sin that could be forgiven only if the Muslim cleans the area. Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Spitting in the Masjid is a sin and its expiation is clean it." When the prophet (S.A.W.) saw a spit in the Masjid, he used to remove it with a stone.
Muslims should keep the Masjid clean and in good shape and smell as it is the house of Allah (S.W.T.).

May we all strive to do what is the best for us and our religion in the name of Islam and for the sake of Allah (SWT). May Allah (SWT) guide us all on the right path and make us among the pious. May He reward us for all of our good deeds and Insha'Allah we will remember Him in all that we do. Ameen.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

It Isn't Worth It.

I have been thinking about the recent posts by both myself and Brother Green, but mainly about the comments that have resulted from the posts. I have no idea if what I have to say will help any of you who are struggling with various sin and temptation, but Allah has put it on my heart today, Alhamdulillah.

The topic of discussion is giving into sin and the worldly things that seem to lure and tempt Muslims on a daily basis, especially in North America.
I have been thinking long and hard about how I can try and convince people that the "fun" things that people are talking about; the sex, drugs, alcohol, nudity, dancing, movies, language, dating... That these things which saturate society are not all that they are cracked-up to be.

I can understand how if these are things you haven't experienced first hand, or have "had a taste of" and have left you wanting more, why it would be hard to ignore them. As a university student I know the pressures that are on people to drink, to "fit in" because if "everybody else is doing it..." could it really be that bad? I am going to be honest and very candid in this entry. Those moments- the ones that seem so great at the time, the ones that leave you on a high as if you were riding a rollercoaster will eventually only leave you with despair and guilt. Despair and guilt that I can only describe by some of the following REAL stories.

If you think that drinking is glamerous and fun, let me tell you about the friends that I have talked to who have no recollection of the nights spent drinking. They have no recollection of where they spent their time, who they were with... I know people who thought it was "so cool to drink" that they spent the night surrounded by men in a club and woke-up in a room surrounded by other men they had never seen before.

I have personally seen people passed out on bathroom floors because they have alcohol poisoning... I know you may be thinking "but I have control, those people didn't." Do you think they planned on being in that stage when they started out?

For those of you who think that exposing yourself in clothing which isn't modest is okay, and wonder "who is it hurting anyway?" Let me respond by telling you that I have heard men talk about women dressed scantly clad. That the comments they make are not about their mind. Where these women become a piece of meat, objectified and on display. And for those of you who say "but how others dress is outside of my control." Well yes, you are right, but are you putting yourself in compromising situations where you are looking?

What about dating? Seems innocent until temptation comes in... You think you are strong enough? What happens when you break-up? What happens when you start finding your faith again and have to deal with the guilt of knowing you have had intimate experiences with someone other than your life partner.

I personally know people that have stolen from their families to buy drugs, who are addicted to sleeping pills, who have parents who are both alcoholics and now their children have adopted the habit. I know compulsive shoppers who have gone thousands and thousands of dollars into debt and have ruined their life because of greed, I know families that have been torn apart by adultery. I know women who have been sexually assaulted and feel guilty about it because they feel like their behaviour "asked for it". I know girls who vomit on a regular basis because they feel like their bodies need to look like the half-naked movie stars in the media. I have seen young boys talk about gangs and drugs because they are "cool", these are 10-12 year old boys I am talking about. I know of a someone who had a child at age 12... Babies having babies, I know a woman who is still dealing with the guilt of aborting a child 40years later...

What is glamorous and fun about any of this? What is so enticing or rewarding? I can promise you that if any of those people could change their experiences they would. I can tell you that even as someone whose past sins have been erased at the time of my conversion, I still deal with the feelings of guilt that tear my heart up. Areas where I feel like I fell so short.

Do you want to be the person who is sitting with their head in their hands writhing with guilt and despair? Do you want to deal with the anguish that these things cause? It isn't worth it.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Past is History

Initially I had intended on only posting a comment to ARG's recent remark, but it seems between my thoughts, a recent email I received and Allah constantly teaching me, I have more to say...

Brother Green you are entirely right when you say that as Muslims we need to be constantly monitoring our speech and actions as so many people in society are waiting for an opportunity to "blame Islam." I hope that the satire in my recent entry didn't offend anyone and was only taken as a "need to keep smiling approach" on days that I "can't believe my ears." That being said, here is what is on my heart today...

As a Muslim there is an expectation to show others the beauty and truth that is Islam. To be modeling this in a way that is modest and true.
For Muslima's that wear hijab, I think there is at times an additional pressure as we become a visible minority to the public. Any individual can look and think "there is a Muslim". Although both men and women are equally responsible to act in a way that is pleasing to Allah, I think it is especially important for the hijab-wearing sisters to be sure their actions are conducive with the religion. It is one of the areas I feel is a blessing from Allah on sisters. How wonderful to know that Allah has given us that additional opportunity to witness to non-Muslims. As it was recently said to me, you never know what action will help guide a person to Allah (of course Allah knows best.) Our speech, and our modesty may be a key factor in bringing someone to the point where they seek out Islam.

As a revert to Islam I also think there is added responsibility. Although there are days when I wish I was raised Muslim so I would know more of the Qur'an, have more Surrah memorized, and be more knowledgeable in the hadith etc. I am forever grateful to Allah that I am one of the people He chose (and only through His grace and mercy) to follow His religion at a later time in life. Being able to talk to others (especially non-Muslims) about why I would give up my Western life to follow Islam is a powerful thing. When people look at me they not only see a woman wearing hijab, but they see a Canadian, pale-skinned woman wearing hijab. Understandably so, this can draw an obvious amount of attention. But Alhamdulillah Allah has given me this opportunity. Alhamdulillah I have an opportunity to witness to others, and have an additional sense of accountability when I know that I may be more visible to the public than a Muslim male walking down the street.
I thank Allah for that opportunity.

However, today there is a heaviness that is weighing on my heart. A heaviness that is there for the sake of the community. As a revert to Islam I am constantly asked (especially by the Muslim community) how I feel about giving things up that I was used to and comfortable with as a non-Muslim and Canadian. Maybe this seems like a natural question, so I will expand my point in hopes to make things clear.
Another sister in (also a revert to Islam who was raised in Canada) recently declared her faith to the community. It was a beautiful thing. Alhamdulillah. This sister also has a beautiful child. When I announced the news to some of the brothers and sisters, that a sister had declared shahadda to the community one of the first things people talked about was that she had a child and they wanted to know who the father was. "DID YOU HEAR WHAT I SAID? A SISTER JUST GAVE SHAHADDA IN FRONT OF HER COMMUNITY!" How infuriating and deeply saddening for me that when we are talking about a person choosing to follow Allah and the true religion of Islam, some of the comments made were about this sister's past.

As Muslims, insha'Allah we will receive the mercy of Allah when the time comes. As reverts to Islam we are given a 'clean slate', all of our sins erased.... a fresh start, yet I see this constant focus by some brothers and sisters on the past. Rather than talking about what it is we have lost (although it isn't much of a "loss") why isn't it focused on what we have gained? I think at times there is a backwards approach and perspective.
Why does anyone want to talk about the sins of the past? Why do we want to put focus on them? Does that not only serve to give glory to Shataan? Sin is sin. The sinner needs to repent and and seek forgiveness from Allah, and insha'Allah by Allah's mercy and only His mercy will we be given that forgiveness. Outside of that, there is no need to focus on the past unless it is directly related to giving Da'wa.
As a revert to Islam there are enough things I know I personally have to live with... but Insha'Allah Allah has taken my sins away. Alhamdulillah. Let us focus on the future. Who we are as Muslims... who we can be in Islam.

It is like that classic quote says... "the past is history, the future a mystery, but this moment is a gift (Thanks be to Allah) which is why we call it the present.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Islam really is the answer to everything...

I have heard it all!

Lately I have been working four jobs so as a result come home at LATE hours only to leave shortly after fajr the following morning. The street in front of my house is two-way, but all of the cars park in the same direction... all save one.
I seem to be the one to break the mold by parking backwards because really---I'm only there for a few short hours. Seems like a silly rule anyway, everyone having to park the same way. So this weekend the city came by to ticket me (talked my way out of it) but the commissionaire was sure to tell me that my neighbours had been complaining that I had been "going against the grain" so to speak...
Shortly after, my friendly Christian neighbour came across the street and began to tell me that he was taking me to church on Sunday (he has said this before). This time he asked when it was that I had converted to Islam. I told him May 14th and before I could continue he said... and I quote.

" I knew there was something wrong with you and that something had changed. A couple of months ago you started parking the wrong way on the street, and I kept thinking 'what is wrong with this girl' and now I know. That is when you converted."

I didn't begin to tell him that I started parking on the front of the street instead of using the back because my roommate needed the space, or because I came from the end of the city that made it convienient to park in that direction without circling the block, or because my car was only sitting there for a few short hours a night...
Yup, Islam is making me park backwards on the street.... hey at least it is giving me the chance to talk to my neighbour about Islam. Maybe if I was able to park my car in a tree like in the picture here I could really talk about the power of Allah.
Just goes to show that Allah really is the answer to everything.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Allah Has a Plan.

I wish I had a clever title for this entry, but really I can only tell it like it is. Allah has a plan and it is more complex than I can ever comprehend.

Today a good friend of mine called me to tell me her husband was delivering the Khutbah at one of the local Mosques in town. I have been awaiting the opportunity to hear him speak for some time now. Needless to say I was very much looking forward to attending. As I hung-up with her and was working out in my mind when I would have to leave work to enable me to arrive at the masjiid in due time, something (ok.... Allah) was pulling at my heart telling me to go to the other mosque. The feeling was so strong that I went with it and passed-up the chance to hear this brother speak and went to the other masjiid. As I was listening to the Khutbah being delivered I remember thinking "really good information" but it was still unclear as to why I was supposed to go that Mosque.
I finished my final rakat and was about to turn to leave when one of the other sisters stopped me to introduce me to a new sister in the mosque that I hadn't met before. Like myself, this woman comes from a Christian home and although she has been seeking (and accepted Islam in her heart and among friends) she has decided that she wanted to say Shahaada at the Mosque.
We ended up sitting together for quite some time, chatting about our experiences and discussing what Islam has meant and is to both of us. Although we come from different life experiences there were similarities between us other than our religion, and Insha'Allah we will spend many more hours discussing them. One of the comments this sister made was how she had been reading and doing a lot of searching on her own as she still trying to connect with the community.--- I do believe that today Allah introduced us so we could be a support and connection to each other. I believe that the reason I was supposed to attend that Mosque today was to meet this sister. That somehow Allah is going to use us in each other's lives.

I know that this thought seems to be a somewhat anti-climatic entry, but I think that it is worth mentioning. Not only do we as humans often fail to see what it is Allah has laid out for us, but we often fail to even look. Other times we question a decision that we made in lieu of another and live wondering if it was the right one.
I was recently reading Brother Green's blog and he was talking about this in his life. How he has had an experience that has made him consider the choice he made and has sparked curiosity of things may have been different if...
I am in no way saying that I have any wisdom to lecture or advise, especially when I often find myself asking the same question about various times in my life, but the more I sit back and look at things, the more I see "Allah has a plan."
If my grandfather had never been killed this last year, I likely would have never began my search into Islam (but Allah knows best). Naturally I wish my grandfather was still alive, but look at what has come out of his passing.
If I had gone to the other Khutbah today I may have heard something that applied more directly to my situation currently but instead I met someone that Insha'Allah will impact my life (and Insha'Allah I will also impact hers).
Brother Green-- Sure taking the other position may have given you an opportunity to witness to those brothers but it may have not. Trust that Allah used you where you were most needed. Think of all of the lives that you impact on a daily basis from your work at London Central Mosque, think of all of the lives that you impact overseas (I am speaking from the heart here... you had a big hand in my reversion to Islam. Would we have ever met if you had taken the other job? Would then I have found the answers I needed?)

I was a the grocery store the other day and a man literally walked into me and then asked me about my hijab and what religion I was a part of etc. He then told me he didn't have a religion and could he join mine? How much did it cost? Where was the office? (Granted he was intoxicated) But I left the store thinking should I have said something more? Given him more useful information, written something down for him? But at the end of the day, I trust that Allah will work it out. That Allah has a plan and He knows best.

May Allah open our eyes to His plan, may we always trust in Him. May He always seek us out... Ameen.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

"Since everyone else seems to have all of the answers..."

I know that my recent conversion has caused many of my friends to question my intentions-- to stand in shock as they hear that I have converted to a faith that is so different from that which they know or used to know me in.
I know that friends and family are going to be worried about how this will change me... change my life-- How my faith will impact who I am in relation to who I was.
Everyday I have those that are close to me TELL me about what "my life in Islam" is going to be like... "what I can expect out of my choices." They repeat all of the same sentences that I am so familiar to every time I tell someone that I have converted...
"You mean you aren't going to drink anymore?"
"So you are going to cover your head?"
"What about food... you only can eat special meat?"
"You know you won't have any rights"
"You were so independent"
"So you are going to pray five times a day?"
"So you can't date/hug/touch guys?"
The list is endless. What really has got me riled-up as I sit here and write this, is that these are the areas that my friends and family seem to be grieving about my change. Granted changing elements like this, which used to be part of my personality do in a way change part of who I am/was, but are these really the characteristics that made me who I was? If I never drink again is it really going to alter the woman I used to be to all of these people? Why are these things issues for people? Quite honestly, the questions that are so often asked and seem to be such grave areas of concern really cause me to wonder who it was that I was presenting myself as when I was non-Muslim? Did what I ate and how I dressed make me who I was? Because honestly I thought that the friend that I was: the honest, loyal, optimistic, friendly, fun-loving person was what made me the person my friends cared about. Those qualities, have not changed, I can assure you that no faith, will change what my friends and family mean to me, and the manner in which I love them.
Naturally there will be differences, but change is inevitable to any person. As we grow as human beings there are numerous things that will impact how we perceive the world. What really has me upset is how the differences that everyone I know seem to be getting hung up on, are changes which are so incredibly trivial.
What I really struggle with is why I need to go to a bar, or drink or wear certain clothes to be the person that "I was."
There are days that I honestly feel as though it is more acceptable to be an alcoholic and not drink in the eyes of society, than it is to not drink because of faith.

What makes me equally angry is that people keep referring to this "change in my life" and claiming that they have nothing against Islam, they just "don't want me to lose who I was". But lets be honest here... If I had converted to any other faith; Buddhism or Catholicism I think it would be safe for me to speculate that we wouldn't be having these conversations. That many of the comments and concerns people have are due to their conceptions-- or rather misconceptions of Islam. What I love about this statement is how when people say it to me they proceed to tell me what my life is going to be like... what I can expect. Really? Do you know what it is like to be Muslim? Do you know the ins and outs of the faith? Because the thing is, I am living it out... I am experiencing what it is to me Muslim, I daily read, ask questions and spend time with the Muslim community. I KNOW what it has been like and continues to be like, but-- I mean if everyone else seems to have all of the answers then who am I to say anything.

If people want to know who I am I wish they would quit speculating and generalizing and either ask or come and see. I am ME. I am the same Canadian, red-head who loves people, her friends, good books, art and having fun. I still eat chocolate daily, I still like to lay around with close girl-friends and talk about everything and nothing. I still love to rollerblade, hike, camp, and eat in ethnic restaurants. I would still do anything for my friends, and I still believe in God. The minor changes in my actions and behaviour do not in anyway impact who I am as a person to my friends and family... I don't know how to show people that.

What I do know is how tired I am of people telling me why I converted. That I didn't know the right Christians, that I didn't 'know' God, that the trauma I have gone through with my family in the last year or two has caused me to convert... that I converted for a guy. Again-- let me say that none of these are the reasons that I converted. Yet, I am sure I am wasting my words by saying that. When I began reading about Islam it was never to convert. Only to try and educate myself. But questions came up and I couldn't ignore them. I converted because it was real to me, it is truth... The answers I needed were inside of me. The answers that I needed were not in Christianity.

I didn't convert for anyone but myself. Again, what is the point of saying this when everybody apparently already knows "the reason that I really converted"... just like they all know how I will lose my identity by being Muslim.
Why is it that people continue to tell me what I have lost instead of looking and seeing what it is that I know I have gained.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Proof is in His Plan...

I can honestly say that I know with certainty that Allah seeks people out well before they ever know He is working in them. Alhumdulillah, lately there have been so many incredible moments that have shown me that many years ago, Allah had a plan for me. Minor things-- as I reflect on them that seem as though others could chalk them up to coincidence but I am certain could only be from Allah's unending grace. Take for example my education. I entered into a very specialized program that has required me to get a degree in linguistics. If I wasn't in this program I can guarantee that I would have NEVER majored in that field. It wasn't an area that interested me, and at times was very painful for me to try and get through. Now, as I am only months away from my graduation I have almost decided in entirety that I am not in the field that I want to work in. After many years of education I know that I am likely not going to work in the area I was trained in. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel... Lately I have been taking an Arabic class. My teacher often talks about the phonology and phonetics of the Arabic language. Where sounds are created, and how they formed within the throat and mouth.
Alhumdulillah the fact that I am a linguistic major has enabled me to learn and understand what he is explaining to me at a rate which is more rapid than I would have if I didn't have the knowledge I do. What reason, if not for assisting me in my comprehension of Arabic could this path have been taken for as I won't be working in the field my degree would enable me to enter. Alhumdulillah Allah is so good. I began my path into that career five years ago... How amazing that I can see in hindsight how Allah was pursuing me even then.
There have been numerous things like this... small occurrences that are easily overlooked and ignored. Alhumdulillah Allah opens my eyes to these things. He shows me His power and mercy everyday, and my Iman increases because of it. How blessed am I? It is true that Allah chooses whom He wills, and Alhumdulillah He chose me.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Oil and Vinegar

I look forward to each day in a different way than I did before. Not only am I grateful for another day of life and all that it has to offer, but it has become a daily adventure to see what kind of comments I will receive about the fact that I have converted to Islam.

I sent out an email to all of my friends and distant relatives that had not yet heard of my reversion. In it I discussed the peace I had found, that I know Islam is the right faith... it is truth, and I am happy in my decision. The first response back that I got was
"I am very sad for you".

I went to work on Sunday and was quietly reading the Qur'an when a man walked by my desk and looked at me strangely. He paused, grabbed a newspaper and then looked at me again.
"Where are you from?"
"Canada" I responded
"You're from Canada?"
"Born and raised"
At this point I turned away to let someone in the front door and hear this disgusted groan from the man as he was looking at the books I had spread across my desk: The Qur'an, The Role of Women in Islam, and Women in Islamic Shariaa.
"But your Muslim!"
And he took off...

Twenty minutes later--
"So, what--you're reading the Qur'an?"
Again a disgusted groan followed by an "Oh my"

After his tennis game he comes by again...
"So can I ask you what would make you become Muslim when you are from a Western country?' So I give him my two minute shpeel knowing he isn't going to hear a word of it anyway. I was right-- I barely get the words out of my mouth when he says...
"Well you aren't one of those terrorists are you?"
And yes he is completely serious....

However, that wasn't the reaction that was the most surprising for me. I had a meeting tonight with a bunch of colleagues. I told the small group that I had converted to Islam. I received nothing but support...
It was incredible. Why I had any fear I am not sure? I guess I was lacking faith-- Lacking faith in my colleagues and lacking faith in Allah that He would give me the words, and open their hearts to understanding. That He would make it easier for me if I just trusted in Him. As I was sitting there having the support of all of the women around me, if felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my chest.

I never know how people are going to react and what they will say. What I have noticed is that at times I don't give enough credit to those around me. Granted there are close friends who have hurt me by their responses, but the majority of the people I tell have been supportive and wonderful... Alhumdulillah.

For lack of a better analogy I will say it reminds me of oil and vinegar. I am vinegar and all the reactions and comments I receive from others are oil. Initially when comments are made it is like when the oil is poured right into the vinegar. They mix and I internalize them. It is as though we become one and I cannot separate myself from what was said. However, as time passes, the oil settles to the top and lays there. The vinegar is still as it was. Although initially I feel like the comments that get made are at times very hurtful and I let them into my heart, I need to realize that they are what they are, and at the end of the day I will be me. That being said, if one was to make a dressing they would use both oil and vinegar. They don't fully mix but without the oil the vinegar lacks the structure and taste it has with the oil. -- Without the remarks that on a daily basis get showered on me, I would be lacking in who I am. My thoughts and my journey would be structured differently, I would be lacking in the "flavour" that has helped shape me as the Muslima I am...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Hard Lesson Learned...

Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahiim

Today is the first day since I have been Muslim that I felt such deep sadness I couldn't contain my tears.

I saw a good friend today-- A Muslima in the community who was excited to tell me that there was a man who had recently arrived from overseas. Many years ago he was Muslim but later in life had converted to a different religion. Now upon his being in Canada, by the grace of Allah he felt a tugging in his heart to re-seek Islam. He had questions and wanted to talk to an Imam in the community. My friend gave him the number of someone to get in touch with.

Tonight my friend called me to tell me that the man she was telling me about got killed at work four days ago... she suspects before he ever had an opportunity to talk to the Imam.

I didn't know this man and had never met him, but the sorrow I felt when I heard that was inconsolable. I wanted to cry out to Allah and ask that He would give this man Jannah, but I know I can't...

As I sat in my room crying, Allah opened my eyes and heart and started to lift my sorrow. I opened the Qur'an and began to read...

"O you who believe [in Moses and Jesus] Fear Allah and believe in His Messenger, He will give you a double portion of His mercy, and He will give you a light by which you shall walk (straight). And He will forgive you. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

So that the people of the Scripture may know that they have no power whatsoever over the Grace of Allah, and that (His) Grace is (entirely) in His Hand to bestow it on whomsoever He wills. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty." 57:28-29

Alhumdulillah Allah reminded me that I need not grieve. Allah knows the hearts of everyone, and He knew the heart of this man. He knew his desire to re-seek the faith of Islam, and I trust that Allah knows best. I trust that "Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful."

Alhumdulillah it was a way for me to praise Allah for His favour on me. The weekend I converted was the weekend of the MSA conference here. The first night of the conference, I knew I was at the stage where I could make shahhada (profession of faith in Islam) but I put it off until Sunday. Br Green joked (but in seriousness) that "I never know what could happen and why would I wait until Sunday when I could die tomorrow."
I of course smiled and still waited until the end of the weekend.
When I heard the story about this man who was killed (possibly before he said shahhada, but Allah knows best) it was a wake-up call for me. It could have been me.

This was a hard lesson learned... It is so important that those who are seeking are those whom we reach out to. I think about how if I was never contacted and encouraged by the Muslim community here, then where would I be? Inshallah Allah would have continued to seek me out and draw me closer to Him, but as Muslims, if people are seeking Allah, we need to show them Allah.
This could mean different things for different people. Monitor your actions, your speech... If someone asks or contacts you about Islam, make sure you are speaking the truth. If you don't have the answers find someone who does and make sure you follow through when you say you will! Increase your knowledge so you can be the one to answer the questions. If someone comes to you, keep in touch with them.
Remember it isn't just about the benefit of knowing your religion and following through on commitments to others, but potentially you could influence someone's faith.

Trust in Allah... Allah knows best. Alhumdulillah I am constantly being reminded of this.
لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Don't Go to a Dentist When You Need a Doctor.

One of the things that I know for sure is how loved I am by my family. Since my conversion they have spent countless hours on the internet trying to find out what Islam is all about. Of course this means I get sent numerous emails about all of the "not so desirable" traits Islam seems to always be associated with. It gets exhausting. One of the issues that constantly gets brought up in discussion is the rights of women. My family definately has it in mind that "I don't know what I am getting into."
Quite the contrary actually. I know rather well what Islam is about, and who I am as a woman in Islam. Of course my family needs to see that themselves -- something that will only come with time. This is where I need Allah to give me more patience.

One of the emails I recently received from my mom outlined some of her concerns about my future. She told me that she was meeting with a Christian pastor who had done Missions work with Muslims in Canada (I don't know the specifics but I am sure the goal was to convert Muslims to Christianity.) Glad that my mom was making the effort to ask questions and get information I couldn't say much, but was discouraged that her source of infomation was someone who obviously doesn't support the faith of Islam. I decided that the only way for me to help my mom get answers to some of the questions she had was to hook her up with the number of one of the women in the community here. A Muslima who was raised in Canada, has one parent who is Christian, married a Muslim from the Middle-East, wears hijab etc. I thought to myself "who better to clear up some of my mom's concerns than someone who is living my future life!" With eagerness I sent my mom the contact information excited that I had supplied her with a way to get some of the answers she might be looking for. Here is the chance she has been wanting/needing. An opportunity to talk FIRST HAND to a person my age who is living the Muslim life.

Last week when I talked to my mom I asked her if she had contacted the Muslima in the community here. She had said no that "the majority of her questions had been answered." I wanted to crawl through the phone line so she could see the look on my face. "By Whom??!!??" I thought.
She had spent the last week or two talking with a Christian Man about the life of a Muslim Woman....
What is wrong with this picture? I am sure that he has valuable things to say, but lets be fair! If you wanted information about throat infections you wouldn't go to a Dentist just because they work with the mouth... you would go to a Doctor and get the real information from someone who knows what they are talking about, who is experienced and can provide you with the right answers.
Why is it, that people go to the internet, or their pastors, or in this case- Christian missionaries when they want information about Islam... particularly women in Islam.

I know my family is just worried for me, and as I said I appreciate their concern and know that I am loved, but at the same time I want them to see that Islam isn't all bad. Lets face it, Christians will tell you Christianity is right, Muslims will tell you Islam is right, Buddhists will tell you Buddhism is right... we all have our beliefs and have to be aware of how that influences our perspectives on things. That being said if we are going to learn about something new, get answers etc. lets go to someone who can give us information first hand...
You wouldn't go to a dentist when you need a doctor, so why would you go to a Christian to learn about Islam?

Islam in One Picture.

I got a letter recently that described Islam as a religion of hate, revenge and anger.
I couldn't disagree more. I don't have a word to describe Islam, but if I could chose one picture this would be it...

This is the beauty of my Islam.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Unrighteous, Undeserving, Undone.

I will never know why Allah in all of His power and majesty chose to seek me out and bestow on me His favour. I am so 'undeserving'.
Thinking about my actions today... all of the areas that I fell short, all of the areas that I "missed the mark." Why would Allah choose me? Why would He bless me with His grace and mercy, one who is so inadequate.
Alhumdullilah Allah shows me my faults. Alhumdullilah, Allah makes my actions weigh heavy on my heart so I know that I need to improve myself, become a better Muslima, strive against being 'unrighteous'.

Yet in all of my error and wrong-doings I still see Allah seeking me out. Drawing closer to me. It is as though at the end of the day He shows me yet again who He wants me to me in comparison to who I am now. And Alhumdullilah for that!
I am so BLESSED! I am so GRATEFUL! I will never be able to articulate what it feels like at the moments I know Allah has brought Himself closer to me to teach me something new, or to answer prayer. I will never be able to give Him the praise He deserves.
It is my most sincere prayer that my actions will be closer and closer to that of the Prophet (PBUH). That I would be a woman in Islam that would please Allah and be deserving of His mercy and favour.

I got an email recently that discussed concerns someone in my life has for my new life in Islam. They highlighted that Muslim's "live regimented lives dictated by the Qur'an". They tried to make this something negative... For me, it is what I desire. Inshallah I will live as the Qur'an instructs me to. Inshallah I will be a woman that is modest, sincere, pious, patient, and devoted to her family. Having the Qur'an to learn and model my life around will never be a negative thing.

Tonight is exactly one month of my being a Muslima. As I was pressing my face into my prayer mat, calling out to Allah I let myself go... becoming completely 'Undone'. Giving myself to Allah, asking Him to lead... Asking Him to show me my wrongs, to give me the strength to make them right. I know that I am "Unrighteous, Undeserving and coming Undone" before Allah, but He is UNLIMITED in what He can do.

لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله (There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A New Approach...

I find that people are constantly trying to find a reason and rationalize in their minds why I would/could convert. Recently I had someone I know come up to me and tell me that "they knew why I had converted to Islam... "
I thought "oh well then, please tell me" (I guess the explanation I had provided about my finding truth, answers, historical evidences, and peace wasn't valid enough.)
This person went on to tell me "That I had converted because I had been going to the wrong church and that I didn't have 'good' Christians in my life that were showing me the love of God. Truly if I had people in my life to encourage me in my Christian faith that I never would have converted."
I tried to explain that my brother is probably one of the STRONGEST most practicing Christians I know. He lives and is directed by faith, and it is beautiful. That I have very powerful strong Christian influences in my life but it wasn't about the people for me. It is about the faith. The questions I had about the faith weren't answered by the actions of those around me, they were answered by my own personal search, by reading and understanding what Islam is and believes.
For some reason this person didn't seem convinced. They insisted that if I went to Church with them and spent some time with some good Christians that I would change my mind....

It has got me thinking... I guess there is something wrong with the way I have been explaining the reasons I converted. Obviously the answers I have provided haven't been convincing enough to justify the change in my faith.
So... I have decided to try a different approach.

- Reduction in the chance of skin cancer (being more fully-clothed means fewer sunburns.

-I save time getting ready in the morning. No need to worry about styling my hair when I throw on my hijab.

-HUGE reduction in the cost of hair-dye as I don't have to keep up with the latest hairstyles and colours.

-If I spill something on my shirt while eating breakfast I can just use my hijab to cover the spot... nobody will ever know.

-Looser clothing means I don't have to worry about those days that I am feeling bloated (gotta love being a woman!)

-Look at all of the money I save avoiding the latest clothing trends.

-All humour aside... I am no longer objectified by what I wear and the way I look because my modest attire protects me from that.

Really, all of these things considered, who wouldn't want to convert?? Yup, I think this should definitely be my "New Approach." Seems less likely I would have some of the arguments and feedback I seem to be getting.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Misunderstood by Misconceptions.

I was recently on Brother Green's website and his recent blog talked about "Misconceptions of Islam". Funny that it would be his topic of conversation as it seems to be one of the constants I seem to deal with on a day to day basis... what am I saying? It seems to be one of the constants that all Muslims deal with on a day to day basis. The one difference in my case is the fact that many of the misconceptions that I have been faced with are those that come from my family. Of course it would be unfair and unrealistic for me to think that my family wouldn't have questions, as mentioned before, they are miles away, and their only contact with Muslims is via CNN and the phone calls they get from their daughter. One source presents only the negative, the other (inshallah) the beauty of Islam. Unfortunately the power of the Media, the horrible images seen on TV and unfortunate actions of some seem to be pulling more weight...

This is where I get so saddened. Not only for Muslim's in that our identity in society has for the most part been formed by terrorism and birkas but that society as a whole has not taken the time to investigate what in that, is truth... Humans are so hungry for information they become like sponges and soak up whatever they hear, and accept it as valid. I see the same thing happen with society when they read celebrity magazines. "Jennifer Aniston loses 40lbs because of her dislike of anything she has to consume by chewing." Of course this headline is made-up and absolutely ridiculous, but if it were on the front of a magazine just watch how it sells as people want to 'get the latest.' Nobody who has purchased the magazine has ever met Jennifer Aniston but you can bet at some point during the week their conversation will be about her new 'eating habits.'
Do you see what I mean? How bizarre it is? Why is it that we as a society don't seem to have a need to make sure that what we read and see on TV is something we understand and or is something true? The whole world sees the negative things that are presented in the media about Muslim's, but how many people go and actually talk to a Muslim person about what is happening? How many take the time to ask if the acts of terrorism are conducive with the beliefs of Islam? I can speak for the people I know when I say very few.
There have been attrocities committed by all religious groups at some point in history, but it is clear we don't associate all members of that one group with the specific acts. Why then does it seem to happen with Muslims?

I know that I have moved away from the way I have been misunderstood recently by the common misconceptions of Islam into how Islam is misunderstood as a whole, but to me one is the direct result of the other. My family (and others too) is concerned for my safety and rights because of what they have been led to believe is true about Islam. I only wish I could help them to see this isn't the case. I am not talking about converting them either, I just mean trying to convince those around me that my being Muslim still means I can: Work, be educated (or pursue further education), leave my home without my husband escorting me, that I won't be locked in the house, that I will have rights, that I will be respected, that I have a role in the community, that if I were to move overseas I wouldn't be trapped never allowed to return, that I won't be beaten... (Only a few of the misconceptions I have been faced with.)
I just want people to see that I will still be me... that I AM still me. That I have seen the images the rest of the world sees on TV and I have read those newspaper articles... fortunately I have also read some of the books about Islam and what it really is. I have met Muslims who PRACTICE their faith in a way that is true to the religion. I know sisters from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Trinidad, Northern Africa and Canada and they all are beautiful educated, empowered, well-spoken women. Some of them have their PhD or are pursuing it after having achieved two Master's, some are parents, some are involved politically somehow, and almost all of them are working.

Of course there are differences between the Muslim faith and other faiths, of course there will be changes that I make, but I don't see them as sacrifices or in any way as oppression. I don't wear hijab because I am forced, I wear it because I decided to as a sign of worship to Allah, as a way to be modest... I don't consider getting up in the early morning to pray a burden (although some days I wish it was easier), I don't see the structure of the family unit in Islam as oppressive or degrading for women, (and if Christians read through 1 Corinthians and Ephesians they would see that the role of women in the family and church is no different).

I know this is the start of a LONG journey, and Alhumdullilah I am enjoying every minute. It is my prayer that Allah would make it easier for others to see the beauty of Islam. That something would stir inside them to make them question what Islam is about. That they would read with an open mind not looking for the negative but seeking the positive. Because for me, it is okay if people don't support my decision after both sides have been searched out, but what deeply saddens me is that I would be "Misunderstood by Misconceptions."