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.


Fereshteh said...

Thanks for the blog. I check it on daily basis and like to know your points of view.
A friend of mine once asked me: what is our duty if we have had many missed prayers and want to start over? I told her to ask for forgiveness from Allah and try to pray as many prayers as possible for those missed ones. She was so happy to hear this option and she told me about one of the answers another Muslim ROLE MODLE! gave her which was you have to pray for all those missed prayers otherwise you are not forgiven. I think this so called role model Muslim is not helping people to get back on the track at all.
The point is we need to learn how to start over by looking at the bright future with a lot of hope and this should be one of the teachings of Islam as Allah encourages us to ask for forgiveness even if we have several mistakes!

hox said...

salam sister. i think the reason muslims like to hear about how you gave up the western lifestyle and stuff, is probably because they're struggling with that as well. hey, i'm muslim, born and raised, but it's HARD to give up the "fun" and "cool" things that are around us everyday. plus, i've been muslim for soo long, it starts to get boring, which apparently scares me. yes, islam is the answer. yes, doing good deeds is the way to Paradise. yes, there's reward. yes, there's punishment. but in our days sometimes following this way means you walk alone. top that up with Friends and other shows which highlights the joys of having company, makes us want to join in with the crowd. cause even among muslims there's some who are really good, obeys Allah and goes to mosques and stuff.. and there's also the fun bunch who also prays and goes to mosques AND fasts, but they also go to the movies and talk about sex and all the stuff kids in American Pie talk about. obviously, the answer is to advice the brothers.. but ya know.. sighh... i dont even know. i mean, its cause im in college. theres carnivals, parties, classes and.. and.. and.. and basically following the truth of what you know and i mean KNOW it IS the truth, still isn't as simple as it seems.

hox said...

if u have an advice, please tell me. cause thats the thing! i've heard so many, i'm like immune to it or somethin. and i dont wanna be like that, but i dunno. advice me. give me a good advice.

may14muslima said...

hox-- thank you so much for your sincere honesty. It is hard to admit falling short in the eyes of Allah even if it is on an anonymous website. Do I have advice for you? I am sure that everything that I say you have heard before. The decision to serve Allah can only come from inside because at the end of the day it is all just between you and Him. I would say the two things that I can mention to you are to #1-- Fear Allah. Hox, is the partying and speech and "fun" really going to be worth it when you are being questioned by Allah? When you are facing eternity and it is paradise is passing you by do you really think your thoughts will be "Man I sure had a great time on earth?" Fear Allah... Fear what your decisions mean for you. #2-- Find friends that aren't going to cause you to stumble. I know it is tough... I know completely and in full experience, but you need to decide how bad you want to serve Allah. I am not saying by any means that things will be easy or that you won't sin. Shataan is going to try hard to make you fall into his traps. And even the best Muslims these days make mistakes. Know that Allah is merciful to those who are earnest in their intention and service to him.
One other thing... How are your salat? If you are praying all 5 then maybe it is time to re-examine why it is we pray. To remind us of Allah, to keep us from sin, to help us live as we should.
Insha'Allah you know what is best for you. I can never judge... there are still many things I fall short on.
May Allah make it easy for us. May He continue to seek us out and put conviction in our hearts. May He surround us with people that will make us strong in our faith. Ameen.
I will make Dua for you insha'Allah.

ARG said...

for my comment check out my blog. It ties in so well with above mashallah!

hox said...

jazakAllahkhair. i've read both your comment and arg's blog. i.. have to ponder on it. thanks again! i appreciate the Du'a.. hopefully it would help, inshAllah.