I was so looking forward to coming to TO because of the big community and having the opportunity to get involved in so many events, however every event or organization I have attempted to contact has not returned my call or email. Insha'Allah these groups are busy and have other priorities but I really think it is so important that we as a community are invested in the others in that same community. That we are making sure people feel welcomed. Alhamdulillah I have plenty of literature and of course the Qur'an to keep me connected to Allah (SWT) but I was thinking about what if I was someone seeking out Islam who was desiring information or someone to tell them something about our beautiful religion? Would they have been left high and dry?
Incedentally I just was talking to a recent convert about this. I met her at the Turkish Halaka I attend (funny as I don't speak Turkish)... anyway she got connected with one of these Turkish women and started going to this Halaka... alhamdulillah. Shortly after, I started attending. Often what will happen is the English-speaking women will meet on one side and discuss Islam while the Turks will meet on the other side and discuss in Turkish. There are only a couple of women who speak English that attend and all of them are very recent converts, many of them by marriage and are just starting to learn and take interest in Islam.
The first couple of weeks I attended I sat as the sister leading the group kept reading from a book that had inspirational information and stories about Islam intended to insha'Allah motivate or inspire someone in there practice of Islam. I sat there listening to granted, what were good articles, but then listened to these other women ask question after question about what does fardh mean? How does one pray? Where do they get information about Islam?
For a moment I sat there in shock-- these women were coming to this group to get information about Islam and leaving just as empty as they came. Alhamdulillah they had a group they could go to and connect with, but when they were physically attending there questions were being answered with "come over to my house and we can talk about it, lets read from this book now" instead of discussing the questions... the prayer... the fundamentals of the faith.
We as a community need to be aware of those who are seeking, those who are trying to deepen their faith as insha'Allah we are all trying to do. We need to take action and be sure we are doing what we can as Muslims and Muslimas to take care of the people who are hungry for knowledge whether it be someone just trying to make contact with an organization or whether it is someone who is going to a group and desperately seeking answers.
It is also okay to say that you don't have the answers if you don't, but it is our responsiblity as a Muslim to make sure that we either get the answer or connect that person to someone who has it. In the case of the convert women who attend this halaka, this group once a week was the only opportunity they were getting to discuss Islam, to learn and to grow.
May Allah (SWT) unite us all and provide us with the knowedge and motivation we need to help others and insha'Allah help ourselves grow in our faith. May we have open-eyes and hearts to the needs of those in our community. Ameen.