Salaam alaikum! Though I have been striving for a guest post every other Wednesday, this week y’all are getting two in a row (also my sincere apologies for this post coming out a bit later in the day than it usually would- I had a severe internet glitch on my laptop!)! This is because I had the pleasure of working on a more collaborative double guest-post with the fantastic, mashaaAllah, Shukrallahblog, which is a religious blog dedicated to righting the wrongs in the world.
It is run by a 20-something British revert Muslimah, living in North Africa, who has a strong passion for her religion and the drive to share that with others (beginning to sound a bit like yours truly?). I am so grateful to have made her acquaintance, and I truly think you will enjoy her writing as much as I do, inshaAllah!
For this collaboration, we both wrote pieces for each other, to be posted the same date, on our various experiences settling into life as a new Muslimah, and specifically, settling into an entirely new community. It was so interesting for me to see how different our takes on the same subject were, and I am so excited to share them both with you!
Like most converts, I never thought I would once become a Muslim. Then again, I never assumed I would be married by 22, living abroad and have a job I could only dream of…
God works in mysterious ways.
Life itself whether Muslim or not is never going to be perfect and when I converted to Islam I never expected a perfect life. I knew my life would change somehow but I wasn’t sure exactly what would happen. Practising Islam can change your life but only if you let it. Otherwise, you are no different than who you were before.
You will still experience moments of pleasure, moments of grief and everything in between. You will still get wrinkles, spots and stretch marks when you give birth. You will still trip up in the street (but thankfully not because you’re drunk at 2am in heels) and you will realise that you are entering a new world where the Muslims you meet are just as flawed as everyone else…
When I left the mosque after reciting my shahada in front of two sheikhs I had never met I felt a tremendous sense of fulfillment. I didn’t really understand my obligations in full as a Muslim but I knew I had done the best thing in my entire life. It was so huge in fact that even though I signed my marriage contract more or less on the same day: we didn’t celebrate or have the time to acknowledge that we just got married. We were more excited about my conversion to Islam that nothing else mattered.
I didn’t even know at that point that we had to be married to live together but it worked out so perfectly that we didn’t even spend one day as a Muslim couple, not married. We spent our first day married learning how to pray, how to do wu’du and other basics. Alhamdulillah, looking back I realise what a huge sin it would be to start my life off as a Muslimah in a ‘haram relationship.’
God works in mysterious ways.
For weeks afterwards, I would walk past other Muslimahs and wonder how they can walk around with this huge secret and not feel compelled to tell everyone they meet.
I felt so much passion for Islam and so much enthusiasm to practice it I couldn’t help but wonder how other Muslims felt, surely they were just bursting inside but more humble and didn’t show it.
That was my logic for a long time. It often left my husband feeling amused at my naivety.
I felt like a baby lamb in a flock of massive lions and tigers. They had been practising life in the jungle for years and years – they were the pros and experts. They didn’t need to ‘practice’ Islam they simply lived by Islam and then there was me… innocent, new and a bit overwhelmed.
I felt like I would never stop learning. Every day I learned something new and every day I felt let down by others.
Fast forward 2 years and I have learned. A lot. Abundantly. About myself, others, my religion, other religions… Teaching myself new things is a priority of mine and something I do regularly. In fact, it keeps me sane in this sometimes insane world. ‘Till this day, I still get shocked when I learn that Muslims are not practicing & I still give everyone I meet the benefit of the doubt because I remember it was only a few short years ago that I was a person much worse than them, Allah guided me and by His mercy I am a better person.
If you don’t fit in, you’re probably doing the right thing.
Overall, I have learned that it doesn’t matter if you’re better dressed Islamically than your colleague at work. It doesn’t matter if you know more Qur’an than your cousin does. It doesn’t matter if you sacrifice your free time to study when others are relaxing. It doesn’t matter if you are the only one praying in a room full of Muslims. It doesn’t matter if you’re always the first one to give Salam.
None of that matters.
Islam is not a competition between people. Islam is not about showing off or being better than others. Islam is about helping others, lending a hand and caring for others, like you do yourself.
What really matters is that you are better than who you were yesterday. What does it matter if you compare yourself to others & think you are better. If at the end of the day, you feel the need to compete you are not really doing it for Allah in the first place & need to re-evaluate your intentions.
Wake up each day thinking strategically and carefully how you can help your sisters who appear lost. How you can protect yourself from fitnah around you instead of feeling arrogant.
Arrogance is despised by God because no one has the right to feel superior to another when all are equally dependent on Him for everything.
When you see someone who seems lost in his path, extend help. Don’t judge & show arrogance. Speak kind words. Be tolerant. Pray for him.
– Mufti Ismail Menk
May Jannatul Firdaus be written for us all. Ameen.
who i am
through Allah’s Mercy.
it sweetens me
that my mere existence
is the breathing sign
of His love.