Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
Today I’ve got something a weeeeee bit different for you guys…a guest post from my sister!
I read a book ages ago, when I first converted, called Daughters of Another Path. It was all about the experiences of mothers as their daughters came to choose Islam and begin practising a different way of life. I would definitely recommend you go have a read, even if you are not a convert, it is so interesting to read the story from another point of view.
That is why I thought it would be cool to have my own sister write a little something for me about her experiences and feelings when I decided to convert. She likes to write, and it was interesting for me to see things from the other side.
So, I hope you will enjoy reading it! And if you like it, do leave her some love in the comments; she is a teenager and needs all she can get =)
Being the sister of a convert to Islam is not as difficult as many people think.
I thought it was a phase for the longest time. Ashley has always been very interested in different cultures and religion. I knew she was exploring, I just did not know she was stopping here. I always want to ask her, “ You could choose any religion, and you had to pick the most despised and misunderstood religion there is?” I would ask her this more as a joke than a serious question, because I know she is smart and knows what is best for her.
Many people ask, “How hard is it dealing with the conversion of your sister?” and I always think to myself: what conversion? My sister is still my sister. She may have developed different beliefs, started eating differently, started praying more, and wearing more clothes, but she is still the same person I have always loved and admired.
There is nothing I would change about Ashley, I am glad she is finally happy and has come to realize who she is and what she believes. Although there is nothing I would change, there are still some minor challenges I face in result of her decision to convert.
One particular change she made that impacted my life is her diet. She and I shared many memories through food. We used to eat at this local place in our hometown, Placerville, called Z Pie. This is a meat pie place, that is, unfortunately, not halal. Even though we used to love to eat here, we cannot anymore. This is only one of the many places that I had enjoyed with her that we can no longer go to. It is not a huge deal though! We always find other places, some of them are new, and some of them are not, but it is always fun!
Not only are there problems with food when eating out, but we even have problems at home. Our mom LOVES to cook and she always provides us with amazing meals at home, with a lot of meat, (we are huge meat eaters in this family). Anyway, where we live, it is pretty hard to come by halal meat. The closest store I have seen to sell halal is about an hour away from where we live.
Another challenge I face is when we go shopping together, or go out together at all really. Where we come from, there are not a lot of Muslims at all; therefore, when we go out we receive many stares. These looks from people are typically judgemental, but not always. I feel the staring the most when Ashley needs to pray in public.
Some people probably assume she has kidnapped me. The looks people give her always make me feel concerned for her safety. I hear news all of the time of Muslims falling victim to hate crimes, even violent hate crimes. This makes me fear for her safety because about these crimes, I think about how that could be Ashley, and that is the hardest part about her conversion.
All in all, I would not change who my sister has become and I am very proud of all she has overcome and her choices.
Note from the big sister: Z Pie is not just a meat pie place; they totally have vegetarian pies that I can and have eaten since I converted! Also, I can’t imagine how the home cooking thing affects her; my mom literally tells me what she wants to make that night and I make the drive down to the halal shop to buy the meat! =P