Changing Directions

Salaam everyone!

Now that Ramadan has passed and Eid is over, and we are settling back into our daily routines with some sense of normalcy, I wanted to share a couple of reflections and, dare I say, revelations I had in the month where I was essentially offline.

I did a lot of looking back at my writing lately, and thinking about what has been going on inside my head, and I realised a couple of things about myself and my work, that I want to share with y’all.

I have always thought that my big passion was helping new Muslims along in their journey. I was super into sharing my story and resources here through the blog, and super excited about getting together my big project for when I am back in the States, setting up a convert care program. I had plans to get mentor lessons, set up speaker series and convert meet-ups, the whole nine yards (or metres if you’re European?).

And that is still all on my radar.  I am still super looking forward to seeing what the future will hold for me in terms of the community I will be living around, and once I am settled I am so excited to start working with local mosques in order to get some progress happening where new Muslims are concerned. Still into the speaker series, still into “new Muslim packs,” still into weekly brothers and sisters new Muslims meet-ups!

But in looking at my recent reflective writing and just in general thinking about what has gotten me super hyped up lately, I’m thinkin’ I need to be taking this blog (officially) in a different direction. The thing that has actually been getting me really passionate lately is not necessarily restricted to helping only converts, but encouraging all Muslim sisters, regardless of background and circumstances, in their own spiritual journeys with Islam.

This, of course, includes all of my convert care plans, but I realised I needed to widen my scope a bit. Because firstly, many, many of y’all who read this blog are either born Muslims or “converts” that aren’t actually so new. And secondly, I have realised that lately there is one big, overarching narrative within our communities that has really been bothering me, and is something that I want to personally work against.

What is that? Well, to keep it brief, its the homogenisation of our communities. This comes in many shapes and guises, which I may talk about in a future post in shaa Allah. But I think it is so damaging to be telling our communities that this is the only right way for this, and that is absolutely incorrect no matter what anyone else says. Islam is a religion for all times, peoples, cultures, languages, you name it. The Prophet saws came as the mercy to all of mankind. The richness and diversity within out communities is one of the beauties of Islam.

Allah swt says,

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” Qur’an 49:13

It does not say, “we made you into peoples and tribes, that ye may learn to be Arabs (or insert any other culture/ethnicity/nationality/school of thought).

The idea that there is only one single way of manifesting your Islam, and that that is the only “real” or “correct” way has really put a metaphorical bee in my bonnet. Especially in the cases where the “correct” way being preached is an ulltra-dogmatic form of Islam devoid of any spiritual aspect.

So to counteract this, I hope to continue sharing resources that I find helpful, keep sharing my story and reflections as a convert to Islam, but really focus on encouraging and motivating other sisters to take the next steps in their journey no matter whether that is their first or their five-hundredth, no matter whether they do it in socks and sneakers or a cute pair of ballet flats. As much as I have a voice for bashing what I can’t stand, I have decided I would much rather spend my time here promoting what I love, and inspiring positivity.

Goodness knows we need it these days.

I hope you will continue to stick around with me on the journey; I really am excited for some things coming up in shaa Allah! If there are any particular topics or things that you struggle with and would like me to write about, now is the time to let me know! You can head over to my contact form and send me an email, or leave me a comment here!

And if you are wondering, here are the two blog posts that really got me thinking about making this change back before Ramadan:

No Compulsion in Religion

Islam, Love, and Obligation

 

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4 thoughts on “Changing Directions

  1. Innosinned-Tehreer-s

    You have no idea how happy you have made me feel through this post. Jazak’Allah! Sometimes I did feel left out because most of the blogs that I found out through yours were of converted Muslims and often had the same mode of posts and although I was extremely pleased and inspired after reading them, I felt there could still be more variation and a bigger scope. I have a few topics I would want to hear your opinion about but I’ll mail you those. I have been struggling with those topics a bit and maybe you are too, we may be able to understand Islam better together. Insha’Allah(:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ashleybounoura

      Aw alhamdulillah I’m so glad!! I mean, I am still very passionate about changing the way we help converts integrate into the community, but I think that is a more local-community hands-on type of project. As far as my writing goes I have come to realize that i really just am passionate about inspiring other sisters out there to keep moving forward on their individual journeys 🙂 of course I will still write from the perspective of a convert because that’s just who I am, but in shaa Allah I will cover a lot more stuff. And yes please, I would love to learn Islam together 🙂 do send me a message in shaa Allah with the topics that you are struggling with and we’ll see what we can find out 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Innosinned-Tehreer-s

        I am genuinely happy for that small moment of realization that you had. I am actually thankful to Allah, it really has been blissful for me to have found your blog in so many little ways and I hope it continues to be this way for other muslim brothers and sisters too. The biggest thing I realized after reading your posts was there are so many of us out there with muslim names, born into a muslim family but completey bereft of the Muslim soul. Except for the ritualistic five time prayers and a handful of other obligatory acts, there really isn’t much soul and heart in what we do. On the other hand, you were a girl with a non-muslim name (I am just stating it as how it appears on the outside) but when one looks at your daily experiences and opinions s/he just realizes what a delusion they have been living in. This really struck me hard and so your blog has been so important. Insha’Allah it would help many others the same way and since I started a bit of my own effort in the same line, i hope and pray that I am able to be of similar service to the Muslim community at large.
        I am just trying to get around with a list of these topics and imma mail u as soon as they are a bit sorted out at my own end insha’Allah(:

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ashleybounoura

        Ok, I look forward to getting that email in shaa Allah! It is so awesome the way this blog has been just what you were needing subhanAllah, in shaa Allah I hope I can keep that up!

        Like

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