Guest Post: My Journey to Prayer

Salaam everyone!

So, if you follow Abigail over on her blog, you will have definitely already read the post that you are about to see here. I asked her to do a guest post for me, and she graciously agreed, but since I have bad connectivity over here, it ended up on her site before I did mine!

But at any rate, I still absolutely had to share it with you. I met Abigail through blogging way back in the day when I first converted, and she was still blogging as a Christian hijabi.

I am so glad to have made her acquaintance when I did, and we have both witnessed so much change and growth in the years that followed. I was honored to be one of the sisters to witness her official shahada when she converted to Islam.

She has always been an inspiration to me, ma shaa Allah, but one thing that I have always loved was her story with prayer. She struggled for a long time with it, and seeing her persistence and how much she loved it despite the difficulty, always makes me pause to think about how I treat my own five daily prayers.

I do hope you will enjoy her post, and for sure go follow her blog if you aren’t already! You can find the original article here.

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For many years I was a very good Christian girl. I prayed and read my Bible and Bible commentary every morning before doing anything else. I always had words to pray, so many words. I also prayer journaled, which for those who don’t know is where you write out prayers to God in a notebook. When my massive spiritual crisis began in 2014, I was at a loss for words. I didn’t know what to say to God. I wasn’t angry at Him, just speechless. But I asked God to guide me. I began reading the Quran, and from the first time I read the Fatiha I began to pray it in English in the many moments that I seemingly had nothing to say to God.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say to God. I had so many feelings and thoughts bottled up inside that I wanted to let out in prayer, but when I bowed my head and closed my eyes I couldn’t seem to put those feelings into words. God seemed distant and deaf. I couldn’t help but wonder why He’d bother listening to me – or even if He would at all. Time and again, I turned to the Fatiha. It gave me the words I didn’t have. It summed up everything I wanted to ask of God.  Continue reading “Guest Post: My Journey to Prayer”

Guest Post: A Mother’s Perspective

Salaam everyone!

Today I have another guest post that is near and dear to my heart; today you will be hearing from my mama! After such great reception of my sister’s post, I thought I would keep up with the theme and see what one of the most important people in my life had to say about my converting to Islam.

Needless to say, reading it the first time it made me cry a little, and I cannot even express how grateful I am to have such a supportive and loving mother. Alhamdulillah.

I will leave it at that and let you get to reading-please do feel free to leave any love or questions in the comments, I know she will be checking up on them!

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I am so honored and excited that Ashley has asked me to write a guest post for her blog, because, as her mom, I have a lot to say…probably more than I can cover here.

The most logical place to start would be at the beginning, but what does that mean?  For me, the beginning didn’t start when Ashley first told me that she was converting to Islam, but instead, the beginning started with me having a mother who taught me to be a loving, kind and compassionate human being to all people regardless of age, race, sex, religion or economic status.  Because of her I was able to have and raise my children to be the same way, so it is no surprise that both my daughters are very independent and have minds of their own and do the things that make them happy all while being loving, caring and compassionate people. Continue reading “Guest Post: A Mother’s Perspective”

Guest Post: First-Aid Kit for Reverts

Salaam all!

I am so excited to have my awesome sister Chelsea back around for a guest post! In case you didn’t read her first post, Chelsea is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist specializing in Healthy Eating for Weight Loss and she also holds a degree in Psychology. She is passionate about healthy, natural living and Islamic Medicine. She wishes to inspire other women to live more natural and mindful lives for the sake of Allah.

You can find her over at her new domain, www.wellnessmuslimah.com, and of course you should go check her out on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

I was so excited when Chelsea approached me about doing this post, as it is something a little different from her niche, but right up my alley! We talked about how helpful it was to have our husbands around to answer questions when we converted, but how many new Muslims to do not have this luxury. To help ease the confusion and overwhelm a new convert may be feeling, Chelsea wanted put together a kind of “first-aid kit” for reverts, and this is the result! I love how she tackles some of the tougher things like istinja, that many feel awkward asking about, and therefore never know about.

It is a bit of a long one, but it is packed full of great advice and resources, so go grab a cup of tea and dig right in!

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Coming to Islam is one of the most beautiful things a new Muslim experiences. Finding the truth and uttering the Shahadah is a feeling so deep and so emotional it is hard to put into words. Your sins are cleared away. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) has granted you a fresh start, a new life, a clean slate. Feelings of peace and contentment surround the air and your body feels light from the burden of sins that have been lifted.

Unfortunately, this beautiful feeling is short-lived. Not to say you won’t feel peaceful or content, of course you will. But with the acceptance of a new (and often misunderstood) faith comes a whole new lifestyle. Panic starts to kick in. “How will I tell my family and friends?” “What will they think?” Then comes the feeling of overwhelm. “There’s so much to learn, where do I begin?” “What am I supposed to wear, I don’t even own a hijab!?”

Before you lose your mind, remember this: Islam is an easy and simple religion. Continue reading “Guest Post: First-Aid Kit for Reverts”

Guest Post: Through My Sister’s Eyes

Salaam y’all. 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 =)

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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.

Peace,

Kaitlyn Divine

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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

Guest Post:Establishing an Islamic Home

Salaam everyone! The guest post I have for you today is a bit different, and in shaa Allah I hope you will find it interesting!

I actually met this awesome sister in a group for bullet journaling. First I was drawn in by her lovely journal pictures, then the clever name in the watermark caught my attention. I headed over to her blog to see what it was all about, and was instantly sucked in! I found so many things, from self-help, to homemaking, from art to Islamic reflections and her own convert story.

I must admit, I have never been into the idea of traditional homemaking. But since I have converted and I have been getting closer to that time in my life where I will actually be starting my own little family in shaa Allah, I have found myself becoming much more attracted to ideas like home-schooling, natural living, and traditional homemaking. It is something I have been enjoying reading more about lately. And I’ve gotten myself a little stressed out about how I will possibly raise good Muslim kids in the environment of the 21st century U.S.A.

I know it is not the traditional fare of this blog, but I wanted to know some more of her thoughts on this, and I thought it may be interesting for other converts out there to read as well. I know for many of us it can be a struggle blending family life in with non-Muslim and Muslim family, old traditions and new ones, and living in various non-Muslim majority countries. So, I asked her if she would be willing to guest post for me, and she said yes!

Without further ado: today’s post is from Mariam Poppins. As she puts it: a blog all about helping women get out of their own way, to not only be a dreamer but a doer! Constant self-improvement in each aspect of our lives is the constant conversation around here. We push for positivity and productivity often. This is one of my favorite places to be and I hope it ends up being one of yours! This is my little place in the blog-o-sphere where you can find inspiration and tips on building the life that you want and being the woman you desire to be In shaa Allaah!

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Bismillaah

As salaamu alaikum

May Allaah bless you reader with good in this life and the next Aameen!

I am so thankful first to Allaah for this opportunity and I pray that we all benefit. I also am thankful to Sister Ashley for believing in my abilities enough to allow me to write on this special topic on this special blog. Thank you so much.

Building a Islaamic home in the 21st century is so important! This is one of my favorite topics to talk about and today I’m going to share some of my tips for establishing an Islaamic home in the 21st century In shaa Allaah.

“Regarding the Muslim family, the Scholars of Islaam always begin with the place that the Muslim family lives (the home), since if the home is correct and it is perfected by Islaam and the Sunnah, then the end result is that the society will be perfected. (Note: this perfection is only to the extent that man is able to be ‘perfect’, different from the perfection of Allaah which is absolute perfection.”

– quote taken from theclearsunnah.wordpress.com

Al Hamdulillaah I really wanted to share that quote as I believe it is a great reminder for myself first and to everyone reading this article.

Here are some of my tips that I’ve learned throughout the years. Continue reading “Guest Post:Establishing an Islamic Home”

Guest Post: If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world.

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!

You can go check out my post for her here, and the rest of her blog here, but before that, enjoy the post!

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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… Continue reading “Guest Post: If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world.”

Guest Post: Is it Really Such a ‘Man’s World’ After All?

Salaam all. Ok, you know how much I love a good chat about women and our status in Islam, so you can imagine how excited I was to find a fellow blogger, convert, and Muslimah sister who likes to talk about the same thing!

Today, I am so excited to have my friend and sister Khawlah writing a bit about the story of our very first parents, Adam and Eve (as), and how their beautiful story in the Qur’an has set the precedent for women’s rights in Islam.*

Khawla unexpectedly stumbled upon Islam in the Spring of 2013, and took her official shahada on February 3rd of the following year. Islam has brought her purpose, peace, contentment and happiness, and she uses her writing and blog Muslimah Misunderstood to share her experience as a Western Muslimah, with all of the challenges, frustrations, misunderstandings and misconceptions that she faces. She aims to channel all of these difficulties into something productive, creating an honest celebration of the true beauty that Islam provides in this world and the lives of individuals.

So, without further ado:

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The most notable time for women’s rights in recent history has to be – in the UK at least – the Suffragettes. A pioneering group of females who fought, risked, and in some cases lost their lives in a brutally determined movement to fight for the women’s right to vote; a law which was finally passed in England in 1918.  But if the Suffragette leaders were here today, would they feel their work was done? In the progress that modern society has made since the early 20th century, how far have we come in terms of equality and women’s rights?  Continue reading “Guest Post: Is it Really Such a ‘Man’s World’ After All?”

Guest Post: Lessons Learned from being a Convert over 20 Years

Salaam everyone! Today’s guest post is a particularly exciting one for me; it was so hard when I got it in my inbox last week and I had to hit “schedule” instead of “publish!”

Convert Karrie blogs over at The Convert Life, where she is dedicated to helping converts discover the resources and support they need on their new journey as Muslims. She shares her experiences as a convert of 20 years, which includes living in a foreign country for five years, and also her experiences as a home school mom in hopes of helping other Muslims who are interested in homeschooling.

Basically, her blog is where I hope I will be in 20 years (inshAllah)! But seriously, I do really love her writing, and it is always so interesting to me to see how, though we have the same mission of sharing support and resources for converts, we both have very different journeys and ways of going about achieving our shared goal.

For today’s post, she graciously agreed to write for me about some of her biggest lessons learned in over 20 years as a covert to Islam. I hope all of the converts out there reading this will find it insightful and helpful, and I hope as well that there will at least be some small thing of interest that my born Muslim readers can take away!

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I am so grateful for Allah SWT bringing me to Islam.  I converted in my twenties, before 9/11.  There weren’t the number of awesome Western scholars there is today. And Alhumdulilah for the internet, which can be an excellent place to learn about Islam or to be able to reach out to other Muslims, especially converts.  I know there are converts in small towns or in areas where there is not a large population or mosque to attend, so it can be a lifeline to some.  My biggest lesson, that I have learned is to learn Islam for yourself from reliable sources and continue learning.  Of course, we need guidance from others, but don’t take people’s word for things, not even a close friend or spouse. There is so much information on the internet and Muslims who want to offer sincere advice to the newbie, can be so overwhelming. If you are offered advice, smile and say, “Thank You,” politely and then verify the information.  Continue reading “Guest Post: Lessons Learned from being a Convert over 20 Years”

Guest Post: Self-Care the Sunnah Way

Salaam everyone, today I am super excited to be having my awesome sister Chelsea on for our very first guest post! I have been getting to know Chelsea over the past couple of months (though I blog-stalked her long before that!) and I think she has a wonderful writing style as well as some very important information to share.

Chelsea is a blogger, certified personal trainer and nutritionist specializing in Healthy Eating for Weight Loss. She is passionate about healthy, natural living and loves intertwining faith and wellness. She wishes to inspire other women to live more natural and productive lives for the sake of Allah (swt). You can find more of her work on her blog at muslimahhealthy.com.

Cheslsea is writing today about the sunnah of taking care of yourself, and some ways that you can implement that sunnah in your own life; I hope it will be as beneficial to you as it was for me! So, have a read through her post, and then get started!

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Self-care is a crucial aspect of the Islamic faith. It is incumbent upon every Muslim to care for him or herself as a way of showing gratitude for the blessing of health and wellbeing that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon them. Continue reading “Guest Post: Self-Care the Sunnah Way”

Guest Post: Hubby Shares His Input

Hello everyone! As I am sure you all understand, I write from the perspective of a white, American female convert to Islam. That is a pretty specific niche, so to broaden my scope a little bit, I have asked my husband to share some of his thoughts with me on what it means to be a Muslim man. I hope you all enjoy hearing from him! On a side note, I am really wanting to get more guest posts happening on this site, especially from other converts. I already have a few people in mind that I would like to reach out to, but if you know anyone or if you yourself think you would be a good fit to write a guest post for this blog, please do get in touch!

Salaam alaikum, Djamel here!

There are a lot of cultural misconceptions about what it means to be “manly;” you have to be tough, muscled, preferably with a nice beard, and most importantly you can never have feelings. You are the king of the house and you best get your way.

These kinds of attitudes are an issue not only in places like the United States and England but even in Muslim countries like Algeria, where I grew up. To be a real man here you have to drive this car, to wear this brand of t-shirt, to buy your wife this many grams of gold…

But this is all surface level, and not necessarily what Islam teaches us about being a real man.

Today I want to talk about just one part of Islam’s teachings on how a real man should act, one that is very important to me: how a man treats his family.

There seem to be many misconceptions about what Islam teaches about how a man treats his family, from inside and outside of the community. Many think that because the man is the “head” of the family, this means that he can be the ruler of the house, expecting everything to be done his way, all the time, because he says so.

But that is not the case. Continue reading “Guest Post: Hubby Shares His Input”