For the Sisters: Staying Connected When you can’t Pray or Fast

Salaam alaikum y’all!

So, we are coming up on Ramadan fast. Like, quite fast. As of posting we only have a month and some days left. For some of us that is pretty exciting, but for some of us (new reverts, first time fasters anyone?) that can be pretty daunting.

I remember my very first Ramadan, being on such a spiritual high, a productive kick at work, I seemed to be seeing everything through pink, sparkly glasses. But then, a week and a half or so in, disaster struck: the dreaded menstrual cycle.

(Men who are reading this can feel free to duck out at this point if this isn’t a topic that you care to know much about…it’s only going to get worse from here!)

Up until this month, I had been pretty lazy where my period was concerned, but this was different. It was Ramadan, and I didn’t want to lose my momentum in such a sacred month. As a new Muslimah, however, I was a bit confused as to what I could and could not do during this week.

I asked around some of my friends, and actually managed to come up with a plan that kept me spiritually connected and productive during the eight days that I couldn’t fast with everyone else, and today, I want to share some of those things that I did. In shaa Allah you can implement these things in your own life not only during the month of Ramadan, but all year round in order to keep yourself spiritually “plugged in” even when you can’t perform ritual prayer or fasting. Continue reading “For the Sisters: Staying Connected When you can’t Pray or Fast”

Love for the sake of Allah: The Beauty of Sisterhood

Ok, before you even read this post, you have to go read this love letter from a Muslimah, and this post on the sisterhood of Islam.

“Allah will ask on Day of Judgement: “Where are those who loved each other for the sake of My glory? Today, on a day when there is no shade but Mine, I will shade them with My shade.”

Hadith Qudsi narrated in Muslim

This whole “love for the sake of Allah” thing was not something I really understood or experienced, up until very, very recently. Now that I do know how beautiful it is, however, I am a little obsessed with how much I love my fellow Muslimahs and our community, just for the fact that we are supposed to love each other as sisters in religion. Which is why, when I read those two posts above, I couldn’t get them out of my head. Especially that love letter, made me smile all day long!

The whole notion of sisterhood and community was one of the things that actually really attracted me to Islam, once I started studying a little more in-depth. I think it was The Ideal Muslimah that really clued me in to what a beautiful community the Muslims must have, always treating each other so kindly, giving gifts just for the joy of it, lending a helping hand to any sister in need. Upon citing these things to my house-mate, who was not much of a fan of the transition I was going through, as reasons that I was seriously considering Islam, she promptly told me that I should just join a book club or a knitting group, and I could find community that way; I didn’t have to make such a drastic change.  Continue reading “Love for the sake of Allah: The Beauty of Sisterhood”

Some Famous Reverts

Salaam alaikum y’all.

Today I want to talk about some of the most famous reverts out there.

And no, I’m not talking about celebrity reverts to Islam. Although, can we talk about that for a second? Why does everyone lose their mind every time a celebrity even looks like they are coming near Islam? I mean, alhamdulillah for anyone who is guided to the truth. Me, you, the old man down the street, Shania Twain….What I’m getting at is it should all be the same. Shania Twain shouldn’t be any more important than me when it comes to celebrating someone embracing Islam. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is super important for celebrities who do come to Islam to then use their immense influence to spread truth and goodness, but I don’t really think that we need celebrity converts to validate our religion. Continue reading “Some Famous Reverts”

No Room for Superstition in Islam

Salaam!

A sister in one of my Whatsapp groups just sent a photo to us with the caption “SubhanAllah, someone actually did sihr [black magic] to this sister’s baby.” It was a picture of an old photo of a baby, with the face scratched out in red, safety pins stuck through it, a padlock clamped onto one side, and a bunch of writing in Arabic scribbled all over it.

To her, and to many Muslims living in America or Europe, this isn’t something they encounter everyday, and can be quite shocking. I myself didn’t even understand the relevant of all of the different hadith on superstition, black magic, and issues with jinn until I came to stay in the Muslim world a bit.

If you walk down to the beach, not even ten minutes from my house, you will find plenty of rocky, cliff kinds of areas. They are great for sitting and fishing, or just enjoying the view, but the things you find there can be startling. Photos just like the ones of the baby: women, babies, couples, men, all with faces scratched out and writing scribbled all over. Safety pins, padlocks, rips and tears, hair, blood, candles, even a dead chicken are all things I have seen hiding in the rocks. Continue reading “No Room for Superstition in Islam”

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

Notes: Lives of the Prophets

Salaam everyone!

I am super excited to be kicking off a new series, where I will be sharing my notes from the Qalam Institute podcast “Lives of the Prophets.

You may remember a ages ago I wrote a post about my five favourite things to listen to, and one of them is the seerah podcast from Qalam. Every time I listen to it I want to write about the things I am learning, but I have been listening to it for so long I always think, well it makes no sense to start writing out my notes halfway through-I’m already in the sixth year after hijrah!

Plus the lessons can be very dense and information heavy.

So when I just recently started listening to the new series on the lives of the prophets, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to take some notes and share some gems of knowledge with y’all.

I have already gotten through the first two or three episodes about the fundamental things like why Allah swt sends prophets in the first place, characteristics of prophets, and so on. So, in shaa Allah, I plan to start taking some notes and sharing them here with you when I start in on the next couple of episodes: lessons from the live of Adam (as).

I hope you will enjoy my notes as much as I love taking them, can’t wait to dive right in!

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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”

On Feeling Guilt

Salaam y’all.

So I am writing this on a Thursday afternoon, just as February is about to begin. I don’t know if it will get posted anytime soon, but I wanted to share some reflections that I have been having today.

As you all may or may not know, I try to make it a habit to fast every Monday and Thursday, as well as the “white days” of the month. Which means I should be fasting today; I am not travelling nor am I on my menstrual cycle, so according to me the only excuse is my own laziness.

To be a bit more fair, I started off the day fasting. I woke up around 5:30 AM, prayed a couple of extra rakat and made plenty of duas for help in these troubling political times. I ate a suhoor of some fruit and yogurt, but I was just feeling kind of off. I prodded my husband awake for fajr after I heard the athan, and while he stayed up to have breakfast and head out for a day of fishing, I got back in bed for a couple extra hours of sleep.

Upon re-waking up and trying to begin my day, I was feeling icky to begin with. And then, around 11 or so, I began to get one of the most dreaded feelings I can even describe: I was starting to get all of the warning signs that happen at the onset of my migraines. Continue reading “On Feeling Guilt”

Book Review: New Muslims Mini Library

Salaam y’all! So, for today’s book review I want to write about some books that I don’t actually know much about: a series called the New Muslims Mini Library compiled by Mahmoud R. Murad.

While packing up to leave London and join my husband in Algeria, I came across a couple of these books in a random old box. No one knew who they belonged to; none of my flatmates were “new Muslims” or even that proficient at reading English, and I am pretty sure that the woman who had lived in this house before me was an older English woman. None of my friends are new Muslims, or had any interest in the books, so they by default fell to me. Continue reading “Book Review: New Muslims Mini Library”

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”