my journey as a revert muslimah

Dear Dad

image

Dear Dad….

Would you still love me if I tell you I did something you didn’t like? Would you love me as much if I tell you something which would perhaps make you feel ashamed in your society? Would you accept me even after knowing that what I have done might bring disgrace to you and hurt you immensely? Even before I ask you these questions, I know your answer… Yes, you will.

Dear Dad, I want you know that I Love You.. No matter what faith I follow, this fact never changes. Perhaps, I love you even more now because Islam taught me to value you. Perhaps, I Love you even more now because Allah swt tells us-

“Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or more attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say, “my Lord! bestow on them Thy Mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood.” (Quran 17: 23-24)

Ya Allah! Bestow on them Thy Mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood.

I know when you read this you’ll have tears in your eyes. I still remember the day you left me in my hostel to study. I remember the tears I saw in your eyes when you had to go back, I remember your voice choking when you called me up to say, “who will do all those pranks at home now?”. They say men are tougher and they don’t cry.. my Dad does. Please don’t cry now Dad, for I am here to tell you that I am happy. Please don’t cry, for I am here to show you the beauty of the Religion that I have chosen. Please don’t cry for these tears are what I am scared of.

Dear Dad, I have not forgotten how much you’ve loved me. I have not forgotten how you worked hard all day and spent sleepless nights so that you could provide for us. I have not forgotten how after a late night’s work, you came at my room’s door and stood for long just to see me sleeping peacefully. I have not forgotten how glad you would be to take us to that Chinese restaurant though you never liked Chinese. I have not forgotten how you would be awake till I returned home from my friend’s birthday, no matter how late and how you would not tell me a word because you saw I was scared. I have not forgotten how you would suddenly stop frowning and explaining, at my mistakes (for you never scolded me), when you saw that one drop of tear coming in my eyes.. even when you knew I was using it to blackmail you.

I remember it all Dad. If I write every moment that is flashing in my mind at this moment, weeks would pass and pages would exhaust. As the time to face you comes closer, my heart starts weaning not from the thought of your anger, not at the thought of the difficulties you will face, but at the thought of the smile fading from your face, at the thought of the spark in your eyes being replaced by tears, at the thought of the disappointment caused by the feeling of betrayal from the little one you loved the most.

How will you react when you see me walking in my hijab down the airport lane as you eagerly wait at the arrival gate peeping from behind the crowd to have that first glimpse of me? Will you still open your arms for me to enter and give that peck on my forehead which I always look forward to?

I wish I could show you what Allah swt has promised of the believers. I wish I could show you how this deen has made your daughter a better person. I wish I could tell you that the only truth in the universe is “La Ilaha IllAllah Muhammad-Ur RasulAllah”. I wish I could explain how much I want you to be a part of this Ummah. I am a Muslim my father….. I am a Muslim.

Countless nights dear Dad… Countless nights I have spent in sujood praying that Allah swt gives mom and you hidayat. Do you remember how u always chose the best room for me in whichever home we moved into? Look Dad, I have chosen for you the most beautiful home to move into forever. InshaAllah.

Do you remember always looking for a home close to my school for my education? Come, I have looked for a home close to the most knowledgeable man who ever lived- our Rusool (saw). InshaAllah. Do you remember rushing from your room when you heard me crying in the middle of the night due to a bad dream and how you hugged me as if nothing on earth could ever reach me across the arms that surrounded me? Come and be saved by the Al-Hafiz Al-Muqit- The Sustainer, The Protector, The Nourisher.

Do you remember when Mom refused Didi (my sister) to shell out coins to munch junkies after school? Do you remember how I, as a four-year old, then came to you with utmost trust (because you never send me back empty-handed when I ask) and how you immediately filled my tiny palms with so many coins that our entire group of friends relished that day. Several times more is the mercy of our Rabb, Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem Al-Kareem- The Most Merciful, The Most Benevolent, The Generous. Come Dad, seek and experience His Mercies.

But if they turn away, Say: “(Allah) sufficeth me: there is no god but He: On Him is my trust,- He the Lord of the Throne (of Glory) Supreme!” [At Tawbah 9:129]

They say you’ll be angry when I tell you about my deen. It is not the anger, but the hurt that scares me..That makes me tremble, that burdens my heart. They ask me why do I want you to get into the mess of making you a Muslim when gaining your acceptance as a Muslimah is going to be difficult in the first place… Why? Because you must go back to Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem who gave you to me, Our Creator who created you my father…because I Love You more than I Love Myself..

Dear Dad.. please come for the pleasure of Allah swt. Please come for I Love You.. Please Come for He(swt) loves you even more… SubhanAllah! InshaAllah..Ameen.

Lots of Love,

Your daughter- A revert Muslimah…

jannah

Standard
my journey as a revert muslimah

A Month as a hijabi..

It has been more than a month now… That day seems so distant..the day when I left my home with trembling hands, shaking out fear, that day when my heartbeats were so loud that the person next to me could perhaps hear it loud and clear.. it seems to a blurred image, a long gone thing that had once happened.. The day when I entered my office for the first time wearing my hijab, expecting scorns and glares, when I was trying to study every person with whom I interacted “what is he thinking about my hijab?  Would he behave differently if I wasn’t wearing one?” 

Alhamdulillah, none of it happened. Never did I feel a second glance from anyone, never did I face a scorn. It has been a month now, and I see myself grown a lot more as a muslimah than I ever did in 23years of my life. So what happened in this month? How has my first month as a hijabi been?

I remember being heartbroken about getting this job. I kept wondering why was I here when all my friends were in better places, earning five times more than I was going to earn? Why did I have to be here and slog for long hours for a meager sum?

O you who Believe! Have taqwa (fear) of Allah and believe in His Messenger; and He will bestow upon you a double portion of His Mercy and He will provide you with a light by which you will walk” [Al Qur’an 57:28]

SubhanAllah!

Today perhaps I see a little glimpse of His mercy (for his bounty is infinite and we are too insignificant to be able to measure it). Alhamdulillah. Perhaps this place was the best place for me to take my baby steps as a Muslimah, to take my first shakey steps and face the world. With my fear of facing the world, and their scorns with my head covered, I still do not know how I would have reacted if I would actually face any discrimination or agitation about my hijab. The people in my office are amazing people Alhamdulillah. It is always a very cheerful and glee environment. People work hard, talk like friends and laugh like a family. My hijab never really made any difference. After the initial days of being reserved, I started opening up to. I could be me in this place, what I really wanted to be. I did not have to shy away from any activity or be any lesser of an employee because of my deen. SubhanAllah!

A week after joining, I wanted to ask for praying. My Zuhr and Asr salah timings come within my office hours. After thinking about it for long, I gathered the courage to approach the Facilities department head and fumbled a few words about my desire to pray twice a day. Nervous as I was, I was expecting a question or two about the loss of work during that time and I was desirous of getting even the smallest corner of the office store to pray. However, better things were waiting..without even a second thought the head of department communicated to the watchman that everyday twice the guest room must be unlocked for me to pray. Till date, even before it is time for my Zuhr and Asr Salah, the watchman unlocks for me to pray the most lavish room of the office meant only to host privileged guests..why not? Wasn’t I communicating to our Rabb- the Highest and the Most Special? SubhanAllah.

Indeed, Allah has the best plans for you. He knows what is good for me and it is He who can see what I cannot. Alhamdulillah. There are obviously girls who are curious about my hair and how I would look without my scarf. One of them- Payal- once took me to the washroom just to make me undo my hijab so that she could see my hair! Sara once asked me whether my hair is so long as to go below my waist. My response that it barely goes a little below my shoulders made her gasp in surprise!

-“but woman! The bun you make is hugeeeeeee!!” . I had to then explain her about the clips below my hijab.

A popular joke also circulates that I carry a secret gun/ knife under my hijab. During an important meeting, a fellow new joinee was secretly having a chocolate when he realised he doesn’t have a place to discard the wrapper. He whispers stealthily, “pssst!! Mahdiya” (handing over the wrapper) “hide it where you hide your khanjar (knife)”. The people around, including me, found it really hard to suppress our chuckles!

Yet another popular joke is that I am secretly bald. 🙂 It is all taken and sported nicely. It does make me feel happy that I did take this decision. It gave me confidence to be what I want to be. Shukr only to Allah Alhamdulillah that He put my amongst the most encouraging, positive and happy people. Now I know that even if I ever shift my work, I shall never again feel scared of facing new people with my hijab on. I know it is now an integral part of me, and people do accept me just this way.

Not everyone knows that I am a revert and the ones who know never frowned. There is Suhana (who is now my flatmate) and Khushi who appreciate me for my decision and encourage me on this path. Yesterday, it was time for Maghreb and I was in a mall with Khushi. As I prepared myself to spread my prayer mat in the basement to pray, Khushi suggested me to go to a trial room of some store and pray. It was a whole new experience for me! We pretended to pick a dress or two for me, I went inside the trial room and prayed to heart’s content while she patiently waited for me outside. SubhanAllah. When I came out, we kept the dress aside joking, “it’s not my type! :-)” and laughed our lungs out!

This month was special for me beyond my office too. I had never thought I would ever blog. Writing has never been my forte. Even now all I do is putting forth my thoughts in the simplest of words. I don’t know how and when one day I took the initiative to write my first post. Never had I felt so touched, never had I felt that I am important too.

Through this blog I got in touch with beautiful sisters of mine in Islam. I met reverts like me in India who face similar troubles like me about upkeeping salah, worries about marriage and disclosing her religion to her family. Women who are striving for Allah swt and with a smile awaiting the reward of jannah. I met a beautiful woman struggling to please our Creator..striving each day to better herself as a pious muslimah, a niqabi, a mother, a wife but despite everything  first a muslimah. A woman so kind and loving, who became as a sister to me, made duas for me when I was low, shared my joys when I was happy. I met learned women who are alimas and striving to be one. Women who gladly extend their generous hand with a big heart to support their sisters in Islam when they need them the most…whose hearts fill with joy to see muslimahs like me taking baby steps and progress slowly. Then I met beautiful sisters in Islam who are always generous to drop an encouraging word or two when I share my experiences. I know I am not alone now… I know you are there out there my dear sisters and brothers of Islam… JazakAllah Khairun. Shukr only to Allah for bringing you in my life. Masha’allah.

Every day I learn, about life and about my deen. I learn that life on earth is meant not to be easy but we can attain contentment by accepting that no matter what we do, our destiny is in the hands of our Lord, He is Al-Malik and Malik-ul-Mulk. No matter how much we try, the outcome is going to be what He decides for us. All we can do it put our hopes on him completely and have faith and patience.

And be patient for your patience is but by Allah…” [an-Nahl 16:127]

Please remember me in your duas that I remain steadfast. May Allah bless and reward each one of you immensely. Ameen.

Standard
my journey as a revert muslimah

Eid..

As salamu ‘Alai Kum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. Eid was almost a month back and when I look back, I realized how blessed I have been this Eid. I cannot thank Allah swt enough for how he has gifted me with a special Eid every year and each Eid just gets better than the previous. Every year my mind goes through the same thought process. As Ramadan comes to its end, I start gearing up to make the most of the remaining days but there is always a speck of apprehension- that of a lonely Eid.  However, year after year this day has always brought with it immense happiness, surpassing my expectations.

Back in 2007 was my first Eid and I was at home. Aloof from the ummah and ignorant about the practices. Terms like “Eid prayer”, “Eidi” were still alien. I just knew how to randomly rant “Eid Mubarakh!” at every random friend in the spirit of secularism. Early in the morning, I was sleeping making the most of my holiday from school for this very festival. It was my friend- Zahra- my only confidante back then about my reversion.

-“ Hey! Good morning Zahra Eid Mubarakh!”

-“You’re still sleeping! Wake up! Bathe and pray Eid salah”

I jumped out of my bed knowing that there was a ritual to be followed. She gave me a quick agenda of what I should do, how it is to be done and disconnected the call. It was early! My dad was still at home. Using my special spy-senses, I tip-toed down the hallway to check on my parents. Seeing them busy, I quickly got ready, quietly locked the door and prayed. AllahuAkbar! I messaged Zahra “Eid Mubarak “and happily hopped towards my Mom- much to her surpise as I was up so early on a holiday! Deep down my heart I carried a sense of contentment and happiness of the piety that this day carried.

This, was my first Eid.

The next three years were very much the same. I had an idea of what I had to do and Zahra was the only one I had to wish. I used to hear about guests coming, distant relatives and cousins meeting, sheer korma and biryani being made, people wearing white, praying in jamaat, constant phones and messages from family wishing Eid, about Eidi… Slowly the desire to have a muslim family seeped in. I want to participate too, wake up to see happy pious faces of people cleansed after a month of fasting, share the joy of preparing a warm meal, have a list of people to wish too… I want Eidi too. My phone was silent all day, I was sitting there in my pyjamas and tshirt having a normal routine and silently reminding myself “its Eid…”

Came 2011. I found my apa to learn Quran shareef from. Days after days of being with her made me fall in love with her. I was not in isolation during Ramadan for the first time Alhamdulillah. Sometimes Allah swt showers you with small mercies, which you hold close to your heart. My time spent in reading and learning the Quran under my apa’s guidance, come into close contact with my fellow sisters of ummah during this duration was one such mercy I cherish and thank him for. SubhanAllah. I continued attending college during the day and evenings were spent in gathering knowledge of deen.

My apa and other sisters of ummah were kind to invite me for iftari on some days. Alhamdulillah, I remember my first invitation and my excitement for it. I reached before time to help apa with the preparations and to be a part of it. Her’s was a small house but a heart bigger than anyone’s. With love and piety she prepared a meal of Rice and Dalcha (an Indian delicacy of meat with lentils). Soon the women started coming and we sat in a two rows facing each other. Neatly, the dastarkhan was spread between the rows and a large plate was kept meant to be shared by four women each. The warmth, the love and the blessings were immense InshaAllah. At iftari, everyone took a date to open their fasts and I remember being choked in tears taking the first bite, thanking Him for the beautiful moment that I was experiencing.

The next four years, every year I visited my apa for Eid. I would meet other girls of my Quran shareef classes and hear their plans of the day. I could never express my gratitude to them for making me feel so much at home, for the few minutes that they spent with me and celebrated Eid with me. Alhamdulillah that was more than what I ever dreamt I would be blessed with.

Came Ramadan this year. I was looking for a place close to my office to move into. After some search, I was pleased to find a beautiful tiny apartment and the owners were Muslims! Ever since they learnt I am a revert, they have been very kind towards me. I was to move in a couple of days after Eid. This year I was away from my apa and my heartfelt her absence. As I took my first bite every iftari, I would remember those days and smile. To my utmost happiness, a day before Eid my landlord was very kind to give me a call and invite me over for Eid. Since I lived far away, I was late to reach their place and I was humbled to learn that his wife- Khadijah bhabhi- was waiting for me over lunch. Alhamdulillah. I was amongst an entire family that day.

With awe I was sitting right there and watching an entire family come together to be with each other. Every woman there came forward to greet me, wish me Eid and hug me. We had our meal together and with so much warmth, they chatted with me asking my story. Deep within I could only be thanking Allah swt for bringing me there that day and letting me experience those moments. That day my phone rang… it was my apa calling to wish… I was not alone after all.

As I boarded a bus back home, I sat against the window and looked out. I remembered the way I was in 2007 and then my thoughts reflected upon this day on 2014. How far I had travelled! Alhamdulillah. Looking back, the journey seems perfect. Every moment- good or bad- was just meant to be. Each day that I spent in happiness and grief has made me the person I am today. More than that, it has made me cherish the small treasures of my life that I hold in my hands. My faith becomes stronger, my hopes in Allah swt rises yet again. Never has a day been when he has failed to astonish me with his mercies. No matter what piece of puzzle my life seems to be in today, I know when in future I’ll look back even this day shall have a reason to be. Life indeed it a perfectly designed puzzle. How could it not be? The Designer is perfect.

Standard