my journey as a revert muslimah, Random

Nine Things We Need to Work on

I wanted to name this post as reverts versus bornos, then I realised it was never a competition. However, observing certains trends in Muslim society disturb me. Viewing from outside, I assumed only illiterate or poor muslims did not practise Islam as it should be. It was a misconception. Stepping into their society, I realise that the privileged ones are no better.

They like to term themselves as moderate Muslims. Basically, they choose few commands of Allah over others to suit themselves. I wonder what they wish to express by terming their way of practising Islam as moderate. Are they saying that Allah erred in codifying the shari’a or the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) was shortsighted to not  know that Islam would be too much for Muslims today. Nauzubillah. May we be forgiven for such grave errors.

I came across a beautiful definition of moderation in religion by Shaykh Uthaymeen (Rahimullah). He said, “Extremism, leniency and moderation, all the three relate back to the Shari’ah (law of Allah), so whatever is compliant to the Shariah is the moderate-balanced path, and whatever goes beyond it is exaggeration, and whatever reduced from it is leniency. So the criterion for all of these is the Shariah, and the meaning of al-e’itedaal (moderation) is conformance to the Shar’iah, whatever is according to the Shar’iah is (the path of) e’tidaal” [Fatawa Ulama balad al-Haram p.211]

This will make it easier for us to now classify ourselves into leniant and moderate muslims. In sha Allah.

Let us list a few things we have observed in leniant muslims, that they need to take more seriously:

  • Purdah: It always tops my list. My revert friends struggle for hijab. They look for every opportunity they can adorn the hijab, cover themselves up and walk with honor. I know of women who do not meet their cousins without their hijab. However, majority muslim women born into muslim households do not do hijab. It is sad. They forget the privilege Allah gave them. Society, culture, parents, husband, children etc etc etc. Shayateen will always give us reasons why we cannot do it. However, for a true muslim one reason is enough, “The pleasure of Allah”. There is always an excuse of being “good muslims from within”. However, there is no rotten tomato that is sweet from within. Even the ones who observe hijab, compromise. They meet neighbors, servants or extended family non-mahrams freely without hijab. Some even marry the “brother like” non-mahram. Gasp

 

  • Gaining ilm: Most women limit their lives to cooking, cleaning and running behind kids. Only to be doing exactly the same 20 years later. Whether they are high school educated, graduates or post graduates. They do not want to do any better. The role of islam in their lives in limited to 5 salahs and fasting in Ramadan. The Quran in their homes are for the old to recite or perhaps we recite it now and then too. But what about opening it and knowing the meaning of what Allah revealed? What about knowing the tafseer, doing hifdh, reading scholarly opinion about matters that affect us? How will we learn hadith? Is there no ambition in our lives at all to know Allah, get closer to Him and become His favorite? We assume that we know Allah. But the fact is majority of us die without having clear concept of Tawheed even. We think we know tawheed but if I ask you the classification of tawheed and how common men err in it thereby entering into shirk, most won’t be able to comprehend an example beyond grave worship and amulets. There are people who spent ages in just understanding a single concept of deen and here we are so casual about it. Where do we stand in our race to earn Jannah? Are we even trying for it?
    We are so full of bid’ahs like Quran khwani, reading quran for the dead (Quran bakshna), Chaliswa of the dead, Fateha, Shab-e-baraat etc. Not once in our life did we try to learn what worship (ibadah) in real sense is in islam. We are following Islam like cattle without any knowledge.
  • Preparing Children to be dear to Allah: We prefer sending our kids to western schools rather than islamic schools. No, I am not speaking of the traditional madressah system which confines outlook of children making them devoid of wordly knowledge. Both are important. However, today there are modern islamic schools or even classes to impart true authentic knowledge in an updated fashion.

    None of us aim at sending our children to Medina to become scholars. That is not even a remotely considered idea. We treat kids as an investment for dunya. It is our foolishness. They can be a great investment for akhirah. Only if we give them correct ilm, which they will not get amply from the maulana who comes to your home and teaches them to recite Quran without correct tajweed even. Oh yea! I see most reverts striving to learn tajweed and many bornos have even forgotten to recite Quran fluently
    We will not give them good books to clear then aqeedah, we will not make them aware of prophets and their stories..but they will know everything about fictional stories. We work so hard to make them fit and pleasing for the world and equally displeasing for Allah.

  •  Working on Simplicity: We are so desperate to be recognized as someone superior. Our complete focus is on good clothes, furniture, car, fancy restaurants, holidays etc. On one hand there  are those who give away every bit only to follow tawheed. The reputation, society, degree, profession, money and sometimes their names are tossed away simply for the sake of Allah. Then there are  people finding it hard to stop listening to music, celebrating birthdays, watching movies, wearing revealing clothes ….these are such simple things to stop. Most reverts stopped it the day they came to know these are haram. Why does it take years?
  • Choosing righteous spouse: This is something that has kept me in awe. Especially when it comes to daughters. Most reverts wait for years, despite being severely reprimanded by family, for a righteous spouse. Deen is something they do not compromise on. Some girls reach their 30s but do not prefer anyone less in deen. However, when it comes to people born into deen, it is sad that parents choose their spouses based on color, caste, creed, wealth and religion. Even when the kids do want to marry righteous spouse, but they are in hope of some miracle that they will find someone great in deen as well as satisfying all the criterion of their family. Sometimes girls are married off to someone way lesser in deen but good in all other aspects. What we do not realise is that perhaps they secured their kid’s dunya (in sha allah) but that marriage will not help them much in akhirah. Why can we not choose spouses who will open doors to jannah for our offspring?
  • Balance deen and dunya: People go for extremes. It is a wrong notion that if we gain ilm, follow the commands of Allah, work for deen then we will lag behind in wordly aspects. You can be rich, successful in profession and be very good in deen at the same time. You can be highly educated, smart, beautiful, modest and kind at the same time. Neither is an option against the other. Why are we so desperate to seek recognition through haram means? Do we not trust Allah that He is the One who grants us rizq and success? So how can we be successful by shunning his commands? Indeed he is the biggest loser who thinks he is progressive by sidelining Islam. Instead, we must wonder whether all the success and wealth so attained will be a reason for us to enter fire. Will our families, homes, society, or wealth be willing to shield us on the day of Judgment? Do they even have the capacity to? Will we have the audacity to give them as an excuse for disobeying our Master?
  • Blind following: Most of us consider Islam to be an outdated religion. Whereas it is quite contrary. Sadly, we take Islam from people who do not even belong to the religion. We assume an islamic lifestyle to be confined and seek liberty in ways that Allah does not appreciate.  We neglect the role of women in redefining the society. The foundation and revolution that women create. Their role is limited to kitty parties and spending money. Everything that leads to decrease in IQs. Just because most do not make money. The role assigned to women by Allah is larger than this. More than what we can imagine. Muslim women are expected to be intelligent, well read, sharp and active. We choose to be dull women whose spare time is spent watching serials, or sleeping. Everything but reading and imparting knowledge. How will we find peace and liberty in Islam, when never in our life did we try to understand and study it as a subject?
    What do we gain in the end? Amidst all the happiness, when our life in dunya is on closure, we feel scared of death. We waste decades that could have been used for our benefits.
  • Mutual respect and Peace: There is this weird aggression in many of us. Tolerance is zero. In small matters we pick up brawls, start gossiping about people who offended us, try to make lives miserable, and do everything except keeping love for Allahs sake a preference. We expect everyone to treat us superior to them. Marry when we want, attend programs that we want, run around for errands for us, never say a no to us, always have time for us, always receive our calls, be quiet when we in argument, and listen to our allegations quietly.
  • Not being scared: why are we so scared? So scared to be recognised as muslims. So scared to speak the truth. Scared of taking a stand for the sake of Allah. Scared to choose haqq over baatil. So scared of telling a phrase about Islam to make people aware. Why do we not have tawakkul on Allah? That He is The Mightiest and it is He who protects us. It is He with whose permission can harm be inflicted upon us or be prevented. Why is jannah and jahannam such an abstract term for us? Allah, angels, qadr, akhirah…why is our imaan not firm on these things? It again comes back to the fact that we have not read and learnt enough about it. How will we feel anything about something we do not know about? And how will we know about anyone without learning about Him? We suffer from complexes. Inferiority complex. Thus, the constant effort to prove oneself “normal”.

Remember, Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers.” [Sahih Muslim, 145]

So, do you find yourself a stranger or one amongst many?

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my journey as a revert muslimah

Ramadan Memoirs of an Indian Revert

Originally posted in MeMuslima

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Sawm, one of the pillars of Islam. It took me a while to turn and come to Islam, to actually understand the essence of every religious act that we do. My heart fills as I see my journey step by step. It is an overwhelm of emotions.

As a sixteen year old, Ramadhan, for me was fasting of the stomach. I was ignorant enough to corelate it with the fasting that pagans do- fasting by stomach only, fasting without having God in the ambit, fasting in exchange for something or partial fasting. I remember being excited about it as if it was a new adventure for me. I never woke up for suhoor. Yes, never…

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my journey as a revert muslimah

A Step at a Time

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem.

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As salamu alai kum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

Ramadhan is here! Yes, I too am excited like you. Ramadhan last year was a learning experience for me. It changed me a lot as a muslimah. Subhanallah. This month last year, healed me. For I know, I overcame depression with the help of Allah (subhana wa ta’aala) alone. It is hard to believe that a year has gone by and I still hold that month so close to my heart. Very often, I look back and feel thankful for having gained so much in this year. Indeed, closeness to Allah (subhana wa ta’aala) is what I am most thankful for. Isn’t it a mercy in itself that you are able to comprehend His (subhana wa ta’aala) blessings?

Say: O My servants who have transgressed against their own souls, despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah az-Zumar 39:53) 

Soon after Ramadhan, I joined my workplace in August. A new place embarked the beginning of me as a hijabi. You may read about how I started wearing the hijab here. Though I was very unhappy when I had joined, I left as a happy person. I resigned in February to come back home thereafter. As time passed, I realised perhaps that office was the best place for me to start my journey as a new Muslim. Not every place has people as accepting and welcoming. This place gave me confidence, which served a foundation for me to walk out in an Islamic attire.

It was in that Ramadhan that I started writing. For a person who used to write a story annually only because my father pushed us (my sister and me) to write for a local magazine, it is hard to believe that she wrote regularly for almost a year. Alhamdulillah! All good is from Allah (subhana wa ta’aala).

Everything has a purpose. My sister and I detested writing for those magazines; and after she left for higher education, she pretty much stopped writing. Alhamdulillah, however due to the advent of internet, I could not escape. The editor till date mails me a month before the magazine’s release to contribute. Had they not brushed me all these years, I would never have even remotely wanted to pen down my thoughts. It truly awes me when (by the mercy of Allah), I find a flow of thoughts and ideas in my head at any point of time. I remember taking weeks to even come up with a single idea annually (framing it was another affair)!

Little did I know that I would come such a long way. In this year that passed, I met sisters and friends so close to my heart. It is funny that I used to think myself to be the only revert to Islam in India. This notion too was removed, and slowly in my life dripped in like raindrops beautiful revert sisters. Alhamdulillah, all of them are so much in love with Allah and are truly striving towards Him. Then, I also came across a few sisters who were born into the deen but are struggling against cultural barriers to stand by the truth.

Verily, you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.”

[Al-Qasas, 28:56]  

Each one’s story is an inspiration. It is indeed amazing how Allah (subhana wa ta’aala ) turns His slaves towards Himself and how once His slave falls in love with Him, nothing on earth seems better than Al Wadud, The Most Loving. From amongst these sisters, I got the opportunity to meet a few. The excitement of spotting that girl in hijab and running to embrace each other is an absolute high! We spoke as if we are meeting for the hundreth time, wherein it was just the first. As time passed, gradually, we learnt together, laughed together, cried together and continue to be inspired together. The love we carry is the most special for it is a bond for Allah’s pleasure.

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Alhamdulillah, I also came across a few learned and mature sisters from whom I learnt about deen. They were my guide, well wishers and inspiration.

I learnt. I learnt what it means to be Muslim in true essence. I learnt that it is important to constantly improve. I learnt how important it is to be conscious of your sins and to repent over them. Indeed, guilt is a sign of imaan and a mercy of Allah (subhana wa ta’aala). I learnt it is important to attain knowledge and knowledge from right sources. How important it is to be obedient to Allah and how walking on His path keeps us guided and our life sorted. Understanding even bits of Quran is healing. I learnt that a believer never despairs and that no person ever escapes from the purview of our Maker.

Alhamdulillah, a sister introduced me to easier means of learning via applications in the play store. Audio apps of speakers and scholars! Learning could be fun and cheap!! Subhanallah. Gradually some speakers became my favourites and I found myself laughing while learning! The Magnificent Quran started getting a little more clear as a scholar narrated it into my mind. I came to know about this amazing thing called tafseer. I found myself standing in Uncle Scrooge’s locker, amidst the wealth of knowledge.

Then, I told my parents. Finally. I told them. Despite every hardship we went through, I know the fact that I was not the only one facing hard times. They were in turmoil too. Even though, there were times we thought differently, I know they are my heros! Even though I fail many a times to upkeep Islamic standards in behaving with them, they have not once failed in upkeeping their standards! Classy and sophisticated as always! 💜 Their hearts eased and more often than not, we have arrived on consensus on conflicting matters. Alhamdulillah. Who is the One who eases hearts? Who is the Manager of all our affairs? We here make dua, but things will be as they have to be. Indeed everything happens for our best. At present I am living with them and Alhamdulillah, have never felt more blessed to have these two beings as mine. (# please make dua for their guidance)

For the first time, I do not have a plan. I do not know what I will be doing next year or where I will be. I didn’t know last year that I would be here now! This year has brought with it unexpected moments. The year that went has brought me immense joy and learning Alhamdulillah. This year helped me sort the gems in my life and truly taught me the essence of life. Even though I don’t know what lies ahead, for the first time I am not scared. Alhamdulillah, the heart finds peace and it trusts Allah’s plan. We can strive but we cannot decide. In shaa Allah, whatever shall happen shall be the best for me.

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As Ramadhan starts, I feel very apprehensive. I see many revert sisters feeling the same apprehension. The apprehension of fasting with family around. I still haven’t told my family about fasting in the coming days and I only hope that they accept it with ease. I hope every sister of mine is able to keep every fast in the days to come. As I read innumerable posts about ‘easy meals for suhoor’, ‘Quran reading chart’, ‘Ramadhan targets’ etc., I feel sorry for sisters who are struggling with basic fasting. Indeed, we have to be kind to our parents. They do not know that fasting is the easiest in Ramadhan, that there is blessings in suhoor and so much barakah, that the heart is deep into ibadah this month, that there is so much peace and tranquility whilst fasting. From their eyes, it is their toddler (yes toddler!) at the risk of getting dehydrated in the harsh summers. Make dua and try speaking kindly (this is for me too). This is our jihad. In Shaa Allah, Allah will ease their hearts and our affairs.

Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people. (Surah Yusuf 12:87)

Subhanallah, this month is back again. I am looking forward to see how I change in the days to come. I hope and pray that each one of us grows to be a better Muslim and a true servant of Allah. I hope we become kinder, softer and more humble. I pray we repent to wash away all our sins, that He (subhana wa ta’aala) forgives us and that we store our ties of kinship. I pray that more and more people from humanity enter into the folds of Islam. I pray ease for all our brothers and sisters in ummah facing hard times, especially the likes in Gaza, Burma etc.

Please as you make dua this Ramadhan, remember me in a small moment. May you be rewarded with best in dunya and akhirah. May you have a rewardful Ramadhan and may we all meet in Jannatul firdous. Ameen 💜  💞  💞

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Excerpts from my life, my journey as a revert muslimah, Tell-a-Tale

We Have Been Made Beautifully, Haven’t We?

Originally posted in Me Muslima

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It is just another sultry afternoon.There is virtually nothing to do. I have been sitting like a log since the past thirty minutes- leaning on the sofa, legs stretched, with a book on my lap and my mobile on the table. What does one do on such a day? Just as I was glancing across the room, my eyes fall on my foot. My toe nail. 

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my journey as a revert muslimah

To be a Part of The Ummah

Originally posted in The Muslim Bricks

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Entering into the folds of Islam as a new Muslim brings with it many thoughts, expectations, hopes and aspirations. However, as time passes, the initial zeal starts to evaporate. Seeps in certain amount of despair and apprehension. Different reverts have different requirements. Alhamdulillah, there are some who easily adapt Islam as a part of their lives and parallely carry on with professional and social life….

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my journey as a revert muslimah

An ode to my sisters…

I sit staring out, at the vast expanse. The unending fields, the unpurged breeze that seeps through my soul,

I sit here to count my blessings,
For that only will soothe a soul in despair,

I see my flesh, my limbs, my mind,
I see His creation in me.. SubhanAllah, I can’t complain.
Allah humma anta hassanta khalqi fa hassin khuluqi

I see the roof over me, I feel the comfort of my bed,
The lights and fans, my meals and sleep;

I start feeling thankful, my heart feels ease
Then a voice within me speaks, reminding me of my greatest blessings,

Truly a gift from Allah, my sisters for His pleasure alone,
A love so pure, for it is the love for His sake alone,

You hold me when I stagger, and reflect my deeds as my mirror,
Perhaps that’s the reason you were sent to me,
To soothe my heart with your honeydew words,

When I turn, you remind me of my Maker,
In my despair, you share with me glimpses of Jannah,
The stories of Rusool(صلي الله عليه وسلم), Shahabas and Ummah, you share it all to push me just a little more,

And when I laugh and leap with moments to share, you hold my hand to smile to say Alhamdulillah,
I confide in you, I tell you my dreams and out there I know you silently make duaa,

We laugh, we fight, we tease, we pray and we cry;
We learn and together we unleash all our agonies,
Hoping to walk along, in this road that traverses its way to Allah alone,

Time shall pass, tough or glorious,
We have seen it all and shall see it again,
No lover feels this, the essence of us is so pleasant,
For is it not only Allah who makes us one, with Him we start and with Him we shall end too.

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my journey as a revert muslimah

There will be times when you will be in two minds,times that you will stagger.

Moments when you sit alone introspecting your choice

Those moments when you shall try to understand what future holds but the view will only be blurry.

You think and strive, hoping things to ease maybe not so scary,

You may heave a sigh, for you know that only He knows what future holds. You will smile at this realisation.

You didn’t even know a year back, that this day you would be sitting here and thinking this.

Everyday unfolds as a new chapter and when you close your eyes everyday, you amaze yourself at your performance for that day.

Good or bad, you survived another day.
Tomorrow can be better In shaa Allah.

Remind yourself that you are not alone. Console yourself for only you can.

These tears that you shed, will be counted.
For these tears you shed for His love.

He is counting every drop that drips down your lids. He knows your pain even before you express it.

This walk of life, is one that you have to walk alone.
People will come but people will go too. They have their own walks  too.

Don’t think the one ahead is any less grieved.
He has his share of tests too.

Cherish the pain that you carry, and ask for reward in exchange.
A reward that shall be sweet, a reward that shall be eternal.

In a land where all pain, all sorrow shall cease.
In a land where time forever shall freeze.

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For the soul in despair…

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