Alhamdulillah!

Little Girl: “Are you sure you are fasting?”

“Yes, why do you ask?” I replied defensively.

Little Girl: “No you just don’t look like you are fasting”

Intrigued I asked “Well what does a fasting look like?”

She shies away a bit and then says,

“Fasting people always look so tiered and hungry but you don’t”

At the beginning of this Ramadan, much like any new mom with a full time job I wondered how would I manage everything?! I was so anxious and nervous in the days leading to Ramadan that it almost masked the joy and excitement I would usually feel during this blessed month.

I didn’t know what to do and felt so overwhelmed. How was I going to fast and do all the work? How was I going to pray tharaweeh with a baby? Would I be able to pray sunnah’s? Would I have time to do my usual zikr? So many questions plagued my mind and some how I ended up feeling like I was taking steps backwards. I had worked so hard to achieve this level of discipline during fasting and I had come up with the ultimate spiritual cleanse to grow closer to Allah, but this time I wouldn’t be able to do it. Some how I ended up feeling like if I couldn’t do it properly, I didn’t want to do it at all (as if I could put Ramadan on hold).

So I did the only thing I could do, I prayed with all my might and cried to Allah to give me the strength to cope with everything and still be able to perform at least some of my usual worshipping. And on the days I could only do the bare minimum to ease my heart and comfort me so that I don’t feel utterly useless.

Alhamdulillah I’m managing now but I didn’t really know how well till that conversation with that little girl. Being a revert people expect me not to be fasting but hey if I look energetic, Alhamdulillah! I’m going to take it as a compliment.

I praise Allah for how I look while I’m fasting because without his strength I would not be able to do anything. I would probably look like a zombie. All praise is to Him and only Him because without his guidance and his comforting I wouldn’t be able to do any of this!

Alhamdulillah!

Allahu Akbar!

Peace!

The Secret Nikkah

Love-Heart-01

While it’s true my Husband and I were friends before marriage and he did have an effect on my decision to convert, he is not the reason I am a Muslim or why I love Islam. He thought me the Shahadah when I wouldn’t stop pestering him about converting, and while he was the one who witnessed me coming to Islam, he had nothing to do with why I stayed in Islam. In fact he was the one who warned me against taking such a big life decision while being so young. He would always ask me if I was absolutely sure about what I was doing. So Islam to me was all about Allah and how with each passing day I found out how much He (swt) loved me and how all my life He had tried to guide me to this path. I still don’t really know why exactly my Husband decided to marry me, it could be that he loved me that much or it could be that he wanted to fulfil his Islamic duty as a Muslim to help a revert. He’s not a very “let’s talk about our feelings” type of guy so I might never really know. I wouldn’t mind making this in to a romantic love story but I don’t think it is. While we both love each other, all the decisions we made were carefully filtered by our understanding of Islam and we always made it a point to consult Allah.

When my Husband initially told his family he would like to marry a revert he was told it was not a good idea and that since he was young he should think about his decision more. Because we both did not want to continue to have a relationship which would be haram in the eyes of Allah we decided to do our Nikkah by ourselves. It wasn’t out of arrogance or with a motive to show up our parents, it was merely to not disobey Allah. We went to a mosque and asked to be married, the Imam made sure of our decision and we told him that this was for Allah and our souls. We planned to later on do a proper Nikkah, hopefully with our parents consent. So you might say this was a secret Nikkah.

Once done we lived apart but we did not feel guilty about talking to each other or going out with each other. In retrospect I would say this action of ours hurt both our parents and I don’t recommend it to anyone, but at the time it felt right to us, and if I think about it now it was like we were guided to do it. I say that because  it was the secret nikkah that saved us both. I think having Allah by our side was the only thing that helped us survive the chaos that followed my husbands decision to leave home. We both now feel that if we had not tried our utmost to be true to Allah back then, Allah would not have helped us the way He has.

However, if you are in a similar situation I urge you to really think about it because a Nikkah is something serious, a lot more serious than a legal marriage which can be annulled within a day. This is a binding exchange of vows with Allah as a witness, and breaking a Nikkah means a divorce which comes with it’s own set of rules. It’s also important to note that a divorce is the only halal thing that Allah does not like. Consider the consequences and make sure to pray Isthikara and obtain Allah’s guidance. If it is meant to be, it will be, because what Allah has written for us can not be changed.

This Nikkah was the beginning of everything. Once our studies were finished my Husband once more expressed his intentions to marry a revert, he was shot down again. He still doesn’t understand why his family wasn’t happy with his decision, he even asked his parents to meet me before reaching a decision but they didn’t even want to give me a chance. It’s sad that they had the idea that “Reverts are evil”, but I suppose in Allah’s plan if it was any other way, things would not have turned out this way and we all would not have learnt the lessons we have now learnt.

Funnily enough our second nikkah was also a small secret affair. Only a few close friends and my parents were present, and the planning was super top secret. This was mainly because of the threats against my husband at the time. It was simple and quick, and as always Allah was the most important guest.

Peace!

 

All That Happened

I relay the below events that took place as experiences I have personally gone through. It had been quite some time since they happened so I am comfortable in talking about them now. I haven’t really got any closure on it but I don’t think I care to either. I have merely written it off as events that helped me become stronger, and events that helped me grow closer to Allah (SWT). I do not write out of anger, hate or revenge. I am merely telling my story. I would also like to point out that an apple tree will have only few bad apples, the rest will be sweet. Through my struggles I have met many amazingly beautiful and kind Muslim brothers and sisters, unfortunately you sometimes meet some not so nice ones too. I am not saying this is how every Muslim in Sri Lanka would react, nor am I saying this is what Sri Lankan Muslims do. It’s just one of those unfortunate things that happened to me and I hope it doesn’t happen to any of my fellow reverts. I pray to Allah that no one has to deal with such problems and that they find acceptance from their respective community easily, Ameen.

When my husband and I attempted to get married, we were met with a lot of objection. Now anyone would think the objection would come from my side of the family since I am the one changing (as they see it) but strangely enough it was from my husbands side of the family. They focused on labels such as “sinhalese” and blood lines rather than what we are thought in Islam. Sadly the whispers of gossip was a greater concern from them compared to the merit Allah has promised those who help spread Islam. So what happened? My husband was given no chance to explain himself or justify his desire to marry a revert. Since he was not given an option my husband reluctantly decided to leave home in order to do what he felt was right. So he left home and we got married. Obviously his family was angry, but Allah granted me my wish of having my family support me. To this day my husband repeats his motto that he would rather disobey his parents  than disobey Allah. He felt if he did what was right by Allah, all would be alright eventually, and alhamdulillah it has been.

While this event can be fitted in to one paragraph, it lasted for over 2 months. There were threats on my husband’s life and the friends who supported us.  I was called many insulting things, my family had to endure many false rumours about me and I honestly did fear about our future. But we both remained steadfast in our worship of Allah and did our best to consult Him in every decision we took. One year down the lane, here we are, by Allah’s mercy, doing fine.

Sadly this whole experience left me numb towards my Muslim community. I felt let down by my in laws. I didn’t do anything wrong to them, I didn’t ask anything of them, and I didn’t agree to my husbands decision to leave home but since he insisted, I supported him. And yet, I was called many things and every motive of mine was questioned. Why did I come to Islam? Why was I getting married? What had I done? How much did I want? so on and so forth. I was made to feel like an outsider, I was pushed aside and told I wasn’t good enough to marry someone who had been a Muslim his whole life. I was told reverts do not equal to a real Muslim, I was told I wasn’t as good as their daughters, I was treated like I wasn’t a human with feelings, parents, dreams or aspirations. I swear, I don’t think I have ever felt more disconnected from my Muslim community than I did for those 2 months. I had the support of a good few brothers and sisters who saw the ridiculousness of the situation, but my dreams of being part of an actual Muslim family had gone down the drain. I kept wondering if Allah (swt) could accept me then why couldn’t they? I kept wondering how people with daughters themselves could say things like that about another girl.

It was a difficult time but alhamdulillah with Allah’s help I got through. The scars I obtained from that experience have now been healed and I like to think I have a better life now. Allah allowed me refuge in my own parents and showed me how much they actually loved me. They over looked the fact that I had converted and wanted to marry a man who had left home. They shielded my husband and supported us to build a life together. They protected me from all the insults and were ready to fight anyone who would come to harm me. They decided that my happiness was more important to them than social status or gossip. I sometimes wish my in-laws saw life the same way and valued my husbands happiness.

All I can say is Alhamdulillah! Without Allah I don’t know where I would be today. I am so thankful for all that he has given me. I am thankful for my husband, for my parents, my family and all the people who He sent to support me through this difficult time. Alhamdulillah! I truly owe my life to Him!

Peace!

Getting Back on Track

Let’s get back on track!!

For the last year I’ve been pushed, pulled, thrown and spin dried (I think that’s the only way to explain it). I honestly sometimes wonder how in twenty four years I’ve had so many things happen to me, and then of course I burst out with “Alhamdulillah!”, because I can’t understand how I survived or where I got the strength to do the things I did. It’s been many many days of “Ya Allah please give me the strength to survive this”. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that pretty much everything that could happen to one person has happen to me.

Finally things are settling down now and I feel like everything which was once broken and up in the air is being re-pieced together. I’ve missed blogging so much, many a times I would visit my page and want to sit and write so badly, yet something urgent would come up. Things have changed, as they always do, people around me have changed, as they also always do, I have changed, as I always try to do. So now I’m going to start a new and try to get back my life.

First of all, let me say I am still shocked to find that it is harder to marry a practising revert, than  walking in to a bar. And here is the kicker, the latter is more accepted! Yes I kid you not. There exists a culture practised by some Muslims here which works against the marrying of reverts. When confronted with the fact that our beloved Prophet (SAW) married reverts these people merely focus on the fact that we cannot compare ourselves with a Prophet. First I would like to point out that if we lived with the notion that we are not as pure as a Prophet therefore we can not to this or that, then the whole concept of Sunnah would not exists. Secondly, these Muslims are people who claim to practice the “true faith”, a faith which discriminates other faiths, including aspects of its own faith. One thing I’ve learnt is Islam does not discriminate, it does not see black or white, rich or poor, it does not see blood or lineage, it does not see reputations or personal images. It sees hearts and intentions.

It really makes me sad when I think about how Islam is misrepresented. It’s strange how people value dunya and follow culture, despite the teachings they have received all their life, and despite having the added advantage of being raised as a Muslim. And with that realization I come to the point where I do not know how to thank Allah for guiding me. Being a revert is incredibly difficult but if it means I never take Islam for granted and I never care about dunya the way I see these so called Muslims do, then I will gladly brave these difficult conditions for the rest of my life. Again I have to say all Muslims are not like that, just the unfortunate few.

Peace!

Lonely No More

A massive world wind of events have taken place in the last month or so. Pretty much everything has been turned upside down, inside out and then again just shuffled, just to make it a little more tougher for me. But Alhamdulillah Allah has been our guide and all is slowly falling in to place now. I shall slowly relate the events here, just because it truly is a lot and I don’t even know how or where to start.

I took a break from blogging but had to come back to share this, to just let it sink in to my heart, and to just feel the love of my Lord. Last eid I cried my heart out, just because I was alone, just because I had no one, just because I could never share my happiness with anyone. It’s been 7 years since I’ve reverted, and not one eid had been with people. But instead of asking Allah for a better eid, I accepted it for what it was, my alone time with Allah (swt), our own little celebration. And then…Subhan’allah! This eid has been far from lonely! I got to spend time with a sister I truly love from the bottom of my heart, and I got to meet another amazing sister who is a revert just like me. This was my eid, my gift from Allah. To add to how amazing this is, my fellow revert sister too had been crying last eid out of loneliness, and here we are, two reverts, lonely no more.

Every day I learn how much Allah loves me, every day it gives me goosebumps, and every day I think to myself, Alhamdulillah, how lucky am I?! These are those moments which I can feel Allah’s warmth around me, almost like a warm embrace. It’s where all I would like to do is fall to His feet and embrace them, thank Him and cry out of sheer happiness. This eid I shed tears of immense joy, just because I had so much to be thankful for and so many to share my happiness for.

I know it’s strange to cry for having being invited to something as simple as eid lunch and being around people, but trust me when I say that to a revert, it is the biggest gift in the world. It is a gift which could never be priced or replaced.

Jazakhallah Khairan to all my beautiful sisters and brothers who made dua for me to have a better eid when I posted about my last eid experience. I am truly thankful to you for it! Eid Mubarak to you and your beautiful families! May Allah bless all of you abundantly with the very best of this world and the hereafter, Ameen!

Alhamdulillah!

Peace!

Not Enough Effort?

Today I got told that as a revert I haven’t made enough effort to be as Muslim as I can be. The moment these words were uttered the only thing that resonated in my head was “How could you possibly know how much effort I put in?!”. I know I’m not perfect and yes you are right, I could have done so much more in the years that have passed by since I reverted. I should have done a lot more. But as a Muslim who has had the blessing and privilege of being born and bred in an Islamic environment, would you have any idea what a revert goes through?

I’m not saying it’s a huge process and making it out to be a special thing, but merely pointing out that it’s not as simple as most people think. Everyone thinks, you say the Shahada, you learn to pray, you learn to recite, you learn the hadith, you learn to dress, you learn everything Islamic and you are done. Perfect! Do they stop to think about the psychological aspects of reverting? The social aspects? Do they think about losing all your friends and family? Changing all your behaviour? The fear of not being accepted by both sides? The rejection you face day in and day out by everyone (irrespective of their understanding)? The fear of choosing to dress a particular way?

Do they think about the balancing act that a person has to engage in to change everything they were thought and made to believe since they were born? Do they think about the crisis of faith you end up with? The fear that you might lose yourself and revert back? The tests Allah brings to you which make you question what you are doing over and over again? Why are these things not considered?!

These events hurt me and anger me. I don’t expect sympathy from anyone. All I ask is a little bit of understanding. I have to ask myself a 100 times about the 100 different situations that might arise if I’m caught. I don’t get the choice to wear an abaya and walk out of the house, Hijab is difficult for me, it comes with many looks, stares, arguments, and oppression. I don’t get the choice to just go to a Madarasa and learn to recite, if your a female, chances are you will be looked down upon by the other women (because you dress different, talk different, have different goals in life). I mean, Come on! I don’t even get to go to a mosque ladies prayer area without being cornered and looked at like I’m filthy! You say it’s just culture and not Islam, well then when are we planning on changing that?!

All this might just be me overeating to one sentence said by a man who doesn’t know me or my situation at all. My point is, if he didn’t know me well enough, then he shouldn’t have passed judgement on me. And if he felt that he really did need to judge me, he should have chose to help instead of make me feel bad about myself.

Almost every Muslim I meet has a 100 different things to say about me and what I lack, but no one seems to be actually able to help me. If you can’t help, maybe you shouldn’t say anything at all.

Excuse the venting. I’m frustrated, hurt and tiered. Flood gates are holding in my tears but I don’t know for how long. It just (for lack of a better word) sucks  how everything I have done in these past years to get close to Allah is ignored while a few things which I haven’t done are used to judge me.

Peace!

Why You Gotta Be So Mean?!

Today I was out when the Maghrib Athan played so I decided to go to my favorite mosque (it has such a nice ladies prayer area, completely separate from the general area, it also has a car park) to pray.

When I entered I saw that there were already two sisters inside getting ready to pray. I caught eye contact with the elder looking one so I smiled and was about to give salam when I noticed that she looked at me with a ice cold indifference, she then turned away sharply. It was like I was the annoying neighbor who had apparently made her angry. I let it go and thought, whatever.

The second sister (I’m guessing was the daughter) was in the wudu area and I smiled at her too and she just looked right through me, and away. I decided to first check if I had some anti-Muslim tag on my face which was upsetting everyone, that or if I had accidentally gone into invisible mode without knowing it, coz for some reason people didn’t seem to like me there.

After taking wudu when I went to the prayer area I found that those two ladies had decided to lay down their mats in the most inefficient way possible. They had completely dominated the prayer area and left a sliver of space which a third sister had come and squeezed into. The only way would be for me to walk in front of them and pray. I make a point never to distract someone who is praying, although I was kinda annoyed by the inconvenience they were causing everyone else. So I decided to wait till one of them finished.

But it was getting late and the male section had already started their jamath prayers so I decided to pray. Prophet Mohamed (SAW) prayed in any clean space he could find, so why not?! I took a mat and cleared a small section closer to the wudu area. I made sure it wasn’t facing the bathroom or anything, adjusted to the qiblah direction and prayed.

After praying I noticed that those two ladies had also finished. I realized that they had their noses up in the air (literally). I felt like I had walked into some mean girls slumber party! I don’t know if it was because of their long abayas, or because they drove around in a Benz. They kinda bummed me out. I love that mosque and I love praying there but they made me feel so isolated and unaccepted. I couldn’t help but think, why you gotta be so mean?!

Peace