Monthly Archives: February 2012

What Does Islam Mean To Me?

Islam is Peace.
Islam means submission to Allah.
Submission to Allah means prayers five times a day.
Not praying for Allah.  Allah does not need us to pray.
Prayer is for us.  Prayer is for Muslims.  To help us cope in the Life of this World.
The Life of this World is a test.

This is a test.  It is only a test.
Allah tests those he loves.  He tests us to see the strength of our faith.

I pray that Allah increases the faith in my heart.
I pray that Allah heals me.

Allah hears all prayers.

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Take Your Time

As a new Muslim, it has taken me several years to bring Islam into my life to the point where I am now.  Right now, I am eagerly wanting to soak up as much knowledge as I can from the Qur’an, which means learning Arabic.  Finally.  And I finally, finally put on hijab.  But this took me SIX YEARS!!!!  Six years.  I know some sisters who put hijab on the moment they took shahada (the oath for you to become muslim).  Six years.

 
So what I mean by this is don’t pressure yourself too much.  Take Islam in slowly, in bites that you can digest.  Putting on hijab has been a huge step in the process of my reversion (is that a word?) to Islam, so I encourage all new muslims to step into Islam slowly, don’t rush it.  It is a beautiful process, one that I cherish every day, but the urge to dive in headfirst is very strong and so slowing down is always a good reminder.

An-Nas, or Mankind

Surah 114  Mankind

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem (In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Say:  I seek refuge in the Lord (and Cherisher) of Mankind,
The King (or Ruler) of Mankind,
The God (Allah) (or Judge) of Mankind, –
From the mischief of the whisperer (of Evil), who withdraws (after his whisper), –
(The same) who whispers into the hearts of Mankind,-
Among Jinns and among Men.

Surah 114 1:6

Oh Allah, please accept my dua’s (my prayers), please forgive me.  Please give me the strength to accept myself for who I am.  Thank you for my many blessings, thank you for my gift of writing, thank you for my children, my husband, the roof over my head.  Oh Allah, thank you for giving me this day, this beautiful day to continue to pray to you and to care for my children.

There are many who are so worse off than me.  There are many people with many problems that I do not have.  I am thankful today for the fact that Allah has given me so much and so many wonderful things in the Life of this World.  Family who cares for me.  Children who are loving and healthy and beautiful and everything I could have never even imagined.  Smart and funny and sleepy and hugg-y, masha’allah.

Please read Daughter of Guidance’s post Loving Allah as this post truly helped me to remember that it is important to love Allah but we can’t love Allah unless we truly love ourselves.

The Pen

Surah 68.  The Pen.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim:  In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Nun.  By the Pen and by the (Record) which (men) write, –
You are not, by the grace of your Lord, mad or possessed.
Nay, verily for you is a Reward unfailing:
And you (stand) on an exalted standard of character.
Soon will you see, and they will see,
Which of you is afflicted with madness.

Verily, it is your Lord that knows best, which (amongst men) have strayed from His Path:  And He knows best those who receive (true) guidance.

Surah 68:  1:7

This surah was written for Prophet Mohammed (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him).
It brought me peace when I read it because recently with some of the mental illness issues I have had, along with my recent decision to put on hijab, some may see me as crazy.  Crazy or “afflicted with madness” for following a religion so different from the one I had known my whole life – Catholicism.  For putting myself out there as a Muslim – visible and real for what feels like the first time since taking shahada (the oath one recites to become Muslim.)

Now, I would never mean to literally compare myself to what the Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) went through (THAT certainly would be crazy!) but there are significant similarities in that those of us who choose Islam in our lives, those of us who have “reverted” to Islam or “converted” to Islam (whichever term you use) as a new muslim, must realize that it is not always going to be easy.  We will confront some who reject us, some who will always deny the truth, because Allah only leads who he chooses.

I thank Allah for choosing me.

Right now I am living in tiny compartments of time.  I pray Fajr, and then I ask Allah to help me get to the next prayer.  To keep me alive, breathing, healthy, to survive to the next prayer, Dhuhr.  And when the noon-time prayer is over, I pray to Allah to help me to the next.

And in this way, I am making it.  I am making it through this mental illness I have – bipolar disorder, call it what you want – this chemical imbalance, this soul-gripping depression that sometimes arises out of nowhere and catches me by the throat with a tight grip that won’t let go.  I ask Allah for help, to help me to keep upright, to stay out of bed, out from under the hidden covers.  And I thank Allah for my blessings – my kids, my healthy, happy, beautiful children.  How lucky I am to have them in my life.  I thank Allah for my husband, for the food in our fridge, for our life together.  I thank Allah for helping me find a therapist who I trust.  Who I will go see at 2 pm today.

Thank you Allah for the gift of the Pen, for my talent for writing.  For my many, many blessings.  Insha’allah khair.*

*God-willing, it will be “all good,” as in “it’s all good.”

Importance of Prayer

I went to the masjid on Friday to speak with my Imam.  I strongly encourage all new muslims to learn as much as they can through other muslims.  It is so difficult to be on your own while you are searching for answers – trying to seek out websites on the internet, trying to build up the courage to approach an intimidating-looking masjid for the first time.

Seek out your sisters in Islam.  Seek out your brothers in Islam.  It will make everything so much easier for you.  At least it has for me.

I spoke with the imam and he reminded me of the importance of the prayer.  But even that in itself can feel overwhelming when you first start to become familiar with Islam.  This particular Imam had guided me 4 years ago that even if I didn’t know the words in Arabic (which I didn’t at the time) that even just following the motions during the prayer and saying “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Greater”) in my head was something Allah would accept as prayer.  Nothing has to be perfect because “Allahu Alim” (“Allah knows best.”)

When I spoke with him recently he reminded me again of how important the prayer is.  So if you are struggling, please review my Series for New Muslims section on this.  And also, feel free to post a comment if you have any questions.  I am happy to answer anything I can about how to pray and how to get started.

Being a new muslim can feel overwhelming and scary.  And sometimes, it can feel very lonely.  But there are many, many sisters and brothers out there who are there to help, as I am discovering for myself right now.  Please try to reach out, and if you reach out and find no one to help, ask Allah for guidance and for a friend.  That’s what I did, and Allah hears all our prayers.

Support to New Muslims

I have just recently added the information for this blog on meetup.com, so I am encouraging new visitors to take a look at the selections on the left of the page so that you can select posts you are interested in – the categories I have are designated so you can read up on different things such as “visiting a masjid for the first time” and “how to increase your faith.”  Check out the categories:  “Series for New Muslims” and also the posts in the “Prayer” categories.  For non-muslims, I encourage you to read the posts under “Prayer” and “Islam” as they will be most pertinent for you.

Thanks for visiting and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon you…

Getting Better

Lots went on that I can’t describe.  Lots went on that I’m still processing.  I will expound at a later date.  For now, I am in recovery and thank Allah that I have my emaan (my faith) to rely on.  Because without it, this would be impossible.  I trust in Allah and I pray to Allah – please guide me, please guide my choices.  Please forgive me.  Please allow me to recover from this swiftly and at the pace you desire.  Insha’allah I pray this so that the blessings Allah has given me do not go forgotten. It is so easy to stray from the Straight Path when we are tested.  When we are given difficulties, it is so easy to forget.  But as muslims, or people of any faith, we must stay on the straight and narrow path to follow our deen…..