January 23, 2010

Islam, My Journey, My Faith

You can ask me what I had for dinner yesterday, and I will stop and think. Ask me at any time…on any day, when I reverted to Islam and the answer comes quickly to the surface of my mind.

Before I tell you when, I will answer the question of why? I was waiting to die. No, there was no illness of my body. My heart and soul were dead. My body felt like it existed without purpose.

It was not a morbid feeling; I just didn't connect spiritually in my mind to any faith. My family (who will remain private) and I were raised under the religion of Catholicism. Smile, I was that girl in the plaid school girl uniform for 12 long years! I was finally free when I attended college.

Believing in God, and knowing God I believe, are very separate concepts. I attended church on the obligatory holidays. I would drop my coins in the faded gold box that was firmly welded to the candle offerings table. Kneeling down I closed my eyes and prayed to any and all saints to help me!

College life, married life and divorce---were basically lived without a firm grasp on faith. I was always spiritual (or so I thought) but, did not claim any one religion as my own. It was only after having my son, that I contemplated something more,a desire to be better and to find something greater in this world.

I was a stay at home mom doing my best to raise a "good person." To give my son unconditional love, and provide him the opportunity to give back to this world. The strange thing for me was I could teach my son how to pray, however I was unable to teach him about faith.

One day while I was doing my routine housework, I started watching a documentary about the fastest growing religions in the world.

Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism were the featured religions. When the history of Islam was featured, I thought this is it! My heart literally changed its rhythm. I can’t explain it…it can only be experienced. My eyes cried over the sound of the Athan (The call for prayer) until I could barely see the screen. I remember going to the p.c. and searching frantically for this “music” I had heard. Smile, it was not music but, worship to Allah.

The year was 2007 and I said my Shahada and became a Muslim. I have a faith that is more important to me than anyone and anything in my life! Life for me revolves around Islam, not the other way around. I have lost some friendships but I will not, compromise my beliefs for anyone.

My family is very small, and is not what I would call practicing Catholics. My announcement that I was a Muslim…came over dinner and was greeted with complete silence. I mean crickets chirping…but as time passed and my mother and son (who is 21) saw that I was very serious, still said nothing. My son is accepting and my mother feels I am “sad and unhappy” or going through a phase. You have got to love her. Smile, well at least I have to love her.

That is all I will say about them for now. I love them deeply and will always make supplication for my mom and son to accept Islam insha'Allah.

Each day I love more, and learn more. Does Islam assure me happiness? No, but it does give me the freedom to be a stronger woman. I wear my hijab only to please Allah. There are no Muslims in my family and I am not married. So the question if I am being forced to cover…is a happy and sincere no.

My beauty and femininity are not displayed for the public, or defined by what the fashion magazines say is beautiful. In fact my makeup routine consists of a clean moisturized face and vanilla scented lip balm. Okay, when I am feeling particularly special...I will break out the kohl eyeliner.

My hijab is not worn as a political symbol. The way I tie it...or the pins which may adorn it are not the issue. More recently increasing government pressure is mounting to ban the wearing of the hijab and veil.

It is beyond comprehension how a group of non-Muslim elected government officials can speak for the choices made by Muslim women!

They say "don't judge a book by its cover." Maybe someone should tell these government leaders and their supporters...Don't judge the Muslima for her cover.


ns8t said...

salam aleikum. i am also the only muslim in my family. Your story will help others in our situation to feel less alone in the challenge of reconciling new faith with our families inshaAllah

hijabandroses said...

wa Alaikum As'salam
Masha Allah ahki, then you know very well the struggles and rewards we face as the only Muslims in our families. Any encouragement or help my story provides, is by the Mercy of Allah (swt). Jazak Allah Khairum for your reply.