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Saturday, December 15, 2012

How a Spanish sister converted to Islam

My name is Maria, my father worked all his life in the Spanish consulate in a Moroccan city. So I grew up there. My life spent divided between two cultures and religions, Spanish and Catholic life with my parents and in the school and my life  Moroccan and Muslim, with my friends, and in the day to day.
My parents always made ​​sure that even if I lived in a Muslim country, my faith was anchored to Catholicism, so we were always there where they were practicing something religious and even started to give to a very small age, Bible lessons.
In vacacciones for Christmas, my parents sent me to my grandparents to enjoy the atmosphere, the lights, the carols .... And of course, I loved, it seemed everything beautiful.

When I reach adolescence, I started to get away from everything about religion, when it was time for Bible classes, I wanted to go with my friends .... when the time came for religious ceremony in the morning of Sunday, I preferred to fall asleep.
So in the end, my parents decided to send me to Spain to take my university studies.

I felt really bad,  I did not know anyone, and people did not act like I was used to. I felt out of place, confused. In the university I  met two Spanish girls, who seemed very nice, funny, a little crazy and I encourage to meet with them from time to time.

Through them I met my first husband with whom I married when I was 18 years old. He was of Nigerian origin, always with Bible in hand, prayed when he got up, before he sleeps and put on his  best clothes to go to church on Sunday.
My family never accepted my husband, and that made me away from them. Then I thought we were happy, we travel, we went to restaurants, nightclubs, ...... even went to meet his family.
But that all changed once  he obtained a stable residence in Spain, he came out, he was going to clubs and traveling .... while I was studying in the morning and working in the afternoon.
My husband became jealous, selfish, and especially violent. He beat me, for anything from whether  I was  late from the work , even if one day the food had too much salt...But his family always told me the same thing, if he hits you is  because he loves you, if a man does not loves you  he  leaves you. And because I love him , and my estrangement from my family, I accepted and quiet.
But of course everything got more and more, he cheated me, he lied me .... and violence came to the point that the neighbors called the police. I wanted to get a divorce, but  I did not know what to do next, ....where to go,... someone to turn to.
A day  he cames  home at midnight, drunk,  he wake up me and asked me to come down and buy a bottle of alcohol,  I had three hours to class. I refused and the battle began, I spent two days in hospital and  he was arrested.

I called my best friend from morocco, I explained her what  happened and the next day her family sent me money to take a plane and go back to Morocco, I spent some years with them, seeing how lthe Muslim life was, the way  they treated the mother , and how they treat neighbors, how  women were respected... and then  ................. Allah guided me to Islam.
 I recover contact with my family and  after to get my divorce ,got married

Today I  make spanish dawah to Islam, and especially  I try to show people what it is indicating in  the Quran and Sunnah regarding women.

Alhamdulillah for everything, my past, my present, and my future in shaa Allah.

Friday, December 14, 2012

How I became Muslim .

Salam Alaikum everyone, 

My journey to Islam was definitely a stressful but peaceful one. I felt peace in my heart but stress in my mind. So here is my story, I would describe myself as the normal American girl, I was new to the college scene and loving every second of it but I always felt something missing. I grew up in a really small town, with close minded people, you know the ones who call all arabs "terrorists", well I used to be one of the ignorant ones. Alhumdulillah, Allah guides whom he wills, and he guided me. . I grew up in a divorced family, and my mom re-married by the time I was 5 years old. I began having a really close relationship with my new step father and in time he became like a real father to me. I wasn't very close with my biological father so I always referred to my step father as being my biological one as well. So my mom is Christian, and my step father is Jewish. We would all go to Church on occasion, but we never really talked about religion nor learned about it. We were those people who always went only on special occasions, like Easter and homecoming. I remember when I would go to Sunday School and I would feel so out of place, and I couldn't understand the meaning to anything we discussed. I remember when I wanted to pray, I just put my hands together and would say "Thank you Jesus, Thank you God, .." Then I would ask for whatever I wanted. 

So by the time I was 16 I became very rebellious, I was spending a lot of time with my friends, out having fun, nothing too bad, but still not acceptable in my eyes now. I got in a bit of trouble, and I faced some challenges that some people would never have to face in their lifetime. I ended up leaving my parents house and moving to my grandparents during my senior year. After I graduated high school I began college where I had a class with a girl I went to high school with and we became close. We ended up staying together alot, and I became a bit wild. She began dating a Muslim at the university, and I was introduced to some of his friends. About a month before this I actually watched a documentary on MTV called "True Life: Resist the power of Saudi Arabia" I recorded it on TV and watched it many times, and I felt really bad for the people there. Growing up my parents also taught me that muslim women had no rights, and that we should feel sorry for them. I remember watching the news with my step father and he told me that if our troops left Iraq, who will be there to help the women? So anyways, I went with my friend and we began meeting many muslims at our university, mostly from Saudi Arabia, but one specifically I met first. I remember the questions I asked him first, which were so bad. He laughed and would show me things in the Quran, one of the first things he showed me was a hadith because I asked him about women in Islam. He showed me this : It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah that a man came to the Prophet and asked him: 'Who is most deserving of my close companionship?' He replied: “Your mother; your mother; your mother; then your father; then the next closest to you in kinship; then the one next closest.”
After I read that, I felt alot better and began to read about Islam myself. 

For the next year and a half I read about Islam off and on, and I became more interested in it the more I read. I would always read about many religions, because I was seeking the right religion to practice, and I always came back to Islam. I knew that there was a God, but I just didn't know how to worship. I was seeking set laws to follow, I was seeking the real way of life. So as time went on I continued studying, partying, hanging out with my friends, and doing so many other things. I had many muslim men friends who were teaching me things about Islam, and finally they just told me "Its time", they said you need to go to the mosque, you have to do it, you're Muslim! So finally, I decided to go on a Friday, I drove there, and I arrived about an hour before Jummah. I watched everyone walk in, finally I walked up to two separate people, and they both ignored me, or said they are busy. So I remember going back to the car upset. I called my friend who encouraged me to go back to speak with the Imam. I sat in my car, because at this point I was scared and upset. After watching everyone walk out and leave the masjid, I saw a few people standing outside so I went and approached the masjid and was greeted by a man. I told him I was interested in Islam, and he told me to come back that evening to meet his wife, another American convert. I went back that night, and I ended up growing really close with this woman.

About two weeks later, I took my Shahada, which was in September of 2011. After that I told my family, they weren't really surprised as they knew that I had muslim friends. My step father of course encouraged me to read the Torah and began giving me a lecture about Judaism and Israel stuff, and I asked him to read the Quran, which he refused. My parents completely rejected me being Muslim, they told me I was an embarrassment to our family, to our name, and all of that. They told me I was no longer invited to family gatherings, and I wasn't allowed to come to my brothers games. They told me I looked stupid wearing a scarf around my head. It was really hard at first, I remember crying and praying. I felt like an out of place when I was with my family. I remember it became so bad I thought about going back to before, I thought to myself, what if I just forget all of this, and go back to how things were before, and make it easier for me, and easier on my family. After I actually thought that to myself I came to a conclusion, I came to realization that the only religion for me is Islam, and the only religion I will ever follow is Islam. 

I realized that I have to be patient, and that Allah will make things easier for me. Everyday is a struggle, I admit, but it is completely worth it. I was looking for God, and I found exactly what I was looking for. I found Islam, the true path. I was looking for a way to worship God, and I found that in prayer. I remember hearing the Athan, and watching the prayer, and then understanding the prayer. Masha'Allah I just love it. I can't express the feeling I feel when I pray, I truly feel like I am worshipping Allah, my Creator. If I ever found something I didn't agree with about Islam, after I really thought about it, it is true and it is right, and it has meaning. I was looking for set laws and guidance, and Islam gave me that. Islam filled the place in my heart that was missing. Islam made me whole again.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

a Korean sister becomes Muslim.


Dear Diary.
Assalamu alaikum~
Hi So-nyeo, yesterday a muslimah asked me about my convert story. And I realized that I haven't told you my convert story yet!! :O
So.. today I want to share my convert story.. :)

Hmm.. firstly, before shahadah,
I was a normal korean teenage student.
Just like others, Argue with family everyday, Eat all the food but always check the ‘kcal’! (afraid to get fat), Live without knowing the reason, Love the love, Struggle with this life. Study for exams, Use bad words, Want to commit suicide ‘sometimes’.
And mostly, worry too much about how people will judge me.

I was just living like that.

and.. once, I had some hardship.. so,, I tried to pray. you know, like a little wish.. after i wish, I suddenly thought, wait... ok I wished or prayed. but to WHOM....? .. :p
it was a simple but massive shock to me. I didn't even think about that before. it just suddenly came to my head. 'to a star? to the moon? to the sun? or to the galaxy?... but they are all just following their rules. and there are sooo many galaxies in this space. then..who created that all? who created the rules? is that just a natural thing? is that possible to happen just by itself?'

well..suddenly.. my mind was so messed up.

Maybe there is a God. ok maybe I should start thinking with the theory which says there is  a God? Huaaaa it’s just so complicated!!

Just like that, A massive question mark ? started jumping around like a little kid in my head..

well, anyway.. I needed to get back to my life.
I was at school just like other days. and.. oneday, one of my friends came to my class, just to chat with me.
she said she started enjoying a website recently. and she is also learning english from that. It is a random chatting site. I can easily have fun in that site, no need to log-in. just enjoy the chatting with a stranger. can finish the chatting anytime I want.
I was curious and interested in that site.
Honestly, I met many crazy people there..:S but also many good people :)

I wasn't really used to it.. I mean talking with stranger and plus, it is in English.. :O. awkward awkward x1000.. but i was interested, with trying something new. 
after few days....i met 2 foreigners...

at the first time, honestly I didn't know about their country. so I was like. eh..? where is it?.. maybe in asia?'
to get to know them, I searched about it.
Religion -- Muslim : 88%
Located in Southeast Asia     

so... Muslim. what is Muslim....?
it led me to search 'Muslim'.

Muslim : a believer or follower of Islam...

Islam = Arab. they torture women, kill women and innocent people in cruel way, what about 9`11?

so, Muslim = Terrorist!!! bad guys!!
and.. did I just meet 2 terrorists??? what should I do?? oh no..,(I know it sounds so stupid, but I was really shocked. Lack of knowledge.. :p )

OK calm down.. let's just ask them first if they are muslims or not.
I asked.. and they said yes.....
but... I couldn't think they are terrorists..! no way.. (yea I was so immature. haha I was just about 13..i guess)

I searched more about islam that day, they wanted to chat with me, but I couldn't.. just couldn't.. my heart was beating fast.
all I could find was,,, bad news/articles.. I was.. so much scared.. but.. they are not like this..!! I don't think they reached me with some reasons..
I was sooo confused. which one is right? media? or people that I met on the internet?
I said i'm confused to them.
they.. didn't say anything, just sent me a youtube link.

it was about islam.
I watched with a very curious/scary heart.. hehe
but I was still confused... -,- it's in english, and very serious video.. boring and difficult...
and                                looks not friendly. :p

so I just searched islam in korean for the one last time again..
I found a site.. website. supported by Saudi Arabia.
Korean muslims and muslimahs answer at Koreans with the islamic questions.

'oh yeah, it's an ISLAM thing, so maybe I need to ask a "muslim". not non-muslim.
like when we want to ask something, we ask people who ever experienced it before. :)'

so I started chatting with a korean muslimah about the islam./ involved with korea too.
slowly.. my misunderstandings were gone,
the truth was remained alone..

Honestly, I didn’t know much about islam that time, I just asked about the method and basics of islam and my misunderstandings. And I just felt like 'this is the right way. I need to go for it. I could find all the answers at my questions in islam. wow. it shows from how we should live to so many detail things. This is the true guidance for the mankind.
Now the pieces of my puzzle in my head started going to be in the place.
felt like..
I was lost in dark but finally see the sun rises , found a map and compass, know what is my goal and reason to travel this life..

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A beautiful story . - Anonymous

My story begins when the day I was born.  I was born on 26th of Ramadan, 2003 and I am now 33yrs old.  My birth was the day I wore the hijab.  Like so many, I was living life the wrong way.  Life to me was more about materialism; what I wore and where I hung out identified whom I was.  The soul purpose of living was merrily to graduate, work, get married and have fun in between.  All my life I went to American schools and was brought up to morals and traditions but never to religion.  The word “3eeb” or unethical was used more than the word “haram”.  

The story began when I visited my brother in the States.  He entered Islam in the right meaning approximately a year before I visited and since then educated himself so much in Islam.  He was newly married to a wonderful girl whom wore the hijab. They tried more than once opening the subject of hijab and i more than once changed the subject or just disagreed with all they were saying.  On our way to the airport my brother asked me why I don’t think of wearing the hijab.  I told him im not ready and that its not what I think about doing any time soon, i even gave the excuse that i wont wear it soon cause i have shopped so much!  I told him how I loved the way I dressed, the way I looked and the way I lived and that im not willing to change my life.  He wanted me to listen to Amr Khalids tape about hijab.  At that time Amr Khalid was a new Islamic figure whom talked about Islam directing his lectures especially to young people; many girls I know wore the hijab after hearing his lectures.  So I told my brother that I didn’t want to listen to Amr Khalid, and that if I do listen to him and end up wearing the hijab it would be because of fear of what I heard and an act not coming out from my own will; and if I didn’t wear the hijab after listening to the tape it would mean that I have a tough harsh heart which I didn’t want to find out about myself.  So I took the tape from him and threw it.  

It was the last few days for the month of Ramadan when I returned to Amman.  My friends and I would meet up every day after Iftar to have a good time.  Strangely, we spent a whole week talking about hijab.  To didnt know why our conversations took that shape .  I usually never discussed religion and it was never a topic that me and my friends brought up.  That week was to what I could now explain to myself a preparation for me to what was yet to come.
On the 25th of Ramadan, my friend opened the subject of hijab yet again and at that point I had enough.  I couldn’t hear more about hijab so I asked her to stop talking and to change the subject.  She asked me why i was being so aggressive, i answered that i was sick of this subject and that i will never wear it!! On the 26th of Ramadan, I was invited to one of my friends place for Iftar and the girls decided to go pray the taraweeh and qiyam.  I have never prayed taraweeh or qiyam before.  I did pray but never more than the five prayers a day. 

I remember standing, bending, kneeling, standing, bending kneeling etc. just as a figure, no heart no soul.  I looked around and saw most people crying and touched by the prayer, I felt envious.  I wanted to feel what they felt and to cry like they cried.  At that moment I asked Allah to soften my heart and open my soul.  Towards the end of the prayers, I remember feeling like I was standing alone. Just me.  I saw no one and heard just the voice of the Anse (the female Imam) and my crying.  I cried and cried and cried. All I could think of was the hijab.  I wanted to wear it, I wanted to cover myself, I wanted Allah to be proud of me.  I was crying so much that i could not speak, i turned to my sister who was praying next to me and signaled with my hands that i wanted to wear the hijab. My sister, knowing me well, thought i was crazy and that I was just extremely affected by the prayer.  She tried stopping me.  At that moment I felt ready and took the chance that I knew might never come again. I headed, not wanting anyone to stop me, towards the Anse, whom I've never met before, to tell her that I wanted to wear the hijab. I remember very bleary my sister running after me trying to stop me yet again, trying to convince the Anse that I was just moved by the atmosphere.  The Anse at that point was looking at both of us confused as to whom to listen to.  I was so persistent at that point and so honest, that my sister and the Anse gave in.   I went back home wearing the hijab.   I went home that night with a veil covering my head, feeling like a new born girl.

When I arrived home, I told the news to my parents.  My dad merrily told me that I won't be the first girl whom wore the hijab and took it off later!!
I wont deny that I woke up the next day like waking up from a nightmare.  I was so scared and so fragile.  Although Ive never met the Anse or most of the girls that were at the prayer, and although I could have easily pretended as if my hijab incident never happened or was merely an innocent mistake, I insisted to wear it. I knew that I was strong and like most women, when we put our mind to something we will make it, and if we wanted or needed something we will fight to get it.  
That morning, my dad lectured me about being too young, and that I had my whole life in front of me, that i should not limit myself now with covering myself! He told me I still had to travel, to work, to go out, to marry, to live!  I defended my decision with the point that I can do all these while still wearing the hijab.  I can walk freely and act freely with a clothe covering my head.  I explained neither was i disabled nor paralyzed.  I was merely a new me. A new me with a new meaning.  This is my Jihad!

I had a rough 8 months, I battled with the idea of taking it off, I battled with people that thought I should take it off.  Random people told me that the hijab was not a part of Islam nor was it written in the Quran.  Which was absolutely ridiculous.  A lot of people, i found, were against me and my hijab just so they can keep bottling their conscious.  They didn't want anyone reminding them about Islam and what comes with being a good Muslim.  They were trying to convince themselves more than to convince me about not wearing it.  I battled with my sisters at home.  I sometimes felt left out.  I sometimes felt they didn't  understand the new me.

There was even a guy i liked and was hoping that one day he might propose.  We were becoming good friends.  When i wore the hijab, he was shocked and after 2 weeks told me he would never think of marrying a Hijabi.  To save my pride, i told him i knew that already and knew that his lifestyle would never work with a covered girl.
Amazingly, i wasnt heartbroken at all. It was as if Allah has poured reassurance in me that i need not a guy like him.  Our friendship gradually ended.  I had many suitors proposing, after i put on the Hijab, surprisingly even more than before.  I got married after 4 yrs to a wonderful man who shares the same religious outlook as me.

I went to my weekly Islamic lectures, which helped me stand strong thru my battles. I became a better Muslim.  I read and studied more about Islam.  I cut off many things that I did wrong.  I gained new friends and left many old ones.  In time, my relationship with my sisters became stronger.  They often turn to me for advice.  We go pray Tarawneh together every year.  I felt stronger and became stronger.  I learned not to be afraid to voice out the truth, and to voice out right from wrong.  I gained extra confidence.  My faith grew and my worries lessened.  

I went thru times of weakness and times of strength, but it was all challenges to shape me into a better Muslimah!

Ive told my story to so many people, but for some reason I still cry tears of joy every time I say it…

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A lovely Sister.

Khadijah: Assalamualaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatu dear sister! 
Please tell me about yourself (where are you from, what is your cultural background, what are you doing now, dislikes and likes? It doesnt have to be about Islam)

Wa Alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu :) 

Ameen to your dua and may Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala put barakah in this little da'wah project of yours! :)

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my little story, though I doubt whether it's all that interesting! :P 

I'm from the Maldives, a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean (the little dots at the tip of India if you look at the world map) and our islands are world-famous tourist destinations. One of the unique things about Maldives is that though it's quite isolated from the Middle East, it's an Islamic country and the state does not allow any other religion to be practiced within the country. Yep, to be a Maldivian citizen, you have to be a Sunni Muslim (nice huh? :))

So this means that for me, Islam has always been a fact of life as it is what I grew up with and I was rarely exposed to other faiths (aside from the TV you know?). The Maldivian culture is a blend of Islam and our ancient traditions, and to be honest, I really didn't know the difference between the two growing up.

I'm currently living in Sri Lanka, which is a little country neighboring to the Maldives. I moved here about five years ago to do some studies and at the moment, have no plans to go back, but Allah knows best :) 

Hmmm, likes and dislikes? That's a broad one, how do I answer that? As for likes - I love the ocean, babies laughter, reading, and oh yes, chocolate cake! I think chocolate cakes are little slices of warm and gooey happiness!  As for dislikes - I don't find slapstick funny, hate icky creepy crawlies and have never liked the taste of the meat of four legged creatures.

Khadijah: What does Islam mean to you? Were you always religious? 

 No, I wouldn't say that I was always religious. Mainly because I never really knew what it was, what it signified for most of my life. Islam was something in the background. Like the sky. We know it's there, a constant in our lives, but we're barely aware of it and rarely takes the time to actually look up and see it. Really see it.

Growing up, religion or Islam meant happily parroting back the words of the Qur'an teacher, mumbling incomprehensible Arabic while standing with my mother in Salah and the magnificent feasts of Ramadan. Beyond that, I knew little and had even little interest in my religion.

Khadijah : How did you enter into Islam? Was it a hard transition for you?

It was through a sister actually. It was a girl I knew since first grade, but we weren't technically friends. Being in the same grade, we saw each other around school, but didn't interact more than that.

In our tenth year, our whole school saw her go through some drastic changes, she quit the school music band, started wearing hijab, etc... At the time I was as shell-shocked as the others because hijab was considered to be something "old" people wore, "religious stuff" were things old people did and it was a very alien concept for us.

During our eleventh year, one night after school, I accompanied a mutual friend of ours to her house because my friend wanted to get some books. While there, the sister asked me if I too would like a book and I thought they were talking about Mills n Boons or some kind of romance novels (because that's what everybody read as far as I knew and which I was majorly obsessed with).

I said yes and she handed me Kitab At-Tawheed, by Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (rahimahullah).

I remember standing on her doorstep and just staring at the book, thinking "Ohmigod, she did NOT just hand me a religious text! What kind of person read books about Islam?"

I felt totally weird and since it would be rude to say I didn't want to read it, I took the book home and stuck it in a drawer. After several days, I began to get curious about this "religious" book and wanted to see what was in it. At the time, I'd never even heard of Tawheed!

Subhan Allah! That book was my salvation! I was one of those who cringed whenever religion came up in conversations, I would turn away whenever Qur'an came on the TV or Radio because it irritated me and rejected all my mother's efforts to get me to wear hijab. To this day, it amazes me the complete and utter turnabout which took place inside of me.

When Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala chooses to guide someone, He does it in the most unexpected and amazing of ways, doesn't He? Mine is very simple compared to some others, but profound nonetheless. I'm eternally grateful that when He showed me the path, He started from the very beginning i.e. Tawheed! 

After the book, I tagged behind that sister like a shadow and she was the one who encouraged me, loaned me more books and helped me in the renewal of my Deen. I thought I was a Muslim, but that was when I truly discovered Islam, al-hamdulillahi!

And yes, it wasn't an easy transition. My family was appalled and they feared I was becoming too radicalized. My mom once even threw me out of the house for daring to interact with niqabi sisters, who were deemed extremist and almost heretical at that time in the Maldives. Orthodox Islam was alien to the westernized and "moderate" Islamic society I grew up in.

And though my convictions had altered fundamentally, changing my habits, my words, my actions, etc… and keeping myself from slipping back into the conformity of society was a struggle. A frustrating struggle. And it still is, but al-hamdulillahi I have come a long way from the beginning :)

Khadijah: Why do you think women are the most valued people in Islam?

Well, I'm sure other people can give a more eloquent answer to this one, but for me, it's somewhat like the famous quote says "You educate a man, you educate one person. You educate a woman, you educate a nation." (I don't know who said this, do you? :S)

Women are the cornerstone of the Ummah. Yes, it is the men who features center-stage in Islam, but behind the screen, it is the mothers, wives, daughters and sisters who shapes the men who go on to bring glory to Islam bi'ithnillahi.

Khadijah: What is the Qur'an? What is special about it?

How to describe the Qur'an in a few sentences? The Qur'an is the Final Revelation, the last message sent to mankind from the Creator, and the culmination of all the previous messages.

The Qur'an is the Speech of Allah and hence, an Attribute of Him سبحانه و تعالى. It was revealed in the year 610 CE to the Prophet Muhammed (sallalaahu alayhi wasallam) and completed over a period of 23 years. 

These 23 years of revelation resulted in a book which comprised of 114 chapters and 6,666 verses. All of this was to become the primary source of law for the whole of mankind to live and die by. The impact of this book is such that Allah says that had it been revealed upon a mountain, it would crumble out of fear of Allah (Surah Al-Hashr 59:21).

Before the Qur'an, none of the previous revelations sent were given the divine assurance of preservation, to remain unchanged till the end of time (Surah Al-Hijr 15:9). The language, the history, the science, the knowledge... all of which contained in the Divine Speech is truly amazing for those who reflect upon it. 

You have to read, listen and ponder over it to find the miracle insha Allah :)

Khadijah: Describe 5 things about Islam that you think every non-Muslim should know

  1. Just like how you wouldn't take the measure of a perfectly crafted musical instrument by the one who plays it, or the measure of a perfectly horned sword by the one who wields it, do not take the measure of Islam by those who adhere to it. They are flawed, while Islam is not. Look at the authentic sources of Islam to know Islam.

  1. Islam is not a new religion founded by Prophet Muhammad (sallalaahu alayhi wasallam), rather Islam is the same truth that God Almighty revealed through all His Prophets to mankind in every time and place, from Adam to Noah, to Moses to Jesus and finally to Muhammad (sallalaahu alayhi wasallam), that is to worship Allah alone without any partners.

  1. Islam is not just a 'religion', in the sense that it is not merely about worshiping God as most other religions are about. Islam is a complete way of life, meaning it governs every aspect of life; moral, spiritual, social, economical, political, intellectual etc…

  1. The women in Islam are not oppressed just because you see them covering themselves. The Qur’an commands women to wear clothes that are different from those worn by men, because of the differences in the ways each sex is tempted by the other. It is a source of empowerment and precaution to the women. When dealing with the Islamic perspective of any topic, there should be a clear distinction between the normative teachings of Islam and the diverse cultural practices among Muslims, which may or may not be consistent with them. Besides, if nuns are not considered to be oppressed, why aren't Muslim women accorded the same justification?

  1. Jihad is a term that is often misunderstood and associated with violent radical militants. However, the word jihad means to "strive, struggle and exert effort." It is a central and broad Islamic concept that includes struggle against evil inclinations within oneself, struggle to improve the quality of life in society, struggle by military forces in the battlefield for self-defense or fighting against tyranny or oppression.

Khadijah: What is your favourite verse from the Qur'an?

There are many and picking a favorite is kind of hard. But a verse that always uplifts me and makes me feel better is:

Say: "O 'Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." 

[Surah az-Zumar - 39:53]

Khadijah: What does Islam say about other religions? 

The deen with Allah is Islam, and He does not accept any other religion from His slaves. Islam is the original message that has been repeatedly delivered to mankind throughout the history of humanity.  All the Prophets and Messengers that Allah sent came to revive this message and bring humanity back on track.

Of course over time, this message has been corrupted and distorted by various factions, such as the Jews and the Christians. This is why you see similarities along with glaring differences between the two and Islam. Then there are those who simply refused to accept this message and insisted on venerating their idols and mosquitoes. 

In Islam, some exceptions are made for Christianity and Judaism in some areas (both being People of the Book i.e. the original Torah and Gospel being divinely inspired before they ruined it), but all other polytheistic and pagan religions are staunchly rejected.

This does not mean Islam is intolerant. While  Islam does not give any importance to other religions and severely warns against them, Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala does admonish us not insult or mock what other people worship. Because then they in their ignorance will revile Allah subhanahu wa ta'aal in return. 

One of the fundamental rules of Islam is that there is no compulsion in religion. We can only give advice and information, but it is Allah who guides whom He wills. This is why if you look into Islamic history, you will see that minority faiths were actually treated with dignity and respect under the Islamic state.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm Joia and this is my story.

Khadijah: Assalamualaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatu, thank you sis for choosing share your story, please tell us more about youself.

Wa alaikum Assalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu.
It is a pleasure to do so. Well, I’m a 20 something American recent revert from Christianity.  I like to travel when I can, sky watch, write poems, spend time with family, learn about Islam, cook, online shop, buy scarves and natural products, and I like cheesecake. I don’t in particular care for close minded people, crickets, gossip, and negativity. I am about an hour and half from of Philadelphia.

Khadijah: Describe to my what your life(style) was like prior to Islam.

Prior to Islam I guess you could say I was a good girl with bad habits. J I went out occasionally, but was still conservative. When I first was the legal age to drink, I went out often and would dance and indulge, but a couple years later that scene just got old.  I stopped partying and drinking less and less. Plus I’m from a small town so you see the same people and I started maturing Allhamdulillah. I was always spiritual, but not upon the right guidance.

Khadijah: How did you learn about Islam, how did you know it was the right religion for you?

I learned about Islam through a classmate in a class I was supposed to take two semesters ago and happened to be in the same project group, Subhan’Allah. Allah is the best of planners.  I had started going to church and wanting to get closer to God.  I was thinking maybe I could get my classmate to go to Bible study and learn about Christianity and think he would change his mind about Islam. Plus I was just curious to why he practiced Islam and not Christianity at the time. I didn’t know much about either religion except for that with Christianity, Jesus (pbuh) “died for our sins” and if you believed in that you were “saved.” All I knew about Islam was that the men had beards, the women covered, and I thought Allah was some distant God.
I knew it was the right religion for me after doing research about Christianity and Islam.  I was just shocked about the history of Christianity and its fabrications that I never knew occurred. As my classmate told me more about Islam and the more I researched it was the changing of my heart that I knew it was for me.  I always had an open mind and pondered about things.  I used to cry (still do) and just be enthralled about the truthfulness of Islam.  I was a little nervous at first and didn’t know what to do, knowing you have something in your heart that you believe and knowing family and friends would oppose it. I knew it was something I had to do for my soul. It was a struggle for months with different things going on in the dunya with my life, but Allhamdulillah. Allah showed his mercy and chose me! On July 7, 2012 I took shahada and was relieved.

Khadijah: What is Ramadan and what did you do for it?

Ramadan is a month of mercy and blessings! It is a time to really focus on your worship with Allah as well as come together with the Ummah. Participate in deeds in hopes of getting great reward like feeding the poor, helping the needy and sick. Most importantly you’re staying away from negativity, media, and fasting for the sake of Allah (s.w.t). Insha’Allah we all continue the same behavior even though Ramadan passed.
During that month I went to the masjid a lot and prayed, met up with a Muslimah friend of mine and was learning different things since I had took shahada just  a couple weeks before, and just focused on my worship with Allah, and was truly grateful. It was a blessing to be apart of that beautiful month.

Khadijah: What are some differences and similarities you found about Christianity and Islam 

Well both Christianity and Islam are two out of three of the Abrahamic faiths. Both believe in a deity, Jesus/Isa (as), heaven, hell, prophets, angels, revelations, etc. Islam is based on Tawheed, the Oneness of God.  No other deities or objects are worthy of worship except Allah and Allah’s many attributes and names. Every person has a fitra and is born knowing there is One God to be adored, worship, obeyed. It is our families and society which alter that and we grow up believing a different religion if our families are not already Muslim. Isa (as) is one of the 5 greatest prophets. He was born of a miraculous, virgin birth to Maryam who was one of the greatest women to walk the earth, who was righteous and modest to the highest degree. Jesus/Isa (as) spoke in the cradle while still an infant and was a servant to Allah. He raised the dead and healed the sick through the permission of Allah. He was not God, the Son of God, or part of a Trinity which is the Christian belief.  In Islam we pray 5 times a day in the remembrance of the most Merciful.  When I was Christian I didn’t pray any certain time and didn’t prostrate to my creator.

Khadijah: What would you tell your Christian family if you could invite them to Islam?

If I could invite my Christian family to Islam I would tell them I would like to see you all in Paradise so you could see things you never imagined and to enjoy eternity with no hunger, or tiredness. I would tell them Islam is the religion of mercy and not what you see or hear in the media. I would tell them the Prophet (saws) was the greatest man to walk the earth and not the slander and blasphemy you hear about in the media.

Khadijah: What are some typical misconceptions about Islam that you think people need to know?

People need to know that women in Islam are not oppressed and to not confuse culture with religion. Women have many rights that they didn’t have before Islam. Women have a lot of freedom and we choose to wear hijab and niqab. Women are protected in Islam.
There is no such thing as Islamic Terrorist. Once again don’t judge a whole religion on a group of people. There are people in other religions who did some type of cruel act, it doesn’t make it okay for people to say, “All those (religion inserted here) are murderers.”
Please do your own research!
Jazak’Allah khair sissy for allowing me to share and isha’Allah I’ll be starting my own blog. Allahu Allem when!J. If any sisters want to contact me please do! Leave a comment or contact Khadijah! Assalaamau alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu.

My name is Sarah

Khadijah: assalamualaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatu dear sis! thank you for taking the time sharing your story.

Sarah: Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem.
Assalamu alaikum. 
I am an English, white revert. Brought up in a white working class neighbourhood on the outskirts of Manchester with hardly any cultural diversity to speak of. 

 I have been a Muslim for 4 years now alhamdulillah and I live in The Gambia (West Africa) with my husband and 2 year old son :)

I'm a bit of a news junky, politics too esp when it concerns the Ummah. 
I love learning new things about our beautiful religion all the time mashallah. 

Khadijah: Before you became Muslim, what was your life(style) like?

Sarah:  It was a typical "living for the weekend" type life. I wasn't a party animal by any means, but I often felt all "what's the point? There's gotta be more to life.." As I didn't know the answers, having fun with friends seemed like a good place to start. 
I knew nothing about religion, I guess I was atheist in my youth and agnostic in early adulthood :)

Khadijah: How did you find out about Islam? How did you become Muslim?
Sarah: I was introduced by a man I met. At that time I'd actually started to believe  in "something"and doing a little research & soul searching. 
After attending a sisters circle at my local mosque for about 2 years,I finally took my shahaddah in August 2008 alhamdulillah.

Khadijah: How can you tell someone who doesn't believe in a Creator , that there is in fact ONE?

Sarah:  It's a tricky one :) I an remember how it feels when you don't believe in God, I'm not sure what any person could have said to me to change my mind. 
I think the beauty of creation is a good place to start, esp with those who appreciate it. 

Khadijah: What advice could you give to the youth of today?

Sarah:  I'd probably encourage them to be open minded and learn about the world. It's too easy to get caught up in the meaningless & material when you are young. 
The less ignorance there is, the easier people can appreciate each others cultures, faith etc. 

Khadijah: Who is/are your role models of today and why?

Sarah:  Of today? Hmm. I really appreciate the Dawah efforts of people like sister Myriam Francois Cerrah & brother Mohammed Ansar in the UK. 

I see many good examples of patience and strength in victims of oppression, such as the Palestinians for example. People under pressure that we can never fully appreciate in the west but still manage to carry on with dignity mashallah. 

The only one worthy of the title "role model" however is our prophet,peace be upon him. 

Khadijah: What do you think about the recent events of the slandering of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), what kind of advice would you give to non-Muslims, and Muslims? 

Sarah: Like the rest of the Ummah I am appalled by them.  
I genuinely don't understand how people can be so deliberately offensive to anyone, let alone to over a billion people who they don't even know, nor care to know. 

Under the protection of "freedom of speech" people are able to offend & provoke anyone they like. 
I think the fact that they chose to do so says a lot about them & the morals of society as a whole. 

It's easy for us to say, away from the wider context of the violent protests, that we should rise above it, but we should try to follow the examples of patience shown by Mohammed (saw)
That's what  he would want from us. 

As for non Muslims, I would hope the majority will be open minded enough to use the recent controversies to learn the truth about Islam. 
We can only help encourage this by being the best example of Muslims that we can inshallah. 

May Allah reward your efforts inshallah!
Assalaamu alaikum!

Sarah x

I am Anonymous

"Assalamualaikum, probably a bit of a boring story - but I will share.
I had just moved into an apartment with my sister and our boiler broke so the landlord had to get a new one - he asked one of the other tenants (neighbour) to help him carry it into our apartment, this tenant was my future husband!
After speaking a few times with my new found friend (the other tenant) I found out that he was Muslim, which intrigued me. I then started reading as much as I could about Islam from the local University library, as the main library didn't have much!
I had been a practising Christian all my life, even though my parents were not. When I was 18 I stopped going to Church as there were too many hypocrites attending the Church. I believed in God but found I was not finding the right way to follow his path from the Church.  I was so upset at the lack of support from Christian friends and the hypocrisy of the church members that they actually pushed me away from the faith because I didn't believe they were truly following the religion of God.

I decided to stop drinking alcohol and eating pork for a while to see how that was and found that it wasn't difficult at all. I then decided that if I can stop these things then it shouldn't be too hard to practice the religion fully.  I chose not to tell any of my family about my choices at first.  I then made the decision to become Muslim and have never regretted it. I have always been a people person so I don't think my personality changed that much - I did start to see things a bit more clearly because I made more of an effort in helping others for example because this is important is Islam. Three months after reverting I married my friend, this was about 21 months after our first meeting.
We have been married nearly 15 years now and have 3 children. My family have accepted that we are Muslim. They are not practicing Christians but like to call themselves Christian and don't want to know anything about Islam, but generally it doesn't cause too many problems between us. The Muslimahs I have met have all been so welcoming and so helpful which was quite a shock to me. Even the Muslimahs I interact with online are always so thoughtful and caring it really is like a large family of friends.My favourite things about Islam would be the way that we pray. In Christianity I prayed probably only once a week at church, however in Islam we pray 5 times a day so we have more chance to remember Allah and the good things that Islam has to offer.  I love Ramadan even though my Christian family think this is the worst! Fasting and remembering others who are starving is a reminder to us all of our need to help others in this world.

Anonymous xo"