Monday, April 4, 2011

It Took Years

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

Someone asked me once how I got to this place in my life, my deen, and my heart. Well, it took years. Every year, every month, every day, every hour, every minute, and every second were needed for me to be the person who types to you now.

To get from vague religion, to Church of England, to Islam took 22 years. To go from being insecure and intimidated, to certain and unshakable in my reliance on Allah took 16 years. To get from learning Quran in order to pray, to understanding and reciting Quran because I love it, took 22 years. To learn to truly love for the sake of Allah took 28 years. To be ready for the role of wife and mother, took 20 years of working and supporting myself. To find a person to strive for Jennah with, took 36 years.


There aren't any instant packets of experience, wisdom, emaan, taqwa, or knowledge. There are no quick fixes for understanding and loving everything Allah sends you. It takes life experiences. Every year of your life is necessary for your movement towards Allah. Take it easy. Take time to think about the experiences. Embrace it all for what it is: your own personalized self improvement plan written by your Creator.

Allah has a plan for each of us and it follows His timeline. It isn't about how long it takes, it's about getting there. A large factor in getting there is understanding that everything that we go through is meant to get us there. Look at everything, the easy and the difficult, the joy and the misery, the thrills and disappointments and know that it's all part of the journey to Allah. It's all sent to make you turn to Him.

Now that I've said that it took me years to get to where I am, let me tell you where I am. Virtually nowhere in terms of knowledge, 29 Juz to go for Qur'an memorization, still battling myself to have the self-control and manners of our beloved Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, still desperately trying to please Allah, and seeking forgiveness for my many mistakes. I'm just struggling and striving along my personal path to Allah, and will be for the rest of my days, inshaa'Allah. It took years; al hamdu l'Illah for every one of them - they are irreplaceable.

23 comments:

  1. Salam,

    Thank you soo much for putting this post up.... I actually am going through some inner turmoil regarding when I " will get it " this is an inspiration and comfort to know that I need to stop rushing and trying to learn everything at once... Again thank you

    My Allah bless you and you're family.

    Salam

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  2. Dear Mai,
    I am a silent reader for a while of your amazing blog. This post touched me and inspired me.
    Thanks a lot and may Allah swt. bless you and your family <3

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  3. Assalam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu,

    jazakallah khairan for this post, very interesting, very motivative, and very hopefull.. I agree with Mrs. Khan, we indeed need to accept not everything happens overnight.

    I have a question and I hope you do not find it too personal, but what do you mean with feeling insecure and intimidated? Did you find Islam intimidated or just "the world" ? And how did you started wearing hijab? Was it something you found difficult too?

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  4. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh E_lena.

    Wa iyaaki. As for feeling insecure and intimidated, I wrote a post called The Bitter Truth, which talked about that.

    I found that people intimidated me. Muslims who were following their own agendas, or simply misguided, would tell me various things that were not correct. Some would give me very good sounding reasons to back up their claims, but according to my understanding it didn't fit with what Allah was telling us.

    They would make me feel like my understanding was childish, unworldly, or even foolish. They even went so far as to tell me that I would never know Islam and Quran and well as them because Arabic wasn't my mother tongue. I was told I will never feel the way they feel about Islam.

    It messed me up, because I had a conflict between what I felt sure was the truth of Islam - tawheed, tawakkal, and taqwa and what these educated, born Muslims were telling me.

    All thanks to Allah, I realise that I never want to feel about Islam the way those people do. It is my life, not an accessory to coordinate with what I feel like doing.

    As for the hijab, it was a little strange. I understood why we should wear it and wore it to take my shahada in the court. However, I was told by some well-meaning friends that I shouldn't put it on straight away. Strange right? Well, a few people told me I must wear it, but I had this conflict between them and my friends who said that there was so much to learn that I might be overwhelmed and end up taking it off. My boss, a non-practising Muslim, informed me he paid me to look good and that I was not allowed to wear Islamic clothes and hijab,

    So, I changed my wardrobe to long skirts and long sleeved blouses, but no hijab. Within the course of my first year as a Muslimah, I managed to leave that job and felt greater and greater need to obey Allah and wear the hijab.

    By the end of the year, I informed all my friends that I was putting on hijab the following day. I simply stated that I was not going out of my home without being covered.

    I walked out of my home that day feeling like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I love obeying Allah; it gives me total peace of mind and a confidence that I cannot obtain anywhere else. From that day, I have always loved my hijab.

    LOL, that could have been a blog on it's own! Anyway, I hope it helps.

    Much love to you!

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  5. As salaamu alaykum Bosnish Muslimah and jazaaki Allahu khayran for your comment.

    When you told me you have been a silent reader for a while, I started wondering how many other silent readers are out there, LOL! Ameen to your dua' and may Allah shower His blessings and success in this life and the aakhirah on you and your family - ameen.

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  6. Wa alaykum as salaamu wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Mrs. Khan.

    Yes, it is difficult in early years of Islam to be patient about acquiring basic knowledge and understanding various aspects. If you just ask Allah to open up the paths to the knowledge you need when you need it, then it will come.

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  7. Assalamualaykum,

    Thank you for sharing this. In a way it has given me a sense of relief to know that other people also take time to find stability in their faith and lives.

    Alhamdulillah, after drawing myself closer to Allah swt life is slowly falling into place but that doesn't mean I don't struggle at all.

    We are all humans, after all =)

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  8. Mai...when I took my Shahadda here in Bahrain people told me as well that I should not wear it right away. Even some Sisters at Discover Islam said to me, "Dont rush it" Even though I struggled with other aspects of Islam, I always knew that wearing Hijab was expected of me. Alhamdulillah.. I wore it from the day before I took my Shahadda and on ward. A few months after, I started to wear the niqaab. I agree with you when you say people (born muslims) tend to intimidate us new Muslims...I get that ALL THE TIME... "Why are you doing this?? Why are you wearing your hijab so tight? Do you know Nigaab is not mandatory in Islam? Why is your husband taking another wife?? He needs your permission to do it?? "" The one that really upset me was right after I became a Muslim. I was learning my prayers, trying too. I would have the big poster they gave me that shows me how to pray and I had the words written in English so I would know what I was praying. I would say it in English and practice my Arabic version. After all, what good is Arabic if you dont know what you are saying??! One sister told me that every prayer I did since taking my shahadda was invalid. (This was 2 months into it) She said that Allah would not forgive me nor would he accept my prayers. I had to redo them all in Arabic. Now, I understand now the importance of doing your prayers in Arabic, but I think people have to be careful when they "advice" reverts on certain topics. When she told me that I almost threw in the towel! I came home and didnt pray for 2 days....God forgive me! I was angry and confused. I have a hard time with memorization so I thought I was doomed! Then a good friend taught me about intention. She said that Allah knows my intention and he loves me for the effort I put in. Islam is not supposed to be hard. So I put on my big girl pants, made up my missed prayers and continued until I memorized, in Arabic, the basics of prayer.... :) Sorry for the long comment, I just had to tell my story...

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  9. Daisy, my flower...

    It's wonderful to hear from you, because you took your shahada in Bahrain, too and have been through so much that I have. In fact, so much of your story is an absolute photocopy, subhaan Allah.

    I learned to pray with papers, reading off each paper for each stage until I finally remembered it. I made so many mistakes, was so confused, and I didn't go to Discover Islam until I was almost two years Muslim. That was probably one of the best things really because I'd learned quite a bit from reading and there I finally had access to better knowledge sources.

    I bought my sets of Sahih Al Bukhari and Muslim, Al Muwatta, Riyad As Saaliheen, Minhaj al Muslim, etc. through Discover Islam and soaked up hadith like a sponge. THAT was what established me and gave me firm, unshakeable grounding in my faith and practice. Once you get a clear picture from the Prophet's words and explanation of the Quran (Sahih International is a wonderful version for easy and clear understanding) then it completely changes your confidence. My sets have Arabic and English so when you learn Arabic, you can read the original text, inshaa'Allah. Of course, you can find most of those online now, mashaa'Allah.

    Da'wah is a very big responsibility and should be done with the utmost care, consideration, and manners. There are so many ways to guide a new Muslim. I pray that we, in retrospect, can do justice to other Muslims when our time comes.

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  10. Yes, Inshallah I will go back there soon. I went all the time the first year then stopped when I got married and a started such a demanding job. Hard to attend classes when there isn't enough time in the day. Inshallah, I will go again soon.. I need to learn something to teach my child besides saying "Bismillah and Alhamdulillah" ;) I will look those up online now...Thanks!

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  11. Masha Allah! I loved the post. Alhamdulilah you are where you are at. And you have helped sooo many sisters including myself.

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  12. Yah Ukhti Habibah!!!! I'm back... and this is the first post I read.. and Ajeeb!!! It hit the nail on the head. Each of our lives would be a "Best Seller" if it were published... that's because it was all written by the BEST of Authors... I'm sure if I sat back to recount how many years it took me to get to where I am today it would look somewhat similar as your... One thing though, I've had many U-turns and many "full-circles" as well... this last one being the most recent one. Alhamdulillah I must tell you I am FINALLY at peace with myself, with the situation, with my life, with Allah's Qadr!!! So thank you, thank you, thank you... for always being a source of inspiration. From now on is "Forward-march"!! ..no looking back, no looking sideways! Hugs to you my sweetie!!

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  13. Ahhh Zorro...you gave me a big smile today! Jazaaki Allahu khayra! Such beautiful news from you on your return. Forward march is exactly what we all need to do, mashaa'Allah. I look forward to hearing about your arrival at that beautiful place you are in, inshaa'Allah.

    te amo, mi hermana preciosa...te amo.

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  14. assalamu alaikum ,
    Alhamdhulillah you came up with this. I felt much relieved. After all I am not the only one going through the struggle. Not only the reverts but also born muslims have their own moment of discovery of Islam, I believe and subhanallah, the period that follows, especially when you grow up in a non muslim environment.may Allah guide us all in the right path.

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  15. Alhamdulilaah Ukhtie. JazakaAllahu Khair for caring. Walilallahi I can relate to this posting. May Allah(SWT) reward you by accepting all of your efforts, and May He (azza wal jalla) grant Jannatul Firdous to you and your family. Ameena Ya Rabba

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  16. Sister, I'm holding a Hijabi giveaway and I was wondering if you or any other Muslimah wanted to enter(worldwide giveaway) just visit my blog Muslimah Blog Directory for details http://muslimahbloggers.blogspot.com/

    jazallah khair

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  17. Slm Your husband posted a list on his site and I was just wondering whether you discussed the following point during the proposal process?
    5. Do you clearly understand that although I don't practice polygyny now, I may in the future? (asked towards women only) What Allah has made halal, no one can make haram.

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  18. @Anonymous
    Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

    My husband told me that he didn't have any plans to practice polygyny at that time. He most certainly never had to tell me anything about the possibility of it happening or the halal nature of it.

    I met my husband through another brother who had approached me for polygyny. The brother already knew that I was not opposed to polygyny. I had a stance that I would never oppress another woman or make her life a misery if she were to marry my husband or if I were to marry hers. I also had told that brother that I wouldn't hurt his wife, if she didn't want polygyny in her life. Although I didn't want to be a second wife without a very good reason, it turned out that I didn't wish to marry him anyway.

    The list is a work in progress that my husband has developed over the years and through experience. It has been developed from the experience of looking for an additional wife, because these issues have arisen. Not everything on the list was discussed by us, but most of it was or we understood that it clearly wasn't an issue.

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  19. @Mai... InshaAllah we MUST do 'tea' soon!!! It's been a while. I will share with you all my new insights while enjoying a nice cup of Earl Grey and Cucumber Sandwiches... LOL BTW... your Spanish is GREAT!! جيد جدا Hugs sweetie :D

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  20. Asslamaualaikum Mai, I was born a Muslim, sent to religious school, sent to Quran school...but I DON'T GET IT at that time. By Allah grace, He had thrown towards me all kinds of SIGNS before i got it into my head. Even then Alhamdulillah I am very very grateful to Allah for guiding me. In my opinion everything takes time...to learn....even bringing up children is a continuous learning process...school of life , of religion does stop till you die or till The Final Day...so grab all the oppurtunities.

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  21. Salam alaikum, dear Mai.
    I visit your blog regularly because posts like this, inspires me a lot, and touch me straight to my heart.
    May Allah bless me with iman as good as you.
    Love you for the sake of Allah..

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  22. assalam o alaikum wa rahmatullahi Mai,

    its not a comment just a query , WHERE ARE YOU? long time no post. I hope everything's fine in your part of the world INSHALLAH. plz do write soon. take care,
    ALLAH HAFIZ.

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  23. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Umm Bilal.

    I have been thinking to myself, they must be wondering what happened to me, LOL! Now, here you are asking where I am, mashaa'Allah.

    Subhaan Allah, I have various posts in draft form, but to be honest I we have been very busy. We have made a major move regarding purchasing land, mashaa'Allah, and now we are researching permaculture, all we can about the climate, design of homes, farm design, animals, etc. It's really a vast lot of work. Not only that, I attend school so I'm trying to keep up with Quran memorization and the depths of the weak letters in Arabic language.

    I don't ever want to write without benefit or serious thought. If I cannot give you the best of my heart and mind, then I lie low until I can.

    That said, I cannot tell you how much it means to me to be missed and cared about. Across the oceans, sight unseen, I feel loved and that is a huge gift from Allah.

    I've put out one post; inshaa'Allah more will follow.

    Jazaaki Allahu khayr wa barak Allahu feeki my dear sister.

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