Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ay Me Achin' 'Ead

This post may or may not appeal to any non-Muslim readers I have, so if you feel you want to skip on by, my feelings will remain in tact.
I didn't want to read these things, but I did. I admit it. I am a glutton for punishment, unable to resist a hot topic every now and again. As a result, I now have a headache I just tried to kill with two aspirin and a few swigs of CocaCola. Oh, and a small cup of Nescafe.
Bin Gregory retorts and brings up great points about White Muslims, esp. men.
UmmZaid writes about observations I've made time and time again. The question is, why? Why do I keep making these observations? Namely, this one about white Muslim female converts:
"And I want to say that despite all of the jokes and denigration people direct at White sisters (esp. those who came to Islam after marriage), some of the most heartbroken, saddest people I have ever met are White sisters in a cross-cultural marriage. They’re just trying to get through this life with some taqwa, and what they get from all sides is a whole lotta nothin’."
I read those two sentences over and over. Instantly, a dozen or more images of sisters I have known in my thirteen years of being a Muslim flashed through my mind. Sad, sad sisters, sisters who wanted to know what was intrinsically wrong with them, why they were so unhappy, why they were misunderstood, unaccepted, or marginalized, either within their communities, their own homes, or both. I saw, in my mind's eye, women who used to be mentors to myself and dozens of other new Muslimahs, who if I saw on the street today, I would not know or recognize. I saw sisters who have left their religion, not after one year or three years, but after fifteen or more years of learning their deen and raising their children in it. I saw sisters who convinced themselves that if they had only been prettier or thinner or learned to cook all of the complicated Arabic dishes just like his Mama or what if he had not been so hard to please, or whatever other ridiculous 'what ifs' that can finish these statements. All of these women were or are in cross-cultural marriages, and came into these marriages for the long haul. Happily ever after.
Some of them, like myself, married their husbands with no real religious identity. Others made drastic changes, from Catholicism to Islam, Southern Baptist to Islam, etc. Some sisters I know studied the deen for years and years before accepting Islam as their faith. But I must say, I know no one, and I mean no one, who was ever coerced into accepting Islam as her religion. On the contrary, many of us embraced Islam and our husbands said, "Hey, she's serious about this, I'd better fly right." And then came the children.
I honestly do not understand why when or how we sisters accepted Islam is of any bearing on what we make of our choices. Taking shahadah is the first step in a lifelong task of seeking knowledge. We have thousands of choices to make on this trip, and consequences for each one made.
Why is it, then, that when the troubles might start to brew in our marriages, or with our health, or within our extended families (in-laws!) that we make the wrong choices? We may choose to give too much of ourselves, leaving no room for spiritual growth or for even time enough in our days for sitting down to read three pages of a text. Or we may turn inwards, squelching our once vibrant personalities, trading our creativity for the mundane--in essence, erasing ourselves. We may become so full of resentment towards our situations or others that we begin to accept the labels we are given. We don't deserve the good that comes our way, fun = guilt, personal time is not ours anymore. If we lose too much of ourselves, we may look for a scapegoat. Guess what is often first to be blamed?
It's that Islam.
Falling into a sinkhole is not our religion's fault. Get out of it. Stop being sad. All believers will one day be tested. Our tests may come in many shapes and forms; when the rough times rain down on us, and they will, do we turn our face away from our Lord?
We can get through this life with taqwa. And if all we get back in this life is a whole lot of nothing, so be it. Persevere.


  1. Salaam akhi Khalil

    I hope you agree that these kind of difficulties occur when people (in this case, husbands) practice islam mechanically, without much passion for the hukm of sunnah, and quite honestly, treat the religion not as an idea they actually believe in ( I am not saying that they do not believe) and are supposed to implement, but as a cultural heritage; add to that some actual cultural heritage and boy are you in for troubles and difficulties....

  2. Wa `alaikum assalamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    Granted, there are many advantages and disadvantages with living in or having grown up in a Muslim culture/society. One if the main problem with living in a Muslim society in our times is that Islam is not able to thrive in a healthy environment. Secularism is constantly promoted by the state even in the most subtle ways and in the most Islamic states.