Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Islam and My Husband

I sincerely apologize for not posting again last night when I said that I would. I am making up for that now.

So, I talked to Nick yesterday about Islam. I explained to him about the five pillars and why I believe in them. All of a sudden he expresses an interest in going back to church and wants me to go along with him. We used to mesh on a religious level and I think he's wanting that back. Either that or he's hoping that if I go to church with him that I'll convert back to Christianity. I told him I'd go with him but I don't want to. I also told him about the Islamic community center that I found in Fayetteville, GA. It's about 14 miles north of my house. I would love to go there sometime.

We also talked about hijab. I explained to him that he already knew that my wardrobe was much more modest than what so many women wear these days. I explained to him that I've never been comfortable wearing skimpy or revealing clothing. He has known this since high school. But he said the idea of me covering my head bothers him. I told him that even in Christianity women used to cover their hair until recently. In the Catholic church women covered their hair in church until the 1950's or so. Every drawing of Mary that we see shows a covering on her head as well. And somewhere in the Bible it mentions that women should cover their heads. He really didn't have a response to that either.

I am going to take the advice of a close friend again and slowly give Nick tidbits of information on Islam so I don't overwhelm him. Hopefully as he sees the changes in me and learns more and more about Islam he will be more open to this. To my friend, thanks again for your advice. I owe you one! :)

Tomorrow night I am getting together with my dad for dinner. It's just going to be him and me. We haven't done this in a long time. He knows how stressed I am but doesn't really know why. I am not going to break the news of reverting to Islam to my dad yet. Oh no. I think he would flip out. I know when the time comes I will tell my mom first. She's more open minded and I think will have an easier time of it than my dad. Still, it will be nice to hang out with my dad tomorrow night!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eid Mubarak!



Eid Mubarak everyone!!!!

Last night I was so deeply asleep by the time my husband got home that we couldn't talk about things. But this morning we did talk. He wanted to know why I turned my back on Christianity.

Him: So, why did you turn your back on Christianity?
Me: There are a lot of beliefs in Christianity that have confused me for years. Like the Trinity for example. The whole three in one Godhead concept. How can Christianity call itself a monotheistic religion if its followers are expected to worship God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit equally? That sounds like polytheism to me.
Him: It's complicated...
Me: It's confusing and doesn't make sense. Look at it from this perspective. The book of Genesis talks about how in marriage a husband and wife shall cleave to one another and become one flesh. That doesn't mean they merge though. They are still two separate people. We didn't cease to become individuals when we tied the knot, so how can God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all be God? I just don't get that and I never will.
Him: ...
Me: Islam believes in one God. Yes, Muslims still believe in Jesus but not in the same way that Christians do. We believe he was a prophet, much like Elijah and Elisha and Moses. You believe in the prophets, right?
Him: Well, yeah.
Me: What do you know about Muhammad?
Him: Only that he was a prophet too.
Me: Right.
Him: But...why didn't you come talk to me about this before you converted to another religion?
Me: I did talk to you about it a year ago when I resumed my studies into Islam.
Him: Yeah...but we went to hear Yousef Ouramane speak and I thought you were done with the whole Islam thing after that.
Me: He did say some things that contradicted what I had learned about Islam. I was confused for a time after we heard him speak. But after I got my head clear and resumed my own studying, things came back into focus for me.
Him: So...what does this mean for us?
Me: I'm not going to hide who I am at home anymore. I'm not going to hide my books on Islam in the closet anymore or wait for you or your dad to be out of the house before praying. I give you two the freedom to explore and practice your religion. I am asking for the same freedom for me as well.
Him: I don't want religion to come between us.
Me: I know. We've got bigger problems than just religion right now (referring to the issues that I've mentioned previously here).
Him: *sigh* I know.
Me: I've got an idea. Why don't I stay home from work today and we can talk about this further. After all, it's already your day off today.
Him: ...yeah...but I was going to go into the store and work on stock again.
Me: *sighs, looks away*
Him: *says nothing*
Me: Why am I the one who always is willing to make concessions? You have to work on weekends when I am home. So in order to have a day together I know I have to call in sick to work. You don't want to spend time together that we have. Even when I am willing to take a risk of calling in, you don't want to spend time together. *sigh* Fine...

At that point I started getting ready for work. Ten minutes later he came to me.

Him: Fine...call in. I have to go in for a couple of hours to tell Rose (the opening manager for the day) what stock I need them to work today and be on a conference call. Then I'll be home and we can talk about this Islam thing.

May Allah be with me this day after he gets home as I talk to him. I pray that I keep a calm spirit today, not get frustrated or annoyed, and can show him exactly why I have come to Islam. Insha'Allah I will have more to post this evening.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hi Honey...I'm Muslim

Today was really tough for me emotionally. I am not going into details at all, but I have definitely had better days. On my way home from work today I decided that I would bite the bullet and tell my husband and I am Muslim. After I picked up my daughter from day care I called him and went by his work to see him. He came out to meet me and I told him that I'd left Christianity and had reverted to Islam back in July. He was shocked to say the least and said we would talk about it when he got home. We'll see how things go when he comes home tonight. It will be late but that's okay.

May Allah grant me the wisdom to educate Nick about Islam and show him that my decision to become Muslim did not make me a bad person. And may He bring healing to me. I am rather ill today. I haven't been able to eat. I am nauseated. I feel like throwing up but there's nothing in my stomach to expunge. My head is throbbing. I need some good rest. I know my feeling of being ill is emotional and not pathological. I hope to be feeling better tomorrow.

Insha'Allah tonight will go well. I look forward to posting tomorrow about the events that will transpire in a couple of hours.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

To Follow Allah

"O People of the Scripture! Now hath Our messenger come unto you, expounding unto you much of that which ye used to hide in the Scripture, and forgiving much. Now hath come unto you light from Allah and plain Scripture, Whereby Allah guideth him who seeketh His good pleasure unto paths of peace. He bringeth them out of darkness unto light by His decree, and guideth them unto a straight path." (Surah Al Maeda Verse 15-16)

I had a bit of a revelation last night. I was talking with a close friend about religion. We are both Muslim and were talking about how we both want to grow closer to Allah and start incorporating our beliefs into our lives more. We are in similar situations regarding our families, both surrounded by family members who are not Muslim and may get upset if they find out. While we were talking, something hit me, struck me deep in my heart like a ton of bricks. Who am I here to serve? My family? Or Allah?

How can Allah bring me out of my darkness and into the light if I deny Him? Obviously that won't happen. How is being a closet Muslimah helping my situation or helping Islam? It's not. So, I am put in a situation where I need to make a choice. My choice is simple. I will follow Allah.

No longer will I wait for my husband and father-in-law to be out of the house before I pray or read the Quran. I will stop cooking with haram foods. If they want bacon and Italian sausage, they are welcome to cook those foods themselves. I have two bottles of wine that were given to me in October of 2010 that are sitting in the cabinet in the kitchen. They are going to be poured down the drain when I get home.

I will become the Muslimah that Allah wants me to be. If my choice to follow Allah tears my family apart, then that just means that this was not the family for me to be a part of. It is in His hands. I figure this will either open my family's eyes to the peace of Islam, or free me to serve Allah better.

It will be a slow process, yes. I'm not going to be changing everything in one afternoon. But little changes, like ditching the wine and the pork in the house and allowing myself to be seen reading the Quran will start the ball rolling. May I be a positive influence in my home and to those around me.

And to my friend whom I confided in Saturday night, thanks. :) May Allah reward you for being there for me when I needed someone.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Peace

My Allah grant my family peace. May He ease the animosity between by husband and my father-in-law. May He get me out of the middle of the stress. Ameen.

Tonight has been tough. My father-in-law found out my husband has been lying to him about some stuff regarding his job. My husband would tell me one thing but tell him another. Then tonight my father-in-law was asking me something and I told him what I knew. Apparently what I knew was different (and more disconcerting) than what Nick had told him. So the poo hit the fan.

Peace. I just want peace at home. I don't want to be in the middle of someone else's fighting.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dua for My Home Life



Allah, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Ameen.

Things are very stressful at home right now. I know that we are not supposed to say negative things about people. Insha'Allah I will do my best to word this post as to not sound negative toward others, but I feel that I must get this out. Holding in my stress is getting me nowhere.

you already know about the financial stressed we are under. My husband's job and my father-in-law's lack of a job are both difficult tests that I think this family is being put under. I am an hourly employee and am allowed to get overtime, so in order to bring in extra money I've been working a few extra hours at work each week. I usually cut my lunch break short and come in a half hour earlier so I can get in an extra five hours each week on my check. My point is that I work a lot too. I know my husband puts in a lot of hours but he's not the only one. What he doesn't seem to understand is that the day doesn't end when I walk out of the office in the afternoon.

When I get home I have to cook dinner, clean up the kitchen, wash laundry, fold laundry, get my daughter fed and bathed, clean up the living room, pay bills, take care of the yard, etc. There's always something that needs to be done. I get no help from the people in my house on any of this stuff. With three adults living in this house, why is it that only one handles the house maintenance? Honestly...one of these people isn't working so he could do a lot more to help keep the house in order but he chooses to spend his time playing on his computer and watching TV. And I know my husband works a lot...but so do I. When he gets home he sits down in front of the TV, turns on NCIS, and stays there until time for bed. I bring him his dinner, he eats, and goes back to the TV. Meanwhile I take care of the stuff listed above.

It is any wonder that I am frustrated with my home life? I am just getting so tired of being the gardener, the maid, the accountant, and the chef. I know this may be a bit on the personal side, but there are no marital relations taking place either. I have tried initiating things and honestly he fell asleep the last time I tried.

I am the only Muslim in my house. My husband and father-in-law are both Christians. Perhaps I am looking at things differently than they are partly because of our religious differences. I have tried talking with my husband about the situation. We actually got into a very heated discussion on my way home from work on Wednesday afternoon about this. I'd called him at work to talk for a moment and brought up his father's laziness. What did my husband do? The same thing he always does...defends his dad's actions and makes me out to be the bad guy. I also have asked my husband repeatedly to help me accomplish things around the house. One person cannot keep up with the mess of three adults plus a three yard old. It's insane how much needs to be done to maintain a tidy home when more people make messes than are cleaning them up. Every time he says the same thing..."Yes, I'm sorry and I'll help you more often." The change of heart lasts for about two days before he goes right back into his old ways.

Last night for example, I got home from work. His truck was parked on the street because I park close to the house. Fridays are trash pick up day in our neighborhood. That meant he had to walk right past the empty trash can on his way down the driveway. He could have easily grabbed the can and rolled it down the driveway on his way to the house. But no...he walked right past it and left it there. So when I got home I had to go get it. I know that's really not that big a of a deal, but all of these little things add up over time.

I have talked with my mom about my frustrations at home several times. This week she volunteered to let me and my daughter move back in with her if things got too bad. That's not what I want. I want my family to work. Still, she asked me a very valid question. "How long are you going to be able to handle it before you say enough's enough?"

I am just going to have to turn this problem over to Allah. If I am meant to be here, I pray that He will make things better for us at home. And if I am not meant to be here, I pray He will make such a transition easy. At this point it's in His hands.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

May Allah Grant Me Patience...But HURRY!

Patience is something that I am short of in my life. Does Allah test us to see if we can handle something? I am beginning to think so. "That time of the month" started today...which meant I was much more irritable than usual. My husband is having issues with performing his duties effectively at his job which could potentially lead to his termination if he doesn't get his act together. My father-in-law (who lives with us) has no job but is looking. Insha'Allah something will come through for him soon. Because of this, finances are extremely tight in our household. It bothers me when the time comes to pay a bill and I have to decide between buying groceries or paying the bill. The money situation isn't new to us though.

Today though I developed a migraine while at work. Once "that time of the month" started though I went and got a snack. Still, my head didn't get better. I took some Imitrex when I got home though and am on the road to recovery. But when I got to my daughter's day care I was told that there were two incident reports that I needed to sign in the office. Biting. Good grief! She bit two little boys today because they wouldn't give her a toy that they were already playing with. My little girl has a temper...kind of like her Mama. (Mama doesn't bite though.)She also did this earlier this week with another two little boys. So...four incident reports this week! What's the deal?

I was already irritable due to my little monthly "friend" showing up. I was irritated because of the financial difficulties we are under. And then my three year is biting...again. I was ticked. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I snapped at her in the day care. She started crying. I picked her up, put her in her car seat, and told her that she knew better than to bite people...in a raised voice. She cried the whole way home and I ended up not talking the rest of the way home. When we got home I decided that I wouldn't allow her to watch TV tonight. I fixed her dinner, she ate, got her bathed, and she's now in bed. She didn't put up a fight at all even though she was in bed by 6:45PM. She knew Mama was mad at her.

I am rapidly running out of patience with this biting thing. I didn't bite. No one else in my family bit other kids. Why is she doing this? (If any of you folks have experience with kids who bite and successfully got them to stop, please please do share your secrets!)The day care is going to actually pull her out of her class and put her back into the 2 year old class until she learns that she is not allowed to bite other kids.

May Allah grant me patience. But hurry!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fasting

Asalamu alaikum everyone! I tell you, fasting is extremely difficult for new Muslims. I haven't made it through an entire day yet. I have tried. Perhaps I am doing something wrong. I know that part of it is the American culture. Everything we do here seems to revolve around food. Business meetings, weddings, funerals, celebrations, etc. There's food everywhere. No wonder we as a nation are obese. When we're happy, we eat. When we're sad, we eat.

Monday started out very well but I don't think I drank enough before Fajr. By noon I had a splitting headache and by 2:20PM I gave in and had a bowl of oatmeal. My boss certainly thought it was weird that I was eating oatmeal in the middle of the afternoon! I also drank a glass of water. The headache still didn't go away. I ended up staying home on Tuesday, and thus not even attempting to fast. Wednesday I tried again but a co-worker brought me a piece of lemon cake that she'd baked. To be polite (and because no one in my office knows about me being a Muslim) I ate it. So there went Wednesday's fast. Thursday I don't know why but I didn't even try that day. And Friday was our monthly sales meeting. The office provides breakfast and lunch for everyone on sales meeting days. Again because no one in the office knows I am Muslim, I ate. So I have an entire week to make up now! Inshallah my strength in fasting will be better next week. Of course, right now I am watching the Food Network and that REALLY doesn't help me to want to fast either. It's my favorite channel and I should probably start avoiding it during Ramadan.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Reversion to Islam

Asalamu alaikum everyone reading this! Ramadan Mubarak to all as well! This is the perfect time for me to share how I got to this point in my life. I live in Georgia. Georgia is a lovely state. Still, there are many prejudices that must be overcome here in the Deep South. Although not as prevalent as it once was, there is still racism, sexism, and prejudice against non-Christian religions down here. You may be wondering how did a white, middle class, Southern gal end up reverting to Islam. I want to share my story with you in hopes that others who may be struggling with the religious issues that I struggled with may learn what I have learned.


My mother was raised in a home that bounced back and forth from the Methodist church to the Baptist church. My dad never attended church except for weddings or funerals. They never went to church together as a couple either. After I was born and my dad got out of the military we settled in a small town called Cliftondale, Georgia. It's very small. When we moved there people had the choice of three Baptist churches and a Methodist church if you wanted to go to church. Neither of my parents went. I was attending day care and met a lady who came once a week to teach us Bible stories and sing songs about God and Jesus. Her name was Miss Ruth and she's the one who taught me that there was something out there besides ourselves. I remember her saying that in order to be saved that all I had to do was accept Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior and I'd go to Heaven. That sounded simple enough to my five year old mind so I closed my eyes and asked Jesus to come into my heart. When I opened my eyes I didn't feel any different. There were no trumpets sounding or cheering of angels or anything like that. I was still me. But supposedly I was now saved from the fires of Hell.

I started going to the church with my best friend at the time. Her parents went to the largest of the three Baptist churches so that's where we went. We went to an hour of Sunday School where we would learn stories from the Bible. Then we'd go to the sanctuary, hear the choir, and listen to the preacher preach for an hour about a passage in the Bible. I began to hear things that confused me. For example, the church taught that there is only one God, yet we were supposed to accept Jesus and something called the Holy Spirit as other aspects of God but yet they were still just one being, God but as a Trinity. That made no sense to me at all! How can there be only one God and yet that God be split into three equal but separate beings? My parents bought me a Bible for Christmas one year and I began reading. My reading led me to have questions. I went to the preacher to ask him some of my questions. Rather than showing me where the answers in the Bible were, he would just say, "Read the Bible because the answers are in there" or "Pray about it and the answer will come to you." I got tired of not being able to find answers at church for my questions. I eventually stopped going to that church and began to go elsewhere. I tried one of the other Baptist churches in town and the Methodist church.

We moved to Sharpsburg, Georgia in 1992. I had stopped going to church for a while out of frustration of not being able to find the answers that I was seeking. I started dating a guy named Nick and began going to a non-denominational church with him and his family. After nick and I ended our relationship I began going to other churches in my area. I had a wider range of churches to choose from down here. Throughout high school and early college I attended Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Church of God, Church of Christ, Lutheran, Catholic, non-denominational, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon). Of all of the Christian denominations I found that I was most comfortable with the Mormon church. I had friends there from school and many of my questions had answers in the Book of Mormon. I joined the church near the end of high school but after joining I began to learn things about the church that didn't make sense Biblically. I also started dating a guy who despised my church. I ended up leaving the church for him and married him.

The short version was that the marriage was a fallacy. He and I wanted different things. Things eventually got so bad that I filed for divorce and ran as far away as I possibly could go. I ended up in North Dakota with an internet friend. I ended up marrying this internet friend a year after moving there. This guy was a Pagan and I converted to Paganism along with him. I figured since I couldn't find the answers that I sought in Christianity that I'd look in non-Christian religions. I began to be dissatisfied with Paganism as well. I didn't feel any connection to the supposed gods that we were worshiping at all. I got online and started looking around at different religions again.

I came across a message board called WhyIslam. I created an account and began reading and posting. A friend at work gave me a copy of the Quran and I began reading it. When I had questions I could go post on the message board and usually within 24 hours someone would come back with more information to help me understand what I'd read. I began to feel a change within me. Islam was nothing like what the media portrayed. It wasn't full of terrorists. Sure there were a few crazies that we Muslims but there are lots of crazies who are Christians too. There's nut jobs in every religion. The more I read the more peaceful I felt inside. With the help of two people from the message board I took Shahadah on the phone and became a Muslim.

Several months after I reverted to Islam by husband and I began to have issues. He was upset because I wasn't Pagan anymore and thought that my wearing hijab was not a good thing. Even though I'd only wear hijab in the car he didn't want me wearing it at all. We argued about religion off and on. He was fine as long as I followed his religion, but wasn't allowed to follow my own. I tried to compromise by continuing to participate in his rituals and wanted to pray on my own but he didn't like me praying. Eventually it became too much. I posted some harsh things on the message board and left Islam.

The marriage only lasted a couple of years more before I moved back to Georgia and left him. I began seeing Nick again and we are now married. I should never have left him in high school. I won't be making that mistake again! He knows about my interest in Islam but doesn't know that I have reverted, which I did online a couple of weeks ago. I will tell my family in time, but want them to see how Islam has made a positive change in my life before inshallah I let them know.

I have returned to the WhyIslam message board and to another called IslamFactor. I have met a lot of really great people on both boards and on Facebook as well. I am looking forward to continuing to learn about Islam, reading all of the Quran, and becoming a better Muslim so that I will please Allah. That's what it's all about really. What does He want and how can I best serve Him? I believe i can do that by being Muslim and living the way He wants me to live.

I reverted right before Ramadan, so this is a very interesting month for me to be a new Muslimah! There's a LOT to learn but I am enjoying learning!