Friday, June 20, 2014

Ramadan Emotions

I've been feeling pretty down today, I'm guessing it's a mix of pregnancy hormones and situations that exacerbate those pregnancy hormones. This pregnancy has been rough, people have died, family has been strained and aside from the people underneath our roof, I haven't found too many people that are happy I'm carrying this little life inside me. Maybe Muslims just have too many kids and no one cares, this is our third baby inshAllah and maybe this is just normal. I really wanted this pregnancy to be enjoyable and peaceful, it's been a struggle but mashAllah through most of it I've remained pretty calm. Today though, I just can't wait any longer for October, I want nothing more than a healthy baby in my arms inshAllah.

Sometimes it's the small things that cause the biggest emotions. Today I picked up my daughter early from school, being that it's a Friday I wanted to go before the Mosque parking lot got too busy. Seeing more cars there already brought on the reality that I don't feel welcome in the Mosque, despite wanting to attend, I know there will be something that will upset me, someone will do something that I mentioned on that list from yesterday causing me to be angry. The last time I prayed at this Mosque, it was a games day. It was disappointing, just because my husband was volunteering for the event I was accused of cheating. I swear I still to this day cannot use the dishes that I won and will be selling them at the next garage sale. Women in the prayer area were talking throughout the khutba and everyone was in their own cultural group. The few people who talked to me asked me all about me and for my phone number, they never called and I honestly felt so emotionally violated. The truly sad thing is that none of those women knew that this was my first time in that Mosque and they pushed me away for the foreseeable future. Things rarely change in the Muslim community here and every time I feel sad about being the black sheep I try to remind myself that I'm really not missing out on anything good. Islamic education can be found in books and while cautiously looking online. The only thing I'm missing out on, and I assume I'm not alone here is the real felling of sisterhood, if in fact it does exist.

Ramadan has always been a difficult time for me. Not the physical aspect, but the emotional aspect. When I became Muslim I was young, my husband was young and we were both working very long hours. I had two jobs during one of those Ramadans leaving me little time to think about breaking my fast with other Muslims, attending taraweeh prayers or involving myself in any halaqas. Most of the time I was either working, on a bus going to and from work or too tired to think about anything but sleep. Breaking my fast consisted of me going to the mall to get some real fruit bubble tea and a bagel. My husband had his own work schedule and we didn't see too much of each other during that Ramadan. It wasn't until after my first couple of Ramadans that I started to wonder why if community iftars and attending taraweeh are so important, then why was I never invited to these things? I still ask myself this question, especially during Ramadan, most of the time I try not to think about it, because it does get me down, I'm not one of those A personalities that pushes my way in no matter what people think....although sometimes I wish I had that strength.

I don't know what makes me different, I've seen some new Muslims be welcomed with open arms, but for me, since day one I have always had this feeling of being pushed away. I'm guessing by now though, I'm just damaged goods, so to speak. Despite feeling down about Ramadan right now, and knowing I'll be spending it alone I'll be inshAllah working on a lot of taqwa building activities. InshAllah I really pray that this month of mercy will show me mercy and will benefit all Muslims around the world. May Allah SWT forgive me and the woman whose reaction to me today brought about this post. Ameen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Red Flag Muslims

When you first become Muslim it's really easy to fall into the idea that every other Muslim out there wants to support you and genuinely wants what's best for you. Over the years I've learnt that this is rarely the case. My high expectations of Muslims very early on lead to far too many disappointments. I wish I hadn't had those expectations. Even more so, I wish that someone would have given me a reality check early on, so that instead of focusing on other Muslims and trying to be part of the crowd, I could have used that energy to focus more on Islam. So here is my list of personalities that should raise red flags.

If someone:

-Talks with you when they are alone, but then completely ignores you when they are with their
-Says to you after meeting them for the first time what you should not do or what you have to
-Constantly criticizes
-Refuses to recognize/treat you as a Muslim (not saying salam etc)
-Tells you that you must make friends of your husband's
-Asks personal questions after only just meeting you, don't answer....just run.
-Who never talked to you suddenly shows interest because you are pregnant, new to hijab
-Brags about how wonderful they are, chances are they aren'
-Openly judges other Muslims, in front of those
-Constantly asks you for favours, but is never there when you need a little help...please run.
-Knows you are a new Muslim and never invites you to a Mosque or a halaqa with
-Compares your clothing with theirs or your hijab with theirs in a negative
-Invites you to their home (they usually say inshAllah, abusing the word) and never bothers to tell you where they live or give you their phone number, or take
-Abandons you when you really need help...take refuge in Allah SWT and run from that person.

As Muslims, especially new ones, we are taught that distrusting another Muslim is wrong and they deserve 70 excuses for what they do. We are human, Allah SWT sent down the Quran to teach us the best way to live in this life, so that we can be successful in the afterlife. As humans we don't always do what is right and it is up to each person to be aware of what is Islamically right and wrong. Far too often converts are taken advantage of because, lets face it we are more vulnerable than those who have been Muslim all their life. Many of us are still learning, and our learning continues for years and years. Although it may not always be possible it is important to surround ourselves with other Muslims who offer encouragement, understanding and most of all respect. Just because we weren't born into Islam, does not make us any less of a Muslim, anyone who says or treats you otherwise is arrogant and ignorant of their religion. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone, many people have gone through their share of struggles in dealing with other Muslims. Some of us have been successful, while others' sadly have been conquered and left Islam entirely. Be strong and have confidence in yourself, don't let anyone bring you down.