An Unlikely Muslimah

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I sometimes feel frustrated with all of this. In the spirit of sharing the good, the bad and the ugly – it hit me big the other day. Not surprizingly it came right when I was feeling calm, in the rhythm of things, and as if I was rising above it all.

The details of what happened are not that interesting. Suffice to say I became irritated, and I was snapping at people, feeling sad to be by myself, and frustrated with everything that I am still struggling with on this path.

And most of all, I felt like I was failing at Ramadan! Just a week into my first Ramadan and I was not being nice and kind, and I had lost my perspective.

Its times like these I think, how crazy is this?!?! How can I be Muslim? Not that I think Islam is crazy. I think Islam is the most logical and common sense choice in the world, and converting is the smartest thing I have ever done.

But when I was making the decision to follow Islam and during my times of frustration – like the other day – it hits me that I am a western career woman of middle age (though I certainly don’t feel old!) with no husband or children, and 6,000 miles from my family.

Thus, with the wonderful and strong emphasis on family and community in Islam, I wonder, “What am I doing? How can someone like me ever really be part of the Ummah? And how will I ever learn everything I am supposed to learn?”

As usual, I then stop, take a breathe and remember that Islam embraces anyone who chooses the straight path, and believes in one God, Allah (SWT), and Muhammad (SAW) as his messenger.

And it occurred to me that my own predjudices and pre-conceived notions of what a Muslimah is supposed to be – or, more precisely, what kind of Muslimah I am supposed to be – are probably the biggest barriers on my journey in Islam. I have to remember what others have said to me, “Be patient, keep learning and be yourself.”

So I will always keep trying. An unlikely Muslimah perhaps, but happy to be trying.

26 responses

  1. Oh! Yes! Do keep trying. I have been blessed with finding a supportive study group at a local masjid recently, but I have no Muslim family, including my husband. It is…uhm…not quite lonely, per se…but certainly a challenge.

    Don’t give up sister.

    • Assalaamu alaikum. Thank you for the words of support. And wow, I am impressed that you do everything you do though your husband is not Muslim. I will make du’a for both of us!

  2. Salams sis! It can get frustrating and kind of confusing sometimes. Just take it slow, and try to enjoy your spirituality. Any one of us who believes in God struggles in one way or another when trying to please Him regardless of our background, how long we have believed in Him, ect. Just enjoy the new potential ways of getting closer to Him.. even the smallest things may be big according to Him. Allah knows best.

    • Salams! Thank you as always for the support. It is comforting to know we all go through the same thing from time to time. My friend always tells me that those bad days are just ‘a test’ and to keep moving towards Allah.

      • wasalam! we all definitely go through tests, but no one is perfect.. if someone seems to be ‘perfect’ in their faith then that’s just an illusion because that doesn’t exist on this planet. πŸ˜‰ How is fasting going?

      • Salams! The fasting is going well, if that is not too odd to say. πŸ™‚ I am enjoying it actually. It puts not just order into my day, but mindfulness. But still odd to think I will be doing this for 20 more days. Hope you are having a wonderful Ramadan!

  3. We are all victims to this kind of roller coaster ups/downs of emotions from time to time – irrespective of our background and our social/communal attachments.
    Sister – do not let it overwhelm you…let it pass without giving it too much importance or allowing it to play in your mind.
    I had heard a series of lectures on “How to end Negative Suffering” delivered by Brother Khalil Jaffer that helped me tremendously when I was going thru a personal crisis in my life many years ago. It gave me the absolute boast of Life and indeed my Imaan. Since then I confess I would have heard it a dozen times whenever I felt low or down.
    Thats my 2 pence

  4. Thank you for visiting my blog, and welcome to the Ummah! I quite like the sound of ‘an unlikely Muslimah’! I remember my own frustration at the beginning of my journey when I couldn’t find Muslims who were anything like me – except for one good but faraway friend. But in retrospect I realise it was a blessing. The isolation gave me a sense of independence in my relationship with Allah that has been invaluable long-term. And I did eventually make some wonderful Muslim friends. Companionship, knowledge and a sense of belonging will come in time, insh’Allah but having the space to develop your individual, personal connection with Allah is valuable too. Keep on keepin’ on!

    • Thank you for visiting and the words of support. (I love your blog!) You make a great point, I have been able to do a lot of reading and studying, and really focusing on building a dialogue / relationship with Allah. I will keep on! Thank you!

  5. Hello. I really enjoyed reading your blog today, as I feel I’ve been going through the very same thing. Trust in following your heart and being your lovely self. It’s between you and Allah…<3

    • Salam sister. I am so glad you visited and it helped. Masha Allah. I struggled to post it to actually but I promised to use this blog as a space to be open and honest. Take care and stay strong! And I so appreciate the support.

  6. Salam! Thanks for visiting my blog (Words Across Borders). I’ve been reading a bit of yours and I really like it, especially the “Unlikely Muslimah” title. I definitely fit into that category, and I’ve been a Muslim living in a Muslim country for most of my life. Forget the judgements, and expectations that you place on yourself because of what you think is supposed to be. At the end of the day, Allah will judge us, not anyone else. We’re all in the same boat here πŸ˜‰

    • It is interesting- when I first converted I thought how lucky born Muslims were. Not that I still don’t think that, more that I see now that we all have similar challenges and struggles. Thank you for the support. It means a lot. πŸ™‚

  7. Salam Sister,

    Are you still in Dubai? When you get back to the states, try to move closer to a community with a lot of Muslims. The best way to integrate into a community is through the Masjid. Volunteer, that way you will get to know a lot of people and maybe some like you who are going through similar struggles. You need a support group, its the key whether you are a revert or a born Muslim. I’ve always had a good group of Muslim friends growing up and they are still my best friends. They have helped me stay on the path.

    Read the Ramadan Reflections by Imam Khalid :

    You can probably relate to this one:

    Also, join Al Maghrib. It will be a great opportunity for you to meet other Muslims and also learn more about Islam academically.

    This life is a struggle, and whether we still stay on the path while fighting our battles is our test. Everyone has their own battles and this is yours, so understand that you are NOT ALONE.

    Take Care, and you can message me anytime if you ever want to talk πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! I love getting suggested reading material! I looking forward to looking through everything.

      I am still in Dubai, my last day in fact. I have had a great time but am looking forward to going home. And then I begin preparing for my move to London where I hope to do exactly as you suggest: find a Masjid and a community of Muslim friends. I am very excited!

      And I will look into the Huff Post suggestion. I have been enjoying reading the various posts on Ramadan.

      And I may take you up on your offer and contact you for advice when I am in London and trying to select a Masjid. πŸ™‚

      I hope you are enjoying Ramadan. Thank you again!

  8. Asalaamualaikum, Ramadan Mubarak, hugs, handshakes, and “welcome”. As others have said, even “born” muslims go through ups and downs, iman goes up and down. Everyone needs to find their own rhythm and beat their own little drums. Its a special set of challenges for those of us who convert. The initial over zealousness of the community excitement wears off, even if you find a community. The random questions of: HOW did you become a muslim?: don’t appear to ever cease. is a lovely website, a virtual mosque of sorts. He also has a page on fb if you are into fb. As a convert, he has gone through a lot of things we have. Once back in the UK, finding a supportive, key word supportive, community is a good idea, or at least a few sisters with whom you can connect. If you ever need to talk I am more than happy to chat. πŸ™‚ your sister in islam

    • I am very much looking forward to my moving to the UK. But trying not to put too high expectations as well. I just want to keep learning, find a Mosque and find at least a couple Muslims friends to start. Still a tall order. But I am hoping by just taking things as they come and keep reaching out, I will find the support you describe. And I hope you don’t mind if I take you up on your offer!

      I have to say I feel I am already building a community online. I never thought I would be the person to do that – connect with people online I did not know personally – but many of the people I have met are quite amazing and generous.

      So thank you! (And I loved your latest post. β€œNothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us.”)

  9. The beauty of Islam is that it’s for everyone of all circumstances and backgrounds. It will always be a unique journey for every Muslim and therefore don’t bog yourself about what you’re not doing but focus on trying to do what you currently do well and then slowly slowly add other aspects of worship on. Allah sees all that you do and He acknowledges all your efforts. He is loving and loves all that you do for Him and the ummah.

    • Thank you. I know that sometimes I can be my own worst enemy – with high or artificial expectations. I don’t necessarily want to discard the high expectations, but need more patience. I appreciate the advice greatly. Alhamdulilah.

    • I love that thought! Thank you.

      Fasting is going well. Can’t believe we are nearly three weeks into Ramadan. I am looking forward to the last 10 days.

      And thank you for the article.

  10. No worries, dear sister. Every Muslim goes thru the same emotional ups and downs in ramadhan, especially during the first week. by realizing that you are not handling it well enough in itself is a blessing from allah. it reminds you to try harder and He is indeed with you, always.

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