Blessed and Happy

Assalamu alaikum

As you can see, I have not written in quite a while. Mostly because I have been getting on with life and haven’t felt I had much to say.

Since my last post I have – with mixed emotions – moved back to Switzerland. But that is a whole other story and probably not one for this blog.

I am coming back to this blog because I realised in the past months that I reached my three-year mark – three years since I said my shahada. In fact, it has now been nearly three and a half years and I still remember everything about that night.

When I first I reverted, I often read that a large number of reverts leave within three years. In an early blog I asked the question of why this was and how to stop it. 

When I first wrote that blog I hoped that by this time I would have a large Muslim community surrounding me, and I feared that I would be part of that statistic of those who left.

In truth, it is neither. I have a couple Muslim friends as well as a few non-Muslim friends from my ‘old’ life. There are many friends and family who know of my conversion and others that don’t – sometimes because it simply has not come up and sometimes because I still fear how it may impact them.

In the first couple of years sometimes it all felt very alien to me. It was awkward going to pray at the Mosque. I did not recognise myself when I was wearing hijab. I missed some of the fun I used to have – not enough to really tempt me, but I missed just how easy it used to be to let go and escape from the pressures and stress of the day-to-day with a glass of prosecco. In work meetings I wanted to stand up and tell them I was Muslim – for no real reason other than to make it real for me.

As noted in several earlier blogs, I didn’t know how exactly I would fit in to the Muslim community being white, American, middle-aged, and unmarried with no children. How would I relate and what could I contribute?

Though my Muslim friends would look at me with impatience when I told them this, because the things I struggled with were the same things with which they struggled, ultimately is was just time (and prayer!) that helped me to adjust. I learned to breathe again and just be me.

I continue to struggle with always completing all my daily prayers, finding the right clothes, and continuing my studies – I’ve learned tajweed but still know little to no Arabic.

I also struggle with everything that is going on in the news. I feel like the craziness is escalating and I don’t know what to do. I am outraged and worried about the discrimination and the violence. However, there are so many others who write more eloquently on these topics than myself.

There is no question that there are key people who have anchored and supported me in the past years, and being in London – a more Muslim friendly environment than Switzerland – helped me to explore Islam and simply ‘be’ Muslim.

However, I have never forgotten that ultimately this is between me and Allah (swt), regardless of where I was or who I was with.

While I still have so much to learn and understand, and I still feel awkward and unsure among large groups of those who grew up Muslim, I am blessed and happy to be Muslim. It is still simply who I am.

7 responses

  1. Selamualeykum ,

    It feels good to read your words again. As a born Muslim myself and living in the US I never thought the world would come to this. I just feel Islam has been hijacked and the world will never be the same again. It’s hard for me to even imagine being in a country like Switzerland from what I’m seeing in the headlines. I’ve never been to any European country and having a Muslim name I would never be welcome there even if I were to go there . I’m feeling the negativity coming from neighbors and coworkers as a Muslim male ……hard to imagine what females wearing hijabs must be going thru. I’ve lived in the US my entire life and I just think every non-muslim is against me. It feels worse than 9/11 at times. Perhaps this is a test of faith for all of us who try to manage our time on this planet and pray. What keeps me going is my core belief in almighty Allah who has given me the opportunity to be here now….a chance to redeem myself from my past mistakes. It all comes down to prayer for me and striving to put my best foot forward and never look back…..yes we all need to see the light ahead of us. May Allah guide all of us in this trying time of uncertainty.

    • Wa alaikum salam. Very good to read your words as well. I think you express it so perfectly – Islam has been hijacked. I am not sure it is any better in the US versus Europe, and I am not sure where this is all heading. But as you say, perhaps this is a test for us. Please keep praying and putting your best foot forward. This must all be leading us somewhere.

  2. Asalaam o alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu,
    Islam is a bouquet of flowers that not everyone can keep fresh, or avail of the fragrance amongst all the other odors.
    It is a struggle for all of us reverts, born muslims, etc. The struggles are different, some are apparent and obvious others are hidden to the casual passerby.
    Someone once asked Imam Shafi ( I think) on observing his diligence in ebadah and his writings “when will you relax” The Imam said ” when I set my first foot in Jannah”
    I have muslim family in Switzerland, let me know by email where you live and if you would like to connect with them?
    I have a mixed family of born muslims and reverts:)
    May Allah always strengthen you with emaan and taqwa.

    • Wa alaikum salam. Thank you so much for the words of understanding and encouragement. And I am so sorry it took so long for me to post your comment and then to respond to it. If it is not too much trouble, it would be nice to meet other Muslims here in Switzerland if it should work out. I travel quite a bit in my job but I am here on weekends some of the time. It is best to reach me at californiahijab@gmail.com. (I am sure you don’t want to post your family details on the blog. :-))

      I hope you had a wonderful Ramadan and Eid.

  3. Assalamualaikum sister

    I too have long abandoned my blog. I was checking it today and found that I’ve followed your blog a few years ago.

    For my case, my conversion has gone for a bit longer, yet I still struggle with it. Only a few friends, Muslim and not know about me being Muslim. In fact so much of what you write here resonates with me.

    Sometimes I feel like I am just holding on to the very bare minimum of what makes a Muslim: the prayer. It is said the line between belief and disbelief is the prayer.

    There is an online group on Facebook that has become the most convert-friendly group I’ve ever been on. I can refer you to be a member if you are interested.

    • Wa alaikum salam. I am so glad my experience resonates with you. And I really relate to ‘holding on to the bare minimum’ of what makes a Muslim.

      I am not on facebook very often but would love to find another resource for reverts.

      I hope you keep holding on to the straight path. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. And I hope that you come back to your blog at some point, but I really understand how challenging it can be to stay with it and think about what it is valuable to write.

      How was your Ramadan and Eid? Did you spend it alone?

      All the best,
      Cali

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