It has been a long time since I updated this blog, for me I have to say I have been a struggling new muslimah. There is much to the deen and I think I was trying to take it all on too fast and when you do it in a place where there is no support it takes so much more.
I have had no one to teach me, mentor me, lead me, only Allah. I am thankful that I know in my heart Allah never leaves alone in this struggle. I think he also understands mine. I try to balance the West and Islam. How it will turn out I am unsure.
I know I believe in one God, one Allah, with all my heart but I have had to take a step back because Iam so unsure. Did I embrace Islam going toward something or as an escape? I have gone back to my own roots in the bible, because I need to read it with newer eyes, I need to look at the bigger picture of faith.I am also still reading the quaran.
As for daily salat, yes I am praying. As for halal? Well here in Rural Nova Scotia it is hard, as for hijab, for me I am realizing it is more then a scarf, it is a change of heart and way, that is not easy to embrace when you are the only woman in town.
Really I wish I had one sister here that I could share with, learn with, hash things out with but that is not possible I know.
I have started blogging again but instead of my story of my journey into the deen, it is more the story of my life a single parent in Canada, trying to be frugal, make sense and save sense. Faith wise it is written from one that I think any woman of any faith could understand. If you wish to visit me there please do. I can be found at http://www.commoncentsmom.com.
Well here it is my very first Eid and guess where I sit? At home instead of at Eid prayers. Today here in Nova Scotia we are having very bad weather. All the schools are closed as is our local community college. We got just enough snow to cause problems, what is worse though in the gusting winds that run up to 8o km an hr.
So what are we going to do this first Eid. Well my dear daughter has opened her Eid present. I got her a board game, so maybe we will play that. My daughter will probably wear her new abaya around the house and I’m wearing a new scarf. For food lets see I think I will make up some of my daughters favorites…all Canadian of course.
I am feelig a bit disappointed because I was so looking forward to praying in congregation. I really wanted to feel apart of this Muslim community to which I now belong. So here I sit instead, perhaps I will go and visit some blogs this morning so I can feel the spirit of Islam that I can find here online.
Yesterday I was at work and I got a phone call from my dear daughter, she was in tears. She was in a fight after school. Basically two of the young female bullies in the school decided to beat her on the way home. What made this worse was the gang setting in which in happened. There were at least 6 other young students there encouraging it. My daughter is covered in bruises that will probably leave her sore for many days. I am thankful though that I have her here with me. Allah protected her enough that she got home.
I came rushing home, first to check on her. Then I contacted the principal of her school. I am not too sure how much he can do because the incident happened off school property. But he did say that the students involved would be spoken to. Then I took it one step further after talking to a few of my neighbours and seeing the extent of her injuries. I called the police. They came took a report, and said they would contact each parent. Because of the age of the children ( ages 10-12) there is little that could be done.
What would you do if your child came home beaten and bruised?
Here in rural Nova Scotia, I am told the youth violence, youth crime and drug usage are on the rise. Is small town living really the better way? It seems there is no programs, or when there is it is hodge podge so youth are lost between the cracks. I certainly don’t want to get to that point with mine.
I think I am learning this new faith of mine:Islam. For me the transition from one faith to another sure has some bumps in the road. Some suggestions for those who are doing the same:
- try to do so it a community of believers who can nurture you. Doing it on your own as I am doing is a very difficult road. I am finding that I have many questions and the Internet is not the best place for answers.
- give your family time to adjust to the changes in you. Don’t expect them to be happy about it over night. Remember they knew you when.
- give yourself time. You don’t have to be perfect over night. I am thankful that Allah is kind and full of mercies.
- dont become a I know it person, seek advice, counsel and want to learn more and more.
- get a mentor: have somebody in your life you can turn to when you have questions or need advice.
For me so far these things are working. For me the hardest part of this walk for me is the isolation from a community that think the same as I do, that could nurture me, being a lone single in small town Canada is hard. Now I am off to Rocks in My Dryer to see what works for other people in their lives.
When it comes to stewardship of what I have I think I do pretty good, and I think I am even better when it comes to how to save money. First I love vintage and second hand. For me I can often find a great item that we need or want at a great price. Off of Freecycle I have scored big several times from things like : a breadmaker that was never even used, a comfy fouton that was a great bed for me when I lived in Toronto, to my computer desk and entertainment centers. All of these I got for FREE. Who doesnt like free? When I am really hunting for something specific I have often turned to Craigslist and Kijiji. For me I can often find what I am looking for at a great price. Right now I am looking for 3 things: a guitar ( for my dear daughter), plus size abayas, and a bidet….who knows I just may find them off a list, I have found everything else there. From clothes for my daughter to books to skates. Now I am off to my friend Shannon over at Rocks In My Dryer to see what is working for them.
More and more as I learn about this new faith that I have embraced I see so many things that I have not left behind as I leave the Mormon faith ( The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). Really there are many similarities.
Here are some:
- I still believe in prophets, just no longer in a current one, or in Joesph Smith. I follow the teaching of one who lived long ago, and brought us the Quran. His name is Mohammed(PBUH).
- I believe still in revealed scripture, but my Book of Mormon has been replaced with my Quran.
- I still follow dietary rules. But instead of the Word of Wisdom (no tea, coffee, alcohol, drugs, smoking) I eat halal(slaughtered properly), stay away from pork, and don’t drink alcohol or smoke.
- I still believe family is very important as believe that women and men have defined roles in life.
- I still believe all people have the right to choose religion. We are not about compulsion.
- I still follow time entrenched rituals. But my temple attendance and garment have been replaced with my prayer mat and praying 5 times a day.
- I still dress modestly. In fact now I cover more. Before I was covering the signs of my faith ( the garment). Now I cover me. I wear my hijab and long clothes knowing that I am doing what is right.
- I still believe that when it comes to the bible that not all of it is correct.
- I still give. My tithe has been replaced with Zakat.
- I still pray. Now I pray more and enjoy the direct connection to the Creator and Father of All. \
I have been learning much as I embrace this new faith of mine, doing so in iolation of being a country girl has its challenges but Allah has been aiding me each step of the way. I am learning that in Mormonism I was given a foundation that would later help me embrace this faith of mine. Was Mormonism wrong? For me, yes, for others it is there faith and just like the one I live today they live and act on thier faith hour by hour, day by day.
Last night my daughter who is 11 came home last night and told me that her teacher introduced a book in class as there next major chapter book to be read as a class. The book follows the life of one young Muslim girl in Afghanistan. So Rachel shared with her class that we are Muslim, she also said she would bring things from home that Muslims use. So she came to me and asked me if she could bring my prayer rug ( I only have one.) and a couple of my different style hijabs. I said yes.
So this morning she asked if she could wear her hijab to school. This is a first! My daughter likes hijab but was fearful of wearing it to school. She is only Muslim female student in town. So today when she asked I was quick to say Yes. So she picked her pink hijab and wore it to school. I was so proud!
She came home from lunch to tell me her morning had gone well. She had a chance to show the class how one would use a prayer rug, what wudu is, and why a Muslim woman wears hijab. She said her classmates were very interested.
Tonight I got a call from her teacher telling me that my dear daughter had done an amazing job and brought what it was like to be a muslim child to life for her class. She asked if I could send in any more resources about Islam that I thought the class would enjoy. I said I would if I could think of things that would benefit them. So if you had a chance to share Islam with a group of 10 and 11 year olds what would you share?
For me I am so proud of my daughter as a new muslimah that she shared her faith with her class. Oh and as this book will take them all through the month of November and Early Dec, the teacher wants Rachel to teach about Eid (something Rachel has yet to celebrate herself yet) so I guess I better get looking for resources on teaching her about the upcoming Eid.