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.
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.
One of the lessons I have learned in this last year as I have journeyed into Islam, is that there is much that is shared by Islam and the rest of the religirous world. First like Jews and Christians we beleive in one God…one no other. For me that offers me a direct connection.
Second like Christians we accept the writing of all the early prophets, and we use the gospels as well, most people don’t realize that these are accepted to Muslims as scripture. WE call those that follow them “People of the Book”.
For me many of my favorite verses are in the Psalms. For years I was a young woman of the book. I attended seminary, I worked hard to learn my faith yet it left me yearning more and for me I found what I needed in the Quran. For me it brought me to God, to Allah. Do I think those that follow the book wrong?
Maybe, maybe lam, but as is said in the Quran Islam is not a faith of compulsion. People of the Book and Muslims in the old days for several centuries were able to live in peace, and understanding. So it hurts when I see such a lack of understanding and teaching, For me I pray for more one on one dialog, more one on one understanding, and then perhaps we can get to what I think God would want, living side by side in peace…all of us worshiping one God.
Here last night I ended up walking home in the rain. I left work about 30 minutes late as I took a customer’s call just before I was supposed to leave and guess what? It was the longest call of the day. As I walked home I couldn’t help but think of the rain and how hard the day had been and it really had been.
Then I was drawn to thoughts of how Allah prepares us for rain storms. Whether it is simply a bad day, with the daily storms that can come such as long calls, harsh customers, a child who isn’t doing what you thought they would be, all of those little storms Allah prepares us for. My faith teaches me patience and turning to Him in prayer. I tend to do this alot when I am getting discouraged with the daily grind. My faith also teaches me to look for the good in the rain, and I can usually find something good in each moment no matter how hard like learning something new or that I can use in the future.
Then there are the bigger storms that come, like after I got home I could here the winds pick up, I could hear the rain harshly beating on my windows. I can look out this morning and see damage from this rain storm, and then I thought sometimes in our lives the storms do come. For me the major storms in my life have been the loss of all my material possessions in a fire, the destruction of a home in a hurricane, a cancer scare, the diagnosis of a daughter with a learning disability, and the death of family members. These are all storms that come. How we deal with these rain storms vary. For me these are the times that I find faith becomes more important to me. I find this is when I am in prayer more, this is when I find myself looking for the little good things, and being thankful for them.
For me I know that we need the storms, they help us grow as humans and each has its purpose just as each drop of rain provides life in the Eco system. For all the storms that come may I say Thank you Allah, for in them we can find good if we but look.
On Friday was another day of juma. Here in New Glasgow it is very different for the few of us Muslims that are here. First there is no masjid. If you are Muslim, can you even imagine that?
On Friday there were 4 brothers and too my delight there were 3 sisters. Usually the two other sisters that live in town don’t come to juma. It was so good to meet them finally! Here in small town Canada things that Muslims in large communities are things we can not take for granted, like praying in community.
The closest actual Mosque or masjid is one hour by car away. Many of us don’t get to see other Muslims except at prayer. I am fortunate because I work with 2 brothers who work at the same company as me. It is nice to know they are just cubicles away.
Community is the one thing I miss the most right now. Especially as a sister I feel alone. I know I am not but that is how I feel. I find it hard to grow my faith, hard to learn this religion that is new to me. I am not sure how to grow so I come online and look for that feeling of belonging here, does that make sense?
This week was my first week of really job hunting as a Muslim woman. I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction of employers here in the New Glasgow area. In my interview I asked about getting off for juma prayers and that accommodation was given to me when I signed an employment contract today. As well there is a place to pray and everything. As well there is no problem in me wearing a head scarf…so I am all set and I start my new job on Monday. So even in rural Canada we can have faith and be part of the work world.
Wow! In just a few days I will be doing my very first fast as a Muslim sister! Wow! I am excited and nervous but I do know Allah will help me and give me strength. So what have I and my daughter been doing to prepare? Well I want us to learn together what it is so I have been reading much and my daughter is happy because she gets to decorate but that will have to wait till after we move, which is Monday!
What are my goals for Ramadam:
1. To fast each day that I can ( I know I will miss 5 but I can do it every other day)
2. I can do extra dua( prayer every day)
3. I will read the Quran every day that I can.
4. Learn the Salat better.
How am I preparing? I’m trying to get my body ready with less sugars and junk, I am reading and learning as much as I can about this holy month, and I’m talking to friends of mine about this holy month. I wish each of you a very good Ramadam one that is full of blessings.