Thursday, January 31, 2008

When I was a "new shahadah" (random thoughts) Part 2

-Going to mixed gender gatherings (at someone’s apartment) and the men and women being separated into different rooms. Then I was told if I wanted to communicate with any brother I had to disguise my voice because if a brother heard my real voice I would be sexually arousing him. Haram.

-Believing that people who came from predominately Muslim countries really knew Islam and that those countries were virtual Islamic utopias. In the predominately Muslim countries people practiced the “true Islam”. If I went to live there I’d get to hear the adhan five times a day, wear hijab with no interference or problem, be treated with utmost respect because I am Muslimah (and a convert at that) etc. I never stopped to question why people left their “Islamic utopia” to come and live in the land of haram.

-Being told that an esteemed scholar saw a humongous jinn over New York City. (For years I was afraid to visit New York, lol).

-My wali telling me he had the perfect brother for me. When I asked who, he told me that he was the perfect brother for me.

-Being told that I should not work or seek an education. My job as a Muslimah was to support my husband by cleaning the house, taking care of kids, not making him upset and providing him with sex whenever he wanted it . Women who wanted to go out and work were just trying to emulate the Kufaar. They were influenced by the West and would have to answer to Allah about the mixed gender workplaces they went to everyday. The universities and colleges were even worse. I might be required to work on assignments with kaffar men or sit next to them in class.

-Being presented with a tree branch (miswaak) and being told from now on I had to brush my teeth with it. All toothpaste had pork in it and the bristles of toothbrushes were made of boar hair.

-When all of these rules became too much for my best friend at the time (who took shahadah the same day I did), she decided to leave Islam. I was told that I could not speak to her anymore. She had apostated from Islam and joined the ranks of the kufaar. She was not a good influence on me.

-Being told that I had to wear a long, choir robe looking dress (an abaya) whenever I went out the house. The longs skirts, long-sleeved shirts, baggy pants etc. were not acceptable. If I wore those things I was imitating the kufaar. There was a special place in hell for people who imitated the kuffar because they were no longer part of the ummah.

-Television, music, books written by non-Muslims, magazines, etc. were haram. I needed to get rid of those things immediately.

-I could not eat out of a pot or pan where pork had been cooked. Similarly, I could not eat off of dishes where pork had been eaten off of. (I lived at home with my parents who were not Muslim, what was I supposed to eat off of or cook food in?)

-Having some Muslims visit me at my family’s home and when we heard noises upstairs I was told that jinns were living in the house.

-Being told that my salah would not be accepted if I prayed in a house where there were images. Also, the angels would not enter such a place so I would not have their protection. (My parents had pictures all over the house. I was devastated and a little scared since the angels were not there to protect me from the jinns living in the house.)

Believe it or not, I could go on but I’ll stop here. Reading over the aforementioned makes me understand why I “took a break” from Islam for a while. It was too much! May Allah save us all.

4 comments:

Charles Hassan Ali Catchings said...

Salaam, I'm so glad you can find a bit of humor in those things now, but there are so many brothers and sisters who still haven't figured it out yet. Somebody has alot of work to do.

KiKi said...

Alhamdulilah that you are still muslim. Wow, that stuff would've scared the crap out of me. Some people are simply... well, ridiculous is the nicest way I can put it.

Note to self: Don't drink while reading this blog. (Juice went up my nose and I sprayed my monitor, I was laughing so hard.)

Jamerican Muslimah said...

charles,

You're right, there's quite a few ppl who haven't been able to sort through all of the mess. It takes some time though. And I'm a strong advocate of convert support groups and classes. We as a community need to be able to support new Muslims along the way.

Kiki, yes, alhamdulillah I'm still Muslim. I did "take a break" for a while though.

Anonymous,

I DID study Islam. I knew the basics and I talked to people about Islam. However, I don't know if you're a convert or not but let me tell you. A person can read about Islam but you will also need help from people in the community to translate what you read into practice. If a person falls into the wrong hands then they can be mislead. You need to remember that I came into Islam not knowing a whole lot about how to practice it (even though I knew the basics of the religion) and on top of that I was very young. As soon as people hear you've converted they start telling you all kinds of things that you need to do. They don't think about overwhelming a new convert or better yet, allowing one person or a few people to guide us. And the worst part is I believed the things people were telling me because they were Muslim way longer than me or all of their lives.

Secondly, no one EVER told me that the Salafi ideology is just ONE understanding/interpretation of how to be Muslim. I thought it was ISLAM and I wasn't grounded enough in the religion to see it any different. It sounds like you're blaming me and you're not considering the fact that people were dumping information me too soon and it all became overwhelming. I can't blame people if they leave because people are trying to make them change overnight and sometimes change their culture and who they are as individuals.

You spoke of punishments for leaving Islam. I won't even go into a lengthy debate on that but I will say this much. Given Allah's mercy and how just he is, if a person stops being Muslim because of the manner in which Islam was delivered to them, who knows, Allah may not see it the way you're seeing it. Allah may have compassion on that person and make a new way for them. We are not the judge Allah is. Not every person who leaves Islam does so under the same set of circumstances. And far too often they are not leaving Islam per se, they are leaving someone's warped interpretation of it.

Melissa said...

I can understand how overwhelming it was for you. I also became overwhelmed with everything people were telling me, I guess they were just trying to help.. And I too, think there should be convert support groups, led by people who are knowledgeable about what converts have to go through and deal with once accepting Islam, and also of course knowledgeable about Islam.
I found some of your experiences funny, especially about the jinns, I was scared of them too!
Alhumdulilah you came back after taking a break. I am sad that it drove your friend away though...