Let’s take it back, all the way back to the 26th of April 2011….the day I reverted back to Islam. It was not lavish in any sense of the word. No crowds, no applause, no fanfare…..none of that. I sat on the carpeted floor of my 3 bedroom apartment, which I shared with my two older brothers, and stared at my laptop screen. It was another humid, hot, sticky day in Houston, TX and there I was full of anxiety about what I was about to do. After many long days and sleepless nights of researching Christianity, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witness, Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, etc I began to find a lot of answers in Islam.
Growing up my family dabbled in a few different religions, never quite sticking to one. I consider it a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to cultivate a respect for all people despite their beliefs. I was fortunate to come across so many amazing human beings all trying to do what they believe to be right. When I was in middle school my dad met a Muslim man who eventually played a large role in our family practicing Islam at that time. I have to admit that I did NOT have the best experiences to say the least….but that’s a story for another time. By the time I began high school, that too was but a faded memory. Fast forward to my undergraduate school commencement ceremony in 2009….I felt so accomplished, ready to take control of the steering wheel to my life! I had just received my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and felt like my life was headed in the right direction. And yet I knew something was amiss. I’ve always believe in God and His Supremacy, but never found a way to truly connect with Him and how He wanted me to live. I even tried the “just be a good person” act for a while. But in my mind I always thought to myself, “I believe in God and that He created mankind, so there just has to be a guideline for us to follow.” A user’s manual, if you may. There was a time when I was going to church and I enjoyed it for the most part. I just needed to feel like I was establishing a stronger relationship with Him, but I felt so out of place and estranged when I would hear them praying to or through Jesus (as). So therein began my quest for truth. I never considered Islam due to my past experiences, but when all other options were exhausted I decided to learn it for myself. And what a beautiful yet scary journey it was. I was learning so much, I felt so rightly guided, I was getting answers that I could truly appreciate, BUT I COULDN’T BE MUSLIM!!
But on that day in April, when I could no longer deny the truth in Islam, I took my shahada aka profession of faith. La ilaha illa Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah (There is no god but God and Muhammad is the prophet of God)! I did my ghusl (washing the entire body with water), I smiled, and then I thought to myself “What now?” I sat there for a while expecting something to happen, but realized I was all alone. I let those I was close with know about the decision I had made and I just relished in the moment. I was on such a spiritual high and coming down was the furthest thought from my mind! But, as always, reality set in. I started to feel the loneliness on my journey. I knew a few Muslimahs, but I wasn’t close with most of them. I didn’t have any support to help me stay consistent, I had no team rooting for my success, I just had myself, my determination, and the help of The Almighty. Slowly I began to reach out to the sisters I knew and I began to make more Muslim friends. It definitely helped me on my journey in more ways than one. To have people you naturally connect with who also share your faith and can relate to your issues is an amazing thing. And now, 5 years later, I’ve seen that although I’ve been blessed to have that on a personal scale, it is not something that I’ve seen amongst Muslim women on a large-scale. A place, a community where we can have camaraderie with one another. Not just on a religious level, but on a personal one!
The idea for It’s About Muslimah’s Evolving (M.E.) was birthed in May 2011, less than 1 month after I reverted to Islam. I literally just wanted to create a place for us to build relationships and connect in a genuine way. I created a Facebook group and it grew to about 66 members. Then I as I grew tired of the social media scene it fizzled out a few years later. It’s been on my mind a lot lately to resurrect it (and what better time than now?). I’ve seen so many disjointed occasions, haram/halal police, and pejorative sisters. Many times it’s actually Muslimahs being crazy negative towards other Muslim sisters! And I sit and ask myself “Where is the love?” Where has our unity, sisterhood, and love for the sake of Allah disappeared to? We, as a community, need to put the bickering aside and come together. We need to stop the disapproving looks at each other because “She doesn’t wear hijab,” “She doesn’t wear hijab properly,” “Her clothes are too fitted,” “Why isn’t she dressed as modest as me,” “She wears makeup,” “Why is she partying,” “Why doesn’t she pray five times a day?,” she this, she that…..IT HAS TO END!
Surah Ali-Imran [Family of Imran] (3:103) – “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers….”
We are all on our own journeys in this life. No two stories will ever be the same. Just because we aren’t all at the same level does not mean we should ostracize one another. That is not what Islam is. It is not what Islam teaches. We are bonded together by La Ilaha Illa Allah! We need to start practicing acceptance, especially amongst ourselves. Each sister has her own beautiful story! Let’s learn about each other and build each other up to reach our highest potential. NEVER underestimate the power of a loyal and trustworthy friend. Let’s start now! Let’s start here! Feel free to come exactly as you are….
Are you in?
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