بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
What does it mean to be religious? To be: a Muslim?
I think that’s a key question that I’ve been trying to tackle, to look at the answers to, via writing this particular blog.
I think: for a long time, I’ve been trying to ‘find’ myself, ‘place’ myself in, understand the world. As humans do.
Against the backdrop of things like: the noisy static of racism, misunderstandings, more ‘cultural’ impositions [I’m a second-gen immigrant. And I think a chunk of the things I have learnt growing up… have been product of certain people’s attempts at really ‘preserving things’ somehow. And this: in conflict with the other parts of the world that I have come to know whilst growing up. The parts you learn from watching TV, the News, what you might be taught at school.]
The interactions between what the ‘West’, let’s say, perceives as being, somehow, ‘fundamentalist Islam’. And from whence what we are to ‘learn’ is being funnelled through.
But: no matter what. The truth shines through. [Read: the various examples of Muslims who had reverted into the Deen. Learnt that what they’d come to ‘learn’ about Islam and Muslims had been… false.
And when they’d learnt the Truth: they’d come to love their Lord and their Deen more than anything.]
All in all:
I am very happy to be Muslim, AlHamduliLlah: that phrase means, Praise to the Almighty Alone, the very One who Created me.
- Even though I am imperfect, even though I am Unknowing. And:
I can do/say some kinda dumb things sometimes. I know dis.
But, over time, and having been given space to reflect through writing, AlHamduliLlah:
I really have come to learn that the one to trust is Allah. What happens in the next day, the next year. Those various things that you might be catastrophising about, in your mind.
All those various forces at play. Allah is Sufficient for us.
Sometimes, and it is natural: I worry about what certain others may perceive of me. But what’s the point of appearing ‘good’, in these ways, or in those, if:
You aren’t ‘good’?
Maybe it is better to be ‘disliked’ by certain people, on account of the headscarf on your head, or the fact that you pray Salaah. As long as you love your Creator; as long as He loves you back.
That’s what I’ve learnt that Islam is truly about. I think: there’s been a real danger of me, for example…
Having looked at various men/women in what could, perhaps, be seen as: merely costumes. Showy, out-there apparel. Maybe: feeling somewhat superior in themselves. Speaking horribly about and to other people. And they have not really succeeded in making me love my religion.
I don’t see myself as a ‘Sufi’. I think, previously, I’d found myself having been fond of this label, since it felt ‘real’: the ‘alternative’ to what certain others had been strongly implying that ‘fundamentally,’ Islam is. All the noise.
The encouragements, even in classrooms, even through the BBC (which you’re helping to fund, via your taxes. Bruh.): to come to… ‘laugh at yourself’, for being a Muslim who loves Islam?
Don’t ever let yourself be dishonoured in such a way. The best honour that Allah gives the human being: is Islam. And, perhaps, the worst dishonour: is feeling haughty, and arrogant, and rejecting the ways of Truth, even though you may ‘know’ it.
To conclude, In Shaa Allah :
Islam is not: accepting the lazy, though strategic, label of ‘terrorist’ for any person who defends their land. The Palestinians. The Algerians. The Afghanis. And so forth.
Islam does not necessarily mean: wearing a thobe/black-black-black everywhere you go, and then boasting loudly about how much Qur’an your son has memorised, and being quick to argue.
It’s not: shaming a small child for wanting to make her hair look pretty, and for wanting to paint her nails. Readily laughing at others. Empty of heart.
AlHamduliLlah, after gradually, slowly, learning about Islam, sometimes from learned individuals, sometimes through books (which… when was the last time I’d actually finished reading a book?!) and sometimes through conversations with beloved friends with good hearts, Maa Shaa Allah:
It’s found in Muslims’ beautiful smiles, and in our fundamental gentleness. And in our fundamental strength, and love for one another.
It’s found in the hearts of our grandmothers, in the illuminated graves of our grandfathers, and in the serene beauty of every masjid in the world.
And in the little boy who so loves his little pet cat. And in the heart of my good friend, who’d accepted Islam last year, Maa Shaa Allah, who’d found out that my little cousin had started wearing a headscarf last year. And so: she’d bought her, from the gentle bookshop inside the quietly pretty masjid, a lovely pink scarf.
And the one who is… humble. Unassuming. By nature, Maa Shaa Allah, and he makes other people feel special. Visits family members in the hospital; makes kids laugh and wants to earn his own money, and do good with it.
And the women (and, sometimes men!) who cook food, lovingly, for their families, whom they love. And some extra, perhaps, for extended family members. For community projects, and for neighbours.
While certain individuals, in their ‘groups’ or whatever, may seek to ‘dehumanise‘ us: know that Allah Himself has blessed us, AlHamduliLlah, with the honour of being able to become one of the best of creatures. And that’s not an honour worth losing to ‘satisfy’, make smugly smile, for any small while: any egotistical personality who wants to ‘look down’ on you in order to make themselves seem ‘bigger’. So:
Who are you,
[Where are you, Why are you?]
In the Sight of Allah?
These are my little cousin’s (i.e. four-year-old cousin-sister’s) shoes:
Don’t be jealous okay:
She also now has a little pink MusHaf, a copy of the Qur’an. Which her mother, my aunt, had purchased from me yesterday:
A sister who had an Islamic gifts business had donated some of her stock to my Muslim sisters’ group, for us to sell and benefit from the profits from.
Sometimes, this little cousin of mine (who also wears this adorable tiny ring that my little brother had brought back for her from Makkah/Madinah,) goes on runs with her dad. Charity runs: raising money for the local masjid that her parents help out with and at.
Soon, In Shaa Allah:
My little brother (who: a little more oversharing before I sign out. Does random things like… acting like he’s being kidnapped by me or something while walking with me,) and my little cousin (who recently… got a phone??? He’s in Year Seven now??? Isa loves animals. And his family. And has this kind-of-hilarious dry sense of humour,) are doing a run to help raise money for the aforementioned masjid.
So if, over this past year-and-a-bit, you have enjoyed/taken benefit from reading any of these articles here on this blog:
Please do consider donating below In Shaa Allah! Allah loves the generous, and your reward is with Him!