My story

Assalamu alaykum and welcome.

I have been absent for a while due to many reasons. Financial, emotional, spiritual. But I have never stopped thinking about this blog I started. I was sure I would come back to it eventually, insha Allah. My intentions remain the same. I want this blog the chronicle my struggles to serve Allah as I strive to understand His word and become a better Muslimah. Updates may still be sporadic but insha Allah a little more frequent for a while. To begin anew, here is my reversion story.

Looking back on it, I think the first inklings of it started when I volunteered to be a Sunday school teacher at the local church I was attending in 2008. I tried using the teacher’s guide that they provided me but the kids were a tad uninterested and unresponsive. So I tried to make my own lesson plans. I started reading and studying the Bible to try and make lessons and in doing so began to find a lot of questions. There was so much in there I didn’t understand! This brought on a crisis of faith as I found it more and more difficult to feel connected to the Bible. It didn’t stop me from continuing to teach Sunday school for a few more months but I had no conviction to what I was trying to teach them.

Summer of 2009 came and I graduated from college and got a summer job. I met a lot of people, including the man who is now my husband. After I met him I found out he’s from Tajikistan. He came here on a work/travel experience program. His English was not too bad to begin with but there was room for improvement. I also found out that he was Muslim through a bit of casual conversation. But I thought nothing of it at that point since he didn’t act on it. At this point there are some…. unsavory parts of my past that I don’t feel the need to divulge. When I said my shahada I got a “clean slate” so I try to avoid talking about my past sins that have insha Allah been forgiven. I also try to avoid talking much about my husband from that time since he was… not a good Muslim at that point either.

“All of my ummah will be fine except for those who commit sin openly. Part of committing sin openly is when a man does something at night and Allaah conceals it, but in the morning he says, ‘O So-and-so, last night I did such and such.’ His Lord had covered his sin all night, but in the morning he removed the cover of Allaah.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5721; Muslim, 2990)

After the summer I continued to talk to the man who would become my husband as a way of helping him improve his English. I would talk with him and ask him about subjects I knew he knew about. His family, his country, and some general stuff about Islam. The more we talked the more my feeling grew for him.

Through all of this I was feeling the heartache of being spiritually unfulfilled. Unsatisfied as if I was hungry and could find nothing to sate me. I knew I believed in God, but sometimes I didn’t know why. I knew I wanted to be closer to God but I couldn’t find that in Christianity. I had no idea what to do. My heart ached from not knowing how to be close to the One I wanted to be close to.

I majored in Japanese language with a minor intercultural communication and my Japanese teacher found me a job in Japan. So January 2010 it’s off to Japan. I continue to talk to the man who would soon be my husband and by February, we’ve decided we’re in a serious relationship. After another month or so it’s starting to look like we’re going to decide to get married. I begin to wonder what he, as a Muslim, would expect out of me as his wife. I knew next to nothing about Islam. I heard about terrorists and extremists in the media but instinctively knew that wasn’t Islam. I did, however, know there was some truth to the plethora of women’s issues. I had a lot of negative ideas about the status of women in Islam going into this. So, I started to research everything I could about women in Islam and what to expect as the wife of a Muslim man. It was… not as bad as I thought…. But with a lot of feminist influence from my mother I still wasn’t ready to accept all of it.

In June I found the Islamway Sister’s  forum and I started to understand the women’s point of view better now that I had actual Muslim women to talk to and not just articles to read. I was starting to feel a pull towards Islam but I was in a foreign country, all by myself, and I figured I’d maybe consider converting once I got back to the US and could actually be around people and not just people online. But then around the end of July I saw a hijabi at work! She was a part timer. I got so excited that I had someone to talk to in person. I never thought I would meet a Muslim in this area of Japan (it was kind of countryside.) Shyly, I approached her and told her I had been studying Islam and was wondering if I could talk to her about it. We met for some lunch and we got to know each other a bit and talked about Islam a bit. Nothing deep though. Ramadan soon came and she invited me to the community Iftar. I had no idea there were so many Muslims in this area!! There was so much diversity. Pakistani, Egyptian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Tunisian, Syrian, Turkish, Guinea! Just about all of them were international students at the University, though some were actually living there. Some of the women were there as students themselves, some were there because their husbands were students. And I saw Japanese Muslim women! I still didn’t understand a lot of what was going on but the food sure was good.

I started to go to the mosque every week for the iftar and then after Ramadan I kept going for the women’s study circle. They would read Quran and I would listen or follow along the English translation. I began to wear hijab whenever I went to the mosque because everyone covered there so it felt more comfortable not being so exposed. I had NO idea how to wrap a hijab at that point though. The women would kindly lend me scarves and help me wrap up. By mid-October the pull in my heart towards Islam was so strong. Not a single person, not even my soon to be husband, had said a word to me about converting, this feeling had come about through my own thoughts and actions. I can’t say if there was anything specific that brought me to Islam or something specific about Islam that appealed to me. It was just all these circumstances that led me to get to know the religion. Islam looked so perfect and beautiful to me. I knew I could be close to God through Islam. Islam filled every corner of the spiritual emptiness I had been feeling. Islam made sense! There were still rules and regulations I didn’t agree with but I figured a lot of that was because I didn’t actually know much about them. All I knew was that I wanted to be Muslim and so I said my shahada in November 2010.

And one small addendum for anyone who is interested. I returned to the US in February 2011 and had my nikkah that next month in March. My husband and I have been happily married since Alhamdulillah.

I may not be the best story teller but this is my best effort to tell my story. Alhamdulillah I was in a wonderful community of Muslims that were close to the Qur’an and Sunnah. They were mild, gentle, and kind in all their words and deeds. May Allah reward those who helped me while I was in Japan.

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Wake up call

Assalamu alaykum and welcome.

 

While making efforts to stay productive I found this interesting article. In general it’s talking about how shaitan whispers to people to delay important matters. The article begins with giving some hadith about how shaitan tries to hinder believers from fajr. Do you or someone you know have trouble waking up for fajr? It is because shaitan whispers that the night is long, so do not hurry you have plenty of time. He probably points out how comfy and warm your bed is too in the wintertime. It is something I struggled with personally when I first entered Islam but after reading the article I found it much easier to wake up on time. It was probably the part about shaitan urinating in your ears that got to me. Whether literally or metaphorically, it’s something I don’t want to even think about getting into my ears.

 

I pop right up for fajr but it takes the better part of 20 minutes to get my husband up most days. Shaitan tries to deter me from helping my husband as well. At first I didn’t realize it but then I got wise to what was going on. Often at first I would try to wake him but he would shout at me or ask me to wake him up later. Defeated, I would often pray alone and wake him up just before sunrise. But once, as I tried to wake him, as usual my husband quite convincingly said he is awake to get me to stop trying to wake him. Once it became clear he was falling back asleep I decided to persist. He began to shout angrily at me as I became louder and more aggressive in shaking and waking him. Finally he sits up, swearing as he does and telling me how annoying I am. (For the record, I may be loud but I always keep a sweetness in my voice.) But once he made wudu and we prayed he did not remember his earlier reactions. I tell him what mean and hurtful things he said but he swore he did not recall saying such things. A more cynical viewer may think he is simply lying but I know my husband in his waking life does not even think to say such things. I realized it was shaitan that had a strong grip on my husband in the early hours of the morning and he was trying to keep my husband from fajr by deterring me from waking him up. Although it still takes close to 20 minutes to wake my husband, I am no longer deterred or hurt by his words as he slowly wakes. He will still sometimes shout or tell me not to annoy him but I know that is not truly my husband speaking.

 

My husband is a fine man with strong iman and I know he wants to pray fajr. It’s simply that shaitan tries much harder to deter people who are doing good and following the path of Allah. Another good example is when I first started to make wudu before bed. It was not long after I had said my shahada that I learned of this sunnah and decided to try and start it. The first night I did it I had a vivid nightmare. I’m no stranger to the occasional nightmare so I thought nothing of it. The next night I make wudu right before bed again and once again had a severely violent dream. This continues for the whole week. I have never had so many nightmares in a row. I begin to consider stopping making wudu before bed since it seems to be what brought on these nightmares, but I first consult on of my sisters on the matter. I still remember her eyes opening wide as she realized and explained to me what was going on. My friend explained that when you are far from Allah, shaitan does not bother you much since you are already doing what he wants you to do. But when you begin to draw closer to Him, he will try his utmost to keep you from the straight path. She explained how shaitan tries by any means to keep you from doing things that are good for you. So my doing wudu before bed was something good he was trying to prevent me from doing. She suggested I begin reading ayat al-kursi before bed as well. Wouldn’t you know it, the next night I was free from nightmares!

 

My point here is twofold. When you first want to start doing something good you will most likely hear the whispers of shaitan in the form of “You can do it later,” “It’s not that important,” “Take your time” etc. But once you have overcome that first hurdle you may still have to deal with whispers like “Here is something more interesting!” “This isn’t worth it, just quit,” or “It’s too hard, you’ll never be able to finish it” etc, ad nauseam. Sometimes just knowing where these thoughts are coming from is enough to get through them. Realizing it’s not your own voice telling this to you can help you get to your task and not be deterred from it, like how once I realized it was not really my husband saying those things I was no longer hesitant about waking my husband for fajr. And if the knowledge is not enough to shut down those voices, there is the power of dua and the Qur’an. So don’t delay! Start memorizing more Qur’an, revive that sunnah, study for that test, do more voluntary fasts, make that complicated meal to break you fast, learn some fiqh, listen to that lecture, and show to shaitan you live for Allah and he has not power over you!

Count Your Blessing

Assalamu alaykum and welcome.

Let me begin by indulging in an an anecdote. When I was younger and still a Christian I would go to church every Sunday. There was another church we would pass on the way that had a scrolling marquee. It would often list events going on, bible verses, and give inspirational messages. One time while driving by the sign was scrolling along and then stopped on the phrase “Count your blessing.” Singular. My mother and I had a good laugh about this. “Count your blessing?” we would say, “okay. One.” Of course the expression is “count your blessings” but the limitations of the marquee or perhaps the mistake of the programmer created this humorous alternative.

In trying times it’s easy to forget all our blessings or to take them for granted. It’s in our nature to always want more.

“If the son of Ādam had a valley full of gold, he would love to have two valleys, for nothing fills his mouth except dust. And Allāh forgives him who repents.” [Sahih Bukhāri, Volume 8 Book 76 Number 447]

So lets take a step back and take a look at all the blessing that we do have and remember to be grateful for those blessings.

Firstly, lets remind ourselves that we are blessed with more blessings than we realize. We are blessed with more blessings than we can count!

And He gave you whatever you asked for. If you (try to) count the bounties of Allah, you cannot count them all. Indeed, man is highly unjust, very ungrateful.” (14:34)

If you count the bounties of Allah, you cannot count them all. Surely, Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” (16:18)

If you’re still a little stuck, Allah reminds us of some of these blessings.

And among His signs is that He sends winds giving good news (of rain), and so that He gives you a taste of His mercy, and that the ships may sail with His command, and that you may search for His grace, and you may be grateful.” (30:46)

O you who believe, eat of the good things We have provided to you and be grateful to Allah, if it is He whom you worship (in real terms).” (2:172)

And this leads me into my next point. When we are reminded of these blessings we should also remember to be grateful. We cannot spend all day in prostration out of gratitude for all our blessings and thankfully we do not have to do this – yet another thing to be grateful for! So how do we show our gratitude? Firstly, we acknowledge where our blessings have come from:

Whatever blessing you have is from Allah. Then, once you are touched by distress, to Him alone you cry for help. Then, as soon as He removes the distress from you, a group from among you starts ascribing partners to their Lord. Thus, they deny what We have given to them. Well, enjoy yourself (for some time), and soon you will come to know (the fate of your misdeeds).” (16: 53-55)

We save ourselves from punishment by remembering where our blessings have come from and we do not try to claim those blessing have come from any other than Allah.

We should also strive to act in accordance with Allah’s will to show our gratitude.

Narrated Aisha: The Prophet used to offer prayer at night (for such a long time) that his feet used to crack. I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Why do you do it since Allah has forgiven you your faults of the past and those to follow?” He said, “Shouldn’t I love to be a thankful slave (of Allah)?’ [Sahih Bukhāri, Volume 6 Book 60 Number 361]

While many of us may not be able to emulate the prophet (SAW) and stand in prayer all night out of gratitude until our legs and feet are swollen, we can do our best to use our bodies for good. If you can speak you can speak with good words and make dawah. If you are healthy enough and have the means, you can do hajj. A more articulate explanation of how to show our gratitude for our blessings can be found here

 

Of course we all know what happens when we act in accordance to Allah’s will (hint: paradise) so it’s always in our best interest to take a minute and remind ourselves of our blessing to help us along. So the next time you’re feeling down, take in a deep breath and thank Allah for that breath you just took by exhaling “ALLAH AKBAR!”

Your lease on life

Assalamu alaykum and welcome.

 

I just want to say that I HATE cleaning the bathroom. But don’t worry, I’ve already cleaned the bathroom before making this post. I think most people don’t really enjoy cleaning the bathroom. The only time I did it willingly was when I was paid to do it a a janitor. Being paid made me willing to clean up messes much worse than anything I have to deal with here at home. Yet I still find myself resistant, crying out “I don’t want to!”

 

There are two things that still get me to do it. Firstly, I don’t want to be lazy. It’s too easy to be lazy. Complacency is one the worst things that can happen to a person. But the big helper in making sure the cleaning gets done is the fact that it’s not mine. We rent our house. While the house may not belong to us, while we’re here it’s our responsibility.

 

While contemplating this the other day I realized the same can be said of our bodies and lives here in the dunya. This body is not mine but in fact belongs to Allah. My body, and the life that comes with it, is merely a gift that has been granted to me. I must take care of it as best I can. I may even be rewarded for not leaving any blemishes behind.

If you have ever rented an apartment or house or anything, you’ve likely signed a lease or some sort of terms of agreement. At the very least you’ve reached a verbal agreement with the owner. While living in your rented house or using your rented item you may want to do something with it that you’re not sure it you are allowed to do. So you would of course look back on your lease agreement to see if you are allowed to do what you want to do. If you violate any of the terms of the agreement you can be punished by a fine or eviction. If the landlord is just, you will first be warned, then maybe even warned again before more severe action is taken. Or, once you move out, you may even be rewarded with your deposit being returned to you if you have taken good care of the borrowed item.

 

Similarly, we entered into our “terms of agreement” long ago:

And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed (or from Adam’s loin his offspring) and made them testify as to themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes! We testify,” lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: “Verily, we have been unaware of this.” (07:172 Dr. Mohsin)

This is  why the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “No babe is born but upon Fitra (as a Muslim). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.” (Muslim; 33; 6426) This is also why many people who “convert” to Islam will more often refer to it as “reverting” to Islam. They are going back to the state they were in before. Maybe more on that later but back to my main point for today.

 

The Qur’an details how we should live our lives in obedience to Allah. Muhammad (pbuh) came and warned us against our transgressions that we had fallen into after our initial agreement. This life that we live is a gift and we need to treat this gift with all the respect we can. In this way we are also showing our gratitude to the One who has so generously given us this gift. And if we don’t know what’s the best way to go about doing something, we always have our “terms of agreement” the Qur’an to consult. We must never become lazy in taking care of what isn’t ours lest we be punished for it.

Treatment of parents

Assalamu alaykum and Welcome.

 

I figured now would be a good time to type up a few thoughts since I’m visiting my parents and I need something to do to keep me from sitting in front of the TV the whole time. While I do perhaps waste a good chunk of time in front of the computer on the internet there is nothing quite as alluring as the Discovery channel. And at least while I’m on the internet I am often reading articles about Islam.

 

So here’s one thing I learned from Islam and am trying to act upon in my everyday life: keeping the ties of kinship. I’d be very interested to hear the perspective from someone who grew up Muslim since I feel like I more often hear the struggle of those who reverted and have non-Muslim parents like myself. Perhaps it’s a bit of laziness on my part or maybe it’s a bit of fatigue from the long car drive I made today but I’m not going to be posting much in the way of fatwa, hadith, or even ayat from the Qur’an. Just more a bit of a “then and now” comparison/reflection.

 

I was never terribly disrespectful to my parents but I of course had my “rebellious” phase in my teenage years. Maybe some of the respect I give them now comes from simply becoming an adult and I don’t owe it all the my reversion. Some of the respect I give them comes from the fact they are good parents who are easy to respect, masha Allah. But I did notice a marked difference in my attitude towards them after leaning about and reverting to Islam. There are responsibilities and obligation of the parents and responsibilities and obligations of the children. I’ll probably post an addendum to this once I return home and have access to the book from which I learned these right and responsibilities. For now I will say that what I learned from that book helped me realize that a lot of what my parents had been doing for me over the years are what parents should be doing for their kids. I also realized that because they are doing these things for me they deserve from me, among other things, a great deal of respect.

 

My mother, my mother, my mother especially deserves respect. And this is not always an easy task for me. My mother is a feminist. Not that her being a feminist is the only hurdle to our harmonious relationship but it is the biggest one. There are aspects of Islam that she still does not agree with. But I’m not about to say anything negative about my mother here. I am more prone to say it’s a shortcoming on my part for not being good enough in my dawah to speak on women’s issues more competently. While she may or may not be one who is guided to Islam, it is my duty as a Muslim to teach her.

 

My actions have changed along with my attitude (as it often does for most things.) I try my hardest to call them at least once a week. I try to spend as much time talking with my father as I do with my mother. It’s so much easier to talk with my mother (you know, girl talk) but I sometimes run out of things to say with my father or I’ll take over the conversation and he’ll just excuse himself after a while. I try to remember to engage in topics of interest to him and get him talking and me listening rather than the other way around.

 

When I come to visit I am more willing, in fact almost insistent, that I do more chores. I’ll help make dinner, help serve, and help clean up. I’ll run errands and ask if there’s anything else I can do to help around the house during my brief visits. My parents will often protest that I don’t need to work so much when I visit. They say I should be as a guest. But they still accept and greatly appreciate the help. They’re just not used to any of us kids acting so generously. (Not that my brother and sister aren’t generous, but they have both acted more as guests when they visit)

 

The biggest difference is the amount of time I’ll spend with my grandfather. He’s lived with us since I was 7 years old but I never felt much like I could hold a conversation with him. Now though, I sit patiently as he tells me stories of his youth, sometimes as the words slowly come to him. I’m fresh ears to him because I’ve never taken the time to get to know my own grandfather! I will keep him company until he finishes he meal as well. He eats much more slowly now so everyone else finishes before him and often will go off to do their own things while he finishes alone. While I’m here I make sure to spend as much time as I can with him.

 

Parents and grandparents deserve a lot of respect. It takes patience, humility, and diligence to give them that respect. If it were easy I wouldn’t be talking about it here. Every time I visit my parents I work just as hard to please them as I do to please my husband.

Women in Jihad

Assalamu and welcome.

What is the woman’s place in jihad? Well, I hope I have so far cleared up some misconceptions about how one performs jihad in the first place. “Violent” jihad is not the only type of jihad.

Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The Prophet (pbuh) said: Use your property, your persons any your tongues in striving against the polytheists. (Dawud:14: 2498)

Yes, there is fighting, but notice there are two other ways to strive against the polytheists as well. Those methods should not be disregarded. And lets not forget about jihad al-nafs and jihad al-shaytaan.

For women, jihad most often does not involve fighting at all.

Narrated ‘Aisha: (That she said), “O Allah’s Apostle! We consider Jihad as the best deed. Should we not fight in Allah’s cause?” He said, “The best Jihad (for women) is Hajj-mabrur (i.e. Hajj which is done according to the Prophet’s tradition and is accepted by Allah). (Bukhari 4:52:43)

The jihad for women does fall more under al-nafs and al-shaytaan.

Striving to please Allah does not have to always involve fighting people. But when it does come to fighting, there is still a place for the women as well.

Narrated Anas: On the day (of the battle) of Uhad when (some) people retreated and left the Prophet, I saw ‘Aisha bint Abu Bakr and Um Sulaim, with their robes tucked up so that the bangles around their ankles were visible hurrying with their water skins (in another narration it is said, “carrying the water skins on their backs”). Then they would pour the water in the mouths of the people, and return to fill the water skins again and came back again to pour water in the mouths of the people. (Bukhari 4:52:131)

and

Narrated Ar-Rubayyi ‘bint Mu’auwidh: We were in the company of the Prophet providing the wounded with water and treating them and bringing the killed to Medina (from the battlefield) . (Bukhari 4:52:133)

The woman’s role is very vital when it come to jihad involving fighting. It’s just as vital as her role in the non-violent jihad and insha Allah will get her just as much reward. But there do come times when the women are not just allowed to fight, they are required to fight.

Al-Kaasaani al-Hanafi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “But at times of general mobilization, such as when the enemy is seeking to invade a Muslim land, then it becomes an individual obligation (fard ‘ayn) on every single Muslim who is able to fight, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):  “March forth, whether you are light (being healthy, young and wealthy) or heavy (being ill, old and poor). strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the Cause of Allâh. This is better for you, if you but knew.” (9:41 – Dr. Mohsin)

And there are even stories of women fighting in battle.

Umm Sulaym bint Milhaan, who was fighting that day with a cloth tied around her stomach, said: “O Messenger of Allaah, what do you think about these people who ran away from you and let you down? You should not forgive them if Allaah gives you power over them.” (In al-Maghaazi it is narrated that she said: “O Messenger of Allaah, should we not kill these who ran away (from the battlefield) as we killed the mushrikeen?”) He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O Umm Sulaym, the forgiveness of Allaah is immense.” (from Islam q&a. I do not know where the original text is from but I find this site to be a reputable site and so am quite confident in the validity of this story.)

And

Um Umara Nasiba Bint Kaab Al Ansaria fought in Uhud and also fought with the army that killed Musailimah, the liar. She was wounded in thirteen places that day and her hand was cut off. (from Islamweb.net. Once again, original source is not quoted. This site is more in the habit of not sharing daleel (evidence) but is trustworthy nonetheless.)

 

In conclusion of this patchwork of women in jihad I’d like to reflect. I like knowing that I have something to strive for and that there is a way set forth for me to strive for it. Whether it’s studying Islam, doing dawah, sending money and resources to those in battle, tending wounded soldiers, or physically fighting, the end goal is to make religion only for Allah. It’s such a wonderful thing to strive for. As I improve myself as a Muslim I’m sure the strength of my dawah will improve as well. I will continue to fight with my tongue as long as I am able. Next up insha Allah will be some introspection and a look at some more jihad al-nafs in my life. When next I post on jihad I’ll insha Allah be looking at the word’s usage in the Qur’an.

 

My main sources of information today were from Islam q&a, Islamweb.net, and al-Muttaqun online.

I am incredibly LAZY!

Assalamu alaykum and welcome.

 

Almost all of us know that our idle time often goes to waste.

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet said, “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good.” (Bukhari: 8: 76: 421)

What causes the loss of these blessing? It is often laziness, doubt, and the ego. And one does not have to look far to find the origin of these maladies.

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said: “Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, ‘The night is long, so stay asleep’…” (Bukhari: 2: 21: 243)

 

Well then, what can be done to overcome this? Firstly, the Qur’an offers this advice:

And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaitân then seek refuge with Allâh. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower. Verily, those who are Al-Muttaqûn (the pious), when an evil thought comes to them from Shaitân, they remember Allâh, and (indeed) they then see (aright). (7: 200-201 Dr. Mohsin)

And the rest of the latter hadith is in agreement:

“…When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when one prays the third knot is undone and one gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart.”

 

Even with reminding myself of the rewards of obedience the temptations of the dunya are strong and made stronger still by Shaitan. That is why I want to set a few goal for myself. It will combine my continuing jihad al-nafs with jihad al-shaytaan. “Jihad against the Shaytaan is of two types: 1 – Warding off the doubts that he stirs up to undermine faith. 2 – Striving against him to ward off the corrupt desires that he provokes.” (source) I want to overcome this laziness and strive against Shaytaan to better myself as a Muslim.

 

First and foremost I want to memorize more of the Qur’an. But not just memorize it, I want to understand it as well. This means memorizing how to say it in Arabic and memorizing the English meaning. There have been times when I pray and I feel like I’m merely “going through the motions” because I have stopped paying attention to what I am saying and I need to refresh my memory of the meaning of what I’m saying. Prayer should not be robotic, it should be sincere. Learning more verses will keep prayer from getting boring and the knowledge of these verses can help me be a better Muslimah in my everyday life as well.

 

I need a refresher on how to read Arabic as well. When I first reverted I started to learn Arabic with great enthusiasm. Then, after I learned the alphabet and began reading the Qur’an, I stopped studying Arabic to any extent. Later, I became lazy in reading the Qur’an and have lost much of the ability to read it. I need to remedy this. For me, I cannot simply memorize the Qur’an by repeating sounds. If the sounds are meaningless to me I will not retain it in my memory very well. But If I am actually reading letters in Arabic that I understand I know I will retain more of what I read.

 

I think these first two goals work together very well. This will help me in making Islam more the way of life it should be and not just my religion. The better I understand it, the better I can live and teach it. “We must understand that Islam is not simply possessing a Muslim name or being born to Muslim parents, or saying that one comes from a certain part of the world.  Rather, Islam is a way of life, a methodology for living, not only dealing with religious matters but addressing one’s conceptual outlook on worldly matters as well.” (islamweb)