Tag Archive | revert

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.


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.

A little about myself

Assalamu alaykum to all my Muslim sisters and brothers; Welcome to all non-Muslim readers.


You will never know the intimate details of my life. Hijab is not just a piece of cloth I wear on my head. Some topics I touch on here will be talked about in detail later but for the most part this is information I would be okay telling any person I’ve just met. The main point, I suppose, is not to give a general idea of “who I am” but to tell “where I come from.” The background information is to help show how I became the person I am today and I hope that helps makes sense of future things I may say.


I am a revert from a Christian family and I’m American. Often people mistake me for Turkish or occasionally Egyptian because I wear hijab. When I respond that I’m American they ask where my parents are from. Once it’s established they’re American too it’s only then they realize I’m an American revert. To date, I’ve only had TWO people ask me right away if I was a revert after hearing me speak in clean American English. Not that I mind this at all. My best guess would be that the majority of American Muslims – not Muslims living in America – are first generation Americans of immigrant parents. You have to go back about 4 generations in my family before meeting an immigrant from Germany.


I reverted in November 2010. In Japan. I was in Japan teaching English, as the vast majority of Americans do in Japan. This was my second time in Japan, the first time being as an exchange student in the ’07/’08 school year. I studied Japanese in college and have my bachelors in Japanese language (with a minor in intercultural studies – which was offered as a major the year AFTER I graduated! Grrr… could’ve double majored, rawr….)


I met the man who is now my husband in 2009, several months before I left for Japan. As our relationship developed and it seemed likely we would marry, I began to wonder what the expectations in marriage would be and so I started to study Islam in depth. So while it can be said my husband was the reason I started to study Islam, he is not the reason I reverted. I came to Islam of my own volition, not as a means to get married (since, as a Christian woman, my reversion wouldn’t have been necessary anyway.)


I returned to the US in February 2011 to be married in March 2011. We have been happily married ever since and hope to have children within the next year. I currently work part time in retail in addition to performing my duties at home and occasionally volunteering at the local Islamic school. I am eagerly anticipating when I can go back to being a housewife so I have more time and energy for studying, raising a family, and more time at the Masjid (where the school is.)


As I said, I’ll be expanding on many of these talking points later, and I promise a lot of this does actually tie in with the whole “my jihaad” thing. But all in good time 🙂 I will try my best to post once a day for a while so as to get things moving before I possibly slow down a bit.