As salamu alaikum and good evening,
If you read my blog and you have read Past , then this is the post that shook me. I have added onto it to finish just as promised and I am satisfied. I pray that I am able to come back to this question years down the road insha’allah and become just as shaken as I was when I first wrote this.
Lately, during salat, I have come across this question. How did I end up waking up every morning to pray? When did I actually plan my schedule around praying? Why am I trying so hard not to listen to music? All these questions at the time only frustrated me because I was trying to focus on salat, but afterwards I sat and thought about them. I know how I became a Muslim, but why? When I reverted I had nothing to lose (mash’Allah) and nothing to prove. These days it only feels like I’m in a race for iman and instead of doing things for the sake of Allah, I’m doing them for “benefit points”. Just keeping track of all the good things I can do, just so I can get recognition.
There was a time where I would go to the masjid early, make namaz and read Quran or any other books they had. I would be so involved in growing and being a better muslim, purifying me self and trying to put what I was learning into practice. But it was all try. I would say, “when I hang out with non-muslims friends, I’ll modify this, and redirect the conversation so its not gheebah.” But it never went that way, and I figured it was okay because if they knew I was Muslim that was enough. I’ve been so bend on that ideal that I haven’t taken my deen seriously. I’m doing it specifically for the label that I am muslim via appearance and nothing more. I can only imagine what will be said about me on the Day of Judgement.
I’ve tried starting over so many times but I’ve never had the patience, and when I would think about that, I would realize that I sounded so selfish. How could I even say that I don’t have time to learn about Allah? I would make so much du’aa to Allah that I would not be so focused on how to look like a muslim on the outside, but truly be a muslim, inside and out. Understanding what it was I did and why I did it. Now I cannot even tell you the meaning behind the prayer.
I made the conscious effort to read Quran, however many pages I could before Jummah, where I would read Surat al Kahf. I realized that even though I would tell my story of reversion so often, I would never say Allah led me to Islam, when that is the only way. I had never knew a muslim, never seen one to my knowledge, yet I somehow found Islam. Which is through nothing but the grace of God, SubhanAllah. I have started over plenty of times, but I have done it all wrong. I overwhelmed myself and got burnt out with the idea of what I could do before I could even do it. I didn’t take into consideration, that I too was a human being and not unstoppable. I have my limits just like everyone else. So I’ve started reading a Muslim book for beginners, taking an online class from newmuslimacademy.com, and of course reading Qur’an. I know that with the mercy and help from Allah this will be easy.
As I was reading Al A’raf, I across and Ayat that is said so often, yet I never paid attention to it.
“Because you have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones.”
Then when Allah put Adam, (AS) and Eve in Paradise, he lured them to the tree Allah forbade:
“And he (Shaitan) swore by Allah to them both (saying): ‘ Verily, I am one of the sincere well wishers for you both.”
From that point on, I knew that this would be difficult. It’s not supposed to be easy, because this life in this world is full of trials. In Surah Al Baqarah(2:214) as well as Al- ‘Ankabut (29:2), Allah reminds us that there will be trials and it will not be easy. Especially in this day and age where everything around us is a distraction and tries (and in many times succeeds) to lead us astray.
There are moments of spiritual highs that you pray you cannot come down from and lows that make you feel like all hope is lost. It is in that moment that it is not. That is when you try harder, repent, turn to Allah and remember Him. Remember the knowledge that you have gained and remember the hardships, most importantly, of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). During his journey to Ta’if he was insulted by their leaders, had stones and food thrown at him as he sallalahu alaihi wa salam, walked down such a lonely, horrible path. Physical wounds may heal, but it is the emotional wounds that take much longer. Even in that moment of complete low, He sallalahu alaihi wa salam, still turned to Allah. Any of us in that state would have continued to sulk. I know I would have. But he did not give up, he stayed on the path because he had a purpose. Just as he, sallalahu alaihi wa salam, had a purpose, so do I. We all do.
This deen is not hard and it is not confusing. We only make it to be. Allah has perfected it and made it easy for those who strive to do good for Him. Everything that hurts in this life, will feel better in the next life, and that is something that I so look forward to. It is what I strive for so much in this moment, that nothing that can happen to me henceforth can change that.
So as I ask myself, ” why am I a Muslim?” I cannot give an answer that is definite. It is only that I am a Muslim because I simply am. It is instilled in me. It is as much of my identity as I am black. My past does not define me, but I use it as a reference of where I have been and inspires me to continue to move forward. It is not just a feeling, but a being and a sense of urgency that I give completely and wholly all of my energy.