Down that road

I recently had this question in a comment:

 

Please how far have you been pleased in Islam. I want to know before I enter into it.

 

Can I just say, what a sensible question that is and yet it is one that is so rarely asked, even though I’m sure lots of people wonder it.

It doesn’t help that many of our most vocal brethren and sistren in the deen (aka the haram police) are so fond of stating all the things they don’t do, disapprove of and all the things they have given up, that to the casual observer two thoughts must surely come to mind: 1)What on earth do you do for fun, are you even allowed fun? and more sadly, 2) That sounds like one nit-picking God you worship.

Well, a saying I read recently, was “better to be a sincere struggler than a fake saint”, so from a sincere struggler, nearly eight years along the path (Alhamdulilah):

I am happy being a Muslim and I would say overall, that I am more contented then I was as a non-Muslim. I feel that being a Muslim has improved my life in many ways. It has given me focus, guidance, helped me appreciate the beauty and fleeting nature of life and the world. I have met people from all over the world and learned so much.

I once watched a documentary about the women’s movement, one women said that she felt her involvement in the movement had given her the courage to lead a different life, I feel like that about Islam, I feel like it’s being able to see a new colour or see an additional dimension to life.

Alhamdulilah for all those things.

 

I will say very clearly, as I have done before: If being Muslim does not make you happier, you are doing it wrong.

 

Things can be very hard for converts. This article is a great overview of what some of those problems can be: http://www.suhaibwebb.com/islam-studies/islam-101/misconceptions/8-things-you-should-understand-about-converts/ and I would advise anyone to read it, convert or not.

However, instead of going through all the various problems that can befall, remembering of course, that life has it’s own problems anyway; I want to give one piece of advice, something to remember above everything else:

 

Always make your own decisions and accept full responsibility for those decisions.

Unlike other faith systems, individual responsibility is a key part of Islam, no one can bear the sins of another person. Yet, we often hear about converts being bombarded with advice, often on very life changing issues, and often with guilt trips, “this is what a good Muslim does” and so on.

Throw in some

cultural confusion,

the idea that the best thing to do is to dive into everything,

a need to belong

and converts can often find themselves, several years down the road in a life they have no idea how they ended up with and are not even sure if they want.

 Don’t let this be you.

No is a complete sentence, thanks but no thanks, bless your heart, thank you for you consideration, sometimes you will have to tell people to back off.

Know that it is ok to be you as a Muslim, you don’t have to pretend to be someone else, just try to be a better version of yourself, but know that the trying is as important as the achieving.

Know that only Allah is all-knowing.

Don’t be intimidated or over-awed by titles like Sheikh, Iman, Hafiz, etc. They may tell you the level of someone’s knowledge (and sometimes even that’s iffy), not whether they are a good person or not  and they still can’t live your life for you and nor should they sit in it’s driving seat.

In conclusion, only you can decide if Islam is for you, just remember that you decisions and capacity for choice don’t end there.

 

4 Years Later…

Just over four years ago, I wrote the following about hosting the Olympics in London:

To all you non-U.K readers, I will let you in on a little secret: The country as a whole is absolutely petrified about hosting the next Olympics.

Our bid was a load of hot air and blagging and we don’t really have that much money. Plus, the city of London is an infrastructural nightmare and we are very bad at building things 1) Within budget 2)To schedule. I think the fact that our main rivals for the bid were the French, led to it becoming a big “We can’t possibly lose to them”- fest and we just said anything to convince the judges.

Such fears are not helped by the fact that Beijing have just held the biggest and most expensive Olympics ever and we’re worried ours will look like a school sports day in comparison.

Well, Alhamdulilah the U.K did not shame itself and we managed to host a marvellous Olympics and Paralympics, with the latter being treated like the major event (click here for the brilliant tv trailer for the Paralympics) it is, not an afterthought.

Like my previous post, I still loved the the Rhythmic Gymnastics with every fibre of my sequin-seeking heart, and the Artistic Gymnastics too. Of the many, many Team GB highlights (yippee!), I think Jade Jones winning her Taekwondo gold and throwing her helmet into the air with glee is my favourite.

As for the Paralympics, I love the track events best, with the races of Jason Smyth, David Weir and the 400m that Oscar Pistorius won, being my favourite performances.

I could go, but every single aspect of Olympiana has covered and gone over repeatedly here, but I just thought I’d have to document it in the blog after writing about it so many years ago.

E.T.A

Four years ago, Oreo was still the Little Occupant. Now one of her favourite games involves me putting an imaginary medal around her neck, handing her an equally imaginary bouquet of flowers and humming the national anthem, while she stares proudly into the middle distance. It seems the inspiring of generation has started very young indeed!