Tag Archives: muhammad

American Girl to American Muslim: Before and After

I was always a carefree American girl.

I have always lived a comfortable life, had a loving family…

My parents gave me a nice combination of support and independence. I always knew they’d be there for me, yet they let me explore, push my boundaries and even make mistakes.

I have three amazing, good natured sisters; lived in comfortable homes on perfect streets. I was given every opportunity.

I was always fortunate.

Choosing Islam has only improved the quality of my life.

So my before was great and my after is even better!

I’m now happier, more satisfied and grounded than I was and more than I believe I could have ever been without Islam.

I chose Islam and it enriched my life. It gave me answers and solutions. Remedies, skills and preparedness. It has given me clarity, purpose, discipline and goodness.

I’ve learned how to be a better human being, to have patience, to be a good wife and mother; to be a better daughter and neighbor.

Islam has even confirmed and solidified much of what I was raised upon. In fact, there were lessons and values I was taught as a child such as:

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”

– Mom (and Bambi)

which I didn’t exactly follow…

but I earnestly try to now; because of Islam.

The prophet Muhammad said,

“Whoever believes in God and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent.”   (Bukhari, Muslim)

So that is what I strive to do.

Being kind to others and not being selfish are values most people appreciate, teach and try to embody; but when I look back on instances of my past, I realize that before Islam, I was sorely lacking.

One example of this which I can’t get out of my mind, occured during my early college years.  I was impatient with my grandmother who had come to see my school one day.

I was very athletic and fast and always in a rush. She however, needed time to climb the stairs and it was hard for her, but I didn’t stop to lovingly help her – I rushed on, rolling my eyes, annoyed at her pace.

That will forever be a regret I will carry.

I know that if the same scenario were to happen today, nothing would be more important to me than showing kindness and compassion for my elderly grandmother. That is because of the deep understanding I now have, knowing the weight of our deeds and that God is pleased with kindness and mercy.

The Quran and the prophet Muhammad emphasize kindness to parents and the elderly:

“Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If one or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, or scold them, but say a generous word to them. And act humbly to them in mercy, and say, ‘My Lord, have mercy on them, since they cared for me when I was small.” (Quran 17: 23-24)

This applies to grandparents as well.

The Prophet said,

“He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children, nor honor the elderly.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

This story of my grandmother is just one example of how Islam can change a person for the better, as it did with me. The areas in life where you can improve, it gives you the tools to improve them.

More importantly, it gives you the will and desire to change.

It gives deep seated motivation to be the best you can be, not only in how you deal with people, animals and the environment – but preceding that and superseding that in importance, is the motivation to give God His right over us and to truly live to serve and please Him and Him alone.

To do that, we need to know what His rights are; what is pleasing and displeasing to Him. In Islam, we believe He gave humanity that guidance, a recipe for our success.

We fear His displeasure and hope for His reward and acceptance. Our love for Him should guide our every action.

This gives us an eternal source of inspiration.

Another beautiful thing about this, is that there is always someone who will appreciate the good you do, even the good you intend to do. So you never have to boast about it, or be dissapointed if no one recognizes your efforts.

In Islam, we are taught that God is closer to us than our own jugular vein; that He knows our thoughts and that which is in our hearts. He is appreciative of every effort and every good intention. He does not let any good go to waste.

When we fail and turn to Him, He always hears us, knows our sorrow, our regret.

We are taught in the Quran that God is the most Merciful, The Most Forgiving, The Most Loving, The All-Knowing, All-Mighty and Extremely Fair, the Most Just.

So there is no despair, no grief, for the one who understands God and has certainty about who He is.

What this also means, is that success and satisfaction are not limited to people who have had easy lives, who grew up in luxury and love.

Anyone from anywhere and with any history can achieve and excel.

I presented my story so that you can know I am not climbing out of difficulty to Islam, I lived in ease and comfort my whole life. Yet, Islam improved my life and made it that much better and more rich. But whatever a person’s background, Islam promises peace, support and a kind of contentedness you can’t find anywhere else.

I’m not perfect and I never will be, but now that I have Islam, I know the path to take, to be the best me I can be.  🙂

Advertisements

A Snowy Day in the Neighborhood

My very favorite thing about the snow is that it brings almost everyone out of their houses and into their driveways. It’s probably the only time where neighbors are all outside at the same time for the same purpose.

You will almost always find neighbors helping one another, chatting, catching up and even sharing things from shovels and gloves, to cookies and hot cocoa.

Thankfully, I have really great neighbors who are always kind, helpful and caring to me and my family. Most religions encourage neighborliness, so do common sense and basic human decency.

Did you know that Prophet Muhammad taught to be especially kind to neighbors, regardless of their beliefs?

The prophet Muhammad said: “The best friend in the sight of God is he who is the well-wisher of his companions, and the best neighbor is one who behaves best towards his neighbors.” (Al-Tirmidhi,120)

He also said that the angel Gabriel (who brought him the revelation) used to remind him so much about the rights of neighbors that he thought they might be made heirs (i.e.. like family). He also said not to look down on giving gifts nor receiving any gift from one’s neighbor no matter how small it may be.

If we truly believe in God, then we must be concerned for the well being of our neighbors:
“He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while the neighbor to his side goes hungry.” (Al-Bayhaqi 19049)

He warned severely about mistreating or bothering your neighbor:

“He will not enter Paradise whose neighbor is not secure from his wrongful conduct.” (Sahih Muslim, 15)

Imagine that!

20140106-120429.jpg

Welcome!

I am your American Muslim neighbor. Welcome to my blog! Visit me here any time you like, to learn more about Islam and the most diverse religious group in the USA- the Muslims! I’m just your average American, here to promote peace and understanding in a time rife with fear and mistrust. Get to know the truth about what is possibly the most misunderstood way of life today.

20131223-215637.jpg

Wrap your head around it

If you saw Mary, the mother of Jesus, walking down the street, which religion might you assume she follows?

The truth is, Muslim women are pretty much the only ones in the United States, who in general, continue to dress the way Mary did.

Muslims believe Mary was the best of women, and we strive to be like her as well as her son Jesus Christ. Image