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MUSLIMAH NAVIGATING ISLAM

I have lived with my parents in their home all my life, yet I now felt out of place. I missed Fatima and Umme; I missed praying together, suhoor and iftaar prep, discussions about everything and the sisterhood. Mum was excellent company, but I longed for the peaceful contentment I felt in the company of Fatima.

This was my very first Ramadan, and I had wanted to spend it learning the Qur’an and focusing on my salah. Instead, it was now filled with sorrow and drama. Mark had not returned after the funeral, and Mum was concerned as he was not taking her calls either. We tried to keep each other in good spirit, but I understood that Mum wanted Mark home.

For me, I found solace in my prayer, dhikr, and my chats with Fatima and Umme. There were times when I wished Dad was with us as I really needed his wisdom and those big bear hugs he would give me when I was floundering.

There were times in my day when I felt that I wasn’t doing enough; my eemaan dipped more often now than before. But I wasn’t sure what more I could do, should so, and I needed Fatima’s guidance.

I called the house, and Umme answered. “As salaamu alaikum Bethi, how are you and your Umme doing?” “Have you made any samoosas yet?” she asked, chuckling. This was a personal joke between Umme and me. She had tried to teach me to fold a samoosa, but I had failed each time miserably. They were odd-shaped and filled with holes. Umme was in stitches when she saw my futile attempts, but she persevered anyway, in trying to get me to perfect the art of samoosa folding!

“Hey, Sammy, you still there? I was teasing you.”
“I’m here, Umme, just thinking back about my samoosas that looked like alien ships.”
“Sammy, you sound upset, is there something I can help you with?” the concern palpable in her voice.
I realised then that Umme was the one I should be talking to.

As soon as I started, I could not stop; everything that had been eating away at me came tumbling out. Of course, Umme listened, only intervening when she needed to clarify something.
“Sammy, bethi, you are doing well. Allah loves the small things we do consistently. Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.”

My heart felt peaceful after my conversation, but Umme did leave me craving samoosas and chai!

I am blessed to have found a sisterhood in my community between Muallimah, Fatima and Umme, three women of different generations with an abundance of Islamic knowledge. Not only did I have their love and acceptance but also their guidance, without judgement or motive.

I spent the afternoon putting together a plan for the rest of the month of Ramadan, ensuring that I paid attention to the essential things like praying salah, learning the Qur’an and making dhikr. I confirmed that I included learning other aspects of the Deen, slowly but with consistency, as Umme had explained.

My plan was to gain Allah’s pleasure whilst I worked at living a good, clean life too. This was a balance that needed and planning, but I kept in mind that we can plan, but Al-Aleem, the All-Knowing, plans better for us than we can imagine.

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