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MUSLIMAHS NAVIGATING ISLAM

Fatima had become my lifeline. And although craved the familiarity of family, I knew that she was my newly acquired Muslim family. Adjusting to my new life as a Muslim was not always a bed of roses. In my very low moments, I wanted to give up, walk away, but Fatima was my anchor and my voice of reason.

Initially, praying was a huge challenge, well not so much the ritual but rather the need for punctuality. Also, as one who had never made the effort to talk to God, it was quite concerting to now know that I was in His presence and that I could speak my heart. It felt strange at first, but with patience, it got easier, and I soon found that my prayer time was no longer just for worshipping Allah but also a time for self-reflection, me time.

Islam is a way of life and make no mistake, this soon became apparent to me as I met the many challenges that every person coming into the Deen faces. How you eat to using the bathroom, what you eat and drink and of course, your every interaction with others.

On particularly difficult days, I wished that I had my mother to comfort me as she did when I was younger and kept falling off my bike. Her words echoed in my mind, “Sam if you fail today, it is ok, get up and try again.”

Judgement rained down on me from friends who had known me since I was a little girl, family members who had not been close and colleagues who out of ignorance refused to understand or listen. I had found purpose and the emptiness I once felt constantly were now feelings of gratitude and contentment.

Today, the hunger pangs were like little rats gnawing at my insides and I felt my resistance slowly crumbling. I was suddenly overcome with doubt.  I am weak, this is not for me, another failure and I felt defeated – thoughts that started to manifest in my mind.

To take my mind off the whispers bouncing back and forth in my mind, I began typing up an email to my brother. Being the younger of two siblings, we had been very close until my conversion. I remembered my last conversation with Mark. “So, you’re choosing the life of an oppressed woman and terrorist? Seriously, Sam?!”

Even now, the words had the power to cut deep and the fat, hot tears came unbidden.

A soft touch on my shoulder and a gentle whisper in my ear, “What’s up Sam? You, okay?” The words tripped over each other as I tried to tell her how I was feeling.

She held me close and comforted me. “Sam, the hunger does mess with your emotions, so

She hugged me and told me that hunger can make one more emotional than usual and at times like this, Muslims should turn to Allah.  “Sam, Allah is Ar-Raafi’u the Exalter, and when we surrender to Him and rely upon Him, He will take care of us. He will make us realise that in all this mess there is a beautiful plan.

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