Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Big Girls Don't Cry

It's the title of a new Fergie song (that I happen to LOVE) and it sums up my current life philosophy. There is actually quite a bit of drama going on in my life but there's nothing I can do except not let it get me down. As my co-worker always says, I've gotta do me. Let me just bring y'all up to speed.

My older sister is involved in an on-going custody battle for her oldest daughter. As I may or may not have mentioned, he's a fundamentalist Muslim that married my sister for a green card (didn't know any of this at the time) and after the divorce threatened numerous times to kidnap my niece and take her to Saudi Arabia. He has decided that he wants custody of her for various reasons and it's just a big mess. He actually tried to have my sister put in jail. Said she wasn't complying with the court order (untrue). Also, thanks to him, my poor niece is forced to see not one but two therapists. He feels that because she doesn't like him something must be wrong with her. As a result, she must see a therapist down here every week and in VA every other week. Her whole summer has been killed; no camp, no riding lessons, no parties, no nothing. I don't know why he would expect her to like him. He wasn't in her life for ages and since then has done nothing but alienate her. If she wanted to have the visits somewhere she liked, he would insist upon having them where he wanted; she asks for space, he comes closer; she tells him the kind of stuff she likes, he buys and does the opposite; and the only interest he ever expresses in her is how much Qur’an and Arabic she knows. Not to mention the fact that he's never been allowed to be alone with her due to his threats.
It's insanity but he's messing with the wrong family because if it's the last thing we do, he will be brought down. I personally will not rest until him and his b*&$h of a wife are tossed out of my country on their illegal alien butts. He isn't going to mess with my niece's life and get away with it. Mark my words, if it's the last thing I do, I will get revenge. I'm my father's daughter, vengeance will be mine. I'm sure that sounds very Soprano's to y'all but it's just how we roll. That being said, I am NOT going to do or have anyone else do anything criminal. I don't have it in me and he's not worth it.


Due to the aforementioned (I love that word) nonsense, we may be moving back to the VA/DC/MD area very soon. Like at the end of the summer. Nooooooooooooooo!! Y'all don't understand how much I absolutely do not want to go back. Unfortunately, M's sake, I must. We're very close and it would break her heart if her family split up on top of all of this. I'm so not looking forward to going back and if it were anyone else (except her little sister or my little brother) I totally wouldn't go. Starting over somewhere else where I wasn't always associated with some member of my family was fantastic. I could just be me. Also, I'm really not interested in seeing the same people, doing the same things, and going to the same places. Most of all, I'm not interested in the same people. A lot of whom I haven't heard from since moving but will be on me like white on rice the minute I get back. Gag me. That being said, I have been trying to look on the bright side. For instance, Metro (yay!), lots of stuff to do (although I like the stuff down here better), the city, and my family. I know the list is very small. The list of things I'm going to miss is much, much longer. Oh well, I have to soldier on.


Making me even more apprehensive about the move is the fact that I have recently discovered that the majority of my family are most likely leaving Islam. My mother, having converted from Christianity is now thinking of converting back. Her biggest problems are with Muslims and how they are and the restrictive nature of Islam. She has other issues too and she just no longer has Islam in her heart. She doesn't feel that she has a personal relationship with God. My sister's are basically feeling the same way. My older sister doesn't really pray anymore, hasn't stepped foot in a mosque in I don't know how long, and is really a Muslim in name only. And that's just because she hasn't figured out what else to be yet. My younger sister still prays and everything but she's not really feeling the religion; she's just scared to leave it. However, I feel that if it isn't in your heart, you need to move on. I mean, she has no interest in Muslims (including marrying one) or attending the mosque. She thinks Islam is too strict and she questions and takes issue with a lot of things about it. She currently says otherwise but I highly doubt she's going to stay a Muslim. Naturally, my little brother and nieces are going to become whatever their parents become. My mom is going to start exposing my brother to church and let him choose but he really doesn't practice now and has very little exposure to Muslims so it's no secret what he's going to choose. The girls are under the age of 12 so their just going to be what their mom is. It breaks my heart, it really does. Not because I think their going to hell but because it's always been us being Muslims. When the outside world didn't get being American Muslim, I could turn to my family and clearly that ship has sailed. I always thought that my kids would have it easier than I did. They would grow up with not only a mother that was raised Muslim but aunts and uncles as well. They would have Muslim cousins that they could celebrate Ramadan and Eid with instead of feeling left out over Christmas. Instead, I'm feeling like an outsider in my own family. Ramadan is in a little while and for the first time ever, I'll most likely be celebrating it alone. It's made even worse by the fact that, if we go back to VA, everyone will be inquiring as to my family's whereabouts and after the news is out, there will be whispers. Now before everyone starts thinking I'm making this all about me, I'm very concerned about how this will affect them. I really don't want the older kids to be confused. It has to be strange, being brought up one way and then switching mid-field. Also, most of the people we've always known, considered family even, are going to turn their backs on us. They'll turn on my family because they're no longer Muslim and me for keeping in touch with them. I've heard of these things happening. We are about to lose a lot of people that we considered very close; people that we considered aunts, uncles, and cousins. I know for sure that my brother is about to lose two of his oldest friends because their father (an old family friend) is never going to let them hang out with him. I know that life will go on and everyone will make new friends but it's like saying good-bye to an entire lifetime. I just hope that everyone is prepared for that but, more than anything; I hope that everyone finds what they're looking for.

19 comments:

Azlin said...

big girls do cry.

Suroor said...

I don't know what to say. I have read your post three times - all of it and I still don't know what to say.

I feel sorry for your niece and your sister and also you for going through so much pain.

I also feel bad about the religious difficulties your family is facing. The first thing I noticed about you when I found your blog was that your mother had very strong beliefs and had brought you up beautifully.

You can’t make someone ‘believe’. It is the most difficult thing to do and so even the prophets needed miracles. You will find it difficult to move forward in Islam without the support of your family and I sincerely pray that things get easier, amen.

mezba said...

I too have read your post and don't know what to say. Living as a Muslim in the US as a minority is hard anyways, let alone being a convert, and you needed all the support you can get, especially from family.

Sometimes a move to a new place and new people is what you need, and for the better. I pray things get easier for you and your family and Allah keeps your deen to be the true one.

Sarah said...

I am so saddened to hear about your niece. I've never understood how some parents can do such awful things to their children, never realizing what long-term harm it will do.

As to religion. It's an interesting, sad, difficult topic. Having done my own Bible study, having been raised to believe that more than just Catholics go to Heaven and now dating someone who will never convert, I've faced my own questions in the past few months. My childhood friends can't understand how I would consider going to another church. My college friends just want me to be happy. And my mother says, "This is how we raised you, so I know I can't complain."

It's a challenge, and I know that you will be there for your family as they wrestle with what they think is right and as they define their relationships with God.

rubytuesdays said...

Whew...this is ALOT to handle babe. I will have to come back with a proper comment in a bit.
For the moment, the best of luck to your sister and her daughter, I hope things work out for them and I am sure they will because there has to be some fairness in the world.
Its good of you to want to stand by your family in whatever decisions they make about religion. I hope other people don't change their attitudes and relationship to your family.

www.baytulamanah.net said...

as salaamu 'alaykum wa rahmatuallahi wa barakaatuhu


I've been reading your blog for a while. I pray that Allaah bring you ease and May he guide your family aameen

Atifa said...

Allah SWT never tests us more than we can handle. Remember even an atom's weight of Ikhlas (sincerity) is enough to to attain paradise in the hereafter. The reason I'm bringing this up is because of your worries about how ppl will 'see' you and your family. If these people have any ikhlas towards you or Islam, they will never abandon you or you family. On the other hand, if they do abandon, then they never had ikhlas so you're better off with out them.

Remember that all that is good and bad comes from Allah SWT. No matter what happends, how bad things get and despite that fact that we can't make any sense of it, whatever happends is for our better and we have to trust in Allah SWT.

Also its dangerous to make assumptions about ppl's Iman, even if you're sure of them. Remember no one except Allah SWT know our true makaam (status) with him. No matter what anyone is doing, we can never know if their end will leave them at a higher makaam then ourselves. So, I think, it's humbling to always assume that no matter who anyone is, they are better then me in some way in the eyes of Allah SWT.

Lastly about your ex-brother in law, it looks like what he's doing goes against the teachings of Islam...so why defame Islam by calling him a "fundamentalist Muslim." If we claim other's faults as part of our identity, how can we expect non-Muslims NOT to do the same?

youngMuslimah said...

atifa pretty much summed up what I had to say..
insha'Allah you'll be fine, keep strong and don't underestimate the power of du'a!

TwennyTwo said...

peace,

Oh LORD chile, I'm sending you deep prayers and big hugs.

I understand the anguish over what you see coming on the Islam vs. Other front. It's not easy being a different religion from your family, and doubly hard when the change is coming after a foundation built on what you know is right for you. It's shocking to me that your mother is the one considering a change; especially when I have an image of her (from you) of a woman rooted in and deeply committed to Islam.

You speak as if this is done, though. Regardless, you'll be an example of Islam within your family; no one can change that part. Perhapps that will have more influence than you think when the kids grow older, when the world keeps turning and the rest of your fam can see that God and Islam, for all the negatives we experience as Muslims,are of themselves wonderfully good.

I'll say a prayer for you.

peace wa asalaamu alaikum
TwennyTwo

Safiya said...

Salaam,

I've not visited your blog before. It's strange because I was just humming that same Fergie song!

Subhana Allah, I can't imagine what you must be going through. It's hard when people don't see the same beauty in Islam as you.

I will make du'a for you and your family.

'liya said...

I don't know what to tell you, I can see you're going through a lot in many ways - someone else mentioned that you'll still be an example of Islam within your family and I agree, I think you'll be an even stronger one after going through what you are.

good said...

----------------------------------
She has other issues too and she just no longer has Islam in her heart. She doesn't feel that she has a personal relationship with God.
My sister's are basically feeling the same way.
My younger sister still prays and everything but she's not really feeling the religion;

-----------------------------------

Well, Allah reveals His superb beauty and bliss to a soul that craves for Him. Islamic history has been enriched
with such souls. The methodology that helped these people to have a close a personal relationship with Allah is called "Tasawwuf" which is
a well-distinguished branch of Islam.

"
Islam, as a complete code of life or din, was perfected during the life of the Holy Prophet MUHAMMAD (salla’Allahu alaihi wa sallam). RasoolAllah SAW is the sole teacher and RasoolAllah's mosque was the core institution of the community. Although Islam in its entirety was practiced during that blessed era, the classification and compilation of its teaching into distinct branches of knowledge, like ‘Tafsir’ (interpretation or exegesis of the Quran), Hadith (traditions or sayings of the Holy Prophet, SAW), Fiqh (Islamic law), and Tasawwuf (the inward aspect), were undertaken later. This din of Allah passed from the Holy Prophet (SAW) to his Companions in two ways the outward and the inward. The former comprised the teachings of Islam enunciated by speech and conduct, i.e., the Quran and Sunnah. The latter comprised the invisible blessings or the Prophetic lights transmitting so purified their hearts as to instill in them a great love of his teachings and an ardent desire to follow them with utmost sincerity and devotion. Tasawwuf is the effort to acquire this Baraka.


The Companions handed down his teachings and blessings to the Tab’ain. Their strong hearts were capable of infusing these blessings into the hearts of their followers. Both these aspects of Islam were similarly passed on by the Tab’ain to the Tab’a Tab’ain, the former in writing and the latter from heart to heart. The compilation of the teachings (the outward aspect) and their interpretation led to the creation of many schools of religious thought of which four have survived, namely, the Hanafi, the Hanbali, the Maliki, and the Shaf’i, named after their founders. Similarly, in order to acquire, preserve and distribute his Baraka (the inward aspect), an organized effort was initiated by some schools of Tasawwuf: The Qadriah, the Chishtiah, Suharwardiah, Rifaia, Shadhia, and the Naqshbandiah. These schools were also named after their organizers and came to be known as Sufi Orders. All these orders aimed at purifying the hearts of sincere Muslims with Prophetic light.

"

So the ecstasy , the joy that your mother and sisters are looking for will come to their hearts in torrents once they embark upon this spiritual path of Islam. One famous traveller of this path ,Imam Ghazzali (450 - 505 AH.) described his experience as follows

######################################

http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=1763&CATE=126


In the same way there is a considerable difference between knowing renouncement, comprehending its conditions and causes, and practicing renouncement and detachment from the things of this world. I saw that Sufism consists in experiences rather than in definitions, and that what I was lacking belonged to the domain, not of instruction, but of ecstasy and initiation

Coming seriously to consider my state, I found myself bound down on all sides by these trammels. Examining my actions, the most fair-seeming of which were my lecturing and professorial occupations, I found to my surprise that I was engrossed in several studies of little value, and profitless as regards my salvation. I probed the motives of my teaching and found that, in place of being sincerely consecrated to God, it was only actuated by a vain desire of honor and reputation.


I made all kinds of clever excuses for leaving Baghdad with the fixed intention of not returning thither. The Imams of Iraq criticized me with one accord. Not one of them could admit that this sacrifice had a religious motive, because they considered my position as the highest attainable in the religious community. "Behold how far their knowledge goes!" (Qur'an, liii. 31). All kinds of explanations of my conduct were forthcoming. Those who were outside the limits of Iraq attributed it to the fear with which the Government inspired me.


Ten years passed in this manner. During my successive periods of meditation there were revealed to me things impossible to recount. All that I shall say for the edification of the reader is this: I learned from a sure source that the Sufis are the true pioneers on the path of God; that there is nothing more beautiful than their life, nor more praiseworthy than their rule of conduct, nor purer than their morality. The intelligence of thinkers, the wisdom of philosophers, the knowledge of the most learned doctors of the law would in vain combine their efforts in order to modify or improve their doctrine and morals; it would be impossible. With the Sufis, repose and movement, exterior or interior, are illumined with the light which proceeds from the Central Radiance of Inspiration. And what other light could shine on the face of the earth? In a word, what can one criticize in them? To purge the heart of all that does not belong to God is the first step in their cathartic method. The drawing up of the heart by prayer is the key-stone of it, as the cry "Allahu Akbar' (God is great) is the key-stone of prayer, and the last stage is the being lost in God. I say the last stage, with reference to what may be reached by an effort of will; but, to tell the truth, it is only the first stage in the life of contemplation, the vestibule by which the initiated enter.

From the time that they set out on this path, revelations commence for them. They come to see in the waking state angels and souls of prophets; they hear their voices and wise counsels. By means of this contemplation of heavenly forms and images they rise by degrees to heights which human language can not reach, which one can not even indicate without falling into great and inevitable errors. The degree of proximity to Deity which they attain is regarded by some as intermixture of being (haloul), by others as identification (ittihad), by others as intimate union (wasl). But all these expressions are wrong, as we have explained in our work entitled, "The Chief Aim." Those who have reached that stage should confine themselves to repeating the verse---What I experience I shall not try to say; Call me happy, but ask me no more. In short, he who does not arrive at the intuition of these truths by means of ecstasy, knows only the name of inspiration. The miracles wrought by the saints are, in fact, merely the earliest forms of prophetic manifestation. Such was the state of the Apostle of God, when, before receiving his commission, he retired to Mount Hira to give himself up to such intensity of prayer and meditation that the Arabs said: "Mohammed is become enamored of God."

This state, then, can be revealed to the initiated in ecstasy, and to him who is incapable of ecstasy, by obedience and attention, on condition that he frequents the society of Sufis till he arrives, so to speak, at an imitative initiation. Such is the faith which one can obtain by remaining among them, and intercourse with them is never painful.


But even when we are deprived of the advantage of their society, we can comprehend the possibility of this state (revelation by means of ecstasy) by a chain of manifest proofs. We have explained this in the treatise entitled "Marvels of the Heart," which forms part of our work, 'The Revival of the Religious Sciences." The certitude derived from proofs is called "knowledge"; passing into the state we describe is called "transport"; believing the experience of others and oral transmission is "faith." Such are the three degrees of knowledge, as it is written, "The Lord will raise to different ranks those among you who have believed and those who have received knowledge from him" (Qur'an, lviii. 12).

But behind those who believe comes a crowd of ignorant people who deny the reality of Sufism, hear discourses on it with incredulous irony, and treat as charlatans those who profess it. To this ignorant crowd the verse applies: "There are those among them who come to listen to thee, and when they leave thee, ask of those who have received knowledge, 'What has he just said?' These are they whose hearts God has sealed up with blindness and who only follow their passions. Among the number of convictions which I owe to the practice of the Sufi rule is the knowledge of the true nature of inspiration. This knowledge is of such great importance that I proceed to expound it in detail.


######################################


For further information , please visit the following websites.


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http://www.shadhilitariqa.com/site/

http://shadhilitariqa.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7&Itemid=11

http://tasawwuf.org/basics/what_tasawwuf.htm
http://www.reflectonthis.com/blog/

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http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/nuh/sufism.htm
http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/nuh/sufitlk.htm

Yursil said...

BismillahirRahmanirRaheem

as-salamu'alaikum,

I received a comment on my blog asking me to respond to this.

In terms of people leaving Islam, this is obviously very common in this day and age. This is the fault of Muslims who have not presented Islam to them properly, especially absent of the beautiful spiritual tradition within Islam.

If they are able to find some means with which to live and die with faith, it is better. In fact, it may be better to be a believing and practicing Christian than to remain an insincere 'Muslim' for the sake of others.

Anyway, once someone is even touched by Islam, they find it difficult to ever truly accept other faiths. All the faiths and spiritual paths end up back at Islam. Even if it is on our deathbed, we may find we only desire to seek refuge in one God.

You said:
---
Her biggest problems are with Muslims and how they are and the restrictive nature of Islam
---

One aspect of showing this is not the case would be to encourage them (and yourself) to find satisfaction through your faith, no matter what it is.

You said:
----
I'm my father's daughter, vengeance will be mine.
----

Don't let such feelings consume you, that is exactly what all faiths are meant to change about ourselves.

UmmBilal said...

Assalamu alaikum,
You requested a comment ….Insha’Allah Du’a will be made as close to our Beloved Messenger of Allah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam, also….Umm Ddarda narrated that her husband Abu Ddarda RadhiAllahu anhu said: “Free yourselves from the worries of the world as much as you can, for whosoever treats worries in this world as his most serious concern, Allah Ta’ala will minimize his real loss in his eyes, and He will cause fear of poverty to broaden and to be constant. On the other hand, whosoever regards the hereafter as his major concern, Allah Ta’ala will group his immediate needs together to become manageable, He will fill his heart with richness, and broaden his satisfaction and contentment. In fact, whenever a servant turns his heart wholly towards his Lord, then Allah Ta’ala will cause the hearts of His believing servants to flow towards Him with love, kindness and mercy, while abundant divine blessings will flow towards him to serve his immediate needs more expeditiously.”
May Allah Ta’ala in through His Infinite Mercy answer the Du’a of all who have replied to your plea, Ameen.
Wassalamu alaikum
http://almiskeenah.blogsome.com

Madiha said...

I pray that Allah makes it easy upon your sister with this custody battle. InshaAllah only whatever is best will happen. Truth and sincerity prevail in the end. I also pray that Allah helps you and your family through your hard time and that He guide your family to what is best for them.
I pray that things get easier for you - just do not lose hope. I live in Va - there is a strong support system if you feel you need one. :)

Farhan said...

Assalam o alaikum Sister,

First of all I like to congratulate you and encourge you to contemplate over the fact that you were able to express your problems with others and that so many good human beings have shown care, love and comapssion for you. This is at least one sign of His Love for you!

Secondly, I would encourage you to listen to Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir ( May Allah be pleased with them both) since they are working day and night to reintroduce to american muslims what islam truly means! you can listen to their lectures on you tube as well as from their organisation's website.
www.zaytuna.org

May Allah Love and Protect you! amen!

Wassalam

أبو سنان said...

The Muslim community actually makes it HARDER to remain a Muslim.

Shaw said it best, Islam is the best religion, Muslims are the worst followers. This fact can make it VERY hard on converts.

NiX said...

Salaam

May Allah guide you and your family with the custody battle and other issues.

Also, the last person said it, sometimes, some muslims make it hard on those new in our religion.

You have a very supportive network of people. May you find the Knowledge that you seek for your soul.

Glad to have found your blog. it has given me encouragement as a young muslimah! (mostly bcoz of the comments and heads up from ur people...)Allah Hafiz hun!

James Brown said...

Super blog and very nice all the information which i really like it.good work
Single Muslim