Blanca’s Second Week

It is the second week of Ramadan, and I have been met face to face with three challenges of a new Muslim revert, the challenges that has come across too often for the majority of reverts. It is in my and, mine only, power to be absolutely immune and Islamically shielded to not wake up from my religious practices (deen), to remain a stranger to the luxuries and exceeded freedom of this world, to keep my spirituality in tact.

So far this Ramadan, I have come to learn the difference from the Islamic world and the Earthly world. In both, you have absolute freedom–the chance to enjoy astonishing opportunities that grip us from the heart, and take us around our conscious. In the Earthly world, there are ways to increase knowledge and in the Islamic world there are ways to increase knowledge. In the Earthly world there are ways to develop values and morals and there also, in the Islamic world, are opportunities to develop values and morals. Our options are absolutely endless. We tend to forget that our souls do not run on options. To our souls, there is no term that exists, or concept that no human knows enough to be described under. Either way, the prospect is there for us to take captive a design in the things we feel, a design that engineers us through a current of galvanic human actions.

Oh, in this Earthly world, there are ways to feel imaginative.

In the Islamic world, there are ways to feel infinite.

In Ramadan we pray; we sacrifice; we reflect. I have noticed this week of Ramadan, how different I am from my family, how sincere I am to my Lord, and the gift of Islam. The challenges are many, but recently the most trying one, was when my uncle, who practices Catholicism, invited me to converse with him and three more people of his faith, on religious topics. The talk was tedious, mainly opinion based, and not substantially supported with the facts from the Bible. What emotionally impacted me was that it touched on large misconceptions of Islam. One of them being that the believer’s practice is too strict and unfocused from the bigger theme in faith. Also, a comparison between Islam and Judaism was made, but the point in that comparison was to prove that both faiths are flawed and lack accuracy. They babbled on about how men are dominant to women in Islam, that Muslims want to kill Christians and wanted Jesus (Peace be Upon Him) dead, and that Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) utilized the religion for his own advantage. I truly felt violated and I almost cried. However, their lectures to invite me “back” to their faith have not shaken my judgment and I remain in my noble praise towards the oneness of Allah, the clear message of the Quran, and the contradiction-less overall history of Islam. These challenges have come from my misguided immediate family. One supports the presidential candidate Donald Trump, who’s political platform is deviating against Muslims, and another that offers me to smoke weed in a jokingly matter as, “Are you sure you do not want to smoke? It is after 8:30, the Quran says it is permitted!”

I am okay, though. In the time the clock hits with the call for the second prayer, I am given another chance to fill my time with prayer, and so I confide in my creator. I am extremely blessed to have the five daily prayers of Islam, and I am extremely blessed to be able to follow the right path. I am looking forward for the third week of Ramadan.

 

Blanca’s First Ramadan

I have learned a lot. I have learned how to be creative with what I have. It is June 6th, first day of Ramadan, and the creativeness starts.

My name is Blanca, Blanca said with a sigh in the morning Fajir prayer at the masjid, Blanca said unsurely and instantly switched with Noora. Yes, That is how lost a person who is new to Islam in Ramadan can feel. Just how I had to start completely fresh for this year’s Ramadan and adjust my brain to a month-long worship that I have never done before, I had to renovate every part of my soul that has been damaged from my own revert shortcomings. My name, my identity, my exterior ensemble, all has felt distant, cloudy, and disorganized for me.

I’ve been Muslim for 8 months. This journey has definitely taken me to a very far quest to find myself. Since I have pre-cautiously looked ahead for this date as it approached, my reminders of me not being a good enough Muslim ready for Ramadan, would tremble down to my core. In my short time of being Muslim, I have not personally set a stable ground for myself. My family is Mexican and Catholic, and living Ramadan with them, is a solo ride for me. So far I’ve had several experiences of loneliness and feeling suffocated in a box that I want to escape from. Not having my family able to relate with me, makes me feel like my religious expressions are nothing but details to them, not mattering or effecting their daily life in any way, leaving me hopeless. Leaving me more anxious than before, it is painful to know that this is how I am spending my first week of Ramadan because this is a time when Muslims should hold this month to an enormous spiritual standard, not feel a spec of this loneliness.

From lack of emotional support, a cycle of reoccurring discouragements, feeling lost, and to leaving my daily routine behind including an upbeat personality, my lost hole has widened. Although, this is unfortunate, I believe in my soul that through this struggle to follow Allah, I can rebuild myself. I am lucky that the religion I am lost in is the religion of Islam, because all the answers are there to be found.

Ramadan is meant to replenish your soul, start over, and cleanse out unnecessary and unhealthy parts of your holistic self. I have to wonder, do people not know that converts have been struggling to do that ever since they said “I give testimony that there is no more God than Allah, and that Mohammed is his messenger’? How we get to our true selves in Islam is endless. The fact is that a new Muslim’s biggest occupation, that truly shapes them, is adjusting to the beliefs of a true Muslim.

Beliefs. Beliefs can be predominantly an abstract concept, but for a Muslim, it is a concept of the soul. Me, trying to let go of every habit, the deep subconscious customs my past non-Muslim life had held– it is not only an internal calling since we first considered becoming Muslim, but a foundation for who we are, constant imperfections and constant van diagrams. Personally, being a new Muslim in Ramadan feels like a cycle of self-doubt, because there is no one that is guiding you but yourself. I wish that there could be a larger network for converts. The least that I want is not to be left to over think my flaws on my own; it feels redundant, and I hope that I feel better next week. I have strong faith in my Lord.