So for those interested in reading the actual readings from the retreat I have added them into this post so you can view them.. and inshaAllah download them if you want.
Since I got back from the AMILA retreat I have been trying to process all the information that was thrown at me- so I went into hermit mode. Reflecting on a lot of the different readings and where I am at in my Deen. I always feel lacking – that I should know more, do more and be more when it comes to Islam. I guess thats why I am trying to take more classes and figure out exactly where I am in Islam.
I found living in So Cal a lot of pressure to fit in to a certain perception of who, what and how a Muslimah should be and I realized that it pushing me away from the Deen. I felt I was going through the motions but that it wasn’t coming from my heart in so many cases. I also felt like I needed to hide and be ashamed of my family – I still am very protective of them – and selective of who I tell what.. but still since moving back to Nor Cal its like I am finding me in my Deen. Maybe its that I finally have the courage to be me – when it comes to Islam. Maybe its that I have found a place that represents my experience as a Muslim and its created a safe space to allow for this growth.
I don’t but what ever it is – Alhumdualillah. When I do something my goal is that fulfills my connection with Allah and that it pushes me to grow or think differently. I have come to the conclusion that for Islam to be tangible and real for me – it has to be personal to be meaningful. When I make Salat – its time for me to have a conversation with Allah – time to refocus – release worries – ask for guidance – in what ever way works for me. I memorize Qur’an at a pace that suits me – in a way that suits me. I wear hijab – in a way that is modest to me.
I am tired of the weight of the judgemental and holier than thou individuals I keep encountering. I am tired of the fault finders – with criticisms from – Sister – you should wear abaya – Sister – that shirt is too tight – Sister – You don’t know Arabic yet? Tisk tisk – Sister – Liberals don’t exist in Islam – Sister- you voted?! Enough already!
Geez. And people wonder why the converts go running after encountering this type of attitude. Everybody has to connect with Allah – it the way they were meant to connect with Allah. The idea of Islam being this monolithic – my way or the highway religion – is simply not true. Islam is a vibrant tapestry with many different colors, and designs making up the whole. As an Ummah and I as a person need to increase my acceptance of peoples differences and open my mind to the different possibilities of the reflection of Islam in other Muslims – what does this mean for me?
I am not sure.. I am just trying to keep an open mind and open heart. Imam Suhaib Webb gave a great lecture specifically for converts at my masjid – the Lighthouse Masjid- in which he pointed out – Islam is here to purify us – not change us into something we aren’t – or even change us over night – check out the talk here –Advice for Converts.