I’ve been muslim for nearly a decade. As a new muslim attending a christian university, I didn’t shout my shahada from the cathedral bell tower. I didn’t even seek out any real life muslims – the only ones I knew from campus were all male international students from a gulf country that shall remain nameless, who seemed (to an outsider) to be more interested in designer clothing labels, fast cars and blond co-eds than they were about their religion.
Instead, I turned to the interwebs. Boy oh boy, was the online ummah different back then. If there were blogs, I didn’t know about them. I spent a lot of time in the yahoo islam chat rooms, which were probably not the best soil to plant my young iman in. I devoured everything on websites like themodernreligion, and had already decided that the islam on salafi websites just wasn’t for me.
It was also the age of Napster, and amongst the thousands of songs from the 80s and 90s I pirated, I found nasheed. Not speaking arabic, I gravitated towards songs that were in english. But, I found the sounds of arabic beautiful, and among the Soldiers of Allah (oh dear Lord, why did I ever listen to that?) and Yusuf Islam, a few nasheed spoke to my soul, even if I didn’t understand.
10 years later, I’ve revisited those first mixed CDs I burned in the early days of my islam and the songs that fed my ruh during those uncertain days as a new muslim with no direction. This is one that is ingrained in my heart, one that I didn’t understand, but somehow, I just knew that it was something special:
It took me many years to fully understand and appreciate what this song was – Love and Praise of Allah’s beloved.
Being a muslim often isn’t easy. Being a convert definitely isn’t easy, judging from my own experience, the issues my friends have faced, and from the entries in the convert truths blog carnival.
But amidst all the turmoil, the disappointment at muslims failing to live up to our vision of islam, snubbed friendships, discrimination, and worse, one thing anchors me – the character and person of our beloved Messenger .
It’s taken me a long time to realize the importance of the Messenger and what it means to follow him. After 10 years, I believe I’ve come to a quiet peace about the importance of the sunnah – both it’s inward and outward aspects – and how we cling to it as a means of reaching Allah (swt). And 10 years on, the words of an arabic language nasheed still sing in my heart – Salatullah, Salamullah!
That is my convert truth, that no matter what, in the Prophet we have a most excellent example. To that example I cling, and inshaAllah through that example, I will walk siratul mustaqeem. No matter what bumps in the path I encounter, no matter the failings of muslims who demoralize and deflate my convert zeal, in the Prophetic example I will always find rest and a way to the Divine . Because in the end, if we love Allah , we should do what He asks of us, and He has asked us to follow Mustafa
Say, “If you should love Allah , then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”
Whomever is hostile to a friend of Mine I declare war against. My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes, and his foot with which he walks. If he asks Me, I will surely give to him, and if he seeks refuge in Me, I will surely protect him. I do not hesitate from anything I shall do more than My hesitation to take the soul of the believer who dislikes death; for I dislike displeasing him”
Islam, Submission, is the inward and the outward. We know that inward and outward from the words of Allah and from the actions of our beloved Messenger . It is obligatory and voluntary acts done solely for the pleasure and sake of Allah . The means is annihilation of your own self, until you reach the goal of a state where you are a friend of Allah .
This is my convert truth. I strive for the pleasure and love of my Beloved . I will reach it through the example of my beloved example .
And for that I praise him .
Blessings and Peace upon you, O Muhammad, my guide, my example, best of mankind, Blessings and Peace!