I’m going to continue on the introduction theme just for a little longer, so that you all can see where my perspective is grounded. I’ll use this post to answer the first, general questions:
Yes, I was born in the U.S. (in fact, I’m the 5th generation here).
Yes, I am a convert.
No, I am not married.
No, I never was married.
Got it? Good.
My family is Catholic. As in actually Catholic, not just by name. So when it came out to my immediate family that I had converted to Islam, it wasn’t the most accepted news. Now, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says,
841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” 330
But, as we know, most people don’t practice what they preach – or at least still have a deep-seeded fear for my spiritual well-being. At first, my dad stopped talking to me and took away any privileges I still had from him. My mom cried. My siblings were a little more passive – they at least saw it coming. Things have settled down a little bit now, alhamdulillah. My dad is talking to me again, although with subtle “terrorist” comments buried in conversations. My mom only makes comments about wanting me to marry a Catholic boy about once a month, and we basically just don’t talk about religion in my house for the sake of peace.
This has also been a journey in finding out who my true friends are. I have some friends who have remained consistent since elementary and high school, yet I’ve had many disappear into the shadows. The new friends who have given me advice and mentored me have been extremely wonderful in the manner of easing my personal distraught over lost friends and family tensions. I’ve been blessed with enough supportive people to encourage me in my personal journey through life – to God, through the path which is Islam.
To be frankly honest, it is very difficult to live as a Muslim within a non-Muslim family. I always feel as if I have to sneak away to pray. I have to make excuses for why I’m fasting – “I’m going to dinner with my friends tonight”. It’s not that I’m trying to lie – they know. When I “go to lunch” with my friends around 2pm on a Friday, there is no question on where I am actually going. Trying to figure out a healthy balance between respecting my parents and living my life as a Muslim is difficult. It is a strange feeling when it’s easier to say “dad, I’m going to the bar”, than “dad, I’m going to pray”. It is a fear of the unknown, and inshallah, one day they will realize that the path I am going is not a dark path of destruction.