Welcome to my blog!

This blog is an honest look at what life is like for this particular American convert to Islam. We're taught in Islam to cover our sins, to not air them, for fear of lessening the severity of sinning. In this blog, I may relate past indiscretions from time to time. This isn't to make light of them, but in the interest of educating Muslims and non-Muslims alike as to the realities of life as an American convert, I present my mistakes honestly. I make no excuses for them, nor do I claim that they were okay to make. I am not perfect, and I make no pretenses as to that. If others can learn from my past, know that Islam, and religion in general, is open for people no matter what mistakes they've made, then I will gladly air my sins when needed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I ... wait ... what?

My friends and I saw How to Train Your Dragon tonight; it was freaking fantastic.  Not just the story (why did everyone but the main characters have an accent?  What, can't Americans take an accented main character?), but the animation and the little details thrown in, like barnacles on the boats ... It was fabulous and I'm in love. :)

Speaking of love, we walked out and passed two guys, a thicker one in a white shirt and a skinnier white guy with no beard and no shirt on, who had a cross tattooed on his chest.  I was in my abaya, floral black hijab, and cowboy boots.  We passed each other and he says, "Assalamu alaikum" to me.  Of course I replied, "Wa alaikum as-salam," because that's only polite, but I was puzzled and thrilled at the same time.  I looked back at him a couple times, and told my friends, "That was awesome!"  Then I looked back again and he was looking at me, and smiled and waved, so I grinned and waved back.  I mean, I'm not saying that white guys can't be Muslim (dude, Ms. Whitey McWhiteypants, here), but I really doubt the guy was Muslim, and just the fact that a semi-gangsta-looking dude with a cross on his chest would know the Muslim greeting and say it, was freaking awesome.

So we piled into the car (I scratched my eyeball this morning, somehow, so John was chauffeuring and Kim was in the front seat, and I was in the back) and pulled out, and the guys had turned around and were walking the direction we were heading.  Kim offered to roll the window down and whistle at him for me, and offer me for 40 camels, but I told her not to.  He was really cute, though, and kept looking at me and smiling, and waved again.  So I smiled and waved back.

It was a great experience; I'm not complaining.  It was just way out of the blue, you know?  :D

Sunday, June 27, 2010

One amazing weekend.

Blogging in the halaqa, lol ...

It's been one amazing weekend.  I went to the Windows to Islam class, grinning ear to ear because Brother Ibrahim (from this post) was teaching it, and it's the first time since 2008 that I've seen him.  He had us all introduce ourselves, and I knew he didn't recognise me.  So it got to me, and I introduced myself and told him that he knew me, that we'd met in 2008 and I'd gone to one of his classes here at SALAM, and that I was the Jamba Juice girl.

Oh my God.  I thought he was going to wet himself.  His eyes got huuuuuuge, and he jumped back, his jaw dropped, and he kept repeating "You're the Jamba Juice girl!  You're the Jamba Juice girl!  Allahu Akbar, you're the Jamba Juice girl!"  It was hilarious, and despite being in a hit, stuffy classroom for 7 hours, Saturday was amazing.  Ibrahim's an awesome speaker and a wonderful teacher, and I'm not just saying this because he has my blog address.  :P  We learned a lot, Alhumdullilah, and the next time he's in town, I'm definitely going to his class.

Then last night a total crazy guy came in and decided we were kicking him out because he was black, not because he was loud, belligerent, and rude as all get-out.  Oh, did I mentioned soot-licking crazy?  That was fun.

And now I'm in a halaqa (essentially a Muslim Bible study), learning more about my faith and blogging here.  :D

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The most exclusive club.

Wearing hijab makes me feel like I'm in the most exclusive club in the world.  It's like a signal; a secret handshake, letting people know that I'm in the know.  Men walk into my Restaurant of Awesome and the first words out of their mouths are, "Assalamu alaikum," and it tickles me polka-dotted.

It tickles me purple when I'm referred to as "sister" on the streets, when I walk into a store and I'm greeted almost like I'm family, simply for the scarf on my head.  I feel famous, like at any moment the paparazzi are going to start snapping pictures, like I'm going to be mobbed for my autograph.

Rather than ignoring and being ignored by all the other motorists on the roads, when I drive past another hijabi, we smile and wave at each other.  I pass a hijabi or niqabi in the store and we greet each other, most often warmly, and that simple, friendly acknowledgement from a complete stranger warms me throughout the day.

Granted, being warmly greeted by strangers will always make my day.  When someone you've never met and will probably never meet again takes an interest in you, shares a grin like you're their best friend ... Even if no words are exchanged, it's one of the most wonderful feelings in the world, for me, and that makes me kind of sad at times.

It makes me sad because I firmly believe that everyone you meet should be greeted with a warm smile, that if we took two seconds out of our days to actually acknowledge others as fellow human beings, fellow human beings who may be in dire need of the heart-warming pick-me-up that a simple genuine smile can bring, then the transformations within ourselves and other people would be more drastic and life-altering than the latest cosmic shift in our collective consciousness the New Agers are screaming about (God bless you, you crazy New Agers; I do love you).

No, not every hijabi I meet or see will greet me, or smile at me.  But I'll greet them, smile at them, and even being greeted 95% of the time is still much better than my chances of a non-Muslim stranger greeting me.  I'm almost guaranteed at least a smile from my hijabi sisters; it's sunnah, after all.

So I'll keep my club, and feel like a rock star every time I step out, and hold my head high ... and someday I'll get around to making a secret hand signal to make everyone think I'm part of the Illuminati or something, because that just makes me laugh, and laughter cures everything except stupidity.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Changing perceptions.

I have a special thing to post about!

I have a regular customer, Bill.  He's been coming in for a few weeks, and he's really cool to talk to.  So, like everyone, he was curious about my hijab and why I wear it, and why I'm Muslim.  I've been explaining things to him, slowly, and he's been wonderful in realising that his misconceptions were just that, and changing his way of thinking.

I've explained to him about hijab: it's about respect for God's command for me to be modest, first and foremost, and if a woman is wearing hijab as a religious garment (some hijabi's aren't Muslim, or even religious) for any other primary reason, then she's wearing it for the wrong reason.  Wearing hijab has to be for God first, then yourself, then other people.  I've explained that I wear it because I choose to wear it, and that no man can force me to, that no matter how unIslamic my actions might be, no one can force me to not do them; it's between me and God.