Confused

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I am a baby Muslim, only eight months old. That means that I know very little about the Qur’an, the ahadith and the Sunnah, or which actions are haram and which halal. When I read articles about Islam on the Internet or in Muslim magazines, I don’t know what they’re about because of all the Arabic terms that are used. I know a smattering of Arabic, but not nearly enough to enable me to navigate around the Muslim world. I’m still startled whenever someone says “Asalaam alaikum” to me and I stutter when I reply “Wa alaikum asalaam.” This isn’t exactly coming easily for me.

Not that I expected it to be easy. But I had no idea how much I didn’t know until after I said my Shahada. Some of the things I’ve learned have surprised, even shocked, me. And I’ve been confused by all the different opinions of the various shayks and scholars. Some of what I’ve read in the Qur’an has concerned me but I don’t feel that I have anywhere I can go to get a better perspective. It seems like so much I read on the Internet only emphasizes what you must not do (or you will never see Paradise.)

I do have Muslim friends, Alhamdulillah. In fact, they were instrumental in my becoming a Muslim. That and some courses I took in college had the greatest influence on me. They answered all my questions, and still do when I get a chance to ask them. But some things I don’t even know to ask about. Like what do I do now that I’m a convert and my husband is not Muslim? I found out months after my conversion that our marriage was considered void and/or we should get a divorce.

That really threw me. I have the most supportive husband in the world. When I first approached him about my desire to become a Muslim, he said, “Go for it. I’m behind you all the way.” He’s not even threatened by my wearing the hijab (in fact, he likes it). We talk about Islam all the time and he even looks things up on the Internet for me, or brings me home books from the library that he thinks will be helpful to me. He’s the one who designed this website. He’s proud of the fact that I’ve become a Muslim, even defends me to people who don’t understand how I could have made this decision.

And I’m supposed to divorce this man?? What about the emphasis on marriage in Islam? If you have a good one, are you just supposed to throw it away because you said the Shahada and your husband hasn’t?

I admit that this was a turning point for me and not in a good way. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t judge Islam by Muslims. (And it was Muslims who told me that.) But when I found out that my Muslim friends were concerned about my marriage to a non-Muslim, I felt betrayed. When I asked what I should do, I was told that I should pray about it and Allah would tell me what to do. Well, I have prayed about it, and I’ve made my decision: this marriage stays. But I’m haunted by the knowledge that there are some Muslims who think what I’m doing is wrong.

One of the things I like about Islam is the emphasis on patience and perseverance. I’m not the most patient person in the world, but I am stubborn. I don’t give up easily. Now that I’ve found my true home, I’m not going anywhere.

Published by

Ellen

Editor and chief writer at I, Muslimah and Femagination. Ellen also contributes regularly to Elevate Difference. She is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with two cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

7 thoughts on “Confused”

  1. Salam Ellen,
    God doesn’t appreciate the breaking of families either, and there is a hadith stating that the one thing that God has made permissible but despises is divorce. I am no scholar nor any expert but I feel that if God has blessed you with a supportive understanding husband, it’s best to be patient and who knows! maybe your husband’s pure intentions will lead him to revert to Islam! (I say revert and not convert because we were all born Muslims). Don’t give up on your marriage yet. I’m sure God will make things easy for you, just trust in Him.

    About the things you learn about Islam that shock you, I always think nobody should hesitate to doubt anything and be a free thinker. God wants us to use our intuition and reasoning and never to follow blindly. I’m not saying we should come up with our own theories and ideas and assume they’re right, just that if something doesn’t feel right, we should investigate it until we’re satisfied with its integrity. As long as you believe and trust in God, He will help you find the right way.

    92:5 So he who gives (in charity) and fears ((Allah),
    92:6 And (in all sincerity) testifies to the best,
    92:7 We will indeed make smooth for him the path to Bliss

    1. Thank you, sister, your words are comforting and enlightening. I can tell that you answered me thoughtfully and I thank Allah that He moved you to write to me. That you took the time to comment means a lot to me. I thank Allah for you!

  2. Sister, salaam!

    there are hypocryts sister that try to change Islam and there may be some genuine one’s that have misunderstood, if your are one of the latter then this is for you:

    the prohibition of non-Muslim husbands for Muslim women is decicively established in the Quran sister and this is irrevocable and is not dependent on the wisdoms associated with it, i.e even if some of the harms dont exist, yet it is still forbidden for Allah has forbidden it; it’s a bit like alcohol; if someone says, i’ll drink it in moderation thus the ‘wisdoms’ of not drinking alcohol wont effect me such as the harms are non-existent for me, then yet alcohol will not be lawfull for the person to drink, for wether all the harms is caused or not, yet ALlah has forbidden it, and it remains forbidden for all time

    it dont matter if your former [if your conversion has exceeded 3/4 months] husband is such a nice guy, etc, as it is not dependent on that sis; he is a non-Muslim and he is forbidden for you full stop.

    i’d like to go on with the wisdoms and reasons for it but dont want to make it too long; i’m sure you can find them in Islamic websites

    it is said sister that if a woman has seen the clear evidences forbidding such a marriage and that such a marriage becomes anulled, and thereafter if she still insists that her ex-husband is valid for her, she will go out of the folds of Islam, thus if you really believe that Islam is the Truth from God-Allimghty, dont throw your imaan away for your own preferences my dear sister; save your yourself from a fire thats fuel is men and stones!

    All the best

    Salaam

    ps, by the way, no Muslim disagrees on this so it’s not that ‘some Muslims say this, and others dont’; the ‘others’ are infact a few non-Muslims going round pretending to be Muslims and there might be the few new converts too who have misunderstood

  3. Dear Ellen,

    I cannot tell you how excited I was when I found your blog. There is a genuine shortage of female voices in Islam (or any other religion for that matter) which concern themselves with female issues and are trying to find the truth for themselves (and the rest of us). I congratulate you on your faith (the fact that I am a Muslim really does not have anything to do with that. My basis is the fact that I know how spiritually fulfilling faith can be, and I am sure that the feeling is the same regardless of one’s “church””). What is more admirable is that you have decided to convert to a religion whose followers are being threatened, from their own extremist “flock” as well as external factors. You give me hope.

    Your husband sounds like man of every woman’s dream. He is certainly not in an everyday situation, yet he is supporting your decision in every way possible. All of us can only hope that we are blessed with our life partners in the same manner :). At the end of the day, it is your marriage. Nobody is perfect, and after all love is a gift from God and should be respected :). Those who preach against your marriage and husband are themselves guilty of a sin of trying to break apart what God has brought together (for they should know that your destiny was decided from Allah from the moment you were born not from the moment you converted).

    jnana said this so beautifully that I had to quote: “About the things you learn about Islam that shock you, I always think nobody should hesitate to doubt anything and be a free thinker. God wants us to use our intuition and reasoning and never to follow blindly. I’m not saying we should come up with our own theories and ideas and assume they’re right, just that if something doesn’t feel right, we should investigate it until we’re satisfied with its integrity. As long as you believe and trust in God, He will help you find the right way.”

    Follow your heart :)

    1. Dana,
      Thank your for your kind and affirming comments. I started out with a feminist blog, which I still write for (Femagination), but after my conversion I felt that I had more to say about Islam and Muslim women than I could justify for that blog (although I still write about Islamic matters there from time to time). So I started I, Muslimah.

      I know what you mean about there not being that many female voices in any religion. So many that you do run across are ensnared in the patriarchal dictates of their particular religion. I want to be a woman (and a Muslimah) who thinks for myself. Not always easy when others are telling you how to think and what to do.

      I haven’t run across that as much as I expected to, though. And when I hear from people like you, it gives me hope.

      I especially like what you said here: “Those who preach against your marriage and husband are themselves guilty of a sin of trying to break apart what God has brought together (for they should know that your destiny was decided from Allah from the moment you were born not from the moment you converted).”

      I agree with you completely!

      Please keep in touch!

  4. Assalam-alaikam Ellen,
    It’s heartening to see a Muslimah who is adamant that this faith is for her despite difficulty.
    You and your husband will both be in my prayers.

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