Just Me!

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This post is a bit off topic from home education but I feel the need to write about it. I sometimes get these urges to write about something on my mind, so do excuse me if it seems very random!

I’ve bumped into quite a few sisters recently who read this blog and don’t know me. And it is quite funny and quite strange that somehow I don’t seem to fit the ‘description’ of the person that they hold in their minds.

Two sisters thought I was white and were quite shocked that I wasn’t (!) lol (I’m actually mixed race – half white and half black) and others thought I was a really stern and strict person, not in the Islamic sense but more in my personality. It is interesting how we form initial ideas about one another. I’ve found over the last eleven years of being a Muslim that often sisters expect other sisters to behave and act in a certain way. Or to have fixed interests, likes and dislikes. And unfortunately, many of these sisters criticize others who don’t conform to this so-called ‘ideal muslimah’. I have heard many sisters over the years criticize sisters because they wear a certain hijab, or because their handbag is too fancy, or they shouldn’t allow their children to call them mama – it has to be ummi, that they aren’t allowed to read books other than Islamic books and the list goes on and on and on.

What I have learnt is that we just need to be ourselves. And if people don’t like it, well ‘who cares’. As long as it isn’t overstepping the limits of Islam, what’s wrong with sisters having unique personalities, interests and ways of doing things. I try to be myself as much as I can. And I think many sisters need to step away from the idea that the Muslimah has to be someone who has to be ‘depressed’ all the time. Sorry, but I have to say it. I really don’t like it when sisters look down on other sisters because they are having a good time or laughing. Do we need to be living our lives like zombies afraid to smile and afraid to enjoy ourselves and then equate this to having strong faith – the perfect Muslimah??!!

Yes, there is so much suffering in the world and yes, our muslim brothers and sisters are distressed. But there is a time for crying for the atrocities, there is a time to be angry towards the oppressors of this ummah for the sake of Allah, there is a time for being serious and there is a time to smile, laugh and be joyous. I can’t remember the hadith from the top of my head but I remember reading a hadith about the Prophet (saw) advising the sahabah that basically there is a time for this and a time for that as they were feeling guilty about laughing and enjoying their families.

So, sisters on a lighter note, I am just me. And if you bump into me and its one of those days where I can’t stop laughing my head off and I seem really wacky and somewhat insane, well, that just me. And if you bump into me and I have a very serious air about me then thats  just me. A time for this and a time for that. And just some advice to us all. Just be yourselves and as long as you don’t cross the limits set by Allah nor take the rights of others, enjoy being you.

And this is why I start home educating because I want my children to be them and to be happy being them. Not to have to copy their peers in their hobbies, way of talking, dress or anything else for that matter.

Lol! If none of this post makes sense, then just ignore me (lol), like I said I just felt I needed to let this out!

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27 responses »

  1. MashAllah, this is a really good one, may Allah reward you. I must say I agree with you, guess we all have this idea inside our heads of a typical Muslimah, subhanAllah, and we forget that we’re just individuals aswell.
    Let us all be ourselves, so true. May Allah bless you, ameen.
    Stay well, maasalamax

  2. interesting post. We should be happy in our own skins and being ourselves, but as you said, providing thats within the limits of Islam. With some of the examples here it comes down to differences of opinion and people thinking that someone has crossed the limits in islam or doing something wrong according to one opinion (even then they shouldnt be judgemental) or even doing that out of ignorance. Thinking about it though I dont remember myself meeting a sister who thought it wrong to smile or enjoy time with family or who thought you have to be depressed. Its part of islam to be someone who is smiling and cheerful and Nabi (saw) was also known to joke and smile etc but at the same time we were warned against excessive laughter and joking. Like nabi (saw) said if we knew what he knew we would laugh little and weep much. as you say we shouldnt care what people think – but we should care what our Rabb thinks and whether our actions or characters are pleasing to him. Theres a good article on this here http://seekersguidance.org/ans-blog/2010/09/20/the-spiritual-death-of-the-heart-through-excessive-laughter-the-prophets-moderate-sense-of-humor/

  3. Assalamu alaykum wr wb
    My dear sister
    I understand exactly what you are talking about!
    It’s best just to be yourself.( we can never please everyone all the time anyway).
    I recently was in a circle of 5 sisters, only one I knew, when I got home I was so distressed with myself. I thought did i talk too much, or laugh too much, should i have even taken my hijab off!!
    I don’t think that I’m ‘your average bear!!’ but I’ve got used to not trying to please people esp living in Algeria. I decided long ago that I do not do things the same as others ( culture difference and all that!) and so I must be confident about who I am and how I do things.

    As long as in sujood I feel Allah S in my heart I can feel at peace.

    my dear sister love you for Allah S.
    Praying for you all the very best.

    • Ws wr wb! Hey you! How are you? Oh sis, I’ve felt like that so many times sis – completely analysing everything once I got home and feeling terrible about it all. I still feel like that sometimes but then think “Why should I worry so much. I should just be who I am as long as I’m not hurting anyone!”

  4. Salaam Sis,

    MashaALLAH! I could not have said it any better. I get the same sort of reaction from sisters when I meet them. They are totally surprised at how laid back I am.

    I have to chuckle when they first meet me because there is this mysterious sense of awe (you homeschool? Wooow!). I’m just myself – not anything out of the ordinary but I do like to have fun and relax just like everybody else.

    Maybe because we only see small parts of our lives online and the rest is left up to our imaginations, we create the kinds of sisters that we think must exist based on our experiences, shortcomings and what society would have us to believe.

    I don’t know, but may ALLAH make things easy for all of us (AMEEN).

    Take care,
    wa salaam,
    Nakia

    • Ws wr wb!

      Long time sis! Pray you are well. Lol! Glad I’m not the only one who gets that reaction. Yes, we do tend to form an image of who the person is – both their physical appearance and type of personality.

  5. As salaamu alaykum,

    As usual, a good read, reminder, and motivation. I totally thought you were “all white,” lol and yes, on the serious side.

    It is like Sister Nakia said, we only see small parts of each other online. A few of my close friends initially thought I was white, but were surprised to learn that I am 100% African American. And, one friend was surprised when I told her my favorite color was pink, she took me as this blue person because I seem formal and serious, but truth be told, I am a big kid at heart.

    Like you said, there is a time and place for everything and sometimes I do stop and feel guilty for being so happy sometimes, subhanAllah. Some people make you feel as if you should be somber 24/7 like you said. But, at times when I am happy, I know in my mind it is because of the bounties of Allah and I don’t attribute it to anything but that.

    • Ws wr wb

      Sis….I am SHOOOOOOOCKED! LOL I also thought you were white! I can’t believe you are African American mashaAllah. Just goes to show doesn’t it. But I’m not surprised your favourite colour is pink mashaAllah. You seem like a ‘pink’ kind of person mashaAllah. 🙂

      Thats right sis, why do we need to be sad all the time. If Allah has blessed us then we should be grateful and happy about it. I just don’t get this thing about Good muslimah = quiet, withdrawn, depressed and serious! Where did that come from?!

  6. Masha Allaah very nice post! Hey sis Umm Ibraaheem I really thought you were full white!! : ) as I remember reading something to that effect on your blog! obviously I have got mixed up!

    Sis Umm Rayyan I would really like to meet you and see what I have to say about you! : )

    And I would be curious to know what you would think of me lol!

    Jazzakillaah khayr for sharing this and may Allaah reward you!

  7. Assalamo alaikum,

    SubhanAllah how limited the mind is!!! We always assume others will be the same colour as ourselves. I’m really shocked about sis TJ, i definately thought she was white, lol! Umm Raiyaan, when I envisage you the picture I get is an Italian character from a TV prog years ago, lol!

    This post really made me chuckle because it is so true, subhanAllah some people expect others to fit rigidly into boxes; I heard on an audio lecture that when Allah swt took the soil from which He created Adam AS, He selected it from various locations eg, from the mountain, valley, field etc etc and this explains the differences in the progeny of Adam AS. Some are dark, some fair, some calm, others hot, fiery etc. SubhanAllah for the differences amongst us! How boring things would be if we were all the same……

    • Ws wr wb

      Umm Salam, you really do make me laugh lol! I was on the phone to a sis today who knows me and told her what you said about me being like this Italian character and she laughed so much. Very far from what I’m like lol

      Shall I tell you how I envisage you?! A warm for some reason-round Irish lady ready to give lots of cuddles mashaAllah. And I always see you smiling and laughing mashaAllah.

  8. salaams
    I think i have a high opinion of the work you do – because you work hard in something you believe in. But I like you even more when i see that you are real, and fall and then pick yourself up even when things are tough.
    It doesnt matter what you look like and so forth, very few of us meet the strict criterion set by society as to what is a successful and amazing person.
    As we all know pleasing people and meeting their standards is a dodgy and usually unsuccessful endeavour, why not then just focus on Allah swt, the ever Just.
    Usually people are harsh on others as they themselves are very insecure. And we all know Allah swt loves gentleness.

    • Ws wr wb

      Jzk sis. May Allah make me that which you think I am. Oh gosh, am I real?! Lol! I think what gets me into trouble a lot is I am direct and just say it how it is, which isn’t always the best approach (must be the Italian side of me!)

  9. ws well when i first read your blog, i and my husband were wondering…… could anyone person really do so much?? alhamd you work hard and its great to see it mashalah

  10. As salaamu alaikum sister

    I just had to reply to this post as it gave me a chuckle! I breathed a huge sigh of relief after reading it I too am mixed race (not that race is important by any means) I receive alot of unexpectedgreetings and conversations in Gujurati or Urdu as people make assumptions about me. Someone once actually approached me and asked if I spoke english!!!? (I must look REALLY simple masha Allah)! On a different note you mentioned your daughter likes geometry and tessalations. My 2children along with a few other muslim home educaed children planned a masjid project made completely out of recycled junk and boxes from our local resource centre and scrap store. It was actually displayed in their annual exhibition Masha Allah and in the city library during Islamic Awareness week. During the project we looked at symmetry patterns repetition and colour and poured over many photos of the worlds masjids in library books. We even visited the local cathedral to look at the patterns in their floor tiles! Finally we sought out boxes all shapes and sizes and other bits and pieces with which to construct the masjid (the masjid itself was consrtucted symmetrical. The children were allocated different jobs and were allowed to use their artistic knowledge and individual style to create and design tessalations and patterns to apply to the masjid, it’s portal minarets columns and pillars. The finished piece was beautiful. We learn so much history math geography as we went along Masha Allah. I have a few photos if antone is interested in looking at them feel free to email me at alqubool@yahoo.co.uk. I do hope they spark a few ideas.Really looking forward t the Surah Naas project ideas you are so kindly going to share In sha Allah. Also Jazak Allahu Khairan for mentioning Huda TV in your Ramadhan post as I wasn’t aware of it before and now thoroughly enjoy watching it. May Allah bless and reward all our efforts and continue to give us all the ability to keep doing what we are doing for His sake Ameen.

    • Ws wr wb

      Jzk for your comment sis. The pictures were just beautiful mashaAllah. What a lovely project. Are you in the UK?

  11. asalaamu alaikoum!

    Not sure how you can “tell” someone is this race or that just by their posts, almost sounds like it’s based on how ‘intelligently’ someone writes or some other way..

    anyway, I totally get this. I have the same thing, just b/c I’m “practicing” and wear certain types of hijabs for example and homeschool my kids, ppl expect that I’m strict and judgemental and I’m so far from it!

    The comments get really old after a while though. Just say salaam and smile and you will hook up with some amazing sisters that you otherwise would have never approached.

    Recently a sister told another that I didn’t like her..and I was like huh? I saw her in the store and said salam from afar, with a wave and a smile. I had my 4 kids with me, wrestling with one of them to get in the cart and she was a bit far away and so I was squinting to see who it was…I waved and smiled and said salam, but she went on tell others I must not like her.

    It’s almost like she expected it…I may have looked like I was glaring, but really I just didn’t have my glasses on.

    • Ws wr wb

      Jzk for your comment sis. By the way, love your email address. We call my middle son zuzu and my youngest yuyu too! lol

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