Bismillahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim
Another Ramadan has passed us by, and while we are so grateful, Alhamdulillah, we pray that inshAllah Allah will give us another one.
Today, with a house spilling over with food, guests, laughter, and conversation (Alhamdulillah), I reflected on how much has changed in the last few years. How diverse our group of friends has become and how much we’ve changed ourselves, as people, as Muslims.
You know, it wasn’t so long ago that our Ramadans were spent with members of our Pakistani and Indian community. Iftars were every evening, almost, at Uncle and Auntie so and so’s house. On Eid, we’d go house-hopping at every one of our Pakistani/Indian friend’s houses, ending up in food comas with the girls I grew up with.
It wasn’t a bad thing by any means! In fact in many ways, I miss it.
But you grow up. You meet new people. You change. Your families change.
In the past three years or so, our Iftars have evolved. Now we rarely host Iftars at our home. Instead, we have community Iftars at our mosque, supporting the message and goal of our New Muslim Support Network. And through that we’ve adopted a diverse array of new friends into our inner circle. From your Caucasian revert to your African-American revert to your Indonesian immigrant. Your new sister from Ethiopia. Your brother who studied Islam and went against his family in his reversion. Your sheikh from the Phillippines, a revert himself, and his wife and their children. The whole, beautiful family that reverted to Islam. The sister who can’t catch a break because she’s juggling a job and kids and a husband who cares nothing for her. Or the sister without a husband who holds fast to her deen tighter than she holds on to you as she hugs you.
Alhamdulillah…SubhanAllah. Where was I when you needed me?
…I’m no scholar or religious leader.
But one thing I do know is that Islam is not a religion of feasts and celebrations. That’s not what Islam teaches us.
It’s the rope that binds us all together, and in the words of my favorite sheikh, it requires everything from you.
It takes your language. It incapacitates culture. It blinds you to race and social status. It turns your house into a home, makes it welcoming for all who enter. Turns your meal for two into a meal for three. Your meal for three into a meal for four. When it opens your eyes, it turns your idea into work. Your work into hard work. Your hard work into success. All by the mercy of Allah, SWT.
It turns your tears of laughter into tears of humility. Tears of awe of the mercy and power of Allah.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m so ashamed when people come into my parents home and they’re so happy to be there and compliment the house and the decor.
And I smile and think subhanAllah. I had nothing to do with this! This is not my idea. All this came from GOD!
I just reply, “Alhamdulillah,” and to the kids I say, scoldingly, “Say mashAllah!
It’s such an amazing thing. To look outside my window and see soo many people of different backgrounds and stories walking to my front door. I can’t help but think how badly we need them. How badly we need them for Allah’s sake.
I’m begging you. InshAllah, the next Eid, if your family doesn’t do this already, invite members of your Muslim community that are reverts, immigrants, or just new to the community. Let them enrich your life with their experiences and the rewards that Allah will give you in including them in your festivities.
We get stuck in this rut of Arabs and Arabs. Pakistanis and Pakistanis. Indians and Indians. African Americans and African Americans. Whites and whites. Reverts and reverts. Or reverts and their pet cats.
Islam is not this! Ramadan is not this! Eid should NEVER be this!
Tear those walls down, man.
Ok, I’m done ranting 🙂