Wednesday, February 08, 2006


I happened to read another Muslim's blog today, and it encouraged me to focus a little more on my religion, at least the way I try to portray it to the world.

6 months -- how long it took me after saying Shahadah to actually start practicing Islam.

1 week -- how long it took me to memorize Salat in English

4 days -- how long it took me to memorize Al-Fatihah in Arabic.

When I converted, I was much too terrified to pray... I had lost my religion. In my mind, that is all I had done, leave Christianity. It might not be expected that I should have embraced all of Islam... but I didn't really embrace any of it. One God, got that. Muhammad a prophet, okay. Quran the word of God, check. Anything else was stretching it.

What changed? I don't know... you might not know. But I know that if I had not taken Shahadah I probably would have given up on Islam, and never started practicing. It took some time to admit it, even to myself, at least in pure honesty. But at some point I realized that I was missing prayers, and I didn't want to miss them any more. Why would anyone push someone to convert who wasn't ready to start praying at that moment? 6 months is an awfully long time, and if faith can be acquired in 3 months, surely it can be lost in as little time.

Starting to pray doesn't cure all evils, though. If anything, it made my life much more difficult. Not at first, of course, but as there are rarely times when being a woman is advantageous, some times are much more than simply an annoyance. And at times like these, I feel like religion is dead, or at least that my religion is dead. I am a slave to my body instead of a slave to my god... how do I even begin to ask for help?

So my prayers became less important to me... in fact, I stopped offering them altogether, wanting nothing to do with prayer. And I think it is harder to return from that deviation than it was to even get started on the right path. I still haven't come back all the way. Sure, I offer prayers now, and even try to make them on time. But the bottom line is that they do not tie me to my faith as they did at first. In many ways, I feel they are empty; I feel that I am empty.

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