Thursday, July 05, 2007

Back from the Beach

So, Jon, you wanted to know something I struggle with being an American convert to Islam? Many of my "struggles" are the same as any Muslim in America really, or just as a Muslim in a non-Muslims country, or as a minority in America. But one particularly unique struggle to being a convert Muslim in America is getting married. I'll write more about it later inshaaAllah because for this post, I just want to post some pictures really.

But think about it, I have to marry a Muslim... but socialization between sexes is really minimal. Not enough to really find a spouse. I interact with men, on the da'wah committee and a little in my Arabic class, on forums and so forth, but honestly, for the da'wah the group is small and most of those men are married anyway, and in Arabic we don't sit together or even study together. We don't go "hang out" and stuff, so where can I find a husband? It's very difficult!! Many American Muslims could still turn to their parents for help, a woman to her father to check for marriageable bachelors who are looking, and a man to his mother for women who are single and suitable, etc. I don't have that advantage, so just finding someone period is hard enough.

Finding not only someone who would want to marry me, but also someone who has good manners, is compatible with me, but more importantly is stable in his deen. Very hard.

But to add to the trouble of finding a suitable spouse, there is the "family" equation. Here my family might very well think I'm marrying a terrorist, and I want to respect their wishes and be nice and all, but when they refuse to accept my decision to embrace Islam, the decision arising therefrom seldom meet ease. Covering, giving up pork... marrying a bushy bearded Arab boy isn't what they really want for their daughter, so discussing things with them is, at times, troubling and tense. We talked a lot about such things these past two days.

I was riding in the car with my parents down to the beach where my brother lives, all-in-all about a 3 hour drive each way, and that's a lot of what we talked about--my getting married, and potential spouse. Not to mention all the time there when I spoke with my brother too and his girlfriend. Dealing with family is always a little bit of trouble, from the perspective of a convert. Especially my family, because some of them do not accept my decision at all. The details of that, however, need not find mention now. Because I have pictures!!

So this first one is the view coming off the boardwalk to get to the public access section of Holden Beach, which is basically an island, one of the barrier islands in North Carolina. The water as you can almost see is very calm. And it was warm too!

And the next picture is of this little girl. She was digging her way to China, I'm sure, with that little shovel. She had on a life preserver. You see, there is no chaperone. That person in red wasn't watching her, she was just digging away... going in to the water. Why the life preserver? Undoubtedly, she could just wade out into the water as she wished. I remember once as a kid I was wearing my friend William's life preserver (we didn't have any) and went out a bit too deep... couldn't find the land again, got carried out into the water, waving for help... oh dear, very scary. But that beach was much rougher than this one was.

This is a post on the pier, covered in barnacles, and rotted out, not very stable I bet! You can see the waves are pretty calm.

You can see in this next picture of the pier how calm the waves are. I really wanted to go running in and swim around, the water was so warm and inviting.... oh! If I had a towel and change of clothes, I'd've been there. Unlike Kitty Hawk (the beach I used to go to when I was a little kid), the waves here are very calm.

The last picture is a crocodile made of sand on the beach. Pretty big, pretty good job! It's about 7 or 8 feet long.


Aviator said...

Amy Said: "But to add to the trouble of finding a suitable spouse, there is the "family" equation. Here my family might very well think I'm marrying a terrorist, and I want to respect.."

According to my experience in the Arab world, most of the people there are uneducated, lazy, random, poor, violence,...
Well, middle east and closed minded young Muslims are the source of terrorism, so western parents have right to be afraid of marrying terrorists.

Unfortunately, i may say that Arab men are not fair with their women in many issues. YEAH, women are not given all their rights there!

So, for western parents, they would not be happy about a relationship with an Arabic boy.

However, many Americans are worse than Arabs as husbands. So it depends on the person himself, not his country, race or language. This is the meaning of the freedom...

To be fair, there are many well educated people there, wise, polite...
There is professor Ahmed Zewail, for example, from Egypt who got Nobel prize in science....
There are many Arab famous scientists in west countries.....
So, not all the people are the same.

However, the melting of eastern and western cultures in one family would be great (for open minded partners only), or it may turn to a kind of hell.

Well, same thing in Middle East, parents don't welcome their boy or a girl to marry from western countries, all of which i don't care about in this age: age of technology!
I see that all the people on this earth are one country. This is because the earth is less than a piece of sand on the beach relative to the recognized universe. I think parents are not raised with IT, so it becomes difficult for them to believe that the world has turned to a small town.
Anyway, this is my opinion.

However, Allah made humans as peoples and nations to know each other.

I advice with an ambitious boy, who wanna to be a Profeesor Doctor Engineer Pilot. Not so hard to achieve!

Not so hard for family to accept!

Anonymous said...

Remember you only get one set of parents. Having said that you have to honor your mother and father but do not have to like all their views. I would personally prefer my daughter to marry Catholic but if she decided not too I would want her to marry a decent man with strong values and character whether they are white, black, asian, etc.. Remember a lot of your views and morals were instilled in you by your parents so if they taught you decent morals you should be able to find a person who shares the same ideals. That could be the biggest compliment to your parents in the long run. Also you never know who you are going to fall in love with Amy. It can't be pre-planned. There is an old saying that if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. As far as meeting a Muslim mate don't they have single nights at the Mosque in America?

God bless,

Amy said...

Jon, I don't have to honor my parents' wishes about who I marry. Honoring them doesn't in this case mean doing what they want, because in many cases it actually goes against my faith.

What I want is someone who shares my view of Islam, of this life and the next.

And no, they don't have single nights at the mosque. But I found who I was looking for. And just a hint, it's not the poster above you.

Anonymous said...

I agree we should all be able to marry who we want. In Islam are children allow to do the same or do they have to honor their parents wishes?

Aviator said...

Amy said: "But I found who I was looking for. And just a hint, it's not the poster above you."

Is that me ??

Amy said...

Interesting question "Anonymous." Are you jon again?

Nobody is supposed to be forced to marry. Women need to be asked for their consent. However, respecting parents' wishes is a big BIG deal, and I know several stories of fathers instructing their sons to divorce a wife. Genearlly our parents are best suited to know what is best for us.

Abraham, for example, visited his son Ishmael living where Makka is now, and Ishmael wasn't there because he was out hunting, but his wife was. Abraham asked her about their way of life and she complained how miserable it was that they didn't have enough food and so on, and how hard it was. He told her to give his greetings to Ishmael upon his return, and tell him to change the threshold of the house. When Ishmael returned and got the message, he knew it was his father, Abraham, and that it meant to divorce his wife. So he did. Abraham came back some years later and Ishmael was not there, but a new wife was. Upon asking about their life, she said they were well-off, had what they needed in abundance, and praised God. They ate only meat and drank only water, and Abraham asked God to bless it. He gave this woman the message, to tell Ishmael to keep firm the threshold of the house. Ishmael knew that message meant to keep his wife.

Marital advice in code, sort of, but it's one of my favorite stories. (And hey, a lesson for manners with father-in-law?)

My parents, however, don't even approve of a marriage to a Muslim man. I'm obligated to obey my parents except when it conflicts with my deen, my religion and way of life, and they don't want me to marry a Muslim but if I marry, I may not marry a non-Muslim, so to that extent I do not follow their wishes, nor must I.

Amy said...

Aviator--I told you. I'm taken.

Anonymous said...

assalamu alaikum sis..

maybe it's late to comment on this blog?:)

or it's never too late :)

sis i pray Allah grants you the husband who will be the best for you in deen and dunya...take your time sis to discuss and ask about whatever you find needed for you to feel comfortable marrying someone...try to check about him from the place he works or such's very hard finding a suitable good husband but Allah is most Gracious...just be careful sis coz alot of men make it look like everything will be again my advice take enough time to get to know about the person..keep to the islamic limits but don't be shy to discuss anything u find imp

may Allah bless you

your sis...rose

Amy said...

Assalaamu alaikum

Never too late. I get all comments via email! Twice actually for moderation purposes now. lol... I could fix that.

Jazaakillah khair for your advice. :-)

Aviator said...

Amy said: "Aviator--I told you. I'm taken."

I agree with sister rose, time is very important when establishing life long relation...

I have another comment for the blogger, but in arabic; so most of you the readers cannot read it (sorry for inconvenience, but it is a persoanl issue)