Thursday, December 06, 2007

I need some motivation

It's been a while, I'll admit, since the last time I really felt my faith sink. Why does that happen? The ups and downs were regular, even frequent, after I first became Muslim. And for a while thereafter. Iman was a roller coaster, I went up and down, and around in circles. I'm sure people always go through phases that are better and worse than others, but--and I am grateful for this--I haven't gone through a bad one for a while. I've had stress, and problems, but sinking faith? Not really.

So why now? Misplaced loyalty, perhaps. Maybe stress and mental fatigue, worries about meeting my obligations--financial, and academic. Maybe it's hormonal. Probably some combination of all of the above. After having a good little cry this afternoon, and a few minutes of sulking (I had no more time to spare) I went to meet with someone who is interested in Islam. I've been meeting with her about once or twice a week for the last month or so, as a mutual friend has graciously offered us free meals when we come there to talk about Islam. (Meals, with drinks, hot tea, and baklava to boot, I might add.)

But today I sat outside the restaurant, reluctant to go in. I wasn't ready to talk about Islam, not favorably, as I had, today, come across different offenses to my nature and sensibilities. (I'm not saying what they were exactly, suffice to say they were personal and highly emotional issues... thus the reaction I had, perhaps.) Probably not the best time to give da'wah, when you're dragging your faith like a ball chained to your ankle.

But after about 10 minutes of pouting, sulking reflection, I toughened up, faked a smile, and went on inside. As I arrived, she was finishing a chapter in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam, which I had loaned her some weeks back, on Jihad.

Now wasn't that interesting? It was almost a relief, really, because I truly believe that the concept of jihad is the most noble framework for a military policy outlining proper objectives and conduct for dealing with any kind of enemy. In fact, it's hard for me to see any kind of martial combat taking place outside the context of jihad to be corrupt, injust, and by very nature oppressive. So I can easily speak highly of jihad, even with my faith dragging on the floor.

And that actually eased me, somewhat, and the conversation did open up and I opened up. Fell down again, metaphorically, when the night was over, though. So I went for a walk when I got home... it didn't do much to help either. And here I am. Still feeling cheated, abused, and like a loser. Wish I knew why. And wish things would change.


Anonymous said...

Salaam Amy.

Sorry to hear you're down and feeling like your iman is low. We all have those days, we just need to hold on tight to that rope of Allah SWT and he will bring us back closer.

May Allah make it easy for you. Ameen

Ibn Abd-el-Shafy said...

[silently thinking]

You're a convert to Islaam, aren't you. I'm not, but I had my own 'reawakening' many years ago when I started to learn about Islaam. My advice to you doesn't come from a pedestal, it comes from standing at your side like your brother, as I am in Islaam.

Some days, the Shaitaan is very active in our minds, with a lot of subtle attacks. Some days, our own imagination is our enemy. Either one of those can even make statements of Islamic scholars - who are oh so human - and twist them. Why am I pointing this out... because some days one might even have doubts about what they find in Islaam.

I am nearly 40 years old, and I know something you do, but only ... longer. It is that whatever made us upset with Islaam returns to us. So many reasons, wouldn't you agree?

- not having complete knowledge
- not understanding someone else's words
- being too proud to acknowledge we are wrong
- not having enough to eat (yeah our body makes a difference)

And I'm sure there are more.

One thing is for sure though, and this is why you became Muslim: Islaam is true, Allaah is One, and Muhammad is His messenger. I am positive, after reading your blog and being personally inspired by it, that fact brings peace to your heart. Especially that Allaah is One, and is Al-7aqq and Al-Qaadir. I put my trust in Him, and I seek refuge in Him from my own weaknesses and misunderstandings. I believe you are the same way, reading what you have written before.

Some days, we are just human. Where is the passion when you need it most?

And a large truck roared by at that instant...

MyHijab said...

I want to say thank you to ibn abd-el-shafy

What you wrote found me at a time when my iman was at a low.

Dear Amy we all go through these times. What I do is I listen to as much Quran as possible (hence the video post on my blog). Quran stirs in my heart what nothing else can. Be sure to check the newest video I will put up today.

Admitting to low iman takes a whole lot. I don't know many people who would do so in 'real' life (as opposed to the internet).

Just know that Allah (swt) allows us to think and to have doubts, for if we never have doubts, we will never seek knowledge, and how will we learn if we never seek knowledge?

salam alaikum

brnaeem said...

AA- Amy,

What do you get when you mix an elephant and a rhino?

(shrugging shoulder) eleph-ino?

Cheer up sis! :-)

If nothing else, your spiritual doldrums have provided me inspiration for a blog post.

I know, I'm so thoughtful - I hear that alot.

Modern Muslimah said...

Salaam Amy,


I know the feeling sister. Right now I'm in a good space but there are times when the Shaytaan really tries so hard to bring us down. Sometimes he succeeds but ultimately, Allah always helps us to prevail. When I get down in the dumps about my iman, what helps is reading different ideas about Islam from various sources. I love to read how various people cope with their intellectual and emotional issues. I know that sounds weird. However, when you read about others who have grappled with the same issues as we have, I feel a sense of comfort. I know that I'm not alone.

Safiya Outlines said...

Salaam Alaikum sister,

I'm a convert too and I've been 'there' in the past and I'm sure I'll probably be back there in the future (insha Allah I will be strong through it).

Everyone has their own 'there', the low spot which can manifest itself in lots of ways.

The best advice I ever received, was actually from lucky fatima, another blogger and it is:
When ever you feel like praying least, that's when you need it most.
So when I feel, lazy, slovenly and generally disconnected, I remind myself of this and it helps gets me thorough that tough patch.

Anyway, I always like to help a sister out especially a convert sister (as I know how tought it can be), so feel free to email me or drop a line on my blog

May Allah swt protect you and guide you always.

Amy said...

As-salammu Alaikum

I just wanted to say jazaakum allahu khairan to all of you for the advice, prayers, jokes, etc. Alhamdulillah the worst is over.

Anonymous said...

Oh, no. The worst is yet to come. When you get yourself with three to five kids trapped in KSA where women aren't considered bright enough to drive or vote, where they are punished for being gang raped and you are far away from your family and even finding comfort food is a challenge and then you realize that you've been driven there by the ridiculous scam called Islam, THAT is when you will see the worst. I wouln't put myself in that position if I were you.

Tarek said...

Assalamo Alaikom Sister

Having too many commitments together with stress and worries does not help

But the main advice of our beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, is that one should be gentle in learning and applying Islam. Don't take on too much at once, as the prophet said this religion is strong.

The best deeds are those which are regularly maintained, even if they are not many.

As for the comment by anonymous, KSA mix local traditions with Islam, and their understanding of our faith is not what Islam is all about. It was a very closed desert society for hundreds of years, and change takes time, but it has already started

As far as motivation is concerned, we all have ups and downs, and good deeds make our faith increase, so don't worry, all will be well In-Shaa-Allah

Salam and all the best


(P.S. I can't log on to the forum since yesterday for some reason. Any clues why?)