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Breaking The News And Bringing My Family Closer To Islaam


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Breaking the News and Bringing my Family Closer to Islaam (1)

By Sister Mai.




{For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease, Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease} [Qur'aan, Al-Inshiraah, 94:5-6]


I reverted to Islam 23 years ago while living in Bahrain. My parents live in England, and I told them over the phone, so they really didn't know what I was talking out. Islam was a far-off thing for them and they didn't know what it meant.

I had a small piece of advice given to me just before my first trip back home to England after becoming a Muslimah. It was to simply be myself, let everyone see that I hadn't changed in any ridiculous way, and to answer questions (when and if they came) as simply as possible. So, that's what I did.

I went home, asked for something to be kept in the bathroom so I could make istinjaaWashing the private parts with water after urinating or passing stool. , explained why I needed it and went about enjoying my visit with my father and his wife. The same went for my mother. When they asked a question, I answered as simply as possible so that if they wanted more information they could continue to ask questions and if that was enough then I hadn't overdone it.

Well, the years passed and my parents became more accustomed to my lifestyle. They sometimes had some very specific questions for me when I went home for visits. I noticed that they were quoting things they'd heard on the radio or watched on television about Muslims, so I knew they were paying more attention to Islam in general.

Then, perhaps 10 or 11 years after I embraced Islam, my father called me one New Year's Eve and told me he was proud of me, that I had good morals, lived a clean and decent life and had done well in my work MaashaaAllah The meaning of "Maa sha' Allah" is: "Whatever Allah wants." . I was in tears. It was a milestone in my life and in my da'wah; my father was proud of me and my faith.

During the years that I went home to visit my parents, I told them these things in answer to their questions.

-In Christianity, living together without being married is called "living in sin." I'm not doing something different by not having boyfriends and waiting for marriage, I'm just following the rules. Within a year, my father married his partner and my mother married hers.

-In every movie you've seen about Biblical times, the women wore long loose clothes and their hair was covered. It has always been the way of religious people, I'm just going back to those ways. I gave them an analogy.

question_brain.jpgThey get on a bus and a woman sits opposite them wearing a mini skirt, boobs all pushed up and cleavage out, make-up, long wild hair, high heels, perfume. She looks great. How does Daddy's wife feel about that woman? Does she check to see if my father is looking at her? Of course, my father has seen her and what will he do, put his hands over his eyes? Daddy's wife may be thinking, "She's thinner than me... she is more beautiful... she's younger." Daddy may be thinking, "She looks great!" Daddy's wife feels a resentment towards that woman for displaying herself in front of her husband.

Then, when it comes to bedtime she has a little complex. I look fat in this nightdress. I don't want him to see me and compare me to that gorgeous woman. She has lost confidence in herself and her attractiveness to my father. A barrier has been placed between them. Now, if that woman had not displayed herself that way, Daddy's wife would not have anything to compare herself with. She would not have felt inferior or that my father had seen something he must, in her mind, prefer to her. She would have had no animosity towards that woman sitting opposite them and felt no threat.

Well, after explaining that, they made a point to advise me when shopping if the thing I was trying on was suitably covering or not. They understood.

-When asked about some horrible thing a Muslim had done, I said, "What about Son of Sam, the man down the road who killed his wife, and all these criminals in the prisons? Are they all Muslim? No, they are Christians, Jews, Athiests, etc. It has nothing to do with the religion, it has to do with the people. There are good and bad people. People with good judgment and intellect, and people without. I don't say the religion is bad because of a person who associates themselves with it; I call that person bad. "

-When sitting with them on the evening of their Christmas, after leaving them to their day and just arriving back home, I was asked if I didn't believe in Jesus. I took the QuranThe final immaculate revelation sent to mankind from God (Allah) Almighty. and read the excerpt from SurahA chapter/section of the Qur'aan. Maryam about the Prophet Isa's birth, alayhis-salaam. Daddy's wife said, "Well, that Quran has it all so we don't need our Bibles do we?"

Then, about 8.5 years ago, I got married. This was another milestone, because they now had an example of a Muslim man to observe as well.

-When I got married they asked questions about my husband's short trousers (i.e. showing the ankles) and beard... which he answered used Prophetic Narrations from the Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu 'alayhi waand sallam. My father could see that my husband was acting based on knowledge and commitment. For every question, my husband presented proof in his answer, wa al hamdulIllah ala kulli haal.

-We had to handle the issue of not celebrating birthdays, Mother's Day, and Father's Day. Although I had explained previously that these things weren't celebrated in Islam. We sent letters to my parents explaining that we didn't need special days to commemorate our love and appreciation for them; every day was a testimony to that. We made a point to send them letters, gifts, and express our love throughout the year so they could see that they were always special and not feel that they were being ignored, just because we didn't share their holidays. We explained that the only gifts that would be accepted would be at neutral times of the year or on Eid.

My mother started noting down the Eid dates so she could send cards and gifts.



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Well, after I got married and we had our first daughter, my father and his wife decided to visit us. They came by the time she was turning one, in the summer of 2004, maashaa'Allah. I was wearing niqaab by then, but I didn't mention it at all and just went to pick them up at the airport. They didn't say anything about my face being covered initially and we got them home, settled down, and just let them relax. We had stocked the freezer and fridge with a variety of zabihah meats for their visit and for the first couple of days let them sleep in and recover from their flight. They enjoyed getting to know their granddaughter and we went to a couple of places for sightseeing and shopping.

During their stay, we did a couple of things that exposed them to Islam. We used to sell Islamic clothing, accessories, lectures, etc. at different functions and we took them one evening to a masjid in Philadelphia while we were vending. As brothers and sisters passed by, gave salaams, and interacted with us, my father asked me what the response was to their salaams and then responded a couple of times. It was quite cute. The whole experience served to show them a large Muslim community, predominantly American, with focus and a good sense of brotherhood/sisterhood.

The other thing we did was when we took them for drives, especially long ones, we played 'The Lives of the Prophets' by Imaam Anwar al-Awlaki in the van. I mentioned in passing that it is the one time when we have a chance to listen to the series without interruption, just so they understood that it was for us, not them. Well, every now and then my father would make a sound of agreement with something being said, so I knew he was listening at least some of the time. His wife commented that it was very relaxing and soothing to listen to while we were traveling. Well, you KNOW that hubby and I were just grinning away at each other about that!

Of course, they saw us pray whenever and wherever we were for the duration of their stay, heard us refer to Allah throughout our day, and generally saw how our life was being lived. Our daughter was saying many words by then, so she would say "AlhamdulIllah" after she sneezed, "bismIllah" before she ate, etc. We also introduced them to black seed and black seed oil, explaining that the Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam, told us it is a cure for everything except death. That interested them greatly, as they like natural remedies and nutritional supplements.

When the time came for them to leave, we gave them gifts including a framed ayah of Quran translated into English (the last ayah of Surah Al Baqarah) that we had made. My husband decided to slip two simple books into their gift bag as well about Understanding Islam and Muslims. He told them that it was just in case they had any questions or wanted to understand a little more. We hugged and kissed them goodbye at the airport and my father said, "May Allah keep you safe and blessed."

On returning home, I talked to my father and he said that within a month of getting back they had to call someone to fix their hot water heater. The man who came was a Muslim and my father engaged him in conversation telling him about us. He talked to him about the black seed oil, which he liked to use. My father had taken us to the Markfield Islamic Foundation when we visited and had a look around with us, so he was familiar with it. He told me that he was planning to give them a call to see if they could tell him where to purchase more of the black seed. I thought to myself that at least it was some kind of connection with Islam.

Qadr Allah, by 2006 my father and his wife divorced. He was 68 at the time and it was a huge life change for him. He started thinking of different options such as coming over to the the U.S.A. so he could be closer to us, moving to Portugal, etc. We just called him more often and remained supportive and loving.

In the meantime, my mother came to visit for 2 weeks. By then I had a 5 month old daughter as well, so she got to see both her granddaughters, mashaa Allah. It was the last week of Ramadan, so we were fasting and she saw each day how we broke our fast and heard us get up early to have suhoor. My older daughter was 3 then, and she used to go downstairs to keep Grandma company in the early mornings while she had her cup of tea. One day my mother told me that she had sneezed and my mother said "bless you". She responded, "You can't bless me, only Allah can do that." My mother was taken aback, quite amazed at the clarity and focus. She saw us pray, saw the children living as Muslims, learned what we didn't do, and what we did.

When Eid came, she was uncomfortable to come with us to the Eid prayer, so I tried to leave it open for her. She changed her mind and came, holding the baby and just sitting at the back. It was in a rented hall, so there were no issues of her entering a masjid. She even draped a shaylah over her hair for the duration. One or two mornings I played 'Quran for Little Muslims' for the children and checked to see if she was listening. She didn't really seem to be taking anything in, so I didn't take it any further. We enjoyed her visit, spent a lot of time letting her relax and do a little shopping. We gave her gifts from the girls that showed their love for Grandma and sent her home with hugs. Maashaa Allah, it was a good visit.


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Sometime in the early part of 2007, my father told me that he had been reading one of the books I left there and he had a great feeling of peace. He was living alone and had a lot of time on his hands, so it seems that it was a time for him to reflect. I used to keep a Quran, an easy hadith book, and a few other books that were easy reading there so I would have something to read and refer to whenever I visited. I always thought that if they were interested, they might pick one up to read, but forgot about them for the most part.

For the next couple of phone calls, my father kept talking about the a Prayer book, which is very beautifully made and has chapters that tell the prayers of each of the prophets (alayhimus as salaam). He could see what Ibrahim (as) prayed with the direct quote from the Quran and explanation, as well as many other Prophets (alayhimus salaam). He mentioned that he was planning to visit the Islamic Foundation to see if they had some other book that he could read next. We took the initiative and put together a package of a couple of books by the same authors that I thought he would like, one an explanation of Surah Al Fatihah and the other on Surah Ikhlaas. I think we included another simple basic Islam book too and sent him a copy of the 'Lives of the Prophets' series, which we knew he had enjoyed hearing parts of during his visit. We sent them all off and I called after a week or so to see if he had received them. When I called to check he told me that he had just been to the Islamic Foundation and they gave him a big pile of material to read the day before he received our package. He didn't know where to start! I told him to simply have a look and see what interested him and just go from there.

He returned to the Islamic Center again, to pick up a different translation of the Quran and have a little tour. He said that they told him he needed to learn to pray and gave him some paper to complete in the event he chose to embrace Islam. Finally, my husband had a chat with him and asked him what he believed. He stated that he was pleased with what he was learning and with Islam. I was about to faint!

Later on we gave my father a call to see how he was. He told me he'd just gotten back from the Islamic Foundation and did the ceremony. I asked what he was talking about, and after a bit of real confusion on my part I realised that he had said his shahaadah! He said there was a group that gathered in the prayer hall and they all hugged him and he received all manner of welcome gifts and support. AlhamdulIllah! My father had embraced Islam, just a month before he turned 69 years old wa subhaanAllah wa bihamdihi! The person I thought would be too resistant to change to ever accept Islam, even if he thought it was right, had changed. Allah (subhaana wa taala) had shown me the reality of, "Kun fa ya kun!" (Be and it is!)

Well, I'm crying now. It's been over three years since Daddy reverted and I'm still overwhelmed by it. We went to visit him over the summer and it was the first time to see him since he'd accepted Islam. To see my 72-year-old father pray was indescribable.

Allah, yet again, has shown me His All-Encompassing Power.

Anything is possible when Allah Wills it.

We can never know His Plan or who He will gift with the faith of Islam next.

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Separation of parents may makes life menace for children if in a case when both remarry to someone else, in that scenario there is a clear possibility of getting spoiled. Parents in this respect should recognize their responsibility about upbringing of their children so that a sound and prosperous Islamic society could be established.

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