Monday, September 8, 2008

Ramadan 8: Better Not Perfect

This post contains fitnah and haram.
If you want to be completely free
from those elements during Ramadan, then do not read.

I really want to say this: I am not perfect. In fact, I've screwed up. Not huge. Just enough.

I ran into an old friend of mine---well, actually, my first boyfriend. That's the trouble with coming back home. I don't mean my first silly junior high boyfriend. I mean my first, "OH MY GOSH! I COULD END UP MARRYING THIS GUY!"

He was soooo religious, and while I was spiritual, I was my (as always) free-spirited self. We met doing theatre. I was 17 and just had graduated high school early. He was 23 and enrolled at the University. We were both quirky in our own special ways. We truly did mesh and click and all that.

He left town to do theatre. He traveled the world. I stayed here to finish school. He'd write me and call me from all these amazing places and I'd live vicariously through his exploits.

We did not get married---each least...not to each other.

What is he doing now? Oh, he's back in town to do a show. If it wasn't Ramadan...


It is Ramadan.

And I am Muslim.

He is not.

The tables have switched subhanallah and now I am the more religious of the two. I no longer feel free to do whatever I want in the cause of love. My life doesn't work that way any more.

But, I was tempted. Until he leaves I will be tempted. That's the deal.

Do I have to wear the Scarlet Letter? No. Find someone else who wants to wear that red "A". I am not an adulterer. I do not want to marry an adulterer, so I cannot BE an adulterer.

Him? He's in an "open relationship" with his wife of two decades. Astragferallah. What in the hell is that?! It's cheating without pulling the blinds shut. It's leaving the door open just in case somebody better pops by. On a very base level, I honestly don't mind being the somebody better (as I've already done that with AbuBoo) but on any level I can't be the one thrown aside when the the next "somebody better" rings the bell (I've been that too with AbuBoo). With an adulterer, you can't be one without the other.

I am through being disposable.

So, I did something I shouldn't have. I let my needs take hold. We talked and talked. We joked. We reminisced. We couldn't stop. Or we could but didn't. It was a blast and it was wrong.

I know.

Here's where I'm at with it: I'm not perfect but I am better.

In the past, I might have tried to understand his wanton ways and given in to more. I didn't. He couldn't even get me to go out with him, even though he is literally down the street from me.

In the past, I wouldn't have let morals dictate emotions. This time I did.

In the past, I wouldn't have even known it was Ramadan, or feared Allah. I did and I do.

So, I fell off the Ramadan wagon. I bumped down onto the dirt road. Do I stay there? NO! I go get washed up and ask for forgiveness and get back on.

For those of you who want to point your finger, please don't. You have also screwed up during Ramadan. I know you have.

Why tell you my misdeed? Because I am all about getting people to Islam and keeping them there. It doesn't serve Islam to keep acting like we are nearly saints. We are a bunch of screw-ups, people! We are! We are the same screw-ups as everybody else, who swerve off the straight way. The difference is that we go to Allah for the guidance to find the path again. Our strength comes from Allah, not from some super-human power.

And if you want to tell me to hide my misdeeds, I'm going to tell you, "NO." Not this time. I'll agree that I need to be careful and inshahallah I will be. This time, I wanted to say my example and have it really out there for those searching for The Truth. May Allah forgive me. I know why I'm putting it out there. It's to say that you don't have to be perfect in Islam; you just have to want to be better.


ammena said...

masha'allah sis.. I too have fallen off the wagon this year :( and its not from want of trying. These things happen.. wrong place, wrong time and all that.. but i feel such a bad person for it and remember the whole 'anything evil is from ourselves during ramadhan as shaitan is locked away' Im trying hard to pick myself up and its good to know Im not the only one. So thanks for sharing this sis :) *mwah*

egyptchick7 said...

Wow, this post answers so much for me on so many levels. Last night i did a sin, and although it really wasn't grave, like sex without marriage,I felt REALLY REALLY bad about doing it as opposed to doing it any other time( when I really didn't care about it being sin, no sin). And I didn't know why...until i'm like asking myself " is it bc it's ramadan? is it bc we are more aware of our sins during ramadan? Does Allah make us realize our sinful deeds more in this time?" So while this post talked about becoming better, inshallah, this sin and committing it during ramadan made me never to do it again, so inshallah I too will be better.

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Ammena,

May Allah bless both of us with a renewed sense of purpose and iman.

As a teacher, I am always careful not to say, "bad person," but rather, "A person who did some bad." The first way is condemning and the second is explaining. Semantics are important as they give power to ideas. And I said, "some," because I'm sure you did some good as well. We are not people who live in absolutes.

You were searching for something, as was I. I feel a bit lost this Ramadan, as I'm not connected to those around me as much as I need. That is a GREAT opportunity to connect better with God. I just didn't take advantage of that last night.

I do regret. I re-read my post, by the way, and want to make it clear that by being tempted I mean tempted to meet with him. I'm not saying tempted to sleep with him, astragferallah. The trouble with any temptation is that it leads from one thing to another, so I realize that if I give into one, it can, in turn, lead to another and so on until you have committed a major sin. It's all innocent until it's NOT and then it's NOT in a big way that ruins lives.

It's funny what you say about Shaytan. We always talk in Islam like, "YAY! Shaytan is locked up!" But the downside is that we have to admit how much we travel into evil on our own without any push whatsoever from Iblis.

Alhumdulillah that you had the courage to join me in this dusting off party. Sister Ammena, let's celebrate that we lived to see a new day. Allah, in His mercy did not have us die in our sleep. We woke to find newness. Let's take this chance and use it to grow deeper in our faith by admitting our weaknesses.

Kisses to you too! But not to any man---nope...NOT!

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom EgyptChick,

God bless ya, girl. I wasn't sure who would resonate with this post, but I really thought I wasn't the only one.

I should have guessed it would be you! We are seperated at birth, or something.

One day, as a teacher, I had a talk with a girl at school who felt she was such a bad girl. Other teachers were helping that poor opinion along and her self-esteem had hit rock bottom.

I told her that I understood. She wasn't so bad but she had room to be better. Before, she hadn't understood how good she could be, as her parents weren't solidly in their Islam. Now, that she was learning more, she saw how big the gap was between where she was and where she wanted to be. Her behavior was actually better than ever, but her feelings towards herself were worse. It's because she had never examined that gap before. Becoming aware made her sad, but talking to me made her hopeful, alhumdulillah. I told her everything I'm telling you.

I want you to be hopeful too.

May Allah protect us from our lower selves. Though we are not as good as we could be; we are better than we've been. Let's close the gap inshahallah this Ramadan.

Yosra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
egyptchick7 said...

After reading this again, I wonder what my sin was??? "So I too can be better"?? Hmm, I think it may have been backbiting. And I wonder was your sin talking to a man outside of marriage/family? Years later, I can't really pinpoint your sin...Great to see how perspectives change over time...

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom EgyptChick,

Ahhhh our fading memories! Alhumdulillah we can be selective. Ya, I remember what I did. At the time, I was being SOOOO CAREFUL around men. I was literally scared to death of making (yet another) wrong move. Over time I relaxed that (and of course made some wrong moves)astragferallah. Alhumdulillah for reflection.

Actually, it ended up being necessary for me to meet this man again--and it was in a public place. It really ended any illusions of "woulda, coulda, shoulda". I no longer wondered what would have happened if we had stayed together in college. NOPE! I would have ended up without any kids in an open marriage with a roaming atheist. NOT for me alhumdulillah.

So, keep reading and finding your comments! I bet you'll have to rack your brain a few more times.

Light and Love!