Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Asalamu Alaykom,

There are going to be questions about what I've been doing with my life.  It's been a while. 

Obviously, since all things change, there have been changes.  The biggest change is that I am no longer in the U.S.

I am in Egypt.

I made hijrah.

Making hijrah is different than "living overseas."  I made a conscious choice to leave behind what I was no longer able to keep.  I took four suitcases (packed and re-packed) and my youngest child.

That's it.

I left behind two wonderful older children to be raised solely by their father.

I left behind an elderly mother.

I left behind a father with Alzheimers who continues to think that I'm in Europe.

I left an amazing circle of friends who truly felt like sisters.

I left them because I felt the call to leave.

The Quran is full of examples of prophets (peace be upon all of them) who could not stay where they wanted to stay.  They had to leave in order to find the promised land.  They had to leave behind people they loved. 

I think a lot about Prophet Noah/Nuh who loaded up his ark with everyone and everything yet had to watch as his stubborn son was swallowed up by the sea.  Not everyone can go with you when you follow God's calling.

I felt God calling me to Egypt. 

I had felt God's call two years ago but I resisted.  I stayed in the U.S. for my older kids, for my mom, for Mr. Boo to have his father, and for me to have my friends.  I thought of people instead of thinking of Allah.

Little by little, it was shown to me that I had to leave.

May of 2009, I answered an ad for a teacher at an American school in Egypt.  I wrote, "There is nothing I would like more in the world than to be hired to teach in Egypt."

I stopped and looked at that sentence on the screen.  I added, "Seriously."

I looked at what I had written and centered my soul.  Seeing my intentions written out in front of me kind of surprised me.  Did I really feel that way?  I prayed just then and felt the truth.

I added one more thing, "Wallahi."

It did seem that it was time to move on.

I had tried to remarry in the U.S.  I thought that there might be some match which could be succesful enough to provide a home and stability for me and Mr. Boo.  I was willing to consider all offers but in the end, I chose no one.

I looked for employment in my state and around the U.S.  I even interviewed with a Muslim school in the Virgin Islands!  I was trying my best to stay as close as I could to my family. Nothing else was coming through.

I ran out of money.  I had to leave my apartment and move in with my mother.  After only two weeks, I was ready to pull my hair out.  I realized full well that I could never live with my mother longer than a week.  Blessedly, I was offered a housesitting gig.

So, I flew back to the city where I had tried to find happiness a year and a half earlier.  I thought I could sit out the summer in palatial splendor by the pool.  Though, I had been offered that teaching job in Egypt, I wondered if I was meant to stay in the U.S.  Maybe, in this different city, I could find a job or a man or both.

It didn't work out that way. 

The good moments became overshadowed by some real terrifying times.  The electricity was suddenly turned off in 90 degree heat.  It stayed off for a week and I had to rely on other friends to help us that hot June. 

I was pulled over by the police for a broken tail light and harrassed for wearing hejab.

Most seriously, I was briefly held against my will in the townhouse, which I had once called home, with a man whom I had once loved.  I began to fear everything.

I flew back to my mother and my kids and started to seriously push the paperwork through the governmental offices.  I was now more serious about leaving for Egypt. 

But what about my kids?  That still hurt to think of leaving them.

The night before my son's fifteenth birthday,  I called him to set up a time to get together.  He then informed me that his father wasn't  going to allow it.



His father got on the phone and told me that he'd been shown my on-line chat with my daughter.  I had told her that I was most likely going to be in Egypt on her birthday and I wanted to celebrate ahead of time.  It hurt to know that my private chat had been read by someone who could twist it all. 

He proceeded with his line of logic. If I wasn't going to be with my daughter on her birthday, then it wasn't fair to be with my older son on his birthday.  I was written out of the plans. 

It wasn't the first time and I knew it wouldn't be the last.  I didn't continue to fight for my parental rights in that moment.  I was tired out from all the past struggles. 

Alhumdulillah.  In that moment, I knew I could not stay and fight---

not my mother,

not my ex-husbands,

not the schools who wouldn't employ me,

not the police, or the landlord, or the numerous other people who all pointed one way.

They all pointed to Egypt.

Yet, I still had a mountain of paperwork to plow through in order to go.  In desperation, I emailed the principal and let her know that I couldn't figure out how to get it all done.  She emailed me back the phone number of another American teacher who had successfully processed her papers.  The principal thought that this lady might be of some help.

I looked at the phone number in disbelief.  She had my same area code.  She was from my state!  In one simple call, I found the answer to all my paperwork problems.  One week later, I had everything I needed. 

This new sista-friend and I met for lunch and for pre-trip shopping.  Knowing her meant that I was no longer alone.  We could travel together and even arranged to spend some time having fun in Amsterdam.  Knowing her meant that I was guided and aided and I felt God's blessing with my decision.

My tax return (from a year of not earning much) was all the money I needed to start a new life.  I bought the tickets.  Everything was coming together quickly.

Yet, there was one big hurdle to overcome before leaving.

Read Chapter 2

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Asalamu alaykum sister, Wow mashallah I love your story, I was overseas in Egypt and another Muslim country but came back to US, to my biggest regret, there really is nothing here please pray for me that me and my family can make hijrah