Sunday, September 8, 2013

No Prayer Rug

Asalamu Alaykom,

I've had a couple of days of feeling too much.  I feel more than I think.  A lot of women are like this.  We get stuck in memories

I've had a lot of memories which hurt.  Here in Giza, I sat in my overstuffed chair in the corner and got lost for a minute or two.  I was back in 2002.  I had thought I'd married a Muslim man.  We had moved into a new home together back in the States.

I had gone shopping at the Somali mall with my two children. My girl was five and my boy was eight.  I was shopping for hijabs.  I didn't have but two.  For some reason, I had not bought any in Egypt.


That just hit me.  I had been in Egypt for two weeks and hadn't bought one hijab.  I was actually wearing hijab in Egypt but my new husband didn't buy me one hijab.

So, I was alone with two kids in the Somali mall.  It was filled with...SOMALIS.  Go figure, right?  I was this really white, really clueless new Muslimah mom.

A couple came by the store where I had been shopping.  The man started talking to me. By coincidence (though we know there are no coincidences) his unusual first name was the unusual name I chose as my new middle name when I came to Islam.

You don't have to chose a new name when you come to Islam.  I did.  I needed a fresh start.

I was nice.  They were nice.  It was nice being nice.  In that moment, the man offered to buy a gift for each of the kids.  For my little blonde girlie, he bought a two-piece white hijab.  For my bespectacled boy, the man bought a green prayer rug.

Back Egypt, sitting in my chair, in the moments after magrib,  I thought about that green prayer rug.  Where was it now?  I remembered that I left it back in the States.  I couldn't take everything four years ago.  It must be in the storage unit now.  Whatever I left with my mom was placed in storage this Spring.

I was sure I'd have a prayer rug in Egypt.  As I sat there, in the darkening desert breeze, I realized for the first time that in 2002, I married a Muslim man who didn't have a prayer rug.

Why didn't he have a prayer rug?

I started to make excuses for him----like how I always used to.  He lived with a group of guys.  I bet they shared a prayer rug.  He used any rug available.  He didn't have to use a specific rug.  He...

didn't pray.

You know, if you tell yourself a lie long enough, you believe it.  I really believed I married a Muslim man in 2002.  I came to Islam and I thought I came to embrace the same faith as my man.  The truth is that he had let go of his religion.  In many ways, his letting go meant that he could find me.  Alhumdulillah for everything.

When we brought that green rug back to the house, it became our family's prayer rug.  It belonged to us.  We used only that.  We used a prayer rug bought for my son by a stranger.  God bless both my boy and that brother in Islam.  We didn't pray on a rug bought by my husband.  We couldn't do that because he never used his money to buy a rug.

Come to think of it...

he didn't have a prayer rug in our apartment in Egypt either.  We prayed on a small circular rug in the hallway.  It was big enough for two people.  He had originally bought that with his first-and-current wife.

It's funny, when you think about it, how a prayer rug is rectangular.  It focuses your attention from where you are to where the Kabba is.  It's straight.  It's directing energy.

A circular rug scatters energy in all directions so it is unfocused.  It means that all things are important at once without differentiation.  If you stand on a circular rug, you are sharing yourself with everything and everybody indiscriminately without making a conscious choice.  That was our first prayer rug in our first home.  It was only for two weeks.

Our home in America was from November, 2002 until November, 2006.  That's four years.  Now that I've lived in Egypt for four years, it's giving me some perspective on what those other four years were about.

I was happier with that man.

I was sadder with that man.

In the end, I'm glad I'm not with him.  Alhumdulillah.  Not everything you want in life is good for you.  When you get out of a bad situation, you might still be stuck in a lie.  It might take you years to realize the truths of what you had...and what you didn't.

We didn't have a prayer rug.


khaki said...

Assalamu 'alaykum Yosra!

Sending immense love your way...

Allah preserve you and bless you always. Aameen

egyptchick7 said...

"I was happier with that man. I was sadder with that man"...true and wise words..

Marie Harmony said...

I understand each one of your words Yosra.
I realized not so long ago I too lived a lie. I thought I married a Muslim man as well. But he was not. He did Ramadan and told me many things about how good Islam is, but he never helped me reading the Koran or never prayed.
You know I did not convert but I was interested in knowing more about his religion.

He is not a Muslim. He is just using his religion to get what he wants. Like a marriage.

He is who he is. I just have to accept this fact and move on.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Stay in peace Yosra. Love to you and Mister Boo!

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Ladies,

Nice to hear from the three of you this morning. I saw three comments and HOPED it wasn't all spam :)

Wa Alaykom Asalam Khaki,

Ameen to your du'a.

Broken hearts do heal but they have scars. Be careful with your young hear, Habibiti.

Asalamu Alaykom EgyptChick,

As my OLDEST reader (that I know of), you realize more of what I write of the past than anybody else. Yep. Very Charles Dickens of me, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." It's true. I would rather be happier but I wouldn't rather be sadder. I'll stay in the middle for that's where Islam is.

Hope you're doing well.

Asalamu Alaykom Marie,

I knew this would resonate with you. It's sad to marry a lie. It's still sad as the lie continues to unravel after your marriage is done. Little by little you understand what you never had. Alhumdulillah.

I'm so sorry that your Baby-Daddy never gave you more of an entrance into Islam. It doesn't mean that you had to accept it for yourself. It just would have been better for him to share more knowledge. Unfortunately, you can't share what you don't have. Forgive him. He didn't have what you needed.

Kisses to Mr. Pop.

Love and Light to Everyone!

Nur lindah said...

I am born a Muslim and I knew today many Muslims do not truly pratices Islam as they should really be. Those who practices Islam are seen as strange and back dated.

I am sad reading blogs where some Muslims women converts find that they are not guided by their husband in praticing Islam.
Some feels like being lied, some feels confused of whether they are doing right or not and some even revert back to their old religion because they feels empty inside and out.

For me, in this world, the greatest gift Allah give is Islam and Iman. Don't worry if your dearest and closest one does not provide you will what they should give. Remember that Allah is the greatest giver and gives what the best for us through hands or channels that we sometimes just cannot imagine where it comes from.

As a wife, we should give doa for our husbands to be better Muslims so that he could be a Muslim leader of the family and that could lead us have blessing from Allah.

I wish I could tell to all my sisters (new converts) out there, don't be disheartened by whatever you are facing, be strong and have sincere faith in Allah and Islam. There are many sources out there where you can learn Islam if you can't get it from your love ones. Its you who will answer of what you are doing in this mortal world on the day of judgement not others. So be clear and think positive Insha Allah there always ways that Allah will show you in your life ways. Although I am born Muslim I am also still learning Islam.

Forgive me if something that is wrong in my writing for it is just my humble opinion. I am just a Muslimah who loves my Muslims sisters young and old because of Allah.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Nur,

I really hear your heartfelt wish to help revert sisters stay strong. I agree that maybe are hurting. Is the answer to stay strong enough to hold a family together even if the man's weakness is making it all apart?

Umm...each case is so different. I will never tell a woman to divorce. I will say, from my past experience, that there came a time when I had lost almost everything. By that I mean: visitations with my older children, my house, my money, my business, my halal husband and my sanity. I was on the brink of losing my mind. I actually lost it a few times and found my way back (through the Grace of God). This all sounds dramatic but I assure you it's very real. In that moment, I realized how dirty my life had become due to associating with the man who couldn't keep clean. I had to be done in order to save my child's life. My life? I swear to God (and astragferallah for this) I would have sacrificed myself for this man. My child? No. Only for the sake of my child did I get out.

I do think you are minimizing how awful these marriages are. It's maybe because you haven't experienced what we have. I'm not faulting you and I wouldn't wish our experiences on you. Just...understand that the blogs you might read are from women who entered into a commitment with a full heart and who are now left with a broken heart. Dreams died along the way. They never thought they'd signed up for a life like the one they're in now. They truly were promised something different than reality. Usually, after kids complicate the matter, they are stuck.

Love? Leave? For me, I did both. I decided I would always love the man for what he gave me (Islam, my son and years of happiness) but I would leave him.

I have a new husband now. He's far from perfect. I will only stay with him if that's what Allah wants. I will never again hold a man against the will of Allah.

Bless you for caring. I don't want you to stop caring about us reverts! We need some help, that's for sure. I only wanted you to see deeper into the situation that was true for me and for many others.

Love and Light!

Nur lindah said...

Assalamualaikum again dear sister Yosra,

So sorry maybe I am not good at giving advice since Alhamdulillah probably because I am not facing what others had gone through.
Or maybe my English interpretation isn't that good.
But anyway my doa will always Insha Allah to all of you sisters.
Thanks for sharing your stories for it make me realised what some sisters are facing in actual life.
I had no heart feelings of whatsoever as we are all learning from each other to be better Muslimah.

Anonymous said...

Im a Arab Christian.

i really feel sad for you. your stories are showing how your life was enptey and shallow. thats why you changed your religion.

u guess this is how all american ends up misleaded.

You changed your name you changed your soul for what? you denied your self.

dont think im attacking you by my comments its just there is always a second chance.

Pleasestop misleading more people by your videos and blogger. If you find what ever you beleive helpful for you that doesnt mean you have the right to mislead more people

Jesus Said :

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Jesus being the great Shepherd,

i hope some day you wake up.

As an arab Christian we have been a minority living between others we read so much into Bible and other religions books and found out that no book is like bible.

Yosra said...

Peace to you my brother or sister in faith.

Since you are "Anonymous", I don't know much about you other than your profession of faith and your ethnic background. There is something comforting in being cloistered---not letting anyone know too much because then others might judge.

Me? I have let parts of my life be open for viewing and interpreting. I only have this blog, I'm on Twitter, and I have appeared on one video. Maybe, in the beginning, I felt like I needed to get confirmation or approval from others to keep going. However, at this time, I'm not taking comments from others to be anything I need to internalize too much as I'm already filled up with knowing myself.

My journey has been SO TOUGH at times. I'm not exactly a shiny-happy-people kind of poster child for Islam. If anything, I might deter those who are faint of heart.



YOU don't have to be Muslim,

and I mean that.

What I would like for others to be in mindful, thoughtful, faithful helpful, and joyful. Whichever way you take to get to that good place, then God bless.

Was I soulless before? Nooooooooooooo. I've always had a very deep soul. Most of who I was then, I still am. I didn't grow a new soul. I mostly knocked off some of the behavior which was self destructive.

I'm not sure why other people get so hung up on the name change. All the celebrities have changed their name LOL! It's pretty normal in Hollywood.

I was fine with who I was when I had my previous name. To honor the new time, I picked a new name. I needed to be clean from a lot of time that felt really bad. If someone else wants to keep their name, then God bless. I won't say boo to them if they don't want me to.

You hope I'll "wake up".

I'm woke.

For instance, I'm not going around on other people's blogs and knocking them for who they are and what they're doing. That would be pointless and a waste of time, really, right? That would be delusional.

I'm just doing my thing and letting others know what I'm doing and thinking. No one has to click over here. No one forced you to read. Although, if you read, you'd read how much I honor Jesus (pbuh) and the other prophets (peace be upon them all) that you also honor. You'd read that I love Christians and Jews as my family.

You'd read that I am a real and flawed person who just wants to make it through this life doing more good than bad God willing.

Work on yourself.

I'll work on myself.

May God bless you for whatever good you were attempting in this comment to me. May God forgive you for whatever bad came out.