Friday, March 29, 2013

Blessings not Happiness


Asalamu Alaykom,



The Mustafa Hosny program was re-broadcast again today.  I'll assume that it was on TV last night as well but, since I was a tired teacher, I had gone to bed early without waiting up to see.

When the program started this morning, my husband was downstairs with his family and he ran up the stairs in his galabiya to tell me to turn on the TV.  He laughed as he told me how he almost fell.  Then he poured me a cup of chi ma laban; tea with milk, made by his mother, which somehow hadn't spilled from its pot.  Honestly?  It's moments like that keep us together.

On the program I say, "Life isn't about finding happiness; it's about finding peace.  I found that with Islam."

I have been happier before in my life.  I have.  I have reached moments of extreme euphoria to the point that I was high without the drugs.  I was truly high on life.  I loved those moments and lived for those moments.  I sought them out and created them.  Usually, those moments had to do with breaking boundaries and rules and being unique and special.  I wanted to be those things.  I wanted to be a star.  I wanted to be famous.  I wanted to be adored.  I was happy whenever I got my wish.

And then, I would drop down from those times like a ball which you thought was made of rubber but instead  it's made of lead.  I would crash.  I would feel myself go down and blame myself for not being able to maintain my happiness.  What was wrong with me?  Why wasn't I normal?  Normal people feel happy.

So, I searched for ways to keep my happiness buoyant.  I was a very busy person making my life happy.  If you're busy then you feel like you're having a full life.  Í planned trips and parties.  I worked and volunteered.  I had friends and made new ones wherever I could.  I succeeded in many ways and yet I felt so tired from all the activity which still somehow couldn't stop me from feeling down.

One of the strangest coincidences was how often I would try my absolute hardest to create a happy event but then the result would be the exact opposite of what I had desired.  I would get depressed around Thanksgiving and Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day.  I would feel badly around birthdays.  Again, I thought I was alone in this kind of crazy juxtaposition.

Alhumdulillah, I am a very honest person.  I might fail at a lot of other things but this is not one of them.  Eventually, I had to admit that I was sad and I was having a sad life.  I was not having a happy life with moments of intermittent sadness; I was having a sad life with moments of intermittent happiness.




So, instead of giving it all up, I tried HARDER to find happiness.  I threw away my entire life to find it.  I was  going to rebuild from zero.  That process hurt a lot of people; it maybe hurt me the most.  Subhanallah that I lived through that time.

I thought that I was finding happiness with a new man to love.  I thought that love brought happiness.  It certainly brought drama!  I went along for the ride of my life with that man.  I experienced the most happiness I've ever felt but then I would also experience the lows.  Our time together was the proverbial roller coaster.

I explored Islam, in part, to find more happiness with him.  The funny part is that I could only read Quran when he wasn't around.  When he'd be overseas, I'd be with Al-Mus'haf.  I read it quietly.  I found some quiet.  I found some peace

Through peace we can find happiness.  I'm not saying that we believers can't feel happy because of course we can.  We aren't Puritans with grim expressions under our overly starched bonnets.  However, our goal can't be happiness.  Our goal must be holiness.      

That summer, before I took shahaddah, I was happy.  I felt renewed purpose.  I was setting goals and reaching them.  I will never forget the blessed moments I shared with Allah and no one else.  I felt God's presence in my life so strongly and I felt stronger from them.




Within weeks after taking shahaddah, I was back into the arms of my man and back into his drama.  I agreed to it all.  I left the path in many ways in order to be with him.  Astragferallah.  I thought that I was getting deeper into Islam by marrying a Muslim man but instead I was falling into a trap.

Wallahi; I swear to God, I did everything I could to make that marriage a happy one.  I traded away parts of myself in order to be a good wife.  I knew that I hadn't been the right person before and I wasn't going to hurt anyone again; I wasn't going to get hurt either.  I was going to improve myself to the point that I'd be good enough.  Have you ever wished that?  Have you ever wished that you were good enough to be loved?

Once again, I failed.  My intention was to improve for another person.  We can't do that.  We must only improve for the pleasure of Allah.  With that as our highest hope, even our failures will inshahallah be rewarded.  Who I was, wasn't enough for that man.

I was again alone.  I waffled between the two worlds I knew.  Sometimes I would seek for Allah and sometimes for the next husband.  Sometimes I'd go to Allah with my troubles and sometimes to a friend online.  I knew I wanted to stay close to Allah but it hurt.  It hurt because I wasn't letting go of my preconceived notions of a good life being a happy life.



Allah wore me down.  Allah needed me to submit and inshahallah I have.  I don't need the happiness.  I don't.  You can have it.  You can have it!  What I need is the peace in my life.

Committing to a peaceful life doesn't mean that my life is perfect now.  It isn't.  I still get mad or sad or jealous.  Things can still bug me.  Astragferallah for negative emotions which pull at us.  I still forget myself and say and do stupid things.  The difference now is that I know they are stupid and I ask forgiveness for them.  For whatever I don't know I'm doing, I ask forgiveness for them too.

Throughout my days, I ask Allah to bless my life.  I want blessings not happiness.  If you've never trusted God to give you what is the best for you, then give it a try.  Stop trying so hard to squeeze out every last drop of happiness from your life.  You don't need to create these moments of bliss on special days because when every day is special there is more to be felt and on a deeper level.

There's a storybook I had as a child called, "Play with Me".  I'm pretty sure it's packed away in one of the boxes back in America.  The girl chases all the animals in the forest, pleading with them all to play with her.  Each one runs away.  It isn't until she sits down by the creek and quiets down that a little fawn comes to her.  Alhumdulillah, I've quieted down too and now there's a new kind of peaceful happiness coming to me.

Often, I have wished you, "Jummah Mabrook," which many in the West would translate to "Happy Friday." That's not what it means; any more than, "Asalamu Alaykom," means "Greetings".  No, we all need a "Blessed Friday", and "Peace from Allah".

I hope you have a day which pleases Allah and that whatever you've read helps you in some way.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

4 Minutes of Fame


Asalamu Alaykom,



Here is the edited video from Mustafa Hosny's program Tarek Allah.  This jumps right to my interview and lasts for about four minutes.




Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ariel Commerical in Egypt


Asalamu Alaykom,



I've been posting so many videos of late that it seemed like a good time to post a commercial.  This is from Ariel, a soap company.  It's all in Arabic.  The first 26 seconds are only written Arabic but stay with it until you start seeing people.

There's a few tongue trills as Egyptians with moderate income get awarded prizes like sewing machines and cows.  They all praise Allah.

Alhumduilllah.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

على_طريق_الله Ala Tarek Allah


Asalamu Alaykom,



This is the Mustafa Hosny show, "Ala Tarek Allah," from Al-Nahar.  He introduces me at the 32 minute mark.

I'll work on getting an accurate translation of what he says about me.  If any of you feel capable of doing that for me, I'd sure appreciate it.  

I speak for about five minutes.

You'll see pictures I gave the producers.  The first picture is me as a baby after my baptism with my mom and dad.  Then, you'll see my dad along with Mr. Boo. I'm disappointed you don't see the pictures of my mom and I; there was one of us at her church and one of her from our last visit to America.  Instead, you will see Mr. Boo and I under an Egyptian flag when we first got here.  You'll see me in front of the Sphinx and Mr. Boo and I on our roof with the Pyramids in the background.  You'll see me with kindergarten kids here in Egypt and with my first graders from America.  The last two photos are from when Mr. Boo was little.  If you keep watching, you'll see us with a tall, dark and goofy guy.

Of course, there was more that I said but it was edited down.  I hope that what was shown in the video is helpful somehow.

Let me know what you think and feel.

Friday, March 22, 2013

MeTube


Asalamu Alaykom,




That's me on Egyptian TV.  It's not the big interview for Al-Nahar; that's airing tomorrow on Saturday, March 23 at 11 pm (and again Sunday, March 24 at 11 am).

This is me from January, 2011 before the Revolution.  I was interviewed for a segment on Cherifa Aboul Fettouh's nutrition show.  If you're trying to find me, it's about six minutes into the program and then twice more after that.  Yes, I speak in Arabic and of course it doesn't sound quite right.

Enjoy what you can.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Al-Nahar The Morning


Asalamu Alaykom,




It's another morning in Egypt.  In Arabic, al-nahar  means morning or the day.

Early mornings are beautifully quiet here.  Last night there was yet another wedding party in the street with blaring music but the only noise now is tweeting birds and one barking dog somewhere in the distance.  

Okay, I'll have to ammend that because now my husband is watching an old black-and-white movie starring Ismail Yassin.  In many ways, my husband and his family are throw-backs to a different age who appreciate movies like this more than current movies. 




The movie industry in Egypt is still big business.  Yesterday, I went to EMPC which stands for Egyptian Movie Production City.  A television station, Al-Nahar, sent a car with a driver to pick me up from my school to take me there.

Par for the course in Egypt, it was a comedy of errors.  I got the call that the driver was 45-minutes early and  waiting at the gate.  I grabbed my two bags, collected Mr. Boo with his backpack and headed out.  The road outside the school was chockful of drivers and cars.  I had no idea which was mine.  No one signalled to me.  I had to call the production assistant for the show.

"I'm not sure who he is."

"He's waiting outside the school gate."

"It's 3:00.  Everyone is waiting outside the gate."

"OK.  I'll call him and tell him to call you."

I knew that was going to be difficult.  If you are dealing with someone in Egypt who understands your English, never let them pass you onto someone else.  Chances are that the next person will not understand.

"Can you just tell him that I'm in a pink dress to the right of the gate?"

"Sure."

So, I waited longer.  It was unusally hot yesterday at 35 degrees Celsisus (which is a piping hot 97 degrees).   I stood there with my boy hoping that I wasn't scoping out the drivers too much.  One of them caught my eye and I turned red but not from sunburn.

Another phone call, "Yosra, this is..."  and he said his name but I didn't catch it very well.

So, I started giving him instructions on how to find me at the gate.

"No, I'm not the driver.  I'm the producer."

Apparently, the driver was at the wrong gate.  By the time I saw the balding man waving to me, the early pick-up was now on time.  That's Egypt!

It felt good to roll onto the lot.  The driver told me that Mahmoud Saad was in the car in front of us.  I didn't know who he was.



"Limby?  Mohamed Saad?"

No, this was a Mahmoud Saad.




He's a famous presenter who discusses the problems of Egypt.  Frankly, there are so many problems with so many presenters that I don't even bother to learn their names.  I'm not easily impressed by celebrities here because I haven't learned who they are.

Getting out of the car, I saw the lot's masjid.  Here it is in the background of a photo with presenter Doaa Amer.



It has a pleasing design which made me smile.  Seeing masjids everywhere (even on a studio lot) makes me feel so good.

I walked into the building where we'd be shooting.  I was ushered to the waiting room.  There were three men sitting with their drinks.  I hesitated to go in.  I knew that my sensibilities and those of my husband meant that I could not enter in to a room with three strange men and take a seat with them.  They felt my reluctance and got up to offer us seats.  Not everyone in Egypt will follow Muslim adab themselves but even those who don't will respect if you do.

I met the ladies who would be working with me.  It was difficult that the production assistant I'd been talking to was not going to be there.  I had to connect quickly with the woman who would be asking questions.  I asked to see the questions.

The questions were not well written.  I had two choices:  I could either take out my marking pen and make corrections or I could leave them alone.  I chose to keep my mouth shut.

Another woman came in and took a seat.  I took a look.  She was really cute in her little jacket and jeans.

Mr. Boo needed my attention.  I had him eat his lunch's unfinished cheese sandwich and drink his juice.  I got out some paper and pens so he could keep entertained.  I hadn't wanted to bring him.  I'd wanted to work out some other way.  However, there wasn't a better alternative.  I would have to trust that he'd behave himself while I was locked up in the studio filming.

I looked up to see the waiting room's large TV.  It was showing the station's live news broadcast on-air.




 Wasn't that the cute woman?  I turned my head to where she had been sitting.  She was gone.  I asked and sure enough that was her.  She had this horrible shadow under her chin.  This worried me because if she looked gorgeous in person but only OK on TV then how would I fare?

When she was done, I'd be going in.  I did a little pray in my head.  Really, talking about my reversion to Islam is easy for me.  However, this was going to be broadcast.  That's different.  Person-to-person is different than en masse.

Time was up so in I went.  I said goodbye to Mr. Boo and told him not to go with anyone.  You can't tell your child in Egypt not to talk to anyone because everyone talks to children.  Leaving?  Different story.

The studio was dark.  It brought back many memories of doing theatre and filming videos before.  I tried not to trip over the cables.  It's funny how studio sets are built as these little fake worlds of pretend offices, kitchens and living rooms.

Setting up was going to take a while so I went back to get my boy.  I wanted him to see all this too.  I took his little hand and led him into my world.  It's a fascinating place and I've always tried to expose him to new ways of understanding.  I led him back because we were going to start.

Yes, I told the cameraman to move the camera just a little to the right.

Yes, I also told the set supervisor to move the lampshade.

Really?  I'm a director.  I'm not very good at sitting still and shutting up.  In the moment, I feel I have to say something.  Later, I wonder how I ever thought I could be so bold.

Putting on the microphone is always tricky.  It's always a man who has to mic you and pinning the mic has to be around your chest.  Awkward!  The joke, for me, is that it's never done the first time; kind of like when the nurse tries to draw my blood.  Three times the audio man, the female assistant on set and I tried to find a way for the mic to be placed correctly.

It's funny.  Really?  The whole thing is funny.  Last night, when I got home, I felt badly about how things went but in hindsight, in the morning light, it was funny.

The woman with the questions took her place far away from me next to the camera.  I wouldn't be looking at her.  I'd be looking into the camera as if it were a person.  I'm good at that...I think...actually, I won't know until I see the show.

I saw myself on the enormous TV on the set.  It had been used during the news segment to show the world.  Now it was showing me.  Can I tell you something?  Nobody should see themselves that large.  No matter how nice you can look in a mirror, we all look rather freakish as giant heads.

We began.  She wanted me to talk about taking shahaddah.  She wanted my answer short.  Really?  I could speak the full 30 minutes on that alone.  It's huge.  Try to tell a mother to shorten up her child's birthing story; it's difficult.  I paused and she went on to the next question.  I wanted to backtrack and add a few things.

I don't feel I did that part of my story justice.  I wasn't concise and able to condense.  I failed.  I'm sad I couldn't communicate better.

It's made me understand better those celebrities who hate doing interviews.  It isn't that they don't know what to say.  They know but they aren't able to get it all out in sound bytes.

I actually left out all the people in my life.  I didn't talk about my Christian minister mother, my children who were raised between two faiths, my son I had to raise alone for many difficult years or the faithful husband I later married in Egypt.

The focus was really about my connection to Allah.  I did my best to keep bringing that up.  Again, I feel I failed to really make my life's journey understood as an example of God's constancy.

The questions she asked kept shaking me up.  I knew what she'd be asking so I tailored my comments accordingly.  When I would answer, her questions remained static despite anything I would have said.  In other words, she stayed on script.  I ended up having to repeat myself and then ignore other aspects I had wanted to discuss.  It's not anyone's fault; it's what happens through a language barrier.  Listening to nuances spoken quickly, in a foreign language is very difficult.  She did her best to follow me but I must not have been easy to follow.

Astragferallah for whatever I could have done better and didn't.

Inshahallah something from what I've said will be useful to someone somewhere.

The program "Tarek Allah" will air here in Egypt at 11:00 pm, on Al-Nahar on Saturday, March 23.  Inshahallah.  If it gets posted to youtube, I'll post the video...maybe.




The host of the program is Mostafa Hosny.  I thought he'd be the one interviewing me.  Wrong!  Turns out I won't even meet him.




Mr. Boo, by the way, was the superstar.  I came out of the taping to find him surrounded by cast and crew.  They were chatting him up like a little buddy.  He had done fine alhumdulillah.

Time to go back to my little village in the big city.  I walked in the door and found my husband sipping his tea with his mother and brother.  He didn't really give me the hero's welcome.  It was as if I'd walked in from the market.  He didn't get up and help me up the stairs.  I was not as important as his tea.

This isn't an indictment against him.  He was living a very different life than I was on Thursday and he couldn't understand all that I'd been doing.  He only understood that I was coming home later than usual and I was tired.  In many ways, he only understood that I was deviating from the norm.

This morning, he flipped channels to find whether or not we even had Al-Nahar.  He found it and I began explaining more details of the night before.  It started to dawn on him.  I was going to be on TV.  Yes, I was doing something big.

Whether or not I did it well is yet to be seen.  My head hurts from rolling it over and over in my mind.  What's done is done and I better find a way to leave all of yesterday behind me before it infects today with regrets.

May Allah clear our minds with each new day and give us another opportunity to be better than the day before.

The sun is shining brightly.  It's going to be another hot day before it cools down on Saturday.  Mr. Boo has finished his breakfast of cornflakes and strawberries.  Baraem is playing cartoons.



Jummah Mabrook.


Egyptian Anti-Semitism


Asalamu Alaykom,



Last time, I wrote about the Jew-bashing in Egypt.  If you still doubt me, check out this video.  It's one of those hidden camera shows with big-name stars which air during Ramadan.  In this show, the stars are surprised to learn that, though they are filming in Egypt, they have been talking to an Israeli station.

It is not funny.

It is sad.

The captions are not totally accurate.  Even I, with my limited Arabic knowledge, know that "habibi" doesn't translate to "man" but rather "dear".  

However, there is no mistaking the hate.

Remember:  we are responsible for the hate we have and for the hate we teach our children to have.

Astragferallah.

Friday, March 8, 2013

I Love Jews


Asalamu Alaykom,


There is so much Jew-bashing in Egypt.  I wouldn't mind if it was anti-Zionist.  That's about politics and land disputes which can be debated.  However, Jews are people; brothers and sisters in monotheism.  To hate a Jew is to hate your own theological family.

I had to deal with Hilter-saluting, swastika-wearing teens yesterday.  It was absurd.  What made it even uglier was that some adults around me took it lightly.

As I was trying to make sense of how Egyptian kids in 2013 could be playing Nazis, I was shown the history book from their class.  I didn't understand the pages.  What were those big black rectangles?  Was it some kind of funny twist of that all-white rectangle being a polar bear eating a marshmallow in a snowstorm?

"This blacked-out page  is what the Egyptian government doesn't want them to learn about the Holocaust.

Here's another page.

Here's another."

There were words underneath those censoring black stickers.  There were explanations of stereotyping, scape-goating, propaganda and systematic destruction.  There were pictures of a concentration camp hidden too.  When he ripped at the black, I could see a little of those striped pajamas on gaunt prisoners.  Sadly, those educational explanations of why 6 million people were persecuted and exterminated are outlawed in Egypt.  Hence, children who have little understanding.

This isn't the first time I've run across Egyptian anti-semitism.  I know, it's an oxymoron.  Arabs are Semites.  For Egyptians to hate Semites means they hate themselves.  In America, when I taught students of multiple backgrounds, the student with the least amount of cultural sensitivity was Egyptian.



Now, we have an Egyptian woman being accused of being anti-Semitic.  Samira Ibrahim was supposed to get an award in Washington D.C. for her brave fight against the absurd "virginity testing" during the Revolution.  She arrived in The States only to find out that her Twitter feed was under scrutiny.  She has been dropped from the Honors List for comments which seem to be against Israel.

You can be against Israel but not be against Jews.

You can hate the policies but not the people.  Don't hate Jews.

My name is Yosra.  I'm Muslim.  

I live I Egypt and I love Jews!

Jonas Salk...my protector against polio

Maurice Sendak...my illustrator through many stories and ages

Gene Wilder...my leading man of my childhood in "Willy Wonka," "Young Frankenstein," and "Silver Streak"

Art Garfukle...my sounds of silence in the seventies

Henry Winkler...my cool inspiration in "Happy Days"

Marily Monroe...my one-time idol

Arthur Miller...my dramatist who wrote one of my best parts

Billy Wilder...my favorite (or one of my favorite) directors

Billy Joel...my rock and roll of the eighties

Pat Benatar...my siren of the eighties

Frank Oz...my teacher of positive thinking via Miss Piggy's voice

Anne Frank...my darkest fear and highest hope

Rosana Arquette...my touchstone as Roberta in "Desperately Seeking Susan"

Mr. Libkin...my drama coach

Zvi Gilbert...my summertime crush of 1983

Golda...the "Fiddler on the Roof" character I played in high school

Jeff Goldblum...my leading man of my teens

Stephen Fry...my Brit-com leading man

Senator Paul Wellstone...my political champion

Sarah Jessica Parker...my escape

Gwyneth Paltrow...my role model for elegance and grace




Judy Feld Carr...my sister in faith

Andy Carvin...my news feed on Twitter

Jon Stewart...my sensible satirist

Leopold Weiss...my translator of The Holy Quran, though he changed his name to Mohammed Asad

There are so many Jews who have been good and kind to me over the years.  Some I knew were Jewish and some I didn't.

Back in 2008, when I was so stressed as I looked for worked, I called a private school.  It was looking for a teacher.  I talked with the principal.  We talked a while.  I found out it was a Jewish school.  I then found out he was the Rabbi.  I had no idea.  He told me that Jews can't pray in a Christian church but are allowed to pray in a masjid/mosque.  His kindness and understanding at a difficult time kept me going.  I can't remember his name.  God bless him!

May God reward us for the kindness we show each other in our thoughts, words and actions.




Read this story about Dylan, Sasha and Ahmed and their interfaith friendship on the soccer field.




Read this story about 102-year-old Ruth Knelman, a wonderful Jewish lady reaching out to cooks of all faiths.

Find a way to be loving and accepting of other faiths.  Find a way to be the person who stops prejudice and ignorance.  You and I can be better people than the past.  Inshahallah.



Friday, March 1, 2013

Agony Aunt: My Private Past


Asalamu Alaykom,




Once again it's time to ask a question and get an answer.  As always, I do my best to give advice which helps.  If you have something good to add, please do!  Just leave your addtional thoughts in the comments section.


Asalaam Alaikuom Sis,

Insha'Allah you'll be able to help me get out of a tough situation.  I hope you have some advice to give me!

My husband is really bothered about my past.  He knew I was married before (when I was still learning about Islam and got played).  After we married, I mentioned my high school boyfriend I'd had for two years.  That boyfriend was, "my first."  It was only one time so I didn't think it was a big deal.   

He had always thought my first husband was my first.  Now, he says that it's a big deal that I kept it from him  and that there's one extra person who had me before him.  

I don't know what it is with men.  I just wish he'd get over it!  I can't change what's happened.  He was fine with me being married.  We were married for two years before I said anything about the boyfriend.  I didn't think it would bother him that much.  Unfortunately, he's acting all weird about it.  I know he's trying to deal with his sadness.  Insha'Allah the sadness will go away but it's been months and he keeps bringing it up no matter how I much I talk with him.

I realize now I should have told him BEFORE we married.  Astragfurallah.  I was wrong to not do that.  

The problem is that now I want to go back to normal.  How do I handle this?  I wish I had a re-set button to push! LOL!

Fi Amaan Allah Wasalaam,

Your Sis






Wa Alaykom Asalam Sis,

Thanks for writing to me.  We know that our secrets are never unknown to Allah.  Even if you never wrote, you would not be stuck alone with the burden of your secret.  You had Allah ready to listen to you and to relieve your pain.

It is painful when the people we love don't love us back unconditionally.  Mothers love unconditionally (or are supposed to) and it's in their eyes we can do no wrong.  Men are different!  Our fathers put conditions on their love, according to psychologists.  They are the ones who we strive to impress.

In many ways, our relationships with our husbands carry on the lessons we were trying to learn as young girls.  What does it mean to belong to him?  How can I please him?  

Don't get me wrong.  Your husband also belongs to you and also works out unfinished issues from his childhood.  We are all adult children.  

So, there we are!  A wife and husband are two imperfect people bumping along through life.  Marriage is not for the faint of heart.  Really?  You have to be ready for the long haul.

You told your husband about two love relationships that were impermanent.  He heard from you that men have been meaningless to you; or if you attached meaning to a man that he later ceased to be important.  As your husband gets closer to you, he also feels how vulnerable he's making himself. He worries.  Every time that you try to reassure him of how little they matter to you now, you're actually worrying  him more that he could be headed for the same fate.

So, talking about the men you knew before is only making it worse.  You absolutely have to REFUSE to discuss your former relationships.  You are not mandated to be open and honest with your husband.  No, you are not.  This is the Western ideal but not a very sound idea. 





Remember this lesson from Memoir of a Geisha:

"Sayuri, you know that men have eels and women have caves?  Sometimes, a man's eel like to visit a woman's cave.  A man likes his eel to visit a new cave that has never been visited by other men's eels."

A man doesn't like to think of other men when he's with you.  However, once the thought is there it bothers him to the point of insanity.  I'm sure that Shaytan plays a part in this.  Your man can't shake the thoughts so it's up to you to stop the talk.

If he says something stupid or hurtful about your past, be loving but firm and say into his eyes, "I don't remember anything before you.  You are the only one for me."

Don't crack.  Don't relent and answer one more question in the hopes that he will be satiated.  REFUSE! Say once again, "I don't remember anything before you.  You are the only one for me."

If he continues, especially if he brings up the name of a former boyfriend or husband, literally get up to leave while saying, "Astragferallah!"  Refuse to speak to him again until he apologizes.

Mention zolm; the concept of unfairness, to him.  He is being unfair to you and needs to fear Allah.  Not that you have to bring it up to him but the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would never have done this to any of his wives.  At least nine of the Mothers of the Believers were married before they married the Prophet.  They had pasts but they had to leave them in order to gain the most from the present.

You have to keep your mouth shut.  I know that quietness is un-American but you've got to make that switch to being more Islamic in your speech.  I don't feel you're there yet.  There's still a part of you which wants to say too much and divulge and discuss.  You are in your comfort zone when you are chatting away the details of your life.  This is going to harm you and your marriage so it's better to eradicate it.

Your husband has no right to your life before Islam and neither does anyone else.  Your slate was wiped clean when you took shahaddah.  You are the one bringing up the misdeeds from before.  Allah was not going to charge you for them.  However, you should fear Allah for making dirty the present with the past.



You have a good life now because it's clean.  It's halal.  You have a real chance to be the person you were meant to be.  I know you feel that or else you wouldn't be reaching out.

Go to Allah, ask forgiveness for the wrong you did---not with the boyfriend from years ago but from bringing up that old information to your husband now.  You did make a mistake.  You never should have told him.

There is a chance you are still harboring some fond feelings for the past.  Those feelings might have cropped up as you were trying to get closer to your husband.  Feelings are funny things!  We women do love from the depths of our souls and sometimes it takes years to extinguish former flames.  Don't doubt that Shaytan is probably doing all he can to re-kindle that fire.

This is also a reminder to other women who may be reading:  see how much trouble multiple men in your life can cause?  It is better to go slowly, choose wisely and be protective of your chastity and dignity.

Sis, ask Allah to remove from your heart any possible traces of that first love.  Ask even if you are SURE that there is nothing left.  Ask Allah to cleanse your heart and take out any haram or love for haram.  Evil actions are often exciting to relive in our minds and tempting for our egos to keep remembering.  In place of jahilaya; your time before Islam, ask Allah to fill your heart up with more love for your good life now and for your faithful husband.

As Muslims, we need to cover our faults and the faults of others.  The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) hated to have one of his followers make a confession their sins.  Confession is not part of our deen.  For some reason, his followers would go to him in a public place to unload their troubles.  Even  if Rasulullah tried to persuade them to be quiet or to make excuses for them, they would continue.  Under these conditions, he was left with no other choice than to sancture them for misdeeds.  If they had not blabbed their secrets to people, but rather only to Allah, they would have been spared.

Do you see?

Our husbands have always known we're not perfect.  They accept us.  They just don't want to be reminded of our imperfections.  They simply want to believe that we have foresaken all others, are committed to them for life, and most of all, fear Allah.

May Allah reward you for all your efforts.