Sister Soljah
March 03, 2004
10th day of Muharram

Spent much of the afternoon yesterday and most of last night at the mosque. Emotional day for me and for everyone in general I think. Walking in there was the smell of sweat and tears all around me (had to sit in the men's section - behind a curtain because the women's section was filled up) - but I smelled what I felt. Sweat and tears. Listened to the lecture in Urdu and a very nice Khoja girl translated it all for me. So nice. You know I didn't understand the matam...I did this day. And I joined in unexpectedly. I felt rage about the hatred, love of the prophet and Ahl al-Bayt, and sadness for the evil killing of good. Tears came, love was felt, and I thumped my chest with all these feelings. Emotional day and evening indeed.

The lecture was good too...reenactment of Karbala and a couple things the guest scholar/sheikh had said stuck with me:

* Shiites are and always have been defensive not offensive, reactive not proactive. (How can it be any other way....we don't tend to start trouble, we tend to be on the receiving end.)
* There were 70 bodies, but 1 soul at Karbala.
* We have as a people forsaken the Quran and Ahl al-Bayt for the world and that's why there is so much unhappiness.

Another interesting thing that happened was a lady who is never at the mosque asked me why I converted. As a convert you get questioned a lot, and it has been recent that I understand the intention behind the questions. Most right away will ask you if you are married (2 reasons for this - either they want to set you up or they assume that you converted for a man - their next question gives you their intention). When they find out I did it on my own they ask why. This too is twofold with intentions. Some really want to know. Others seem to be trying to suck some of that faith from you. So many say, "I wish I believed like you do". So many also say that us converts are more religious than themselves. I don't know about that - I feel like a bad Muslim most days. The religious are attracted to this new found purity they see in us (whether real or not) while others want to be around you to try and find their faith again. It's interesting.

Anyhow...about this lady... She invited me to dinner, but then asked "do you eat halaal all the time?" I, of course, do. It's in the Quran, the Bible, and the Torah to do so. I never understood the whole it's okay to eat non-halaal....all the books say to kill the animal in the name of Allah...not eat the animal in the name of Allah. Well she said she would have to buy halaal meat then the night she cooks for me. Ugh. And then the are you single question... It frustrates me sometimes when people assume you converted because of a man. I converted by the mercy and grace of Allah. That's it. I found my way back to Him. When they find out you are single, they are so shocked as though they are sometimes asking "but why would you" and this comes from non-Muslims as well as Muslims. Non-Muslims often add an insult to injury saying "but you were so pretty." As though the scarf now makes me unattractive. Isn't beauty from within? I do think so, and feel more beautiful than ever.

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Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

A recent convert to Islam...finally found what I was searching for. I am a writer and love to read and learn. I also love travelling and getting to know new cultures and ways of thinking.

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