Aiight. First, you should know that this and the posts like it are in response to some internal Muslim thangs we got goin' on. But to get what I'm saying, please first go read Aaminah here and Umm Zaid (she started it! and not in a bad way, either, calm down) here.
This is what I wrote in reply to Aaminah's amazing post:
Just went back and read the comments.
So, now that the um venting comment is done... I think I'll start here and move to my blog, and I do apologize for the long comment but I wanted to speak to y'all, here, too.
What AM I doing? Very little. I've had the position of the 'new one' in the community for... almost since I converted, actually, due to moves and such.
What could be done? What can I do? What would I like to see based on what I'm missing? Okay, let's talk about that, then:
1) Know where people are coming from. I just sat for a good 10 minutes after my colon up there thinking about what I, a new muslimah, would want people to know in order to help me.
First is, take some dawa classes and know what people might be coming from and what they're hoping for in Islam. That's not a joke.
Well, everyone is tired of seeing people with their hand out at the masjid. And yet everyone appreciates help when they need it. I came from a background where the religious institution was the FIRST resort where social help was needed. Need a ride to the service? If we don't have a van, let me see who lives close to you and can give you a ride. New to the area? Here, this is the paper list of what's going on here through the week, of course you're welcome to join us, doesn't matter if you have to come a bit late. Hungry? our institutional kitchen may have something to tide you, but we also know where you can go.
You know, so much of Islam is about denying the nafs, but when you come from a background where you're not sure how your soul will stay undamaged and still in your body, denying what you know are basic necessities is NOT what you want to hear. Neither are superficialities. Listen to new people. I think the first thing is to know what people are likely to NEED or REQUEST, intellectually as well as physically, and joyfully help your fellow muslim, born or discovered, feel like they're in a place where they will have care taken for them.
It's late, I'm tired, but this needs to be addressed. I'm one of the lucky ones in that I have no children and Alhamdulillah no diagnosed mental illnesses. But this comes at such a pertinent time for me; once AGAIN I'm the new Muslimah on the block, and I'm struggling to meet, to take ACTION and be a part of this Ummah and pull my own self away from all these darned precipices.
Umm Zaid said a couple days ago that it's the natural state of faith to increase and decrease. Well, aiight, but if it decreases and you don't know that, after the high, the rush of running to meet Allah and accept his offer of submission for the first time, wouldn't you feel empty? How do we take some serious action to reflect how serious this is?
My apologies if this is jumbled. It's late. And I'll continue later inshaAllah, but there are other things I want to talk about and miles to go before I sleep. Jazak Allah khair to Sis. Aaminah and Sis. Saraji Umm Zaid for writing and getting me started. It's on, let's see our Ummah get somewhere on this.