As a new Muslim, there are many joys and many challenges. Knowing that Allah is Merciful and Forgiving helps quite a bit and gives me peace when the going gets rough. Not that is this is something to fall back on as you struggle because one is lazy, but that He is my rock, my steady ground when there is the shifting.
I categorize this as a shifting because what I was before, and what I am now has definitely moved. What was normal behaviours and perceptions are viewed differently.
Let me give you a for instance.
Over the years, I struggled with writing novels. I read quite a lot of books, mostly in the last years, Paranormal Romances. Quite juicy ones filled with all manner of creatures and their interactions with humans. There was mystery, love, sex, death and all the elements that make up that genre of fiction. But anytime I tried to write such fiction, I would get out to an excellent start, but something inside me would give me pause. And I asked myself, deep inside, do I really want to write such a subject.
Now this was quite puzzling to me and it took me some years to think about this. My main problem was, if I had a daughter, would I want her reading such writing. As much as I enjoyed it, it was a guilty pleasure that had become quite normal. If you look at Paranormal Romance lists on a site like Goodreads.com, there are many, many books. It is quite the mainstream genre and there are times that the novels make the bestseller lists. And in addition, the desire and attention spent on anticipating took much time. I would fall in a sort of ‘love’ for the hero and the heroine or even the writer who brought such wonderful distraction to me. Time would past as I read the books and then it was done. And off I went to look for another fix.
This behavior happened over the course of years as I would start writing, then I would stop. I was uncomfortable about writing about Angels and Jinn with such interaction with humans as if it were a normal thing.
As I look back on it, I believe that Allah was already working on me, even before I embraced Islam. And soon, I lost my taste for the books.
When I look back at all the money and time I spent in this world of the paranormal, I am a bit stunned, to be honest. So much time wasted when I could have spent that time and money, on something pleasing to Allah, like knowledge that would uplift me and not knowledge that was geared towards my baser instincts and in fact did absolutely nothing to benefit me.
So before I took my Shadahah, Allah the All Knowing was working on me, shifting me to look at things differently.
And here is another instance.
For many years I had wondered about media and culture. I was a sort of couch cultural student. There was a wonder about the worship of celebrity or even in ourselves via reality shows and how one could completely waste time watching and thinking about such persons who basically were like prostitutes, selling themselves for money. I know that may be a bit harsh, but that is what I thought. I enjoyed them none the less.
I had an incident when I went to a Rock Concert and I can tell you, I was a huge fan of the artist and I was so moved by one of his performances, that I said that I would cut my hair, dye it blonde and follow him barefoot around the world.
After I thought that, I was a bit stunned that I would be so swept away and I took a step back and really thought about that feeling. It is easy to fall in love with the one who gives so much joy, or by their beauty. It is understandable that they have a bunch of followers.
But really, there is no human that should such idolizing followers. I should only love Allah that much. That is what I thought and curbed my enthusiasm so to speak.
There was a thought that came to me from that experience. What if all his talent was geared towards worshiping Allah. What would it be then. Allah gave him that voice and reciting the Nasheeds would uplift the Ummah.
This was quite a few years ago. It was a shifting inside me and I was able to look at the Entertainment business quite differently.
These are a few things that has been shifting within me and around me. Not all at once, just revealing a little bit at a time until I am where I am today.
It was not hard for me to become a Muslim because Allah over the years just stripped things from me a little bit at a time. The small build-up and my life’s circumstances allowed me to notice them. For His purpose.
So when the shift happened in my perspective, while still very challenging in regards to many things, little things; they were not as jarring and it seemed as if all I had to do was step in that place of shift and nothing went out of focus, in fact, things became much more clear.
But there was travel to get from there to here. There were hillocks, flooding, mountains and debris in the road. I made wrong turns and still probably will do so in this journey.
I am thankful that Allah is Merciful and Forgiving because one of my major struggles is smoking. I am desperately trying to lean on Allah and not tobacco when things get rough. Sometimes I am successful and other times not.
But there is clarity about what is happening and why. My struggles are never the end of me, just the life of journey. My intentions, I strive for them to be good and I lean on Allah, for Allah knows best.