Ignorance breeds ignorance

Ignorance has always been something that has really bugged me. I know that “they” say ignorance is bliss, but the truth is that it isn’t blissful to those who the ignorance is directed toward. It also isn’t blissful to those of us who have to deal with the ignorant people everyday. Sometimes, the degree to which a person is ignorant honestly blows my mind. I often find myself pondering how a person has managed to get to this point and not have a desire to change.

In all fairness, ignorance is not a problem in and of itself. The real problem occurs when it is coupled with a belief that one is not ignorant and in fact knows everything there is to know about a subject. From personal experience these self appointed experts generally have little to no education on the topic and also have little desire to learn the truth about it. These people seem to forget that you can’t trust everything you see on TV or the internet.

This is all brought up because of the All American Muslim debacle that Lowe’s has gotten itself into. I’m sorry Lowe’s, but you certainly appear to be participating in an extremist Christian agenda which has lead you down a path of bigotry and hate.

The unfortunate part of this situation is all of the praise that Lowe’s is receiving  from the ignorant populous. It is pointless to try and talk sense to these people as they care nothing about a rational truth. Their argument points, such as telling people to go home your not welcome in America, are just ridiculous. I mean, if I’m not welcome here, which is my home…where I was born and raised…then where is my home. I’m a little confused. I guess that I wasn’t aware that all Muslims came from some far off land. All of the Muslims living here that were born here, or have become legal US citizens must be confused when they call this home.

I am also confused about how the show is offensive, to anyone. I really don’t understand how this show is offensive where other reality shows that feature promiscuity, nudity, violence and worse are less offensive. I’m not sure that you will find another cable program that is aimed for an adult audience that is less offensive than this one. I’m not saying that everyone on the show is perfect, or that I agree with everything that they all do, but after watching several episodes I can see that for the most part they are all good people who seem to mostly abide by a decent moral code of conduct. (Much more decent than say the Kardashians or a “Real Housewives” type of program)

I have always prided myself in trying to stay out of conversations or situations that I am ignorant to. I’m not going to say that I have always succeeded, but I have certainly tried. Before my husband starting researching Islam it never crossed my mind. I didn’t agree or disagree with anyone and I didn’t respond if it was ever mentioned. The best policy, in my mind, was to keep my mouth closed unless I had something of value to say. The same goes for all topics, not just this one.

If I could give one piece of advice to people as a whole it would be that they should at the very least do some real, scholarly research on the topic they are choosing to “defend”. We live in a society where people believe everything they hear or see whether it is true or not, thus ignorance is breeding ignorance. We could change this for the better if we could all learn to keep our mouths closed or educate ourselves before taking such a definitive stand for something we know nothing about.

Now, I want to share the facebook page for Boycott Lowe’s. They are running a petition for Lowe’s to issue a public apology to the Muslim community which has also been suggested by others such as Russel Simmons.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Lowes-Home-Improvement/196885343732232

Also, don’t try to argue with the ignorant people on the Lowe’s page. It’s pointless and only gives them fuel for their fire. Ignoring them is the best action you can take.

-Peace

The things we do for our family

My family may not be perfect, but whose is? Mine is judgmental, stubborn, irritating, infuriating at times…and of course loving, caring, inspirational, forgiving and nurturing. Overall, I love them all unconditionally and can’t imagine life without any of them, especially my mommy.

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.
            ~ Desmond Tutu

When I first told my mother that we were becoming Muslims she acted totally rational and didn’t understand why I would be scared to tell her about it. For the first little while she didn’t seem at all freaked out or angry about it at all. It was great. However, that understanding attitude didn’t last long.

Over the last several weeks she has gotten more negative about the whole thing and seems irritated if we mention anything about it. It seems that she is now particularly irritated that we are dragging her grandkids into this. Christmas has become a particular point of contention. I decided that we would not put up a Christmas tree or do Santa Claus this year for the kids. This would be the first year in my life without a tree; it just seemed like the right thing to do. My husband wasn’t so sure about not having a tree but he supported my decision and we thought that was the end of it.

When my mom realized we weren’t going to have a tree (after asking me about it every single day for two weeks and me telling her I wasn’t sure) she finally decided to ask if it was for religious reasons. I, of course, told her yes and that we wouldn’t be doing Santa either. She stopped talking after that. I knew I had hit a sore spot which is why I wasn’t going to mention that we didn’t have a tree or that we had decided against Santa.

I decided that we should go to lunch. She needs to see that I am still the same person. I don’t know what she thinks that I am now or why the tree and Santa are such a big deal to her. We have never celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday, after all it’s actually a pagan holiday that the Catholic Church through a Christian name on to get pagans to convert. Christmas has always been about giving and spending time with our loved ones. This was the reason she believed that we should still be able to celebrate.
I would like to clarify that we were still planning to participate in all of the family get-togethers as well as exchanging gifts

christmas treMom, this is for you

So after a long discussion with her and my grandmother I conceded and agreed to put up a small tree. (We are still not doing Santa, I wouldn’t budge on that.) Now, in the corner of my living room is a small, yet to be decorated, tree. My husband is worried that I am unhappy that we have it. He kind of wanted one anyway, but he knew that I had decided against it. He is also agrees that since we don’t celebrate for religious reasons that it should be fine. I just am not sure about the whole thing. I am, however, not doing it for myself but instead to keep the peace and to make my mother happy. I pray that one day she will be able to accept me and my decisions, but until then I will do what I need to in order to maintain peace and happiness.

I am hoping that in the future we will be able to slowly remove ourselves from these traditions. I am hoping that a gradual change will be easier for everyone to understand. After all, this is our first Christmas as Muslims; we only signed the Bai’at a couple of weeks ago.

I guess that we will see what happens…

The right to command

This is a quote from the book I’ve been reading for my leadership class (The Leadership of Muhammad by John Adair). This book is really interesting and inspirational and would be a great read for anyone interested in servant leadership. I really like this quote:

“Remember that your position does not give you the right to command. It only lays upon you the duty of so living your life that other may receive your orders without being humiliated.”

~Dag Hammarskjold, Former secretary general of the UN

 

And, why not, one more…the books talks about all of the different components of what made Muhammad a good leader. Chapter 7 talks about humility and it’s importance and the role it plays in a successful leader. All of the principles that are mentioned in the book are principles that we covered in our chapter on servant leadership this week so it’s easy for me to pick out the key concepts.

Humily and courtesy are themselves ways of reverencing God.
~Muhammad

You can purchase the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Leadership-Muhammad-John-Adair/dp/0749460768/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321663895&sr=8-1

Ma’ as-salaam 🙂 (The book says that means go in peace, I’m assuming it’s right lol)

God, I love ya.

God, I love ya

"God, I love ya." ~Merrick

Starting with the good:
My three year old son, Merrick, has been very interested in watching my husband and I pray. A couple of days ago while I was in the bedroom praying he went into his room and got out one of his small blankets and spread it out on the floor and informed me that he was going to pray as well. He wanted his own flash cards and he took one of his dada’s hats to wear as well. It may be the sweetest thing I have ever seen, and I am proud of him. Today, when he decided it was a good time to pray he even “put his head on the floor” and started saying “God, I love ya.” It’s ridiculously cute and I can’t help but smile and laugh when he does it. When he’s done he puts his hat and his cards in his hat drawer and puts his blanket away also. These may be the only items that he has ever taken the initiative of putting away himself!

And on to the not so good:
After all of this cuteness I decided to show my mom the picture I took of him “putting his head on the floor”. She kinda killed my buzz. She acted totally appalled at the picture and that I was encouraging her grandson to do that. When I told her that we were converting she acted like she was going to be supportive. Since then she has informed me that she will not leave the house with me if I wear “one of those things” over my head (it’s a scarf mom!), seems totally freaked out by me wearing long sleeve shirts and told my husband that she didn’t want to hear him speak any Arabic when he mentioned it.

Now, I don’t wear a scarf on my head all of the time, I’m still trying to get used to it. However, it seems ridiculous that I have to take it off before I go to my moms in order to avoid her comments. Her and my grandmother are convinced that by “wearing that thing on my head” I am destined to become a victim of a hate crime. Honestly, I don’t wear it around the town that I live in because it is a small, redneck kind of town and I just don’t want to deal with the ignorance of the people here…however I do wear it when we go to the metroplex. (And guess what, I’m not the only person I see with a scarf on their head)

It’s all a little frustrating to me. I have always felt like I can talk to her about nearly anything. I was scared to death to tell her that we were converting and she told me that she didn’t understand why I would be scared to tell her and seemed like she was going to be very supportive. I guess that the supportive thing is getting old and it’s time to ignore my feelings about it.

I’m not mad at her, I’m sure this is all hard for her to understand. After all, I have always cursed like a sailor (still working on this one), worn low cut blouses and of course never associated myself with any form of religion. To say that I have changed a few things about myself may be an understatement. I am hoping that she will recognize that the changes are for the better and learn to be more supportive, even if she doesn’t agree 100% with my choice. I also hope that she will recognize that Merrick is my son and I will raise him the way that I believe to be right and respect that as well. I guess that only time will tell.

Finding my faith

When I was a child I assumed that I was a Christian, simply because that’s what I was told I was and that’s what everyone I knew was. I went to church with friends, more for socializing than for learning or worship, but never really felt like I fit in. Once I became a teenager I realized that I didn’t have to be a Christian and that I was capable of deciding for myself what I believed to be true in terms of a higher being.

I have always known that I believe in “something” and I have always felt that this “something” was watching over everyone. I also knew that I didn’t agree with some of the things in Christianity and that I have yet to meet a person who claims to be a Christian and practices what they preach. They all talk about being good people and how it’s important to let God judge people, yet no one I meet leads that life. (I would like to point out that I am not in any way coming down of Christians or arguing their beliefs and I am in no way saying that every Christian acts this way, as I’m sure there are a great many who lead very moral Christian lives.)

Admittedly, I have prayed to God on many occasions for help, even though I had no idea what I really believed. I even prayed for guidance as a woman at Wal-Mart instructed me to do after I would not accept Jesus right there on the baby food isle. She assured me that if I prayed he would lead me to him; I just had to be willing to see it when he did.

A few weeks later, my husband decided to research Islam. This research was not meant to be a life changing event, just merely a want for knowledge on the subject. He and I share the belief that you can’t judge things such as this without at least some true, unbiased knowledge on the subject. We both were tired of hearing people bash Muslims and call all Muslims terrorist; so his research began.

In the beginning I was less than interested in learning about Islam, I didn’t mind being ignorant, it just meant that I kept my mouth shut about something I knew nothing about. However, since it was something my husband was so interested it, I couldn’t help but listen to him when he spoke about it. Our talks at night before bed sparked my interest in the subject and I found myself reading about Islamic beliefs and practices for hours on end. It seemed like the more I read and the more we talked about it the more it made sense to me. It really seemed to fit into the things I had always believed.

One day it just clicked that this was God answering my prayer for guidance. I didn’t tell anyone, not even my husband, about my revelation as I thought they would think I was crazy. A couple of days later my husband told me that he wanted to convert and he was ready to do it right then, he had absolutely no doubts. It was both a relief and a little scary at the same time. I felt almost like we couldn’t possibly have spent enough time researching before we came to this conclusion. The reality is that sometimes we just know in our hearts that something is right, no matter how long we spend gaining the knowledge to support the feeling.

The following day I decided to tell my husband that I had also been thinking about converting and also about my fears and concerns. He agreed to wait until I was ready before he converted so that we could do it together. That was about 5 weeks ago. Since then I have come to terms with our decision and am totally comfortable with it. We have told our family and our friends and have for the most part have been met with support and understanding.  Going through this has shown me how blessed I am to have such caring and loving friends and family in our lives.

Last night my husband and I prayed for the first time. I’ll admit we did it in English and we used flash cards to guide us through so it was a little rough, but not as hard as we thought it would be. Today, I prayed alone for the first time (once again in English and with the flash cards). It is a lot different than anything I have done before, but it felt right.

I know, without doubt, that I have made the right decision. I also know that I want to be a better person, not only for myself and my family but for God as well. There are many changes that I will have to make in order to be the person I need to be. I have taken the first and hardest step by finding God and I feel like with the support of my husband, family and friends, the rest will come much more easily.