Shahada-versary

Premarin no prescription next day delivery Stella’s Story to Islam is told elsewhere on the Seeking Islam website.

http://kcexteriorpros.com/wp-json/oembed/1.0/embed?url=http://kcexteriorpros.com/gallery/ Here , Stella tells us in her own words about her first year as a Muslim …  how being a Muslim affected her, the changes that coming into Islam brought in her life and also what hasn’t changed,  and who Stella – the Muslim –  is now.

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As-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu. (May the peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you).

here A TIME TO REFLECT

This is the eve of my first shahada-versary. One year ago, 7th April 2015 at 01:09am, I embraced Islam and alhamdullilah do not regret it for one minute. The changes to my life have been very subtle – even before I became Muslim, my husband said I acted and spoke and behaved like a good Muslim. It was a quiet, private moment between myself, my husband 2500 miles away, and Allah – and then a public declaration three weeks later.

SO WHAT HAS CHANGED

The biggest change – and yet probably the least noticeable as I do this in the privacy of my own home – is that I pray 5 times a day. This hasn’t been easy. There are days I have forgotten. There are days when I have been too lazy, too busy, too tired. There was a time a few months ago when I didn’t pray. Every one of my Muslim friends and family, without exception, has said take it easy. But in my thirst for knowledge, and my desire to get it right, I became confused. My prayers became muddled and I forgot what I was doing. Different people would tell me different things. I had to take time to reboot, so to speak, and went back to basics. With help and advice so readily available in the community, and with my ever-supportive husband, I started again and my improvement was tenfold. I have learned that it is getting the basics right that is important. Everything else is really between you and Allah and, as a result, my prayers are longer and more meaningful. I understand now that, outside of the basics of prayer, other Muslims do things a little differently according to their families, or cultures, or countries – or even down to individual knowledge. If you are in congregation, the person next to you may be saying the surahs faster or slower than you, or adding extra surahs. If they go into ruku before you, or after you, doesn’t mean you have done something wrong. If your intentions are good, you can’t really go horribly wrong. May Allah make it easy for you and accept all your efforts.

In conjunction with these prayers, I also wash beforehand as and when required. I’ve never been so clean behind my ears as I have since becoming Muslim.

Using words to remember Allah – known as dhikr. Because I am so rarely in the company of other Muslims, (that’s just down to personal circumstances) I don’t often praise Allah out loud but most of it is supposed to be an internal dialogue between the self and God anyway. I doubt anyone is even aware I do it. I whisper Alhamdulillah when I sneeze, or Bismillah before I eat or drink. But internally there is a constant dialogue of Arabic terms I didn’t even know a year ago. Bismillah (in the name of Allah), InshaAllah (if Allah wills it), Astagfirullah (may Allah forgive me), Ya Allah (Oh God) when I need help.

So yes, learning Arabic is a requirement – and not as hard as I thought it was going to be. My prayers are all in Arabic. Dhikr is in Arabic. I can’t read or write it but I can copy some words and recognise them if I see them again. ‘Allah’ is instantly recognisable when I see it written down.

My diet? There’s been a little bit of change but not much. I’ve never been a fan of bacon or pork so no big loss. My diet is pretty much a fruit, fish and veggie one. I do eat meat, but halal meat – although it is certainly there – isn’t freely available in my area. I can’t pop into my local supermarket and pick up halal chicken, for instance, but I don’t have a problem with that. I have an abundance of other choices. For non-meat foods, I always check for the vegetarian mark. Anything vegetarian is halal.

My dress code has changed a little bit. My sleeves are longer and my necklines are higher. I almost always wear trousers – although once in a blue moon I’ll wear cut-offs. The only time I don’t cover up so much in public is at the gym. When I am with my husband in Morocco, I am always covered outdoors – long sleeves, long skirts, or a djellaba or abaya, high neckline, a scarf covering my head and neck. I always cover up in the mosque. But please understand, in this regard, it’s totally my choice. I am aware that I have the freedom to choose what to wear but not all sisters around the world have that same freedom.

Fasting. One of the five pillars of Islam. This is not something I have done before and I was a little nervous about Ramadan 2014. As a Muslim, if you are fit and healthy, with some exceptions, you are obliged to fast for Ramadan. Trust me to revert a couple of months before a Ramadan with the longest hours of fasting! In the north of Scotland, it was 21 hours on the longest of days. Allah tested me. Allah guided me. Allah helped me succeed and I look forward to Ramadan 2015.

I’ve always been one to appreciate nature and I adore sunsets and the wonders of the cosmos. I think having a name which is the Greek word for star may have influenced that. I also try to be respectful of the environment and our planet as a whole. In the last year, I have discovered that Muslims are pretty eco-friendly so becoming Muslim has definitely made me Greener.

SO WHAT HASN’T CHANGED

To be honest, becoming a Muslim hasn’t changed me much at all. I imagine there are many people who don’t even know. Not because I hide it – I certainly don’t. But because Islam is so me!

I have Inner Peace. Why doesn’t this come under the category of changes? Because I have always been quite a content and peaceful person. I mention it here because becoming a Muslim has not affected this – Alhamdulillah, I maintain my inner peace.

I gave up alcohol a year before I reverted to Islam so no change there either. (There are various ways of saying that – converted, reverted, embraced Islam, became a Muslim – I tend to interchange but it all has the same result).

My sense of humour hasn’t changed. I can still cry with laughter at the stupidest things. I can be touchy about offensive ‘humour’ but I always have been. That’s not new but I guess some people notice it more.

So really, in the last year, the impact of becoming a Muslim has, for me, been a gentle transition. It was meant to be, and Alhamdulillah I am happy I have been guided to this path.

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