What is the difference between an American convert and a Muslim born to the religion? Tons and tons for sure. I was a Christian for 40 years and then I took my shahada on November 23, 1993. The best day of my life and the day I started studying the real Islam. In America, when you become Muslim, you immediately go to class. There you learn all the basics of Islam, the real Islam. Starting with how to handle yourself in public, as the whole world will see this Muslim and how she acts. So, if you go into a store and start screaming and the people see you wearing a hijab, they will think bad of Muslims. So, think before you act.
The second thing we learned are the basics of Islam, such as not painting your finger nails and removing all glued nails. When you do 'wudu' you must be clean. . We learned not to hang pictures in our homes or have statues. For an Angel will not enter a home, where these things are present. We learned how to dress and how to wear the hijab and how to treat our children. All the basics of Islam were taught to us.
We would gather each week and laugh and have a sweet and discuss how we could be better Muslims. They would take us to seminars on how to be perfect Muslims, not just good Muslims. We had very good examples, as our teachers were perfect in most ways of Islam. Islam is more than just praying and reading the Glorious Quran, it is much more. It is about charity, about going on the pilgrimage, about caring for the sick, about going to funeral prayers and it is so much about the extreme love of our Prophet, peace be upon him and our Lord, Allah.
We must love our Prophet more than our own lives and we must care for our brothers more than we care for ourselves. No one goes hungry in Islam. No one can be abused in Islam and no widow can ever be alone in Islam. Beat the drums and praise Allah, as we are a brotherhood of men and women and we are a brotherhood of love and caring.
I took my shahada in Buena Park, California and the Mosque was way back off the main street. It was hidden almost. On Fridays after the kutba (sermon), we all sat together and had our lunch. We were as one big family and one for all. It was beautiful and it was wonderful. On Sundays we met to study the Quran and on Tuesday we had our religious lesson. The whole community was about Islam. We learned the proper way in everything. From not looking at men, to lowering our gaze and to never honk our horns so as to bring attention to us.
Then when I came to Jordan,
I saw a different Islam. An Islam of culture and local traditions. What does that mean? The people have no entertainment so many, not all, gather to have coffee and the talk turns to haram. I see pictures, all over the place and I see many things that are forbidden. 90 percent of the men smoke here, all haram and forbidden. When I question the people on why they do these things. The same answer, always come, this is what I have been taught. Many are willing to change, when they realize the great harm they are doing. In Islam we must follow only the hadith and look for our proof there.
I also saw brotherhood here and I saw all the families together. A daughter of one of my friends insulted me hugely and yesterday the mother came here and brought me a large gift of money and a watermelon. I questioned her today about this gift and everyone from the family gave me some money. They were so afraid of Allah's anger. This you would never have seen in America. I see many families going without proper food and clothing to send their children to college and to help them get married. I see many homes without much so they can support the children in the best light. This is not normal in America as American love to compete with the Jones. So many differences but one thing in common. The love of Allah, is on both sides and the devotion to salat on both sides.
Too many people follow the culture thinking they will automatically go to heaven, if they are Muslims. No one is guaranteed heaven, just because they are Muslims. We must work for the pleasure of Allah and we must ask for his mercy. Every Muslim, every day sins. If we were perfect, we would be prophets, but we are not perfect. We must seek Allah's forgiveness and we must do more. What we are doing in this life is not enough, we must do more every day. It is not enough to do just zikr. It is not enough to just give zakat. It is not enough to read Quran and pray. My question to you on this day. What are you doing to make sure you have a place in Jannah today?