Identity Crisis

20 06 2007

be-yourself.jpgOver the years I have met many converts to Islam (both online and in person). One thing that I have found many of us have in common, no matter our age or background ,is an identity crisis when we first entered Islam. It shouldn’t really be all that shocking. We have made a MAJOR change in our lives and our lifestyle. Some of us were completely disowned by our families and everything we knew was suddenly turned upside down. So, there we were like awkward teenagers trying to “find ourselves” and where we fit in.

For me, when I embraced Islam, I knew that my entire identity had changed. Though, i knew my new identity was a Muslim, I didn’t fully know what that meant. I had learned quite a bit about Islam before converting and kept company with a very sweet Muslim sister. However, she graduated the same year that I took shahada, the same year that I was forced from my home, the same year that I lost contact with most of my family and felt like a social outcast in the neighborhood. So, there I was to try to figure it out for myself.

At the time, I didn’t know how to hang onto my unique self and take on the identity of a Muslim. Mistakenly, I thought that Muslim=Arab. I thought that in order to be the best Muslim that I could be that I should be the best Arab imitator that I could be. I began eating etnic food from Arab countries, listening to Arabic music, watching arabic films (no, i didn’t understand it, LOL), wearing the clothing (some of it very UN-Islamic). I even thought that I needed to change my name, although, my original name had no bad meaning.

Alhamdullilah(All praise and thanks is due to Allah), eventually, I learned enough about Islam to know that there was no need for all those changes. I learned from the Qur’an that Allah tells us: He made us all of different nations and nationalities so that we may know one another and that if He had wanted we would all have been one nation. I learned from the Sunnah that the Prophet(saw) kept company with people of other ethnicities other than His own. I learned that the handshake that the Prophet(saw) told us all to greet with was originally from the Yemeni people. All these examples, made me realize that we are all one ummah(community) and have several things that sets us apart specifically and binds us together. However, we can still continue to be our unique selves as long as we don’t do anything that goes against the Qur’an and Sunnah. Most importantly, I learned that my new Identity was not meant to be arab, It was meant to be islamic. It couldn’t be found in a certain country or on a specific continent, it could only be found in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

So, I embraced my southern self. Well, minus the ham and sausage (who wants clogged arteries anyway?!)


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5 responses

20 06 2007
tawodi

Changing any thing about ourselves can be traumatic at times and the change of religious orietation is especially so because it does cost so much in relationships. Those around you can not appreciate that you are just more YOU now not a different person or a traitor you are simply walking a path that God has let you know he wants you on, not a bad thing!!
I and Robert Salaam would welcome you to our group The People of Abraham, Christians Muslims and Jews for reconciliation between the people of all faiths or no faith at all. Best wishes in your new walk,
Be well, Rev, Bruce Tawodi

20 06 2007
devdaslover2007

Hello

very very nice blog ….. thx man

21 06 2007
carimuslima

So true girl, I’ve been there LOL….. wearing the black abaya thinking I had too, learning the arabic language because I thought it was essential before aqeedah etc… hehe… I did do the name change pen wise not legally just because I loved the meaning of it and what the sahabiyat stood for in Islam or still represents in Islam. All in All I think we have made a great contribution being ourselves Alhamdulilah it’s so important to keep our identities and cultures as long as they’re still Islamic. That’s what makes all of us so interesting… right? hehehe….. who wants robots all acting the same. Like you mentioned Allah swt made us different so we can learn, converse and share with each other. Mashallah love ur posts. Hugs😉 hope to see u in class tomorrow heheh…. I’m starting to really miss u being there *wink*

21 06 2007
adikbongsu

Assalamu’alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh dear sis,

simply love this entry of urs….

uhibbuki fillah ya ukhti!… 🙂

22 06 2007
Um Abdurrahman "Blanca"

As Salaamu ALaikum Sis:

This entry of yours is so connected to what all of us experience. Our families are shocked by the why did you do this to yourself. I know that being raised Catholic there were so many misconceptions and misuderstandings about the church which is why I decided to embrace Islam. ALhamdulillah. However, when culture plays a big role in your identity is where family gets confused. I also equated Islam with just for Arabs. However, it is the entire community which then start telling you but your Hispanic. You are going through an identity crisis, when in fact it is ignorance. So, how does one convince a family that you are still YOU and that Islam embraces so many nationalities. I have yet to find an answer that is convincing to my family or cultural background. I think that as long as Allah has chosen me to be Muslim the remainder of my family can continue to doubt if I am still Hispanic or am I Arab. I enjoyed reading and learning through your blog.

Keep Writing,

Kind Regards,
UmAbdurrahman “Blanca”

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