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Faith

What Does It Means To Be A Good Muslim?

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As I took shahada, I felt like I was getting married. It was a unique experience, so divine that I knew I was getting into a relationship with the Almighty. So why didn’t this happen sooner?

Salaam to all my brothers and sisters. As a recent revert, I must now explore the true meaning of being a good Muslim. Before my conversion, I practiced good traits such as kindness and honesty towards all. But there was still something missing in the bigger picture.

When my mom died in 2004, I made a secret promise to myself that I would try to honor her by doing lots of charity work in her name. I knew that would make her happy, so I continued to do Caribbean projects and assist freely of my time and labor without any charge. 

But still, there was an emptiness that just could not be explained. I sometimes wonder what was the purpose of me doing all this work without any rewards.

When I was diagnosed with stage 1 triple-negative breast cancer at age 33, I thought the system of doing good all your life, had failed me. Was this my faith after all this time? After going through the motions of surgery, chemo, and radiation, in 2021, I stopped to rest and reflect.

At this stage, I desperately wanted answers. I just could not continue trying to be the best version of myself while going through all these hardships. I could not comprehend what had just happened to me. So, I just decided to do nothing for a while. Little did I know that this would soon change.

One night as I prepared for bed to get up to “do nothing”, I heard the words “Allah is Merciful”. Boy, was I shocked and blown out of my mind. I just could not believe what I had just heard. So, the next morning I began to ask questions about the Muslim religion.

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I asked people what it was like being a Muslim as they all explained to me the traits that come with the religion such as helping others. Being patient, kind, and honest to everyone is indeed a difficult one but one can always learn to adapt. The hardest trait for me was forgiveness. I am still learning to adjust to that one. It was like I was given a mission impossible task. I always forget but I never forgave. This is a quality that I must learn over time.

As I began to hear all these traits, I knew that this was the religion for me as I practiced these for the majority of my life. I learned the five daily prayers as I started to practice giving Zakat and doing Dhikr. As I took shahada, I felt like I was getting married. It was a unique experience, so divine that I knew I was getting into a relationship with the Almighty. So why didn’t this happen sooner? Then I realized that I am glad it took place before Ramadhan, as I was able to fast and experience all the goodness of Ramadhan and Eid combined.

What a great opportunity this was for me. Alhamdulillah! We should all continue to practice these good traits even after Ramadhan. Sometimes people forget a major virtue of respecting their parents and elders. You may not always agree or see eye to eye with them but they are responsible for your upbringing. My deceased mom always told me that I wouldn’t miss her until it was too late and guess what, she was right. 

When a parent is no longer in your life, you sometimes ask yourself, if you were a good child to them. What would I do differently if he or she was still alive? By that time, it is too late for me but it may not be too late for you all my brothers and sisters. Let us continue to be good Muslims in this life, as we all await the hereafter. In Shah Allah!

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