The other day I was chuckling to myself as I thought about the silly and not so silly things people “taught” me about Islam when I first became a Muslim. Most of them turned out to be untrue. Many of them were superstitions or traditional cultural beliefs mixed with Islam. Some were true but were delivered at the inappropriate time or in the incorrect manner. Oh the things people told me!
-Being terrified of Jinns. No one ever explained that there are good jinns and bad jinns. No one ever said that Allah is the controller of all affairs and that I should concern myself with understanding who Allah is rather than fearing his creation. (See, that is why people should wait until a person as the proper understanding of the basic tenets of Islam before you start telling them about the unseen.)
-Being terrified of dogs (not that I was ever much a dog lover to begin with.) Someone told me that all dogs had jinns inside of them.
-Being told that Allah would hang me from the hellfire by my hair if I did not wear hijab. Again, no one ever explained the benefits of hijab to me. Just punishment after punishment if I didn’t wear it. In reality, I was wearing it but I really didn’t know why Allah commanded me to do it. I just didn’t want to face the wrath of Allah. (And I really felt like if I stepped out the house without the hijab something would happen to me.)
-Believing that my wudu was broken if my foot touched the bathroom floor.
-Being told that women had to go into sujood differently than men. Instead of going straight down, women had to bow kind of tilting to the side!
-Being told that Taraweeh was a requirement during Ramadan. (Without being told how to pray it, btw.) I was near tears when it was explained that Taraweeh consisted of 20 rakahs!!! 20 rakahs that I had to pray every single night of Ramadan. I was still getting accustomed to praying five times a day.
-(Speaking of the daily salah). Initially, I didn’t know that I was required to pray five times a day or even how I was supposed to do it. I remember someone saying they would teach me how to pray.
-I took shahadah on Sunday in the masjid. No one told me about Jumah or Eid. I remember going to the masjid on Eid-ul-Fitr (to pray) and finding everyone dressed to the nines. People were saying “Eid Mubarak” to me and I was like, “huh?” I don’t even remember when I discovered Jumah.
-Being told that I had to change my name.
-Being told the only way I could “be with a man” is to get married. I was 17. At that age (prior to converting) all I ever thought about was boys and having a boyfriend. So, in my brain I was saying “well, now that I’m Muslim I’ll have to get married then.” Imagine my parents’ shock when I started talking about getting married at 17!
-Being taught how to say “thank you” and “you’re welcome” in my new “Islamic language.” (i.e. Arabic) LOL.
TO BE CONTINUED…