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There is a lot of mobility in America. It is estimated that on an average one family does not stay in one place for more than five years. In that sense my family was a true American family. We moved from Seattle to suburban Los Angeles, California. Our nearest Muslim neighbor was brother Abdul Wahab. We not only met in mosque daily but also regularly sharing a cup of tea. One day Abdul Wahab described the challenges and tests he went through the proceeding the acceptance of Islam by his wife, Rehana. He described his story:

"When I married Rehana, I was a non-practicing Muslim. She was also a non-practicing Christian. I rarely went to mosque and she never went to her church. In due course of time Allah blessed us with children. I tried to talk to her about going to a mosque. She bluntly refused. To my surprise, she even started going to a church. Now the more I invited her to the mosque, the more she ran to attend church. Nobody ever wins against a woman anyway.

I offered her a compromise very gently and respectfully. One weekend we will both go to a church and the other weekend to a mosque. She reluctantly agreed. In this way I wished to give her exposure to Islam."

I said to myself, "I must become a good practicing Muslim and behave in the best Islamic manners at home and with others around me. This is the only way she can discover and cherish true Islamic values." I shaped up. The merits and negative aspects of husband and wife cannot remain hidden from each other since they are closely interacting with each other.

This was a new but a beautiful life style for me. I had to act as a model to see positive results. Rehana started understanding Islam very gradually, but surely, through positive experiences at home and in the Muslim society. Her appreciation of Islam grew day by day. Finally she embraced Islam. Alhamdulillah.

Rehana was now a different woman. She covered her head like a model Muslim woman. She wondered why many born Muslim women do not adhere to Islamic dress code. She wanted her children to be educated in full time Islamic school. She was continuously educating herself. She demanded tapes from her husband of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) lessons offered by Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui in the mosque to enhance her educational activities and Islamic growth.

Abdul Wahab's problems were over and Rehana's problems had just started. She struggled hard to learn more and more about Islam. Whatever she learnt she wanted to put into practice since it was very satisfying for the heart and mind. She absorbed Islamic values very cool mindedly.

Whenever we talked to her we found her to be a more real Muslima than born and traditional Muslims. Her love for Islamic practice was inspiring for us. Rehana was very grateful to her husband for this extra ordinary gift of Islamic faith and values.

Her parents were residing in Chicago. Her acceptance of Islam was a big shock for them. They reacted very adversely. Her father was very rigid, rough and blunt. Her parents even stopped visiting her. Rehana considered it her duty to visit them hoping to guide them to the right path. She used to come back to Los Angeles tired and torn. Rehana used to take the children with her to Chicago. The grand parents were surprised and impressed by the wonderful behaviour and manners of the young Muslim children. Deep in their hearts they started feeling, that perhaps Islam is not that bad. So much so that the grand parents agreed to visit Rehana in Los Angeles. We learnt this news as well. Finally to our great pleasure and surprise they were in Los Angeles.

I invited Abdul Wahab's family over a dinner. I also invited Mr. and Mrs. Naseem since Mrs. Naseem was also a new American Muslima who always observed Islamic dress code. Our intention was to give the grand parents more exposure to Muslims. We had a wonderful evening and stayed together up to midnight. The grand parents became very friendly. We all left each other around 1 A.M. in good mood.

Here a side note is necessary. Rehana and her family walked to their home. Mr. and Mrs. Naseem had to drive about twenty miles to Riverside at these late hours of night. Drunk driving is very treacherous at such late hours. Mr. and Mrs. Naseem were hit hard by another car. Both were thrown out of their car. Mr. Naseem lost consciousness and was lying on the roadside. Mrs. Naseem had severe bone injuries but was still in her senses. This young woman in Islamic dress was sitting beside her husband and loudly and continuously reciting Quran. Paramedical personnel arrived on the scene. They saw there a strangely dressed woman and heard her talking in some foreign language. Their first question to her was, "Do you speak English?" Mrs. Naseem answered them in English and told them that she was reciting Quran in Arabic. After many months of hospitalization, both were up and running again by the Grace of God Almighty.

Rehana's parents went back to Chicago after a brief stay. She wished, that somehow, they would accept Islam. One day my wife told me that Rehana was crying because her mother was seriously ill. Rehana was worried that her mother might die before accepting Islam and thus she would end up in hell. Unfortunately her mother died as disbeliever.

It was now even more difficult to talk to her father. All of us were trying to help the situation. Abdul Wahab used to visit his father-in-law in Chicago without annoying him. Rehana's father was my friend too. I wanted to do my part.

I moved to Detroit, Michigan at that time. I called Rehana's father from Detroit and invited him to visit us since we were not too far away from him. Unfortunately the image of Detroit was tarnished at that time because of foul play of some policemen in the city. Rehana's father answered favorably, "Imtiaz, I would love to see you but I will try my best never to pass through Detroit in my life."

May Allah guide Rehana's father to the right path. Ameen.

Later on I asked Abdul Qadar the reason for her crying. He said, "Suzan refused to go to mosque again. She felt that her question had annoyed the person who answered her with a very serious face. She did not like to annoy anybody."

To the best of our knowledge and judgement the respondent was not annoyed. He only had a serious look. I said to Abdul Qadar, "Please explain to her calmly and cool mindedly that most people from India and Pakistan have serious faces. You can see this at any airport or bus station or shopping center. This is our cultural drawback." Suzan gradually digested this idea and after few months returned to the mosque. She learned more and more about Islam every week. She found question and answers session very beneficial in understanding Islamic values and faith. She developed friendship with many other ladies in the mosque and received lots of encouragement and respect.

She liked this new way of life and wished to embrace Islam. I had the honor to make her recite Shahada, the Islamic pledge. After that she was a Muslima and our sister. I also performed the Islamic marriage between them in the mosque the same day. Suzan was enjoying a new life under the blessings of the Islamic faith.

During the Islamic marriage I explained them that it was mandatory for the husband to give Mahr to his wife. It can be in coin or kind. I also reminded them that Mahr is the personal property of the wife and she can use it the way she chooses. Husband has no say in it throughout his life. Abdul Qadar eagerly agreed to pay Mahr. Suzan was amazed to see the respect accorded to a woman in Islam and the way her rights were preserved. It definitely strengthened her Islamic Faith. This situation took place in the State of Maryland.

It will be very interesting to mention another similar situation that took place in the state of Michigan a few years later. As Imam of the Tawheed Mosque, it was one of my duties to perform marriages in this State. A Muslim youth requested me to perform his marriage with a lady. I explained them the rights of men and women in Islam and about the Mahr. Both of them filled the prescribed forms for the marriage and the form for payment of Mahr. After that I asked them if they had any question on their minds before entering into a marriage bond? The lady said, "I have no question". The young man said, "I have an important question to ask you". He said, "I understand that I am supposed to give her Mahr and that will be exclusively her personal property. Is she not similarly supposed to give me Mahr?"

I told him that in Islam the Mahr is for wife only. He was very much surprised to learn this. The lady was amazed, like Suzan, to see the dignity and honor accorded to a woman in Islam. She was also somewhat amused by this conversation.

She chose to be called Saeeda since she was very gentle and nice to everybody. She embraced Islam with clear knowledge, utmost sincerity and full commitment. She immediately started observing full Islamic dress irrespective of fear from neighbours and general public. Her daughters were going to elementary school at that time. She motivated them and asked them to wear scarf in school in spite of the fact that the children tried to make fun of them. I told her that it was not necessary for the young girls for the time being to face the difficult situation in the school. But Saeeda emphasised that they should learn and observe Islamic way of life from their younger age. Saeeda and her two young daughters dressed in accordance with the Islamic code looked very outstanding and graceful when seen in shopping center or other public places.

This was her level of faith and commitment. Her husband used to laugh at himself. He felt that we born Muslims take Islam very easy and hence our commitment is shaky. Abdul-Qadar and Saeeda have a very peaceful and enviable family life.

[Source: Madrasah In'aamiyah]


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