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Which islamwich Are You?

Written by Theresa Corbin

To commemorate nearly 4 years in the blogging game, I have compiled (…er… reposted) a list of types of islamwiches. Try them all, see which one best suits you, and let us know which islamwich you are by taking the poll at the end.

Which-islamwich-graphic

1 – The Turkey-Ham on Rye 

The Turkey-Ham is a turkey roasted like a ham, meant to taste like a ham, but is totally turkey. This kind of islamwich likes to seem as though he or she is playing it fast and loose.

 

Pros: You tend to know your stuff concerning religious matters. At first glance others might think you are doing something questionable, but you have a million legit proofs to prove them wrong. You don’t follow anyone blindly, and want/expect others to do the same.

 

Cons: You have a hard time admitting you are wrong. You tend to be rebellious and head strong.
Looks like ham. Tastes like ham. Must be turkey
Why we love the Turkey-Ham on rye:
This islamwich knows his or her stuff, and we could learn a thing or three from him/her.

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Not Brainwashed: Converts Speak for Themselves

Written by Theresa Corbin

Never ever again will I judge a person’s freedom and liberties by the length of their skirt -Yvonne Ridley famous British journalist who converted to Islam.

Recently, news stories about the deceased Boston Bombing suspect’s wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, abound. Reports speculate about her life and her choice to become Muslim.

The media, to its credit have run some article’s from the Muslim women’s perspective, but by and large they are portraying Katherine, and women like her, as having been forced to convert to Islam.

not-brainwashed

Many news outlets are trying to portray Katherine as some sort of weak woman who fell into the hands of an overpowering force and was brainwashed straight out of Christianity and in the headscarf, Islam, and the arms of a terrorist. Absolutely ignoring the possibility that Katherine may have converted after much soul searching and reflection done of her own free will.

“She was a very sweet woman, but I think kind of brainwashed by him,” reported the Associated Press, quoting Anne Kilzer, a Belmont, Mass., woman who said she knew Katherine and her 3-year-old daughter.

As a wife, I cannot imagine what Katherine is going through. As an American woman who converted to Islam, I am very familiar with the stereotype that is pushed upon women who choose Islam.

When a woman in the West converts to Islam, it is always assumed that she has been coerced. Why else would she leave her life full of every imaginable freedom, right? She must have converted for a man, she must have been brainwashed, or she must have been at gunpoint.

It is insulting. It is a roundabout way of saying that women who convert to Islam are weak minded.

This is not the case by a long shot. Women who convert to Islam are typically outspoken, well educated, free thinkers, and are brave enough to deviate from the path society has set for them.

When I converted to Islam, the sister who was giving me shahada (the statement of faith) asked me why I was converting. She asked me twice if I was doing it for any person or felt forced to do it in anyway. “Because”, she said, “if you say that you believe and someone made you say it, your faith would not be accepted from you. Allah (SWT) knows what is in your heart.”

Brainwash [BRANE wosh] verb- to make someone adopt radically different beliefs by using forcible pressure.

How can someone be brainwashed and sincere? How is it that in Islam your faith will not be accepted from you unless you are sincere? Sincerity cannot be coerced. It is like saying you were forced to fall in love, it just doesn’t work that way.

And where is the follow up to the brainwashing? In order to sustain a state of “brainwashing” you also must isolate the subject from the outside world. You don’t see this with Muslim converts.

They go on to study at universities; work as teachers, scientists, military personnel, journalists and so on; they do charity work; they are politically active and motivated to be productive members of society.

With headlines like the following, journalists are scrambling to find a reason for so many people entering Islam in the West:

CNN WORLD NEWS: Islam is the fastest-growing religion

Why European women are turning to Islam 

Washington-Report: The Nation’s Fastest Growing Religion 

We convert because we find truth and beauty in Islam. We convert because we find freedom from objectified in Islam. We convert because we don’t let the media tell us what to think. We convert because Islam speaks to our nature. We convert for a million reasons.

We are truth seekers. We are logical, thinking human beings. We are a group of women who are strong enough to face giving up all that we know and have in order to become closer to God. We are a group of women who have faced bigotry daily from loved ones and strangers alike.

We are a group of women who despite how we are portrayed in the media, we hold our heads up high because we know who we really are. We will not be explained away as feeble minded or weak. We can speak for ourselves. And we will:

Fatima, a Canadian who converted to Islam says:

[…] I experienced the absolute power of prayer as I watched on TV for the first time in Tahrir square, Muslims pray.

This was my first call to prayer, I felt a blindness in my life had been cured. Shortly after this a good friend of 3 years I had met on Facebook, who lives in Cairo, Egypt showed me via Skype the Masjid outside his window just as Fajr [pre-dawn] call to prayer sounded.

I bowed my head and in my heart felt this to be the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. This was my second call to prayer, I felt a deafness I had in my life had been cured. I then purchased a Qur’an [the holy book] opened to Al-Fatiha [the first chapter of the Quran] and first few pages of Al-Baqarah [the second chapter], I knew I was about to find out what I always prayed for, the meaning of life, serenity, and peace of mind. I spent a year and half on a very special journey (that continues by the minute) soul searching leading me to begin studying Islam […]

fatima-aw

I received an email inviting me to attend Iftar [the meal that breaks a Muslim’s fast] on 2 Ramadan 1433 H […] This was the opportunity I had been waiting. I had not went to a Mosque since I heard my first call, there was a voice that kept telling me to wait, I would know the perfect time. It was this night I declared, As-Shahadah [the testament of faith].

Immediately upon entering the parking lot of the Masjid and a Sister greeting me at the door I felt a light shine and my spirit jump and was fully awakened realizing I was always a Muslim by heart but did not know until Allah Subana Wa Ta’ala [God] decided it was my time to live and to be given a right to life with dignity through the Muslim way of Life shown to us through the perfected life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam).”

Western women who convert to Islam have chosen a different path that takes commitment, courage of conviction, and strength of character in today’s world. Never assume a women is brainwashed simply because she is choosing her own path. 

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A Convert By Any Other Name: Why I Didn’t Change My Name

A Convert By Any Other Name: Why I Didn’t Change My Name

 

Written by Theresa Corbin

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away—I changed my name to Mariam.

what is in a name

I only told those closest to me, thinking I would let them get used to it. Then, I thought, naturally more people would incorporate it as those closest to me addressed me as “Mariam”.

The best laid plans of mice and Mariams oft go … where is it they go again? Ah, yes, they go to that same place my “Mariam” name went. Those who knew me could not get used to my name change. I would try to ignore them until they addressed me by my new name, but when I failed to remember it myself, I gave up.

Oh well, what the hell, I guess I will be Theresa–I resigned myself.

What is in a name? Does a “Theresa” by any other name smell as … umm, err, … *coughs*. Does a “Theresa” by any other name behave any less Muslim? Does a “Theresa” by any other name pray any less regularly? No and no. InshAllah.

I was, as is common, wrapped up in the zeal of my newly Islamicized life. I had always liked my “Theresa” name. And I guess it was my tender affections toward “Theresa” that led to my apathy of enforcing “Mariam”.

Many new converts to Islam change their name, feeling that with a new direction in life they need a new name.

I agree with this only if the name-changer does the name changing for the following reasons.

Good reasons to change your name:

1. You hope to adopt the good qualities of the former bearer of that name.

Hurray: If you admire the original “Mariam”–when Anglicized it is pronounced Mary (MEh ree) the virgin mother of Jesus (peace be upon them)—and you wish to be more like that Mariam, then change it. My hope was for my new name “Mariam”, to be a reminder to strive for perfection, because Islamic tradition teaches that she was one of the few people to ever reach human perfection.

2. Your name means something that is incongruent with your Islamic beliefs.

Yup: Think about the meaning of your given name. If your name’s meaning is something un-Islamic, for example if your name is Christian, with its obvious meaning that you are Christian. Or if your name is Kafir, which mean disbeliever, by all means change your name.

But if your given name already has a good meaning, why not keep it? When I thought about what Theresa means (harvester). I decided it was pretty perfect for me. To me, this is a better reminder than to be perfect (because I am far, far, far from it). It is a reminder that I will harvest or reap what I sow, so I should sow only good things.

I disagree with this name changing craze if it is done for the following reasons.

Bad reasons to change your name:

1. You want to enhance your apparent Muslims identity by adopting an Arabic name.

An Arabic name does not enhance your Muslim identity, you can and should behave in Islamically through your actions. Besides, Arab does not equal Muslim.

2. You want to distance yourself from your old identity.

You should not shed your old identity. Just improve upon it. You will always be you. You are uniquely made up of your experiences, style, personality, and quirks. Embrace that and incorporate the endlessly beneficial teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) into your life and manners.

why not be bob?
why not be Bob?

But why not keep your name and make it a Muslim name. If your name is Bob and you are a Muslim. Then by the transitive property, Bob is now a Muslim name. Viola! You are breaking down barriers between the West and Islam. And that is pretty cool.

I enjoy the surprise that the disparity between my traditionally “Christian” name, and my obvious Muslim appearance provides. People get all kinds of confused when they learn my name or see me for the first time in a headscarf. It is fun to watch.

Now, after bearing the name Theresa, wearing the headscarf, and presenting myself as a Muslim since 2001, Theresa is a Muslim name. And your name can be too!

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Non-Muslims Say The Darndest Things … About Hijab

hijabi-pop-art2Written by Theresa Corbin

My mind was spinning after the Hijabology post from last week. I kept chuckling to myself about some of the comments I get from perfect strangers and people I meet in my life. So, I thought it would be fun to share some of these comments with y’all.

Please feel free to share some of the zany comments/questions you have received / asked. Don’t be shy!

Here is my list from most common to the weirdest comments/questions about hijab, and the responses I wish I could give.

Q: Why you wear dat?

A: See the blog post “Hijabology”

Q: Ain’t you hot in all them clothes?

A: Yes, and you are hot in that tank top. We live in The South. It is 3,052 degrees year round. We are all hot!

Q: Do you have cancer?

A: No, I am trying to quit.

Q: Are you a Amish or something?

A: Don’t be racist.

Q: I like your wife. Is she a nun?

A: Ummmm, a wife and a nun? Seriously?! No. And I grant you permission to speak directly to me. You’re Welcome!

Q: Oh My God, it’s a ghost?

A: BOO!

Q: You look like Mother Teresa.

A: Well, I am a “Teresa”, but I ain’t nobody’s mama.

Q: I SEE you!

A: Good job on learning how to use your eyes! Next, maybe you will learn how to use your manners.

Q: Look, it’s a ninja!

A: Darn! I thought I was in super stealth mode.

Q: Why do they keep letting God D@mn terrorist in my country?

A: I don’t know why they let you in my country to terrorize me with your ignorance.

Q: What are you, like, Jesus?

A: Yes, but it’s pronounced hey-SEUSS.

Q: Wow, what a beautiful scarf!

A: I love you!!!

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Like the post, share it, pin it, comment on it, and/or do whatever social media magic it is that you prefer. Find out more about us in the understandably named “About Us” page and browse other posts in “Table of Contents”.