Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim
Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah
Am I feeling more spiritual? No, not really. A lot of that is just because my nature is very grounded and logical. I did not fall in love with Islam by listening to the Adhan while visiting an exotic Muslim land. I do not weep when I pray. I don’t feel transcendent in my prayers. I fidget and get distracted and have to just about staple my feet to the musallah to stay where I am and get through four raka’ats. I am a very practical Muslimah. I believe one hundred percent in Islam. I am convinced of the truth of tauheed and the importance of living according to the laws set down by Allah. I struggle with the discipline of prayer but I believe in it absolutely. I love reading books about Islam, books on hadith and tafsir and history and stories of the prophets, and am more comfortable with them than I am with listening to Qur’an. I have a mental block against memorizing, not just Qur’an but Arabic vocabulary, and it frustrates me and makes me feel guilty – ah, there goes that guilt again! – that I memorize in such fits and starts. I didn’t make any grand promise to myself to finish memorizing Juz ‘Amma. I just said I’d try to work on surat ad-Duha. I have gotten about halfway through and haven’t worked on it in several days. I imagine I’ll get back to it and finish it someday soon, inshaAllah. Or perhaps not, distracted by work and kids and house and exhaustion from getting up so early. Only time will tell.
I’ve been Muslim almost 18 years now and I’m mostly comfortable with my approach to Islam. I know there are more emotional types and more practical types. There is room in Islam for the Abu Bakrs and the Uthmaans. I do wish I was able to lose myself in my Islam more, that I could quiet the unease in me and just “be” in the moment when I am praying or reading or listening to Qur’an, but that is not my nature and I know that Allah knows what’s going on in my heart and my brain and that I am devoted to Islam unconditionally. So even though I’m not a “good” Muslim, I know I’m a striving Muslim in my heart even when my actions are falling behind. I don’t rest on my laurels thinking that I can just coast along and Allah will forgive my shortcomings, but now, after probably the first fifteen years of being Muslim, I no longer constantly mentally berate myself for when I do something wrong.
Tonight is the 25th night of Ramadan. The kids are in bed, I actually prayed the ishaa’ on time, and I read up to and into the 26th Juz in English. I found my dhikr beads and inshaAllah after I spend some time online I will make istighfar and recite some du’a that I read in Sahih al Bukhari. I usually don’t put on Qur’an when I’m trying to sleep because I end up trying to listen and hear what is being said and then that keeps me awake, but I’ve had about four iced coffees so I think I’ll be up for a while. I’ll check Facebook and say hello to some friends and comment on some status updates, and then I’ll try to find some nice websites to read or maybe work on that surah. I ask Allah to forgive me and to support me and help me to be more productive in all areas of my life. My mantra is one day at a time and so far it’s been working.