Saturday, March 24, 2007

Be Proud

Today, I was talking with my dear friend OrganicMuslimah and we were talking about this post by Ali Eteraz that was a topic of discussion over at Cairogal's blog.

We talked about how convert women, like myself, get sucked into this idea that trying to be arab makes them more muslim. Like if they don't become completely arabized they are less muslim than somone else. I hate this idea. I hate it because throughout my marriage it has been pushed on me by my husband. He will be loving up some american goodness one day and drooling over the thought of the arab woman the next day. Since when is Islam about a certain ethnicity? We are told that culture isn't inherently bad. Culture is actually okay. It can be a good thing as long as it doesn't interfere or directly contradict the religion. Even our prophet told us that arab is no better than non arab, white no better than black. We will only be judged on our piety and devotion to God. If this is true, then why do we demand converts to forget everything about themself and become an arab woman?

The truth is that we will never be an arab woman. We were destined to be where we came from. Every bit of who we are shaped and molded us into the people we were today, and I wouldn't give a second of that back. I'm proud of who I am and where I came from. I wear my home on my sleeve so to speak. I will shout from the rooftops that I'm from New Orleans and I say it with every bit of happiness inside. I can make jambalaya, watch the Saints lose or win and love them either way, suck crawfish heads with the best of them, and throw beads at my son telling him to yell "Throw me something mista!" and still all the while be a muslim. The two don't contradict eachother.

I hope that all of us can be proud of where we came from and the journey we took to get where we are today.

"The people of New Orleans have their own language. Its tone, lilt, and slang are indigenous to this city and reflect its ethnic history and tradition. New Orleans is part of the deep south, but you won't find a stereotypical southern drawl." - Unknown New Orleanian

"New Orleans is my essence, my soul, my muse, and I can only dream that one day she will recapture her glory. I will do everything within my power to make that happen and to help in any way I can to ease the suffering of my city, my people!" - Harry Connick Jr.



Blogger Organic-Muslimah said...

hehehehehe. Are you sure you don't want to be arabized?

7:46 AM  
Blogger UmmAbdurRahman said...

I tried, but I wasn't very good at it. So, I decided to just be who I am. It's easier that way.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Safa said...

I guess I'm probably pretty much arabized, considering I've been here in Egypt for 6 yrs.

But it's the moments that count that my true Canadian self shows up. It's true that after living in a country long enough that you tend to adapt to the culture.....but there are limits! I've always been a muslim first.......

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Julianna said...

Hmmm. I have a formula about how long it takes you to become arab :) My husband tells me I am Jordanian now. And I said no.


12:33 PM  
Blogger cncz said...

preach on!
Considering I got told I was dunya all day, this post was a breath of fresh air...

11:30 AM  
Blogger PM said...

I have lived in Qatar for over 8 years (and Muslim for almost 7) and I am not Arabized -- nor will I ever be. I married a Kuwaiti a few years but it hasn't made any difference -- other than we I go Lebanese restaurants a little more frequently ;-)

I see no problem incorporating Islam into my life without trying to become Arab. After all, how often are we told that Islam is for all times and places? I suspect Arabization is more likey to happen when one is uncertain of where cultural issues leave off and religious mandates begin; when one is "turned off" by their native culture; or when one's husband is so strong willed and dominant that he doesn't want to share his wife's culture.

Salaam Alaikum,

7:38 AM  
Blogger Cairogal said...

Great post, Umabdulrahman! It's my opinion that if someone can convert to Islam and avoid taking on any nation's culture in the process, they might be able to avoid the cultural practices that get peppered into the faith, since Muslims born into the faith are often sometimes unaware of what is culture and what's truly religion.

9:23 PM  

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