“I have a dream that one day this” ummah “will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that” An Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab, and a red person is not better than a black person and a black person is not better than a red person, except in piety.
I have a dream that one day out in the red” earth of America, Mauritania and the world “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”
“I have a dream that my” fellow converts “will one day live in” an ummah “where they will not be judged by the” culture “of their” ancestors “but by their character.”
“I have a dream” every night of Ramadan.
“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be engulfed, every hill shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”
“This is our hope. This is the faith that I” pray “will go back to” its roots. “With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
“With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our” ummah “into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”
“With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to climb up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day” from the narrow-minded oppressiveness that now pervades our religion.”
“I have a dream” every night of Ramadan.
I dream every night that I have built a masjid specifically for converts. The dream progresses every night… from finding the land, to building it with my own hands (with the help of other converts), to arranging for brothers and sisters to take turns to give khutbahs and choosing a brother to lead the prayers, to finding the perfect convert to be our imam.
I think this dream wanders to me every night because of my reflections at the masjid iftars. I contemplate all those who are not with us this Ramadan. It was not death that parted them from us, but something more heinous and possibly more fatal: intolerant reactionary immigrant Muslims (usually husbands).
Since last Ramadan, we have lost six women and two more (which could be an underestimate since it is not something people readily admit to) are hanging on by a thread. This is eight in our small community, imagine the number nationwide. The common reason is immigrant husbands who expect them to be like women from their respective countries. Some even married these women before they were Muslims and forcefully tried to mold them into what they wanted, rather than wanting who they married.
I have even experienced this myself. When I first came to Islam, I was told that I had to wear all black: abaya, khimar, niqab; had to change my name and must get married… the Islamic (infer traditional according to their culture) way. I had an arranged marriage. I was married simply because I was Muslim. Recently, I asked my husband if he would love me if I were not Muslim…. long silence… until he walked out, which means he does not love me, but he loves the idea he has of me. This is a man who married a non-muslim before me.
We do not have to change who we are–alter our innate natures–to be a Muslim. As a matter of fact, it is because of who we are in the depths of our soul that we even ventured to come to Islam… being a convert is not an easy thing. We lose friends and family, we are alienated by society and many of us have lost our livelihoods over it. No we do not need to change our characteristics; perhaps immigrant Muslims could learn a thing or two from us… such as, being open-minded, thinking instead of following blindly, and actually living by what the Quran says; only to name a few.
There is a hadith in which Mohamed, sallahu alayhi wa salam, says, “Verily Allah will send at the beginning of every century such a person for this Ummah who will rejuvenate and restore their religion (deen). This is my only consolation when fear of the bigoted, arrogant, goonish extremists taking over my deen (religion) suffocates me. I only hope we can hold on long enough for that person to arrive and positively affect reformation in Islam.