The negative image presented about Islam since 9-11 here in the states has really given Islam a bad name due to the media as well as people's lack of understanding. The stereotypes about the treatment of women has been rampant in the media for many years with the Taliban and other "extremist" groups. We thought it would be interesting to interview Nahleejah, who in the midst of all propaganda has warmly embraced Islam and get her Muslimah's Perspective on Islam...
Muslimah2Muslimah: What is your name?
Nahleejah: Nahleejah B. Anaum
Muslimah2Muslimah: What made you become interested in Islam?
Nahleehah: I loved how simple it was and how much dedication is put into it.
Muslimah2Muslimah: What does your family think about your decision?
Nahleejah: My family is really not at all close. However the ones I talk to like my step mom, dad and brother think it's great.
Muslimah2Muslimah: What types of reactions have you gotten from your friends or coworkers?
Nahleejah: Everyone is pretty much fine with it. [I] had one friend tell me she was not happy at all with my decision but she's got love for me still. She thinks I should give Jesus(PBUH) another try. Friends back home(Jersey) say Alhumdulilah(Some were born into Islam).
Muslimah2Muslimah: How has Islam changed your life?
Nahleejah: Well I've only been Muslim since April so I haven't experienced much plus I never go any where. Stuck in the house raising my two baby boys, you know doing the single mom thing. But for the most part I'm loving how simple it is, no more middle man like go[ing] through the son to get to the father. Straight to the point Me and Allah /Allah and Me.
Muslimah2Muslimah: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in Islam?
Nahleejah: I would say God/Allah is a God of peace. Islam is peaceful. God/Allah detests confusion. Islam is very simple. How confused can you get if you[r] at peace?.
Muslimah2Muslimah: Islamically, women are required to wear a hijab. Others say that you must also cover your face(niqab). What are your thoughts on this?
Nahleejah: Personally, I have no problem with either one. I choose to wear a hijab now because it's Hot I love the look. Niqab is not bad either I might wear that one day it's kind of mysterious I don't know why I like the ninja look, I love it though. I know that we wear these pieces for modesty, I feel that these pieces don't necessarily make you more modest than others. I'm sure there are some sisters who still get there flirt on with them on sadly(just keeping it real) I grew up in an Islamic community in Jersey so I've seen[it] before. It happens....
I feel that yes you should be decent and comfortable while maintaining a look that is pleasing to Allah and that doesn't have to be wearing scarves or jilbabs and such.
Muslimah2Muslimah: How did you feel the first time you wore hijab?
Nahleejah: lol wow that's a great question...Well the day before I too[k] my Shahaadah which I took on April 10th, I bought my first [khimar] at a local Islamic spot lol. I was nervous to put it on. lol I don't know why maybe It's because it was going to change my life. This hijab meant a lot, it meant that everything I was taught and built my standards on would change dramatically. I was excited and scared, I know it's a scarf, but that scarf to me meant freedom of choice and belief. I didn't wear it out the store I took it home and put it on and stood in front of the mirror looking at my self. You know it's funny as a woman your hair expresses so much of who you are whether it be short or long curly or straight real or fake lol it's your chance to let people know what your working with lol. Your outside beauty is defined on that alone, considering most people may have a prettier face than body (sadly societies thought process). Anyhoo, I stood there until I shaved that falsehood off and saw how much more beautiful I was with my hijab on. And I looked and felt STUNNING lol. I love it! It enhanced how flawless I am lol. I walked to the mail box then came back in and said to myself I could do it I could be a hijab wearing Muslimah. It's me!
Muslimah2Muslimah: What is your opinion on the common labels associated with Muslims ("terrorists", "extremists" , etc.)?
Nahleejah: Please....Islam has nothing to do with terrorism.
Muslimah2Muslimah: What is your view on the impression that many non-Muslims have that Islam oppresses the women and the women have no voice in their communities?
Nahleejah: I ask[ed] about that before I became Muslim too, I saw how women [over] seas were being treated and I swore I would never put my self in that type of environment(never say never I know lol). I did some research of my own and found that in the Quran women are highly respected.
Muslimah2Muslimah: The media tends to give very negative views on women and many non-Muslims base their views solely on this. What was your view on Islam and the treatment of women before you converted to Islam?
Nahleejah: My view on Islam hmmm...I really don't think I had any judgement on it, I respected it. I had a few questions that's all but for the most part I respected the dedication and knowledge it possessed. I was really very curious about it. I didn't realize how deep it was. I see now just how deep it is. I realize you have to be willing to learn and be open minded to see the beauty in it. Allah is beautiful Allahu akbar!
Muslimah2Muslimah: Has your view changed in any way?
Nahleejah: I just have a clear understanding on what Allah expects from us. No confusion at all.
Muslimah2Muslimah: How has Muslimah2Muslimah helped you along your journey to Islam?/ How have you benefited from Muslimah2Muslimah?
Nahleejah: It's helped very much so, it's nice to hear your perspectives on issues in Islam. We are basically the same age and some what at this time are experiencing the same issues and how you guys handle it or how other sisters handle it helps the next sister. Basically I'm not in this fight alone it's nice to have back up :o)
~Insha'allah, everyone... please pray for Sister Nahleejah & her sons and welcome her into Islam by leaving her your encouragement and wisdom, insha'allah! We are very pleased with her decision as we know she is as well. Nahleejah, may Allah bless you and your family in all of your endeavors and may He grant you Jannatul Firdaus! Ameen!
Najwa & Nadira