In Muslimah2Muslimah's experience of reverts to Islam, we think the transitions of one's thoughts, opinions, and behavior, in fact a whole transformation of one's perspective in life is very interesting. Alula is one of our tweet buddies on Twitter and also a fellow blogger! You can check out her blog at: http://bchantae.blogspot.com/. It is called "life of an African-American Muslimah."
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 Alula, who in the midst of all propaganda has warmly embraced Islam and get her Muslimah's Perspective on Islam...
Muslimah2Muslimah: What is your name?
Alula: Alula Bruinton
Muslimah2Muslimah: What made you become interested in Islam?
Alula: In my African- American Studies class we were studying Islam. We didn't go as into-depth as I wanted to, so I studied the deen on my own. After studying the deen, I enjoyed it and made a decision to convert.
Muslimah2Muslimah: What does your family think about your decision?
Alula: In my first few months my family was not very supportive at all. A lot of my family still doesn't accept it, but my mother is getting a lot better at atleast trying to understand and accept it. Christianity is very strong in my family, I only have one muslim cousin and I see here like once every 5 years, so it's very hard for me and my family to agree on Islam.
Muslimah2Muslimah: What types of reactions have you gotten from your friends or coworkers?
Alula: My close friends and co-workers are very supportive of my decision! One of my very close friends has offered to not engage in any activitied or enviornments that I can't so that it won't be hard for me and I will feel comfortable. I'm very happy and greatful for that! I am interested to see how my other friends and classmates will react with me being the only muslimah on campus. It will be a big change for them, and that will be how I can tell who my real friends are.
Muslimah2Muslimah: How has Islam changed your life?
Alula: Being a young converted muslimah, Islam has brought me a lot of life changes. Islam has brought me so much peace and understanding. I understand Islam so much more than I understood Christianity, and I enjoy it being all about Allah and I.
Muslimah2Muslimah: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in Islam?
Alula: I would encourage them to come to Islam and study the deen and make sure they are ready to committ themselves to Allah and the deen. Islam comes with many changes for most young converters, but these changes are definately for the better!
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?
Alula: I personally prefer hijab over niqab. It took me a while to make the decision to wear hijab and get used to it, but I love hijab and I'm glad that I made the decision to wear it.
Muslimah2Muslimah: How did you feel the first time you wore hijab?
Alula: I felt good the first time I wore hijab. I did feel as though a lot of people were staring at me, but other than that, I felt great about it.
Muslimah2Muslimah: What is your opinion on the common labels associated with Muslims ("terrorists", "extremists" , etc.)?
Alula: I don't like or agree with these labels at all. Islam is a religion of peace. I know I can't change everyone's minds about their opinions, but I would like to prove people wrong about these misconceptions and open their minds to be more diverse and accepting.
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?
Alula: I don't believe that Islam oppresses women at all. If people studied more and tried to understand and research the things they judge so much, they would have more insight on the situations and opionions they made.
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?
Alula: I honestly thought different from the media and negative views they had on Islam and the women. I have never had a problem with Islam or Muslims and Muslim women. I am a very open and diverse person and I love that about myself. I am in no way judgemental like the majority of the world. I still have the same thoughts and feelings after converting.
Muslimah2Muslimah: Has your view changed in any way?
Alula: Not at all. If anything my love and understanding has grown more for Islam and the muslimahs, especially the young muslimahs like myself out here in the world. We aren't perfect and it's hard in the day and age we live in to be the modest women that we are and have to be Masha'Allah.
Muslimah2Muslimah: How has Muslimah2Muslimah helped you along your journey to Islam?
Alula: Muslimah2Muslimah has helped me a lot. They've helped me strive to be a better muslimah. I never would've imagined that the Hijabi look would be for me, but I've grown into it and if I hadn't found Muslimah2Muslimah or the Muslimahs that I made friends with off the site, I would be a confused and lost muslimah. I also appreciate Muslimah2Muslimah helping me find hijabs where I live (lol), I was having the hardest time with that.
~Insha'allah, everyone... please pray for our new little sister Alula 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. Alula, may Allah bless you and your family in all of your endeavors and may He grant you Jannatul Firdaus! Ameen!