As salaam alaikum,
Interestingly, someone arrived at my site by searching to see if Esperanza Spalding is Muslim. Probably got to the site because I frequently post about my musical spirit sister and I'm Muslim. Whoever it was probably heard the lyrics to "Vague Suspicions," and thought, a person who writes lyrics like this, so sympathetic to Muslims, recognizing that Christians and Muslims in fact do worship the same God must be Muslim.
Not necessarily, hehe, but nice thought.
I feel like every few years, there's some celebrity that we get excited about being Muslim. Like we're seeking validation. I'm not mad at that, but I'm much happier to hear the sympathy in her lyrics for civilian victims of this Orwellian war (as well as sympathy for the young men and women from our country that have their blood senselessly on their hands), to hear her belief and struggle-with-belief in God so poetically expressed in song. She is so right on with that song.
I'll post the lyrics at the end of this entry, because people don't seem to be understanding what she's saying on any of the lyrics sites I visited, haha.
But I also had Esperanza's arrangement of "Endagered Species" in my mind on Sunday morning when I woke up and felt like I'm slowly going extinct.
I was alarmed when Islamicity calculated 'Isha' for midnight and fajr for a little after 2am here in Seattle, knowing that the days are just going to get longer for a while. I started going to mosque sites in the Seattle area to confirm an alternate prayer time calculation that I saw that is more reasonable ('isha' a bit after 11, fajr around 3am). I didn't just want to go with one because it suited me better, so I had to make sure it was something the mosques in the area were following.
As I investigated the prayer time calculations (they seem to go with ISNA), I explored some of the mosque websites. I checked out one site's "women's activities," and it talked about the various halaqas. Besides the introductory halaqas for new Muslimahs or Muslimahs hoping to review the basics, the only other one is in Arabic. They were to address the woman "molding" herself into "the ideal Muslimah."
That, and the fact that the page had not been updated since 2005, got me discouraged.
For some time, I've not been interested in other people's opinions of what an ideal Muslimah is and how I should be her. I tried that. The good Muslims of my community still did not have space for me. It was disappointing. And an ideal Muslimah is not ideal if she exists in isolation.
What sense does it make for anyone, man or woman, to exist in isolation? It doesn't
I was tired of, "Well, maybe if I just do this, if I just do that...then I'll fit." Where was I?
Where am I?
I've been back for a while, rebuilding my identity, stumbling my way through Erikson's Identity vs. Role Confusion and am now fully to Intimacy vs. Isolation.
Intimacy vs. Isolation.
Intimacy. No one loves me for my Islam. Men are either interested in me in spite of the Islam or in ignorance of the Islam. Yes, even Muslim men, on both counts. In spite of me not being Muslim enough, in spite of me being Muslim, whichever your pleasure. And if my submission to God is the biggest part of me, don't I deserve to be with someone who loves that about me? Not I like it, but...I don't understand it, it bothers me, it's insufficient, it could be better for my tastes, I could do without it.
Isolation. It's easiest for me to be Muslim in isolation. Meaning, it's easiest for me to submit to the will of God if I do so alone. The world outside is so toxic, toxic on both sides, the Muslim and the non. It's clearly the work of the devil that our communities are so rent asunder that someone like me struggles to find a place for herself. That so many of us are slipping in and out of obscurity just to keep our heads above water, just to hold onto the faith, the way of being that injects our lives with beauty, hope and God's grace.
It's a shame.
At the same time, I feel like I'm slowly going extinct. I feel like I'm slipping into irrelevance in this world, that I don't make sense, never have, and will continue to do so, because of the way I live and the way that I choose to submit to God.
Have faith, stay strong, pray, they all say. The earliest believers went through trials that you cannot imagine. I know. The Qur'an tells us that we'd best believe that those before us suffered trials and pleaded with God, wondering when He would come through (2:214). And for the believer, there is many a lonely road, but also life abundant (4:100). Alhamdulillah, I have abundant life, even as I trek my lonely road.
So this must be a trial for me. This must be a trial for me but I can't help but think that I'm going extinct. That my existence in this life is as a shadow, that I'm a shell. I'm someone whose purpose is for others, for others, for others, and rarely for me.
That what I've allocated for myself is just a stipend to keep me alive and healthy to continue to serve others.
And don't get me wrong, I live to serve others. I believe that's a big part of all of our purposes of life...to seek out ways to help our fellow human beings through this life. Allahu a'lam. But for a change, I want something for myself. I want companionship. I want a partner who loves me for my Islam. That's the only thing that I want that is mine. Service and self-service all in one. And while I recognize that my desire to have children isn't entirely alturistic, motherhood would be another realm in which I'm giving of myself, of myself, of myself, and little for myself.
I want a man who loves God and, by extension, loves my Islam, for myself.
Because if I don't get it, I'll go extinct. I'll live life going through the motions, a living shell that works for others and that stipend that just sustains her, day after day, month after month...
In the name of God, I'm going extinct.
Vague Suspicions - Esperanza Spalding
On the neon news, they won't be talking about his life
That was still unfolding when he had to fly
Toward, toward God
May this war end, insha'Allah, he knelt to pray
When a dusty troop misjudged and blew him away
Strangers, same God
They are faceless numbers in the headlines we all read
Drone strike leaves thirteen civilians dead
Hold that thought
Maybe your heart is seized with passing pitty for the dead
And vague suspicions creep into your head
Am I part of one?
And what is God for?
Next, on channel four, celebrity gossip