We’ve been here while you were partying

It’s always mildly amusing to bump into people who have recently returned – mid-life – to religiosity. Too often, I find that people feel like they need to breathe some fire and brimstone to make up for the long absence from piety (or so they imagine it to be). They wag fingers at other people for not being adequately high-strung, and for arriving at a path of moderation instead of remaining at the stage of one’s adolescent extremism – while they themselves just got there.

In moments of deficient humility and excessive influence from the nafs, one is tempted to be somewhat patronizing and say, “Relax, buddies, cool it. Don’t you come checking our ID’s now. We’ve been hanging out here a while when you were busy partying.”

7 thoughts on “We’ve been here while you were partying”

  1. Apt. To my life right now, that is. But I had to have someone talk me out of the “Islam is making me miss IT” blues the other day. So there is that. I guess 10 years in isn’t enough time for me not to look at the greener grass on the other side.

  2. Oh, not that being in it for a while makes one jaded or blah. Not that. But that one isn’t all jittery later on, usually, and the newbies resent that, or think that it means indifference.

    10 or 100 years in, doesn’t mean the nafs is supposed to go away, girlfriend. As the poet says, ‘fear not the fierceness of the opposing wind, O falcon – for it blows only to make you fly even higher.’ Missing it is a sign of life. L’chaim! Ya Hayy!

  3. تندیء باد مخالف سے نہ گھبرا اے عقاب
    یہ تو چلتی ہے تجھے اونچا اڑانے کے لیئے

  4. Love your website. I am what I would call a mostly non-practicing, often doubting, but always thinking, Christian of the Methodist variety. I am about to take into my home with my husband and 3 kids, a 17-year old Sunni Muslim girl who is a refugee from Somalia, but who has been in immigration detention for a year. It’s a bit of a story of how our lives crossed in order to bring us together at this point in time, but here we are. The U.S.Government just gave the OK for me to to sponsor this girl and the girl and my family are thrilled. She be coming here as soon as our background clearances are finished. I got to your blog while searching for information on the issue of wearing a headscarf. One of the things I want to do soon is help this girl decide what to do for herself regarding the headscarf, so I figured I’d better learn what some of the issues are. Your blog and some articles you have written have convinced me you might be able to explain to me some of the issues for Muslims in America today. Perhaps we can start with the headscarf issue for this particular girl. While she wore a headscarf in her home country and kept wearing one while being smuggled out of Somalia and travelling through South America and Central America on her nearly one-year harrowing journey to the U.S., many negative reactions she has received to wearing the headscarf here in the U.S. have caused her to stop. My read of her is that she misses it, but feels she is too ostracized in the group home by the other kids if she wears it. Once she gets out of detention, I think she may want to reconsider. But if she were your cousin say, or close friend, how would you direct her? There is a great multicultural Mosque/Cultural center in my city where I plan to take her for services both religious and educational, so maybe you’d say I should let her talk to the leaders there or the few Somali women who attend services there. Also, I’m trying to get her into a private high school where the student population is pretty diverse with kids from many nationalities and religions, including many Persians who may or may not be practicing Muslims, but I haven’t seen any of the students wearing headscarves. So, what do you think about the headscarf dilemma for a young Somali girl in the U.S. these days? Please don’t publish any more than my first name.

  5. Hi Susan, I am sorry I got to this after such a long time. It’s hard to advise this dear young woman, not knowing the context – the group home, her experiences, where she lives, city etc. – but she is the one who will have to decide what she needs to and should do. The headscarf will be only one aspect of her religious practice that she will want to reflect upon. Yes, it will be the most visible one, so it’s significant in its impact on her life. I could virtually introduce her to someone who is from the same background, if you like.

  6. mskoonj, was re-reading some old posts and comments on my blog, realizing how much I appreciate your perspective, thank you. Thought I’d drop by and say salam!

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