It is a New Year

It is 2015. I cannot believe it. I am old enough to remember when it was 1985! In November, 1984, Ronald Reagan beat Walter Mondale and became president of the USA. I was unhappy because on Election Day I was still not able to vote, since my birthday was November 8th and Election Day that year was the 5th. That same fall I visited the Black Hills and contemplated my relationship with God while crunching through the autumn pathways, and drinking from crisp and clear streams. Then in January, 1985 I found myself with my head pressed to the ground and my words, both silly and sincere, “O God, if this Quran is indeed from You, if the words on its pages are Yours, then I am a Muslim. But if they are not Yours, if it is not from You, then please tell me because I really don’t want to do this.” And with that I felt and knew a certainty. I was, after that prayer, certain that the Quran was the word of God.
So of course I remember 1985. It was the year I became a Muslim. And every year since then I have celebrated my ‘shahadaversary’ or my ‘Islamday’. This year I had dinner with three beloved students. Other years I have had big parties. Every year I insisted on gifts from my children and husband. I like celebrations. I believe in happiness and joy. Joy that is rooted in faith is the best kind of happy.
In this my thirtieth year I celebrate the joy of working for Allah ﷻ. I am deeply thankful for the learning and upbringing of my life. I celebrate the beautiful state of Minnesota and all the beautiful people I am meeting and loving every day. I celebrate Rabata and the amazing women I have met, mentored and prayed for. I love every single one of them. I celebrate my hajj. I celebrate Damascus, even though there is much to grieve, I celebrate the people I love and who loved me and brought me from a place of smallness of heart and mind, to a place of an ever-widening heart and growing mind. I celebrate God. I celebrate knowing Him. I celebrate His beloved Prophet ﷺ. I celebrate his life. I celebrate women around the world who get up for tahajjud every day and who smile at their neighbors, who are studying and striving in their lives to be people of faith and good works. I celebrate men, women and children who are living examples of what it means to be a Muslim in their daily kindnesses and patient ways.
It is 2015 and I stand on the other end of thirty years of Islam. I am grateful, thankful, and full of happiness. Be brave, start walking on the road of faith. It is a blessed road. It is a road of love and openings and Divine Grace. Happy 2015. Happy thirtieth to me. Happy days of faith to all of you.

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