This blog is published for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the thousands of Muslims raised or reverts, or even non-Muslis, who might be living in areas where they are not able to experience Ramadan in a Muslim community; so we, at MWA, invite you to be a part of our community in Ramadan.

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong) Al-Baqarah 2:185

Established in 2006, Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) is an internationally-based collaboration of Muslim women writers and advocates working together to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions regarding members of the Muslim community and the Islamic faith.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

MWA member Khulood Arendse enters her third Ramadan

On the eve of my third Holy month of Ramadhan as a Muslimah, I looked back on how my fascination - and if I may call it - romance with Islam started.

I am the youngest of three, raised in a Catholic home; we all attended Catholic primary school, but I guess being the youngest, my parents gave me the freedom to explore life a little more than my siblings may have been allowed. Ironically, however, my first taste of Malay culture was through my brother. He had joined a Malay Muslim choir. I suppose its safe to say that my parents preferred us having Muslim friends because there was no alcohol or wild, late night parties; little did they know - but that's another story.

Being a good daughter, I attended church dutifully and even became a catechist; participated and served on various organisations within the church, and maybe because of church politics - even though I loved teaching and being with kids - I still felt something was amiss and thus, I drifted.

So it happened that my mum befriended a young Muslim woman who had just had a baby, and also ran a Madrassah. When she returned to work at the end of her maternity leave, I would babysit and listen in while she taught her students. Thinking of them now I smile to myself; so sweet.

Her baby was eight months old when her husband announced they were going on their hajj, and wanting to know more, I helped their family with preparations.

When the couple returned from hajj, I was awe-struck by their stories, close to tears at times thinking, "I want to go, too." But it wasn't my time yet.

Some time later I took a temporary position as a day house mother for people with various forms of mental disability, filling in for permanent staff who went on leave. It's the kind of work that requires lots of inner peace and patience, and once again, I felt myself drawn to Islam. Similarly, I also found solace in the peace and tranquility of Islam when finding myself in a failed relationship.

It was only in my 39th year that I made the step to accept Islam in preparation and commitment to a new relationship. It was after my 40th birthday on the 15th January/30th Muharram, that I made my shahada and was all set to start not only a new journey, but I was also to marry. Then my mum, who had been present at my shahada, began to show signs of Alzheimers. As her symptoms grew worse and more aggravated, my relationship became more strained. Mum ended up hospitalized and was diagnosed with full on Alzheimers and dementia; a week after she was released, my engagement ended.

I suppose some thought that would be the end of my romance with Islam, but I knew better. Allaah Subhanahu Wa Ta'Ala knows, Islam is where I've been getting my strength to cope with mum's illness ever since; simply stated, it is my refuge!

And even I have to admit, that throughout, there has been Divine Intervention.


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