BEING A HALAMEE

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…And how my 1 year in madrasa changed my perspective of things

Just a few weeks after my graduation, I decided 2016 would be my year; the year to discover myself, to challenge my abilities, the year to heal and let go, the year to get to my higher self so I decided to join madrasa again. It had been more than 5 years since I was in a madrasa class but I decided this would be my new year resolution. I quickly registered for the diploma in Islamic studies and went ahead to get my goal done.

It was quite strange for people at first. Those criticisms started coming.
“First class honors? Aren’t you supposed to be at KTN anchoring and killing people with that smile?”
“What about your masters? Don’t you want to do your masters?”
Then came the concern.
“But why are you doing this anyway? Be a teacher?”…I am doing this for myself and that is enough reason.
“Isn’t it too far for you?”
Then came the pettiness.
“Aren’t you the girl who spends all her time on the internet?” (Apparently this makes me a haramee so going for deen studies quite conflicts my journalistic career lol)
But the pettiness has always been there.
“Ustadha mzima wavaa hizi vitu?” (Hizi vitu: the luminous bracelets)
“If you; a Muslim union official wears a cap, what do you expect from us?” (This was during a sports events; all women, the cap on my hijab but still, it makes me a haramee somehow :D)
“You are too obsessed with sneakers” ( *rolls eyes* This somehow makes me like a gangster and gangsters barely get to jannah you know 😀 )

Then, my friend, don’t you dare make mistake, or say a wrong word, or the wrong joke. Have I insisted enough? No wait. DO NOT DARE MAKE A MISTAKE because both the haramees and halalees are going to judge you. Because once you do, the haramees will call you a silent killer, a pretentious little devil. The halalees will quote from the qur’an and hadith. They will quote fatawas of Bin Baaz and talk about Sheikh Annawawy. You, my friend, you are NOT allowed to make a mistake. They will send you pdfs and long emails on how wrong you are. They will condemn people like you; people who talk about faith and truths people didn’t even want to hear, then make a mistake. Buddy, you are NOT allowed to be human.

A moment of silence people. A moment of silence to all the petty people 😀 😀 😀

But then I was forced to accept that as a writer and a journalist, you are putting a part of yourself to the world out there. Not everyone will like you or what you say and write. You will get positive remarks but also lots of negative ones and you just had to accept both and learn how to be yourself.

So for the longest time in my life, I was the girl who was too haramee (the ones breaking the rules of religion) for the halalees (the ones who are very pious; jannah material straight away 😀 ) and too halalee for the haramees. So I was right at the middle. I had friends on both sides. Some haramees would sometimes be the go-getters, the ambitious souls who just won’t allow life to bring them down. They became my source of inspiration. And halalees, people who would always bring you closer to Allah. But then I didn’t just belong anywhere. You sit with the haramees and they talk of how judgmental the halalees are. How they pretend to be so perfect and straight. Then they’ll refer to them as, “Those friends of yours nkt…they are so judgmental” and I would be quick to jump in and say, “That is just inferiority complex” because as much as some are judgmental, sometimes, the halalees haven’t even told them anything. It’s just their guilty conscious making them feel attacked even before they are.
Then when i’d sit with the halalees, they’d start talking of how someone did something wrong or messed up and i’d jump in, “You guys don’t give people the benefit of doubt or just try and understand how our backgrounds and lives are so different…sometimes people are just so neglected they get lost.” As such, I barely had any long-term friendships with people. They expected me to fit in; I just simply didn’t and it bothers them when you are different. I believed and still believe in seeing the good in each and every single person so I interacted according to what each human being had to offer and filter out the rest. So when 2016 began, I was ready to explore my higher self and this, changed my perspective of things in a great way.

Upon joining the college, I realized again, that it would be hard to fit in. Being in an environment with people who are very-well covered from head to toe, ladies who don’t even go out without a mahram, they rarely even have phones. So here I was again, the haramee; the social media noise maker, the too English, the too opinionated & educated, the non-niqabi, the girl who is always typing (Too much dunya you know 😀 ). But they were beautiful souls; the kind to inspire you be a better person and change your ways. Sometimes they just look at you or comment on something you have done and you feel attacked, so here I was, thinking like a haramee. They are judging me. But then it is just the battle between the soul and the brain. How to accept opinions and change. And yes, sometimes they’ll judge you because they are humans too; making mistakes.

And you are in a class environment with very educated lecturers who tell you of how they were in their jahilliyya periods; how they also did mistakes before finding their way. Teachers who keep reminding you that even as a deen seeker, you are never to be rough to those who may be lost. In an environment where young men debate about important issues and you just realize, yes, there are some good men out there who are only after their akhera.

Slowly, I came to see them making mistakes and you get to notice the human part of them. You see them complain and sad sometimes. You see them planning their halaal outings and having fun their own way. My perspective started to change and I realized something interesting about us human beings.

That we are all desperate human beings trying to be right in this messed up life. We all seek what our heart desires but at the end of the day there is no us or them. There is just WE; all of us having that little devil inside of us. Sometimes it gets the better of us and conquers our souls and we do wrong things, and sometimes our imaan is high and alive and we conquer our ego. There is no haramee or halalee per se because there are some haramees who are actually doing so much good to other people despite their rebelliousness to deen. And there are halalees who are so attached to the deen yet have no character to deal with people. We are all kinda messed up so we create squads and think we are the better humans just so we can satisfy our egos. We are all a combination of haramee and halalee at the same time. We just choose which one to make it visible as our image. It’s all about everyone’s personal journey to their higher self; some are still at the first step, some at the fifth, some have reached the peak while some haven’t started yet. Maybe this is why we should be kind and more empathetic to people; let us try see the good in them despite how annoying and evil they may seem. Forgive people and judge them not. Let God be the judge, but still, pray for yourself and for others. Pray for guidance and understanding. Pray for a beautiful end that would lead to all of us be in jannah together.

Yes, I am a halamee.
I am the haramee who is on the path to being a halalee.
I am still on my journey to getting to my higher self 🙂

P.S Munawwarah college has now started a bachelors of arts in Islamic studies after partnering with International University of Africa. They also offer diploma in teaching Arabic and Islamic studies, diploma in arabic language, certificate in Arabic, certificate in Islamic studies and by the way, ICDL (International Computer Driving License) course too.

You need to find yourself? Find Allah first.

You can contact the college at: 0735 559 095 or check their website at: info@almunawwarah.ac.ke

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