Thursday, 31 July 2008

Day 34: Converts

Today was a relaxing day. We drove back to Tarim (stopping to buy coconuts on the way), slept until 'asr, and then attended the rawha and the mawlid—it was especially bittersweet today because this is the last mawlid we will be attending.

It's wonderful to be back in Tarim, almost like going back home. It was especially nice going back to Dar al-Zahra and seeing all the Dar al-Zahra girls again. And it's such a small world—I ran into a girl there I had met two years ago in the Litaarafuu conference, who was in Tarim for a wedding.

On Thursdays after the mawlid Habib Umar gives a small lecture, but there are also a number of guys who get up and give short five-minute lectures. Today, an American convert got up and gave a small lecture. Apparently he spoke before, but this is the first time I've heard him.

He talked about how he invited a US marine over to his home, who told him that killing people was a bigger rush than the heroin addiction he had as a child, which was so severe he tried to chew his way out of a wall when his parents locked him in a basement for six months to cure him.

The convert then explained how Islam gives him that rush, and how much he loves saying la illaha ila Allah (there is no God but God).

Then he pushed his sleeves up and showed us his tattoos, which were basically Hebrew letters, and told us that he used to be Jewish.

I love converts. I think that's been pretty clear when I've spoken about the three I've met here in this Dowra—Lara, Eva and Choclit. I love them even though so many of them are so zealous in the beginning (at least the ones I've met). I wish I was a convert. Not in the sense that I don't understand or appreciate the huge blessing I've been given to be born as a Muslim, but in the sense that converts appreciate the religion so much more. When you have a blessing for so long, you take it for granted--olf el ne'ma.

It kind of reminds me of this woman I met in Mecca, who told me how lucky I was to not live there. "We see how much you appreciate the blessing of coming here," she told me, "while we rarely come simply because we live here and know that the ka'aba is always here."

Today's Quote: If you ask a pen why it writes why it writes, it'll tell you it's not in control, the fingers are. The fingers will tell you the hand is the one in control. The hand will tell you the arm is in control. The arm will tell you the body is in control. The body will tell you it’s the heart that's in control, and the heart will tell you it isn't in control of the whims that take possession of it. The majority of people see the pen scratching on the surface of the planet and stop at that. Those with a little more knowledge may see the fingers. Habib Umar


almiskeenah said...

Assalamu alaikum,
an inspiring account of a most blessed opportunity you have been gifted, Masha'Allah. May you be honoured with the Tawfiq to apply all you have learnt in all your endeavours and in conveying the beauty of the Sunnah to others, Ameen.
Insha'Allah you can continue with this blog to let readers know of your progress :)
Wassalamu alaikum

Muslimah said...

Asalamu alaikum warahmatullah

Sis jazakallah kheir soo much for takin the time out and posting your daily schedule in Tarim. I very much enjoyed reading it and gave me the zeal to go to the dowra next year inshallah please make dua for me. Sis would it be ok if I used some of the quotes you posted for my own use inshallah? Jazakallah kheir once again
Wasalamu alaikum

Ethar El-Katatney said...


@ Muslimah: Of course you can use the quotes! And I'm very glad this blog was helpful.

thawab said...


what a small world! Did that convert who gave that lecture happen to be Ari aka Ilyas? If so, he's from my hometown, Buffalo.. and it's so incredible to hear he has gone from from here to giving small lectures before Habib Umar.

BarakAllah feeki for this blog. It's encouraging me to go myself, inshallah!