I was 18 when I met her in a college library five years ago.
I left my notebook at home that day and needed paper to write on for a homework assignment. In search of scrap paper, I looked to my left and there she was…
I asked her for a single sheet of paper to use and she gave me three. I was in love.
Over the next year of being in school together, we had many conversations and found we had a lot in common. We both valued family, altruism, happiness, spontaneity, and living with purpose.
But there was one thing we could never agree on.
She was a Christian and I, a Muslim. She didn’t understand how anyone could follow Islam, a cult of falsehood, oppression, sexism, violence and terrorism.
Truth is, I never knew how to respond to her criticisms about Islam because I wasn’t practicing my parents’ faith at the time.
However, my competitive nature kicked in and to prove this white chick wrong, I began reading the Quran…
Reflect on how unreal this is.
Allah made her (not a Muslim) a medium through which he would call me towards Islam.
At the exact same time, I was a medium for her to see an Islam that was different to what the media promoted.
I began performing my daily prayers, I stopped smoking and I quit some other nasty habits.
She began researching Islam in depth, attended prayers in mosques and befriended many Muslims.
Three and a half years ago, she became a Muslim and did so because she felt it was the truth.
We knew we wanted to be together but our family’s approval would be challenging to attain.
It took many years for my family to get over their fear that a white girl was manipulating me and simply acting like she was a Muslim so I could fall into her trap.
It took many years for her family to accept that she wasn’t being brainwashed into accepting Islam and that she wasn’t falling into a trap.
Both of our family’s wanted the best for us, but were giving into their fear of the unknown.
We recognized this and grounded ourselves in good old patience.
We knew we’d be married one day, we could see it in our minds and that we’d do it with the approval of our families.
That’s exactly what happened last weekend. Both of our family’s were at our wedding and couldn’t be happier that we found each other. Alhamdulillah.
Everything that is good in life takes hard work and dedication.
We did this for the sake of Allah and held on tight until now because of the belief that we would shatter stereotypes, pave the road for others in our community with the same challenges and of course, fulfill half of our deen.
In honor of National Coming Out Day, a candid shot of us just moments before walking down the aisle.
I love this picture. I remember feeling such tenderness + joy in this moment - being on the precipice of this life-changing moment. We had already been together for half a decade, but marriage meant putting a stake in the ground. A proclamation to the world.
There’s also a bittersweet undercurrent to this moment. I had lived a huge part of my life in various closets - hiding or omitting portions of myself to make others comfortable. And when our wedding day arrived, my mom was present, but refused to participate.
It broke my heart. It cast a conditionality on our relationship that I’ll never fully recover from.
It’s why I now live my life so openly and visibly. Not because our life is perfect, but rather because we’ve endured heartache to get here. I’m proud of our life, our family, our partnership. Never again will I compromise my joy for someone else’s comfort. And I hope you don’t either. 🏳️🌈