Why Aren't You Married Yet?!?

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Alhamdulilah I'm back in Riyadh - this time for good inshaAllah.  I feel more protected here than I do in the States, and while that breaks my heart because I do love my country in many ways, I decided I need some time here for things to cool off. And I've fallen desperately in love... with my neighbor kids.  From the two year old to the fifteen year old, and all five others in between, these kids are all extremely special to me.

I should start this off by mentioning that since I was three years old and understood what being a mommy meant, I have had no other life goals than to become a mommy.  When I was growing up and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always say, "a mommy."  Like, even in high school, with a near perfect GPA, I still had no plans of being successful at work and would terrorize my teachers when I responded to that question with "housewife."  Sincerely, I wanted to be successful in my marriage and children... before anything else.

Perhaps I had such a great mommy that I couldn't picture myself as anything else... may God be pleased with my amazing mama

The neighbor kids, who unfortunately are motherless and cling to me like saran wrap, remind me how EXTREMELY important that role is to me and how bad I want someone to call me their mama.

At least five times a day, someone asks me, at age 26, as a normal, somewhat successful person, and as a Muslim girl, 'HOW COME YOU'RE NOT MARRIED YET?'  

Did you know that every time someone asks me, it takes everything in me to not burst out crying?It happened just yesterday at the park, with two of the little ones.

A woman, a perfect stranger, asked why the children call me "Auntieeeee Hanaaaaa" (as they say it)? I explained they're not mine, they're my neighbor kids. After four follow up questions, we came to the point that I'm not married... and I had to explain why...

I'm going to be blatantly honest, I ALWAYS LIE when people ask me.

I say, holding tears back, it's because "I'd rather wait" or "inshaAllah someday soon..."or "oh, you know, I'm so picky!"

But do you want to know the heartbreaking truth? I'm not married yet because Allah (swt) has not written it for me to be married now.

Alhamdulilah for everything Allah has decreed,but I can't say it's not heartbreaking.  The ONLY thing I have ever wanted - to be a wife and mother - seems to never come.  Alhamdulilah, I have success in business and success in many other areas of my life, but these are almost meaningless to me.  You can have them.  While my friends are all on their second or third child, mashaAllah, I'm stockpiling baby clothes for when someday my dreams come true inshaAllah.

So what is wrong with me?

Not to boast, but I have almost daily proposals, from mothers and their sons, but I also have standards that I do not plan to give up on until I'm far passed 26... (he will be the father of my children, after all, so he better be extremely special)...

And, I have met "the one" before, only to be rejected by every member of his family - after three years of trying, we gave up so I could someday fulfill my dream of being a mom.  I've met others that I have accepted until their parents have had a change of heart.  I have tried to open my mind to others, only to be rejected for other similar culture-related reasons...I'm really trying... and still, because Allah has not written it for me, I am single as a Pringle.

I'm going to get really real... perhaps too real... and real personal.  Today, someone I had been "moving forward with," with the blessings of his parents and family, who I had to make several compromises for to get to that point and was honestly pretty excited about... told me out of no where he changed his mind.... without any reason.

It hurts.  

The rejection actually doesn't hurt me - at all.

What hurts is that it means that I am back to the starting point, far away from being a wife and a mommy, when just yesterday I could almost see the finish line.  What hurts is that I'm terrifiedmy grandparents will never see my husband or my children... something that is very important to me as they are my only family.

Still, Alhamdulilah.

I know my nuseeb (soulmate) is out there and I hope he is bettering himself to someday be the father of my children until he meets me...and that is the only thing I find comfort in...

And NO, I do not want you to read this and think I'm desperate or that your son/friend/brother/pet sitter's sister's friend's uncle is probably the one for me...

And also, I KNOW 26 IS NOT THAT OLD.  I get it.  Really, I do... but when you want something this bad since you're 3, it's an eternity... please save those comments.

Sorry for my realness. Sorry if it bothers me when you complain about your children.  Sorry to admit I cry about this on a daily basis. Sorry for my honesty.

Whatever you are praying for as much as I am praying to complete my faith by marrying and having a family, may Allah grant you that.  I feel your heartbreak.

And someday, when I am gagging while cleaning up my kid's diaper, with another one hanging off my back, and another throwing Cheerios at me with precision accuracy and three more screaming at the top of their lungs running around and making a mess of the house while my balding husband simultaneously nags me, I can't wait to read this post and remember how it was all worth it... inshaAllah. 

Ten Days In... #NoBanNoWall

So I’m currently on a flight from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to Los Angeles, California, holding back tears because I don’t know what to expect when I arrive.  I’ve received messages that the airport is shut down in Los Angeles.  I’m scared I may not get in because I travel the Middle East often - perhaps suspiciously often - though I am an American citizen from probably as many generations back as Donald Trump.  His immigration ban has affected me.  If it were not for the religion that I accepted six years ago, I would be the kind that “Trump wants to keep around.”  A green eyed, white skinned American of the same origins as his first wife, Ivana.   This issue would never have affected me if I would have continued to live my life as an Ohioan without spiritual guidance.

But BAM.  I decided to become Muslim and now every day I am affected by these ridiculous legislative measures in my own damn country.  Even worse than the legislation is how the country has changed.  I’ve been gone for two months so thankfully I’ve missed the large portion of hatred, but I’m getting ready to dive right back into it. I can’t say that in 2011 when I converted the country was perfect.  Living in suburban Ohio, I’ve been spit on, told to “go back where I came from” on almost a daily basis, and have had an old man shove me into a wall with a shopping cart while my 84 year old blonde 4’8’’ grandma watched in horror.  But now? Now it’s really bad.

Now, the media is playing to people’s fears, as is the head of our country.  Fear is the one thing that will make people act on their emotions.  There have been masaajid (mosques) burned in Texas, girls are getting punched for their hijab, and a family in the tiny town where I took my shahada had someone write “F*** Arabs” with the Natzi symbol on their garage.

Don’t forget: unless you are 100% Native American, we are all immigrants.  Perhaps your family immigrated in 1802, or perhaps in 2012, but either way: we are immigrants.  My family came to the states not that many generations back.  Trump’s wife is an immigrant herself.  It’s kind of blowing my mind why he thinks its appropriate to block one group of people and not another.  Oh right… because we think Jesus is a prophet and not God Himself.  My bad.  Now its logical.

Can I tell you something? You are scared of a group of people you don’t know.  You want to know what I experience being around possibly some of the “harshest” Muslim men in the world in Riyadh? Yesterday at dinner I saw a man with a huge beard look at his baby and blow it a kiss across the table.  I had a meeting with a sheikh three days ago (huge beard, scary as hell on the outside if you didn’t know him) who poured me coffee and milk and stirred it for me before serving it to me.  The only harshness I’ve experienced from a Muslim is my friend’s two year old son dragging me around my apartment while I packed my luggage trying to distract me and saying “Hanaaaaaa”  in a sad voice the whole time.  This is what you’re scared of? Grown men that blow kisses and serve women coffee?

Banning immigrants or visitors is banning these kinds of people.  Sure you’re getting a crazy one or two in the group, but that’s with EVERY nationality, and every religion.  You think during Ellis Island’s immigration there weren’t a few criminals?

I’ve read into the new ban - in order to ensure that as an American with an American passport I would not have a problem - and I’ve found that those people of the “religious minority” are still allowed in.  So, a Christian Syrian person can come to the States, but a Muslim Syrian person cannot.  Awesome.  This is religious discrimination.

And I’ve heard rumors that Saudi Arabia may soon join the list of countries that are not permitted.  Saudi is my home - where will I go if I have a problem getting back?

I love you, America, and I believe in you. I’m glad people are protesting.  I’m glad people are heartbroken.  I’m devastated that people’s families are being broken up - people that I know, not just figurative “people.”  We are ten days in.  We have 1450 days to go.

Thanks For Your Patience...

As soon as I posted about starting my YouTube - I got a lung infection. I'm SO sorry for the delay on my channel.  I promise to have a video up as soon as I'm able to talk for more than 30 seconds without a psychotic coughing fit.

Thanks for understanding. You're the best.  Keep my poor little grandma lungs in your du'aa please <3

I Promise to Be Humble...

If and when you choose to contact me, I promise to keep myself humble. I can promise this only because I know how it feels to contact someone you admire and have them be rude back to you.  I had it happen to me today and it made me so upset - not for myself, but for the other people who I am sure have a similar experience and it is so discouraging to them that it throws them off track.

So there is a girl on Snapchat - I won't say her name or try to give too much away - but she speaks Arabic very well mashaAllah.  She's been learning for years and years and is able to write and read completely in Arabic as well.  MashaAllah, this is what I hope to someday be able to do myself.  While my speaking is actually not that bad and my reading has drastically improved, I still am FAR from where I ever hope to be - especially when writing.

I have contacted her once mentioning that if she needed anything on her American travels that I would be happy to help.  I explained I'm also a blogger and American with fascination in Arab culture and she was polite.  We spoke mostly in Arabic at that time.

Today I planned my trip to Dubai for the coming weeks and thought I should reach out to her to invite her to lunch when I go just to be friendly and also to see if she had any experiences to share with me.

So I reached out and invited her typing in English but with Arabic words.  She immediately cut me off and said, in Arabic, I should only write to her in Arabic.  I reminded her I'm American and still learning.  She said "I'm American, too..." I said, "I know, love, but I'm not as good as you are yet." She said, "it's not that hard" (in Arabic) and I said "inshaAllah."

This little conversation made me realize the importance of humility in encouraging people.  I try really hard to learn Arabic.  I spoke my first word of Arabic five years ago and I did not take it that seriously until the last three years.  I'm FAR from fluent, but I shock people quite often with how much I know, especially seeing I've only been living in a Muslim country for a short period of time. I'm not proud of myself, because I know I can do more, but I also do not expect everyone that talks to me to live up to the standards I have achieved for myself.

I am not the best Muslim. I'm not the best American Muslim. I'm not the best at really anything in this world.  But I'm pretty compassionate Alhamdulilah.  I work incredibly hard to achieve my goals.  And I don't expect ANY SINGLE ONE OF YOU to meet these impossible standards I have set on myself and I promise I never will.

If you need anything, please contact me.  And I promise not to treat you like I am any better than you at ANYTHING.  I'm honored people ask me for advice and I take it seriously.

If you feel like I would ever think you're not good enough, you're wrong.  You're probably better than I am, in fact.  I'm happy to give you anything I can in terms of encouragement. If your English isn't perfect, we'll figure it out.  If you aren't praying, we can encourage each other.  If you get high and drunk every day but you love Islam, you can still talk to me.   I'm not judging you and I'm NO ONE to judge.

Prophet Muhammad (saws) did not expect those who came to Islam to be perfect, but he expected them to try.  And that's all I expect.

And to think of a contemporary example, I'm reminded of how encouraging, warm and kind Nicole Hunter Mostafa was when I reached out to her.  I actually had no idea how big her following was until I saw her followers on Facebook recently and mashaAllah she should have never responded to someone as insignificant as me.  She's such an amazing example of humility in a person.  May Allah be pleased with her ya Rb.

When I responded to the message today, I said the following, and I hope any other bloggers who perhaps think that they are too busy or perhaps "too famous" to be bothered with other people would consider the same: "Remember how you felt when you were just learning. Remember those who encouraged you.  And be humble enough to encourage others instead of demanding they meet the standards you impose on yourself."

<3 Love you all.  You're all celebrities in my mind.

May Allah keep us all humble and kind. After all, there is no power except for Him.

 

I Can't Wait to Introduce You To My Life...

First and foremost, praying that this year of 2017 is a blessed year for you and those you love. And, during this new year I have decided to do something that is somewhat out of character for me....

I'm starting a YouTube channel as a supplement to this blog.

I plan to discuss some of the tough topics in Islam, in America, and in Saudia and Dubai where I spend a large portion of my time.  In addition, I will be doing story time videos about funny things that have happened to me, collaborating with other famous Muslim YouTubers, giveaways, talking about my favorite "Muslimy" things, and providing you with the means to laugh at my terrible Arabic accent. Plus much more.

WOO HOO. You read that right.  Hannah on YouTube. Shocking but true.

I don't like to have my photo taken let alone be on camera, so this is quite different for me, but I am hoping Allah will give me the power to extend my dawah outreach to those who hate reading (like me!).

I hope you will stay tuned and next week you will have my first video inshaAllah :)

Please subscribe here: ConvertConfessions

Can't wait to see you there <3 Sorry to be annoying, but please do like, comment, subscribe and share so that I know what I'm doing is (or is not) worthwhile.

Thank you for all of your support from the first day I started this blog to today.  You're the best <3

Additionally, I'm so thankful to say that as of today I've reached 2000 followers on Facebook.  May Allah reward you all. I love you guys.

See you soon inshaAllah <3

We Are All Brothers & Sisters Under the Same God

While I do not celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas, I do believe that it is important to acknowledge that I pray that all of those celebrating their holidays bring them closer to the Creator.  We do not have to agree on the details of how we worship Him, but we should agree that in worshipping Him, we are all brothers and sisters. There is a quote I have always loved, and I think it is exceptionally important during the holiday season: "I love you when you pray in your temple, kneel in your church, and make sujood in your masjid, because we are all brothers and sisters under the same God" <3

And, I truly mean it.  While some of my family celebrates Christmas, I wish them all the joy that this time of the year brings.  It's such a special, beautiful time of year in America. And, I'm sure anyone celebrating Hanukkah has the same feeling.

I pray that this year, our religions find peace between them.  You are all loved by me, regardless of how you praise Him.  May He continue to answer your prayers.

<3

"May Peace be upon Jesus, the day he was born, the day he dies, and the day he will be resurrected once again" (Quran 19:33).

Life Update

Just a quick life update for everyone: The last few months of my traveling have been absolutely crazy... but, that kind of crazy that I love so it's all good.

Between visiting my family in Cleveland,

Visiting friends in Los Angeles (where I now have a permanent residence Alhamdulilah),

Visiting friends and business opportunities in Dubai,

Traveling to Riyadh for business,

and traveling to Khobar to visit friends and weddings....

I'm tired.

But, Alhamdulilah, I'm back where my heart feels most content until February: in Riyadh.

Plus, I have a major announcement (no, I'm not getting married... keep wishing...) coming at the end of the month that I'm praying will -inshaAllah - help to increase my dawah efforts many times over if Allah so wills.

Thanks for all your continuing support always.  I'm honored to share my life, travels, and craziness with each and every one of you <3

May Allah Protect the People of Syria

As you probably know, I'm far from political and I'm also far from knowledgable on the topics of politics, history, etc... I really try to keep up to date with current events, but because I have a soft heart, it's really difficult for me.  In fact, it becomes difficult for me to concentrate on anything else. That's my exact feelings about Syria right now.

We're absolutely 100% witnessing a genocide right NOW.

And the worst part? I have no idea what to do about it.

I don't know what to do about the babies being killed.

I don't know what to do about the women committing suicide to avoid rape and torture.

I don't know what to do about the broken relationships, broken families, broken hearts...

I just know I had to say something.

The only thing I can do is pray.  I ask you all to do the same.  If you have something more intelligent to do or to say, please do that instead.  In the meantime, I ask you, no matter your race or religion or understanding or political affiliation.

May Allah protect you, Syrian people <3 I'm sorry we failed you- both as Muslims and as brothers and sisters in humanity.