I've had a lot of amazing moments in time that drew me closer to Islam and that helped to build my love for it... reading Surah Ad Duha, the first time I read a full sentence in Arabic, praying Taraweeh every night in Ramadan, listening to the sheiyk's recitation at my "home" masjid, there are hundreds of amazing moments that shaped my faith.
They are the kind of moments that when I look back on my conversion, I find the most peace in. They put this feeling in my heart that I can't describe. I can recollect them with so much detail, but one moment really melted my heart.
Everyone who has ever met me knows that I cannot wait to be a mother - more than anything else in this entire world. I've always loved children.
The day I went to take my shahada I was anxious, nervous, thankful, excited, a million emotions going on at one second. But, I got to the masjid, met the women that had helped me to make the "shahada appointment," and went to pray jumaa in the masullah - or the prayer room.
Once I got inside, I sat towards the back. It was before I knew the sunnah of praying two rakat when you arrive at the masjid. So I sat while everyone else did their thing.
I was so confused! Why are these people praying now? I thought we all do it together? I thought the sheiyk led it... I get it now, but was just confused at the time.
While I waited for everyone to finish their two rakat, secretly freaking out in my head that I had no idea why these people were praying right now, I looked around.
Our masjid at home is set up so that the women sit behind the men without any partition except for a significant area of carpet that the men leave between them and us.
While I was sitting there, an old Indian man in his eighties came and took a spot in the the men's section with his two-year-old grandson.
I was already in love with this little boy's outfit.
He was wearing a SWEATERVEST, people! A SWEATERVEST. What in this entire world is cuter than a little Indian boy in a sweatervest? I will tell you, absolutely NOTHING.
His grandfather started to pray and the little boy mimicked every single movement that his grandfather was doing with such excitement and passion. He obviously wasn't required to pray at age 2, and I would have expected that he would be all over the place running around, jumping, screaming.
No, he was as standing there, completely still, with his hands folded, his giant eyes (mashaAllah) checking to make sure that he was doing the same thing as his grandfather every few seconds.
And he prayed. He put his forehead to the ground and prayed. Just like every other grown man at that masjid.
The difference was, however, he was so extremely excited to do it. He couldn't wait to learn. He couldn't wait to pray.
Yes, I may have had an extra 18 years on this little guy, but he and I were the same on that day. We're both newly Muslim. We were both learning. We both had that passion and excitement that had dwindled in the hearts of the other people around us.
And at that moment I felt at peace. I knew that this religion was no doubt for me and all the nervousness went away.
When I watch the children at the masjid, the little three year olds with their hijabs and their bangs out, the little boys in kufis and thobe, I love that passion. I love that sincere love for Islam.
And, I think we need to bottle that and sell it as a fundraiser ;) I don't care about your baklawa, I want this excitement!
That little boy will never know how much he impacted me, but I honestly believe that Allah (swt) put him there as a reminder for me. May he be rewarded for this tremendous gift Allah gave me through him with that memory, and may he continue to have this passion for his entire life.
Next time you're at the masjid - whichever one you go to- come a little early and just look around. Watch the little kids, and find that passion in yourself all over again. May Allah (swt) grant you, myself, and all Muslims that love for Him and Islam that the little boy showed me every single time you pray.