Last night was one of the toughest nights of my life to date. A lot of people have been trying to interfere with my marriage plans and trying to tell me who I can and can't marry, and in the end I just snapped. No other word for it. I snapped and decided that I was going to ask Allah to help me. So, when the time came for me to pray, I prayed for Allah to send me a sign to tell me once and for all whether my relationship was sin in His eyes or not.
To say Allah sent me a sign would be an understatement. Not two hours after I finished praying, my partner became violently ill - vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and dizziness to name a few of his symptoms. At first I was terrified because I didn't know what had caused it or how to deal with what was happening, but then I felt a great sense of calm come over me and a voice in my head said "You can do this. Just trust yourself". I sat with my partner and made him hot water bottles, washed out his bowl after he'd been sick, rubbed his back ... and didn't so much as flinch.
I truly believe that this situation was Allah testing me to see how strong I was in my love for my partner, and when I did not waver, I believe that he showed me that he approves of my relationship. I know that my marriage will not be a conventional one, and I know that there are some traditional Muslims who may not approve of my relationship, but that is no longer a concern of mine. Allah tested me and did not find me wanting, and when he did not find me wanting he approved of what I am doing. Had I been found wanting, I believe that Allah would have taken steps to separate myself and my partner.
Now, having been shown by Allah that my relationship is permissable in his eyes, I am going to make a final and firm statement. My partner and I will not have a conventional relationship, that I know, nor will we raise our children as Muslims. We will raise them to think for themselves and then, when they are old enough, they can choose which faith they wish to follow - if indeed they want to follow a religion at all! This is something that I have always believed and is not something that has been "brought on" by my partner leading me astray. I had religion forced upon me at a young age and I will not do that to my children.
I will also be marrying my partner in a Western civil ceremony that will have Islamic elements - halal meat and possibly some Islamic nasheeds if I can find some that I like! - but it will be about love and the sanctity of marriage, not any sort of religion. I will be having a cash bar, which means that guests pay for their own alcohol, and I will only serve alcohol for the toast drink - everything else will be non-alcoholic. In short, I will practice Islam as I see fit and to the best of my ability - I did not grow up as a Muslim and for me it is not just a case of closing the door on my Western lifestyle and transforming into a full-blown Muslim, it is about fusing my Western lifestyle with Islam and making the two work together. Life is not about absolutes and extremes, but finding the middle ground between the two.
Allah has shown me that he is happy with my decision, and I am not going to argue with him. For all the Muslim "marriage police" and "haram police" out there, this is not something that you can argue with, nor should you. Just trust that Allah would not have shown me his pleasure without a good reason behind it, and without having first tested me to see if I was up to his standards.
Today also marks my third week as a hijabi - alhamdulillah!!!