The spaces between us
Could be measured by fingers.
Face to face, knee to knee,
Sometimes nose to nose,
But this distance spans miles.
It’s landscape is altered,
Untamed and unpredictable.
Peaks and valleys greet us,
There are few places of rest.

The spaces between us
Are measured by our words,
By these fumbling actions,
By these sighs of resistance.
We are both reaching out,
Insisting the other make the journey.
There can be no half way.
Not for you,
Certainly, not for me.

The spaces between us
Can be measured by a prostration,
By a few whispered verses,
By this scrap of fabric you loathe.
A bridge of uncertainty built on
The choices I’ve made,
The priorities you love to list,
By the promises we break,
To Him, to one another.

The spaces between us
Can be measured by our shame,
By our fight, by our flight,
By your denial of my awakening.
Our frustration leaves us pained,
Guarded, bitter, aching, apologetic.
The peaks are higher,
Valleys lower,
The destination no longer visible.

The spaces between us
Can be measured by these ties.
The ones we cannot break,
The ones that break us.
Nothing comes before Him,
Not you, not me.
I would silence this chaos,
Choose Him again and again,
Feel the rush of His love move me.

The spaces between us
Can be measured by a Book,
A Rescue from this game
Of prejudice and pride.
Might is not measurable
By cracking skulls
Or convincing rhetoric.
The true measure of man
Is in the balance of his Creator.

The spaces between us
Can be measured by His Mercy,
By His Compassion and Patience,
By the invitation left unopened.
In our insatiable need
To convince the other
We leave logic and reason.
Exhausted by our desires,
Even a step seems too heavy.

The spaces between us
Measure twenty-three years:
Thirteen years of strife
Then ten of victory.
Our disagreement, these battles,
Our truce and treaties,
This repeating betrayal.
In our failure to comply it builds
Then erodes our circumstances.

The spaces between us
Can become almost invisible.
When we hold this life gently
Against our breast,
We remember…
I remember you
And you remember me.
This calm time when testimonies
And reluctance fade to whispers.

The spaces between us
Can be spanned in seconds.
The void can be filled
Through a journey of souls.
Acceptance is not surrender,
Just as love is not weakness.
My journey is not to you,
As yours is not to me,
We can silently breath this truth.

My Truth will always remain Him.

The spaces between us
Are forking roads and rivers.
Like this blood thicker than water,
Traveling different paths
Along branches of splintering veins,
Meeting and separating
At every irregular heartbeat.
We can live to not voice it,
This reality to end all realities:

That no bridge can be built,
Between Heaven and earth.

For all those who have felt the pain of being rejected and dejected for choosing Allah and His Islam. Don’t ever give up, don’t despair for:
“Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” (The Noble Quran 94:6)
and “Successful, indeed, are the Believers.” (The Noble Quran 23:1)

Coming to Islam and beginning the journey on the path of Allah is the most profound experience that anyone can go through. Ask any Revert (convert to Islam) or anyone coming back to Islam. The road seems so clear and so bright when you set out on it, but you quickly realize that this change, this submission comes at a cost. Reverts face many issues after standing from this prostration, whether they be financial setbacks, challenges in acquiring true knowledge or most commonly, as this piece illustrates, familial strife through fear, ignorance and prejudice.

As Muslims, we seem to want to invite these Brothers and Sisters into our midst, but once they are here, we seem to ignore them and expect that they should fend for themselves. With facing all these tribulations and painful hardships, however, it is difficult to do it all on their own. This submission, this calling ourselves Muslims, marks us. This can be very difficult for born Muslims, imagine how it is for someone who is new to faith. The loneliness and pain can become too much of a burden and unfortunately many Reverts end up leaving Islam before they have a chance to even begin.

According to Ust. Usama Canon from the Ta’leef Collective out of California, who provide support and aide to Reverts and Muslims coming back to Islam, there are an equal, if not more, number of people leaving Islam than there are embracing it. This is directly related to the trials that Muslims, especially Reverts are facing. We can change this. We need to step up and out of our comfort zones and embrace these Brothers and Sisters no matter what walk of life they come from. We should be supporting them, but this will only come from a place of love and empathy. This piece is inspired by the many Sisters and Brothers who have felt alienated by family and friends after they came to Islam and didn’t have anyone to lean on to fill that gap as it should be filled. This piece is meant to inspire empathy and a glimpse into the minds of so many Reverts who don’t always voice their struggles out of fear of being judged or ignored. Our journeys are all different, but we need to make sure that we always stop once in a while and make sure the ones behind us are safe, comfortable and still walking, Insha’Allah. Don’t hope for someone else to take care of it, be the change…

The Sahaba (RA) left their families, friends, businesses, homes to embrace Islam and the way of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), but because they had one another to lean on for love, support and empathy, the journey was made lighter and easier. In their examples are great lessons. Alhamdulillah.

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