I think sometimes that maybe people think I am just making excuses. When I go to the masjid, I receive the well meant suggestion that we should move closer to the masjid. I get it; it makes sense; and it seems like it would be what would be better for our religion to live closer to the Muslim community.
My husband talks about moving to that area if he got a better job. Although, alhamdillah, Allah has blessed us with more than we need, we are technically considered low income. My husband works hard and earns enough to support us. Moving to a more expensive area with a lower paying job job doesn’t make economic sense for us. Not that we are putting finances above our Islam, but this is what Allah has given us, and we are grateful for it. Aside from its distance from the Muslim community, it is just about perfect to me.
Second, it isn’t really the distance. When I was doing my student teaching in the North Country, the masjid was 40 miles away. That didn’t stop us from attending regularly. Friends I have in the North Country still travel that distance regularly. Down this way, a shorter distance feels longer. I used to attend jumu’ah every Friday. I used to drive every day to work at the Islamic school. It has really been more about car trouble, my husband being unable to wake up, and my husband worrying about me taking Baby on longer outings. The car is running good, alhamdillah, and Baby is handling her outings, so there is no reason we can’t go more frequently.
Another reason we probably don’t live up there is pregnancy hormones. My husband looked at an apartment up there when we were apartment hunting. I told him if we moved up there, my family wouldn’t be able to be around as much. During this vulnerable period of late pregnancy and early motherhood, I was uncertain about leaving the support (emotional, physical, financial, social) of my family for the uncertain support of the Muslim community. I cried to my husband about how in the 10 years I had been Muslim, I had never found the Muslims in this area to really be a support to me. I used to think if I lived closer that they would invite me to their homes and include me and really be the community I was looking for, but I started to doubt that this was the case. A friend I have who lives up there confirms that this is probably true.
I fantasized as most “new” Muslims do that I would have Muslim friends who would visit me and I would visit them, and our children would play together. The thing is that, except for the children part (because I did not yet have children) I actually had this experience up in the North Country. I just wanted more. Back then, I thought I needed more than once a week.
Recently I asked Allah to give us Muslim companionship. I took my baby to the masjid for the first time this past Friday, and I talked to several sisters there. They are starting a sister/mother’s support group at the masjid that is meeting Saturdays at 5:00. I immediately dismissed it as something I couldn’t go to because that is my husband’s day off. Part of it was thinking that my husband would disapprove of me wanting to go out again when I had just gone on Friday and also the feeling that I should be there to spend time with him and be there for him. Saturday night (after the event would have finished) I got to thinking that I really should go. Inshallah, that kind of thing could be good for me. Maybe I will meet the people I’ve been looking for.