Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
Yesterday I came across a delightful book called "Islam Our Choice: Portraits of Modern American Muslim Women" edited by Debra Dirks and Stephanie Parlove. The book contains the journey of six American women to Islam in their own words. These ladies are: Debra L. Dirks, Carema Cook-Masaud, Linda "iLham" Barto, Khadijah R. Beruni, Jennifer Manzoor and Stephanie Parlove. The End has been written by Stephanie Parlove and it is from this last chapter that I would like to quote a small part:
"In 1996, I was in Syria enjoying one of life's perfect days at the farm of Hisham Ghrayeb. My then new friend - now sister, Nura, got right up close to my face and looded deeply into my eyes, she tenderly cupped my face in her hands-a nurturing gesture no one had shown me since childhood-she smiled as she said, "You have the face of Islam." To this day, it remains the greatest compliment I have ever received.
The face of Islam! One has to ponder - what is the face of Islam? Shortcut for you right here. I know, and it is my honor to share it with you.
Islam has only one face; it does not come in disguise, and it does not pretend to be anything else. Islam announces clearly and definitively what is expected of you. Islam is not a shape shifter. Always it is the same, uncorrupted by the times and the whims of humanity. Islam is brutally honest while at once tender and light. It is following the Qur'an which is the voice of Allah, and guess what - Allah may not think just like you do; Allah thinks like Allah! Although you may find this shocking, it is absolutely sublime! This last revelation adjusted my entire perspective and was presented to me by Brother Jerry.
Finally, my friends, sweet Islam is the whisper of peace embracing the spirit of each Muslim. It is the silent, bubbling joy to which we are privy when we hold the hand of Allah while we climb this mountain of life. It is our safety, our support and our motivation. The face of Islam is one face, but you will find that face on over 1.2 billion people in the world today. Inshallah, you will recognize it when you see it; or better yet, someone will see it in you."