Asalam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuhu.
I am Māori and Cook Islander.
Ngati Porou, Ngati Porou ki Hauraki and
Ngati Raukawa ki Te Kauwhata on my father's side.
Ngati Anautoa on my Mothers side.
Avarua & Arorangi.
I am blessed to have 6 children from 5 years of age through to 16 years of age and I am 34 years of age alhumdulilah.
My husband is Abdul-Malik
He is also known as Matthew Te Hiwi. Ma sha Allah ge is also a Maori revert, Alhumdulilah.
I am currently on a break from work. I am an Undercover Security & Property Guard.
Life before Islam.
As a child growing up in many regions of Aotearoa, I have many memories of where I have been and what I have seen throughout the years.
My parents were not together and my mother raised my 3 other siblings and I on a very tight low beneficiary income.
I now wonder how she did it alone all those years ago, and what the struggle she endured to keep a roof over our heads and what little food she could gather for us on the table.
My Father was in and out a great deal he would often relocate us from city to city and even country. Then once again leave mum on her own, suffering and stressed having to raise us mischief buggers.
Life was not easy for mum nor for me and my siblings. Yes there was abuse but no need for details. Alhumdulilah for everything.
The greatest thing about mum is she never consumed intoxicants in front of my siblings ever. Yes, I remember seen it only a very few times (being the eldest), however it wasn't her priority. My mother did try to show us different paths and even Christianity, but I could never understand and comprehend the trinity so I played up and stole their offerings, and I would often runaway.
I was the rebellious child. The "black sheep". I did suffer a great deal in childhood but I accept it all.
My first encounter with a Muslim.
The first Muslim I met was a Sister 'Jameelah'.
Ma Sha Allah, her with her now ex-husband invited me to their home, after my mother had bought her home to meet me.
At the time I had only just given birth to my son and I was rebellious and also 18 years old with a lot of growing up to do. My attitude was pretty rough, so I wasn't keen on meeting anyone to be honest. Allah taAla is the BEST of planners though.
At first I thought "hika what's this Indian women up to?"
LOL, "nek minit, not even ow!" she's MAORI.
I thought how strange. She is so polite and loving. So caring.
She left her number for me to call if I wanted to talk to someone. After 3 weeks of contemplation, I decided to ring her, which then led to a home visit at hers. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by her two older children who led me through the home and OMG for some reason I was in total awe of the atmosphere.
Jameelahs home was filled with love and peace and tranquillity. It was out of this world for me, because I was so used to disruptive living situations.
Jameelahs 6 children at the time blew my absolute mind to pieces. They were so well behaved, well kept, very organised and "prim n proper"
I thought "jeeeeeeeezuuuusss what have I got myself into ......"
I can't believe in my mind right now, how these kids are so well mannered and respectful. I'm AMAZED (little did I know then, that this was the beauty of Islam) Alhumdulilah.
Ma Sha Allah
I spent some time there and ended up talking about Islam and Maori culture. I was intrigued for the first time in my life. It felt right and I knew I hit a gold mine!
I ended up doing my shahada in another room with Sr Jameelah and her whanau on the 12th of December 2003. After saying the shahada I felt my entire world lift from my shoulders. SubhanAllah.
What do I love about Islam?
I love the peace, contentment and inner peace that I now have. I never experienced this prior to Islam, due to being surrounded by violence, abuse, anger and trauma. My own and inherited.
Islam gives me freedom from all the above.
How has Islam improved me as person?
I am not angry or bitter anymore. I had the tendency to drown my past pain in alcohol. So I was close to being an "Alcoholic." I also indulged in marijuana. I was a huge mess.
Today, I have empathy and I can forgive now. Where as before, I held grudges. I hated with a passion and I fought my every battle like a BOSS!
I have a better working and family environment. And we have an alcohol free, violence free home.
Alhumdulilah, everything Islam taught me throughout the years has only made me a better person daily.
I'm not perfect. I'm still human. Yes, I make mistakes but the difference is.......
ISLAM is my foundation and ALLAH TaAla is my rock.
My family likes my changes.
My family can see I am living a better life and that I'm not the angry person that I was before.
I now have the largest Maori and Cook Island Revert Whanau in Aotearoa. Allahu Akbar!
As a Maori Muslim what challenges I have faced?
I've faced many over the years, discrimination and hostility and too many to mention, but I stand staunch.