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Maha Sabur

Maha Sabur

United States

December 5, 2009

     I was born Deborah Knight in the state of Michigan, USA.  I am forty-seven, and in August I will have been Muslim for 30 years.  When I obtained the age of seventeen I drove to Stockton from Sacramento; with a Saudi man I was involved with, accepted Islam and got married at the same time in the Islamic Center in Stockton, California.  This man had already made it very clear to me he would never marry a non-Muslim woman, because he didn’t want his children growing up with any confusion in their lives as to how they should worship God.  Therefore I knew if I didn’t except Islam, he wouldn’t marry me.  So I want to remember, emphasis was on us getting married rather than where it should have been; accepting Islam for the sake of God.      It was my ex-husband who introduced me to Islam.  I accepted Islam, got married, and changed my name all at the same time.  I suddenly wasn’t Deborah anymore; I was Maha.  My Saudi Arabian husband, who is now my ex-husband, was persistently encouraging me to wear Islamic dress, and cover my face.  He wanted me to appear as an Arab woman, so any Arabic I learned he encouraged me to use it. Of course all of this is great, because the obligatory prayers should be prayed in Arabic.  Also I intended to live in Saudi Arabia and the Arabic language is spoken Saudi Arabia.   However this sudden change for me I believe caused me to suffer a sever identity crises, which didn’t become visible until later on in my life.      Strangely enough, I discovered if you look up my given name Deborah in the book of names, it would tell you it is an old Hebrew name meaning the bee.  A lot of Arabic is taken from Hebrew, so bee in Arabic is “deboorah”.  Deborah “deboorah”, it’s just pronounced differently.  People don’t realize this, but the name Deborah is actually an Arab name.  There’s even a chapter in the Qur’an named after the bee.  In this chapter God says the bee’s honey is a healing to mankind.  So in my opinion the name Deborah is actually a better Muslim name. Of course if I were to change my name today, I would choose a more spiritual name inshaAllah, but I’ve been Maha for so long.  All my friends, also my friends in Saudi Arabia have always known me by that name. So, the name just sort of stuck!      My family was very understanding through my conversion to Islam.  They were a little nervous because they knew I would end up living in Saudi Arabia, and with me living so far away it would be difficult to help me if things were to go wrong.  At times they repeatedly tried to warn me of the problems I would be faced with if I were to have children, but at the same time they were witnessing a very good change in me.  My family always felt as long as I was living a good healthy life, and I was happy, they were happy, and wouldn’t interfere.      At nineteen years old I had my first and only boy in California.  When he was one year and eight months old we moved to Saudi Arabia.  I live in Makkah for about six months, but because my mother-in-law lived in that city, near the Haram (the house of God), I use to travel there quite often; Makkah was a familiar place to me.      I lived in Saudi Arabia where I had five more children, all girls, for approximately thirteen years.  I tried very hard to fit in, and most of the time I did.  I learned much about Islam, and Arabic.  I acquired the knowledge of speaking conversational Arabic so when Saudi Arabians would meet for the first time, they usually thought I was Egyptian, because of my lighter skin.  I also learned much Arabic from helping my children with their schoolwork.     I have actually performed Hajj three times, but I only wrote about two of them in my book.  I was unable to remember any details about the Hajj in question so I did not write about it in my book.  I also performed Ummra many, many times.  My ex-husband and I usually performed Ummra whenever we departed from Saudi Arabia, also when we returned.  Not to mention we tried to perform Ummra at any time Muslims are known to attain the most rewards.     Because of my ex-husbands very controlling nature, and my free spirit, after a long marriage, and six children we began having serious problems in our marriage.  As a result I was having much difficulty living in the same house with him.  I couldn’t stand the thought of my children growing up with a psychological problem because of witnessing hostility between a mother and a father day in and day out.       It was out of the question for me to try and raise my children in America without their father.  Or should I say without Islam, because that was how I believed at that time.  Saudi Arabia is home to Mecca so I believe it goes without saying Saudi Arabia has a special place where God is concerned. By the will of God, Saudi Arabia holds a very high status compared to other countries in the world. Saudi Arabia has the lowest crime rate, if not the lowest then one of the lowest. The fact is all the undesirable traits man demonstrates in life are not visible in the Saudi Arabian lifestyle, such as drugs, teenage pregnancy and many others. Therefore I would never dare make an effort to try and change the social structure in Saudi Arabia for fear of displeasing Allah.      Over the years I was trying to separate from my ex-husband so there were times I stayed in America when he took me back to the states to visit my family.  My ex-husband was always careful to take all of the children back to Saudi Arabia with him.  At one time I tried to persuade him to leave one of the children with me, because I was breast-feeding her at the time, although he refused.  It killed me though, because separation from him, meant separation from my children.  Over and over again I tried to persuade him to allow me to stay in Saudi Arabia near my children.  However this would require him to rent a house or an apartment near them, which he refused to do.  I even agreed to stay with his family just to be able to stay near my children, which he also refused.  My ex-husband was very insistent when he told me either I live in the house with him, or I would just have to go back to America by myself.       I was very weak in my faith at that time also so I knew the difficulty I would be going through in America trying to raise my children in the American lifestyle would be intensified without God on my side.       God tells us in many different verses in the Qur’an when someone leads a good life, for Gods sake, worships Him and obeys Him, God makes his life easy for him, and his life runs smoothly.  I recall one verse in Qur’an in which God says;this is in chapter 92, it starts at verse 5

5. So he who gives (in charity) and fears (Allah) 6. And (in all sincerity) testifies, or believes in good or the best. 7. We will indeed make smooth for him the path to ease.”

    In the year 1997 I painfully separated from my children, and returned to Saudi Arabia by myself to live.  My ex-husband tried many ways to get me to return, but it was not the will of God I should.  Nothing happens without the will of God.  Everything good, which happens to us, is of course from God, but also everything bad, which happens to us, is from God also.  God creates good as well as bad.  God creates bad, because of course anything bad we experience is punishment from our previous sins.  However mankind also experiences bad in his life to learn from. Like the old proverb, “Learn from your mistakes” or a child gets burned from any heat source before they realize don’t touch this, it’s hot!      It was unfortunate I had to experience these bad events in my life, but fortunately I learned from these events!  When I think about the course my life took I marvel as I remember the way the events of my life unfolded.  It reassures me 100% about the presents of Allah (God) and his plan.     The way I found faith, met my wonderful, wonderful second husband.  It was him who helped me put into perspective, issues I struggled with all my life.  God truly blessed me when I married this man.  Now since I’ve found true faith.  I can see the difference.  When you truly believe, you know it, and you feel it!  The way I met my second husband, and the events, which led to me writing a book about my life, all reinforce my belief in Allah.  Also the zeal Allah placed in me to want to give dauwa, and teach to others everything I’ve learned.

     When I wrote this book my main objective was to better peoples opinion about Islam. I found when people understand something they are less apt to be scared of it, or dislike it when we're talking about Islam, because anyone who has any belief in there heart at all would love Islam! As God tells us in the Qur'an;
2:62. Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians--Any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear; nor shall they grieve.

         Also;2:112.  Nay—whoever submits his whole self to Allah (God) and is a doer of good—he will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
   While narrating the story of my life, I explained about Islam. I lived in Saudi Arabia for around 15 years; I have six children by my Saudi ex-husband. One boy, who is the oldest, and he has five little sisters. I also lived in Mecca for a time, and made Hajj and Ummra. I made Hajj 3 times and Ummra many times.
I describe the Haram, and Madinah, in detail, also explain the rites of Hajj, and the reason why certain rituals of Hajj are performed.  I traveled back and forth between Saudi Arabia and the United States many times over the years, and heard the concerns of both sides so I new what needed to be addressed in my book.
     I now reside in Kansas City, Missouri with my husband.  I relocated to this state to live near my husbands family.  My son is attending the University in Sacramento, California near my family.  Allah has blessed me to visit my girls, who are still in Saudi Arabia two times, and InshaAllah I will be able to go again soon.  I manage to stay in touch with them by chatting or by telephone whenever possible.
This book can be purchased online at www.publishamerica.com or at any Barnes and Noble bookstores, l believe they are located nation wide.  It can also be purchased at Amazon.  Not to mention I goggle searched my name one day and discovered my book is also available at www.flipkart.com, I’m not sure what that is though.
Name of book: My Precious Children, My Plight, My Life, My StoryISBN#: 1-60441-639-4     Also letting your friends and acquaintances know about my book and my story by word of mouth would be a great help!



More entries: All about Maha Sabur and why she wrote the book, Interview with an American author--Maha Sabur, "Oh Thou Soul, Come Back To Thy Lord", My Life In A Nutshell

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