IMAM HUSAIN ISLAMIC CENTRE “Light of Guidance and Ark of Salvation”
July, 29 2017 - 12:49 AM 05 Dhul Qa'dah 1438

KH

In the Name of God; the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

[No part of this article may be used or reproduced in anyway. This article represents the originator`s personal views and opinions, which do not necessarily reflect those of IHIC.]


I was first introduced to Islam by a Muslim friend. I admired his strength of conviction that he was truly following the right path. I also admired his respect for women which I later found out originated from the teachings of his faith, Islam. He inspired me to go research and find out more about this religion I new nothing about.  

I had always been a practicing Catholic with a strong faith in God, though I did have doubts about certain teachings of the Catholic faith. I attended Catholic schools throughout my schooling, attended church at least once a week and went on to teach Sunday school to the children of the parish. It was during this time that my doubts first surfaced. I was instructed to give a class on the Holy Trinity. I was dumbfounded, how was I going to explain to a group of young children that God was God, but God was also Jesus the son of God and that God was also the Holy Spirit but at that same time that we believe in one God !. I sought advice from elders however, I was told that this was one of the wondrous mysteries of the faith and we were not to question it but simply accept it. Looking back, this early doubt was the beginning of my journey towards Allah.  

I then brought several books on the basic beliefs of Islam and also an English translation of the Quran. As I began to read I realized that the Quran was providing the spiritual clarity I had been looking for. I found comfort in finding the names and stories of the prophets I knew from the Bible such as Moses and Abraham, in the Quran. It was not such a drastically different religion as many believed. It was beautifully worded and logical. It gave clear explanations and a clear guide as to how to conduct your life. This appealed to me; it gave the answers I was looking for. It all made sense now that Jesus was in fact a great prophet rather than the son of God/God. My belief in the oneness of God was maintained. I tried to find the truth about the oneness of God in Christianity but failed. Islam provided me with the logical answers.

The more I read about Islam, the more I wanted to read, the more right it seemed to me. But a decision to convert/revert was not one I would take lightly. I was torn between my love for my family and my new found beliefs. I dreaded hurting my family. My Mum in particular is very religious and in fact assists in giving out Communion at Church on Sundays. It came to the point where I was praying, fasting and longing to take the final step in my declaration of faith but didn`t know if I had the courage to see it through. Alhamdolillah in 2002 Allah granted me the courage and iman to take the final step.  

It was very difficult for me to tell my family of my decision; I did not want to hurt them. Alhamdolillah I have a very supportive husband who inspires me to be a better Muslim every day. It was a very hard time, I prayed to Allah to give me strength and to grant my parents understanding. Though it was distressing I also felt a certain peace come over me that I could finally openly follow the right path I had chosen. I tried to explain to my parents that the morals and values that they had brought me up with had only been strengthened by my conversion to Islam and that my faith in God had not been lost (as I think they believed) but had strengthened through my Islamic faith. I pray to Allah to grant my family understanding and acceptance Inshallah and Alhamdolillah it is slowly occurring, my parents now respect my choices even if they do not agree with them.  

Many people assume women are second rate citizens in Islam; I regretfully had these thoughts before researching Islam. But my fears were soon put to rest. The Quran encourages men to treat women with respect stating "They are an apparel for you and you are an apparel for them…" (2:187). Islam, through the Hijab, allows women to be treated with respect and judged for their intellect rather than their material looks. There are unfortunately many misconceptions about Islam, about us all being terrorists, yet our universal greeting is Assalamu Alaykum (peace be upon you). When first putting on the Hijab full time I found it difficult coping with the stares and sadly sometimes dirty looks given to me by others. I started wearing Hijab at the time of the London bombings so there was a lot of revisited tension and hostility towards Muslims at that time. I thought about again putting off my decision to wear Hijab but Alhamdolillah, Allah gave me the strength to delay it no longer. It brought me great comfort and a tear to my eye when at the shops one day a Muslim sister walked past me greeting me with a smile and Salam Alaykum. The kinship among Muslims we have never met is a beautiful feeling and I truly thank Allah for providing me with this comfort in difficult times.  

Though there has been much struggle to get to where I am today, especially in regard to the Hijab, Alhamdolillah the hijab has brought me great peace and Inshallah has made me a better person for I am a flag of Islam. As I go out on the streets I am constantly, through the gentle reminder of the hijab, trying to project a positive image of Islam, to display the manners, honesty, respect and faith that make it all possible, to be a better person. The hijab has created a God consciousness I could never have achieved without it. I have now been wearing hijab for almost one year.  

I would like to thank my ever supporting husband for his patience and guidance onto the right path in addition to my family and friends and last but not by any means lest the inspiring talks and lectures initially by Sheikh Jihad Ismail and then by Sheikh Mansour Leghaei which have greatly aided in my search for the truth and continue to further educate me on this vast and amazing religion. The quest for knowledge is never ending. Allah says "He guides with it whom He pleases" (39:23). Thank God He has guided me to the right path and Inshallah may Allah continue to guide and strengthen my iman.  

As-Salamo Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatoh  
[No part of this article may be used or reproduced in anyway. This article represents the originator`s personal views and opinions, which do not necessarily reflect those of IHIC.]

Copyright © 2017, IMAM HUSAIN ISLAMIC CENTRE