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

Maryam

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.]


What will happen to us when we die? Where will we go? Why am I here? And many more questions were running through my mind. As I`m sure that nearly every person, worldwide, comes across these questions at least once in their life time. I was coming to a stage where I needed answers.

I was brought up in a Catholic family with an Italian background. I believed in God, believed that Jesus was the son of God, (only because that`s what I was taught in school) and believed that the bible was from God. At the age of 19, I wanted to see what the bible said. I wanted to know what I had to do to be a good Catholic. So I turned to the laws in the Bible. Surprisingly I came across some laws in the Bible which I had never heard of in my life. Here are some examples.

In Deuteronomy 14:8-9, it says: “The hog is unclean because it divides the hoof but does not chew the cud; of their flesh you must not eat nor may you touch their carcass.” “Of the creatures that live in water, those that have fins and scales you may eat,”.

This was a shock to me, as I previously went to Italy and visited many churches including the Vatican in Rome and never came across this before.

Continuing to read my way through the chapter Deuteronomy I came across chapter 18:14-16 called ‘The promise to send a Prophet.` It says:

“Then Moses said, ‘In the land you are to occupy, people follow the advice of those who practice divination and look for omens, but the Lord your God does not allow this. Instead he will send you a Prophet like me from among your own people and you are to obey him.`” At this point I was wondering who this Prophet was. After doing research, either on the internet and talking to religious people, I discovered that Christians believe that this Prophet was supposed to be Jesus. Yet this spun me out. As Christians don`t believe that Jesus was a Prophet!

In that verse Prophet Moses (p.b.u.h) says that the Prophet which is going to be sent was like him. Jesus didn`t have many similarities to Moses. Let me give you some brief examples.

• In Christianity Moses in considered a Prophet and Jesus is considered the son or man or God

• Jesus healed the sick

• Jesus` birth and death was different to Prophet Moses`

• Jesus was rejected by his people, mainly the Jews. Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Moses had difficulties but were both accepted by their people.  

Yet Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.w) is very similar to Prophet Moses (p.b.u.h)  

• Both Prophet Moses and Prophet Muhammad migrated. Prophet Moses to Median and Prophet Muhammad to Medina .

• Prophet Moses and Prophet Muhammad married and had children, Prophet Jesus didn`t.

• Both Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Moses deaths were usual deaths and Prophet Jesus according Christianity had an unusual death as they believe he was crucified on the cross.

• The births of Prophet Moses and Prophet Muhammad were usual births, unlike Prophet Jesus, as both Catholics and Muslims believe that he was born from immaculate conception ( That his mother was a virgin yet had conceived a baby).

I became very confused. The trinity could never be explained to me, I was told to ‘have faith` whenever I asked for the trinity to be explained to me. Another point which didn`t make sense to me was ‘original sin`. How could a baby, let`s say a few months old be accountable for a sin committed hundreds or thousands of years before it even existed. (According to the Catholics) When in Deuteronomy chapter 24:16-17 says,

“Parents are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their children, and children are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their parents, people are only to be put to death only for a crime they themselves have committed,”

So if we don`t get punished for basically anything except our own sins, how could every person adopt the sin from our forefathers? (That`s also if we believe that Adam sinned which is another contradiction altogether).

One more shocking passage I read after all of the above discoveries I made was in Corinthians 1 11:5-7

“And any woman who prays or proclaims God`s message in public worship with nothing on her head disgraces her husband; there is no difference between her and a woman whose head has been shaved. If the woman does not cover her head, she might as well cut her hair. And since it is a shameful thing for a woman to cut her hair, she should cover her head.”

At this point I was beginning to become very worried, I thought to myself that the Catholic religion is quite strict. There were serious guidelines to follow and if they are not followed then punishment will occur to that individual who committed that sin.

I then looked a little into Judaism and Islam. But I was totally drawn towards Islam. I was scared, of my family`s reaction, on my new life, but I felt like I needed a little more convincing before I made my decision. My research had been done. I wanted more proof. I wrote a small prayer on a piece of paper and read it each night before I went to bed. I was asking God to show me in a dream what the correct path is to follow. As I rarely dreamt, I thought if God wants to show me, He will.

Within the next few nights I had a dream of a Sheikh praying in a mosque or a prayer hall. When I woke up I was amazed, but still, that night I asked God for another dream. Now I look back and I realize that Shaytan was trying to get me. Within the next few nights I had a dream of myself and my friend, who is also a revert, wearing Hijab running away from my father, so he wouldn`t see me in Hijab. I was totally convinced. Subhanallah, how Allah (s.w.t) answered my prayers.

For the first year I was Muslim, I hid it from my family. But they knew this was where I was heading.

My father researched about Islam for about one year.

I even looked into the sects of Islam, as the decision and path I was taking had to be 100%, and the correct one.

Alhamdolillah, I found the Shia path, but that Inshallah is another story.

After one year of my father doing his research, after tears from family members, relatives disowning me and hiding my prayers and fasting as well as eating halal food at home, my father acknowledged that he had no reason not to accept me as a Muslim. He told me to wear the Hijab and that he`ll walk proud with me in the streets. He stood by me when any relative questioned what I did and still does to this day.  

I was also working, and sometimes I felt like I didn`t know how I was going to explain these things to certain people, especially without them thinking that I have been brainwashed and so on. So once I converted I asked my manager if I was able to pray at work on my lunch break. My boss asked me if there was anything that I needed in particular; all I required was a private room or space. I mean at the end of the day, they can`t say no otherwise they will be discriminating. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn`t going to be in the way or a hassle for my co-workers as I felt like that was part of my duty of presenting myself as a Muslim. People began noticing that I was praying or going into this room for about 15 minutes a day and then coming back out. Questions began to rise, naturally. I always reassured people that I didn`t mind if they had any questions and that I would try and answer them to the best of my ability. Once I realized that it was coming to the stage when my dad was going to accept the situation, I made people understand that I wanted to wear the Hijab, and that I hope to do that soon. So the day finally came when I went with Hijab to work, some people thought that I was a new worker, even though I had been working there since I was 16 and I was then 19 years old. People took it really well, at least to my face they did. They began to realize I am the same person if not a better one. They knew I had done this on my own, I wasn`t in love with anyone, it wasn`t a typical story and that`s what I think made it even more intriguing for them.  

Not long after I put the Hijab on I had met someone, this person was interested in marriage and was a few years older than me. It was definitely something I wanted to do, get married and have children, even before I became a Muslim. I was lucky enough to meet the person I am now married to today. He is also a practicing Shia Muslim which is definitely what I was looking for. A religious practicing Muslim. He`s down to earth, funny and respects me and my family. He is of a non-Arab background. This was obviously another interesting part of my life where I had to convince my family that he was a good, humble and respectful man. Both of our families had to get use to us marrying outside our culture, and I must say with time they accepted that quite well. I couldn`t have had better in-laws and once again my father could not have been happier with the son-in-law he has today.

We have now been happily married for 1 year, Alhamdolillah.  

Last year my husband and I made our beautiful trip to Hajj. (The Pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia )

This was something I had been looking forward to since I had reverted to Islam, and my time had finally come. In previous years I had seen the news coverage of the pilgrims and I got goose bumps with hope of going there one day. Allah (s.w.t) had invited me and my husband to His Holy House and we had accepted the invitation. This was an overwhelming experience. The people, the holy atmosphere, stepping where the Prophet`s (p.b.u.h) and Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) have stepped, being able to see with my own eyes what the Holy Kaaba looks like. I mean previously, sometimes when I used to pray I wondered about the direction I was facing, what I was really praying towards. And now in my prayers I often try to picture as though I am still standing in front of the Kaaba. Before I left for Hajj, I did some reading about why Muslims perform the pilgrimage and what the significance of some of the rituals were. And to my surprise, I discovered that a lot of the rituals were about re-enacting the steps of Prophet Abraham (a.s). I mean, Allah (s.w.t) has made this obligatory on every Muslim, as long as they could afford the trip. Why was this so important?? This trip tried to make us unite as Muslims, to make us realize that even though there are many sects today, that we worship the one God. We prostrate to the one God. That`s the reason why we are living or even attending the trip, because of the one God.

Another reason for this trip is that we try and leave this material world and try and elevate our spirituality. We leave the comfort of our homes, our families and friends, our lovely dinners, our comfort zone. There are so many things we take for granted. I saw all types of people there, poor people, old, young, disabled, all different nationalities etc. Some people can`t even afford accommodation so they live on the streets; eat on the streets just to perform this wonderful pilgrimage. It makes you feel like you take nearly all things in life for granted.

There is a lot more to this trip and I pray that every Muslim is able to make it and make the most of it Inshallah. I pray that Allah (s.w.t) gives us another invitation to His Holy Land once again. We are created by Him, cared for by Him and Inshallah we return to Him once we pass away. We are in this life to work for the next life, the eternal one.

I reverted nearly 3 and a half years ago and every day I am convinced more and more that I have made the correct decision.

Allah (s.w.t) is so Merciful there is always much to learn and always a goal to work towards. Whether it be trying to make your Salat better or trying to eliminate your sins.  

I have tried in hope that by reading this story I have helped others. Whether you are non-Muslim, a revert or a Muslim born with a Muslim family.

Just remember that our Creator didn`t put us here on this earth to wonder around for 70-100 yrs, more or less, however long we live, and not know how we got here or where we are going. When we buy a TV, it comes with a manual, with instructions on how to use it, what not to do in case it gets damaged and what to do to maintain it.

Allah (s.w.t) created us, He knows everything about us. Our Quran is like our manual, our guidance from our Creator informing us what to do to benefit ourselves and what not to do because it could be harmful to us. If He didn`t supply these details for us that would have been cruel, yet Allah (s.w.t) again shows us His mercy and kindness. This life is a journey, and is so short compared to eternity.

Don`t wait till your 20, 30 or 40 to start practicing religion, as we are not in control of our life span. Do not wait for your mum to put the Hijab on, because your life might be taken before hers.

Keep in mind that Allah (s.w.t) is Merciful. He sent 124,000 Prophets, they covered all the nations. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.w) being the Seal of the Prophets. These people are of perfection and they should be the role models of our every day lives. Not the evil that goes on in the entertainment world. Dressing and acting with no respect and are into this materialistic life. Our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.w) left us the Holy Quran, the words of God and his Holy Progeny (a.s). What further guidance do we need when perfection has been given to us?  

Wasalam
Maryam
[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.]

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