The below mentioned story is taken from the Sister ItalianMuslimah blog and published after her consent and approval.
How I came to Islam…I left my hometown back in Italy, in January 1998. I wanted to study English in London and then back at home I would have found a job. My idea was to be a tourist guide in Rome or around Italy. I needed English as the main language. So I left Italy. I was only 18 and I didn’t know anyone in London but it was an adventure…
Once in London I started to look for a place where to sleep…yes I know crazy!! But really I didn’t know anyone… In the end I found this place and stayed for the night. The day after, I was already in search of a job and a college. As days went by I was getting more apprehensive as I couldn’t find any job and money was running out very quickly…I found myself, in this chapel in central London and decided to go in and pray. I was really sad and felt lonely… I knelled down and started to pray to God. I was never the kind of Christian who would pray to Jesus. I prayed to God alone and asked Him to help me. While I was crying to God, a priest came out and was surprised to see a young lady crying and praying. He came over and asked if I was ok. He said to have patience because God rewards those who have patience… I felt better and left…But my prayer on that day was answered one year and a half later…
At this point I was thrown out from the place where I was because I couldn’t afford the rent. So I had to pack my things and went in search again of a new place where to stay. Later in the evening I met some Italian girls. They invited me to stay with them in a youth hostel. It was a hostel ran by Christian nuns and the place was open only to girls. I started a new life in this ‘convent’. I was never a shy person and to be honest I was always the heart and soul of the party. But that year I was in for a surprise that changed my life forever!
To start with I found a job and that meant I could afford the college where to study English. I met some lovely Muslims at work. They would spend hours talking about God. I would ask them about Islam and the Qur’an. Sometimes I would get upset because they would say Jesus was not the son of God. “Why? How can you say it?” – My answer was. I particularly spent time with this guy. We spent entire afternoon in Hyde Park (A Very large park in Central London, UK) talking about Islam. I even bought a Bible and would defend my Religion. He would take the Qur’an with him and back his facts.
The same guy, he then introduced me to his family and his sister in-law talked to me about Islam. She was a convert too and showed me pictures of her when she used to be a Sikh. She used to be the life of the party too…I thought “that’s me now” – and I looked at her with admiration because she had the gut to change her lifestyle and her situation for the better! She was pure and reborn. I felt the need to do something.
So I left her home…She said many things that touched my heart. I was patient and believed in God. While I was walking back home that day…I heard a call…it was the ADHAAN(= the calling for prayer time) in my ears. Never had I known it existed, never have I heard such a beautiful melodic sound. Allah was calling me to success! (One sentence in the Adhaan says ‘Come to prayers! Come to success!’ I did not know that back then)
So I accepted it HIS (God) invitation and took the shahada (to bear witness that there’s no God but Allah and Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him, is the Servant and the final Messenger of Allah) one week later.
[Shahada: After uttering the words of the declaration of Faith and believe in it with your heart you become a Muslim, a servant of God]
The duas I made that day in that chapel was…”Oh Allah if you really love me, then guide me to what’s right. Ameen.” Allah guided me because He loves me but it took more than one year of patience for me to accept Islam as a way of life, the same ‘patience’ (sabr in Arabic) the priest was talking about that day in the chapel. My life changed totally.
I used to club and drink. I used to smoke and take drugs! There was not a party in town that I did not attend. My life was very sad, full of friends but lonely! Allah loves me; I know this for a fact because He saved me from that life! He saved me from a life of sadness, loneliness and misery! I don’t just feel blessed…I feel humbled and HONOURED because Allah chose me. He could have let me in despair. I was lost in the dark. For those who knew me before, they now look at me with respect. I was the heart and soul of the party! I am now nourishing my own heart and soul.
Oh Allah guides my family too. Ameen.
Author: If you are on twitter follow me at @AyeshaLucarelli