This story is taken from Ummah Forum after seeking the Sisters approval to publish it on TalibEIlm. The original post can be found here UMMAH FORUM THREAD
(This was written in place of a attending a talk and speaking in front of people. Thought I would share it with you guys)
Bismillah, alhamdulillahi rabbil alameen wasalaatu wasalaamu ala rasoolullah.
Asalaamu alaykum dear brothers and sisters. Who am I? I am thirty something convert to Islam. Two weeks before Ramadhan in 2011, I took my shahadah. Alhamdulillah. This was the best thing I had ever done.
I came from a background where Islam was not really looked at in a good manner. Muslims were 'bad people' and 'terrorists'. They are evil, they kill Indians, and their religion is wrong. I hated Islam, and I didn't really care for Muslims either. I did not like to really socialise with them, or befriend them or have any interaction with them in my life.
The Muslims that were in my life, well, I did not think much of them. Why would I? I was living a life of jahiliyah. What would I know about siratul mustaqeem (the straight path). As you can imagine, anything Islam related, I would not be interested to know, hear or see. I was full of hate towards Muslims, and towards the religion. It was not a pro active kind of hate; it was more of a warning button that would go off should i be in the company of Muslims. I just did not trust them.
I grew up in a Hindu household. My parents never were forceful about religion. They were more concerned with raising children that were good, did well at school and were going to make a good life for themselves. Nothing extreme here. My parents were amazing. I have learnt a lot from them.
They, as non muslims, possessed many values that even some Muslims nowadays lack. I would also like to point out, although being raised by non Muslims, look at me now; here I am, a Muslim alhamdu lillah. My parents must have done something right! Alhamdulillah.
So, the burning question; how did I become a Muslim. I mean, look at how I was...I was the last person who would have become a Muslim! I was not really looking for anything in life. I was a law unto myself, I lived life the way I wanted to. I was not answerable to anybody, including my parents.
I lived away from home for many years. Eventually, I came back, and started to spend time with a friend who I first met at University. She was now a Muslim. Oh boy, I was not impressed. I could not believe it. I even thought to myself, ''how could she do this'.
She was my friend, we had a good relationship, and I put up with all the comments she would drop in conversations about Islam. I would dread to meet her at times because I would think 'Oh no she is gonna get heavy with all the Islam stuff'' .... I never argued with her though, I had to respect her beliefs; this is how I was raised. However, it would get really annoying at times.
She then tried to get me to look into the Qur'an, things like the embryo and the mountains etc. She gave me some book. I only took it off her because I was so fed up of hearing about Islam i was thinking 'anything to shut her up’.
When i took the book, i did not take it thinking I would give it a fair go or care for it. I took it with no intention of learning about Islam. I thought I would take it, it would collect dust, I would give it back to her, and say that it was not for me.
However, Allah azza wa jal had other plans for me... I was pretty blown away.
Of course, I was still arrogant at this point; so then i thought i need to be fair to the religion i was raised in, so i checked out Hindu scriptures, and it made no sense to me. I just didn’t get it. I did the same with the Bible and that was even worse!! Why did I do this? I just did not want to face up to the reality that Islam was making sense to me. I wanted to bury my head in the sand over it all. I could not do this though. Alhamdulillah.
So finally, reluctantly, I said to myself 'you need to give the Qur'an a try'.
I went online.
Some reason Surah Baqarah came up.
I read it from start to finish, the translation obviously, without stopping. I was so captured. SubhanAllah I felt like Allah was talking to me. Telling me He was guiding me. After this feeling, there is more, but it is personal, I could not refuse Allah azza wa jal, I mean who could?!?!
This whole Surah is so impactive to us as Muslims; and to have been guided because of it, is such a blessing.
A couple days later, I took my shahadah. I had not done research on Islam aside that book given to me by my friend, and then straight into the Surah. So I knew nothing about the religion; how to pray, the five pillars, the Sahaba radyAllahu anhum.... the but I felt a connection with my Creator. Allah azza wa jal gave me a feeling of comfort.
For some reason, I was not scared of becoming a Muslim, or the fact that much of my life will have to change; for 30 years I had been one way, and then all of a sudden, and it really was all so fast far as I was concerned, my life started to change. It changed towards a path of betterment for myself.
I never cared about myself prior to Islam. I really didn't. I never felt I lived up to the expectations of the world around me; never pretty enough, or smart enough, or rich enough. Islam taught me to not care for these things, and it was such a relief. The burden, Allah azza wa jal took away from me. He, azza wa jal, taught me to accept myself for the way I am.
And since becoming Muslim, I have always felt loved and protected by Allah azza wa jal and am not dependant upon people. Why is there a need when we have the best who is Allah subhano wa ta'ala. Who takes care of all our needs from start to finish, from when we wake up to when we sleep.
And this is how, little old me became a Muslim.
After our beloved Prophet SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam, my greatest influence has to be Umar ibn al Khattab radyAllahu anhu; and why? SubhanAllah, he was on his way to kill the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam...can you imagine this? And then he became a Muslim!
They say that those with the pasts that were colourful could go on to become great people...and we look at Umar radyAllahu anhu as an example. I would like to take this point to reflect and apply it to all of us.
We should be careful about judging others. We do not know that the sinner of today, will go on to become one of the most beneficial Muslims for our Ummah tomorrow, and we do not know that the non muslim neighbour next door, that is annoying us, could also be guided by Allah azza wa jal.
We should always try and help each other to strive to become the best, and encourage each other to do good. Looking down on people is not a characteristic fitting of a Muslim. Our hearts are not in need of further arrogance.
Call people to Islam, be kind with your speech and actions. Who knows, tomorrow, you may have a hand in opening the eyes of another ignorant fool like I once was. I am blessed that I have the chance to work for my akhirah, to do whatever I can in this world to please Allah azza wa jal so I can ensure a better future for when my life really does begin.
Without Islam, I would have continued living the life I used to; meaningless, empty, and totally based on societies and media expectations. Allah azza wa jal showed me that all that glitters is not always gold.
Islam made my life beautiful. It made my family relationships even better than what they were. It made me find peace and contentment. It helped me love myself for who I am. It helped me understand the passing of my father. Something that was hard to deal with when I was not a Muslim, but Islam helped me make sense of death. lslam made me kinder. It taught be patience. It taught me to be grateful to all that I have.
Point worthy of noting: as you may recall, I had said I was raised in a household where Muslims were not really liked, and subhanAllah, the things I can talk about with my family today, it is amazing!! I am able to have conversations about Palestine with my brothers, we can talk about Syria, we talk about so much now and they are in fact so much more aware to the reality that Muslims face.
Yes, some days aint so great, but but but, from where I was with them, to where I am today, it is all from Allah azza wa jal.
I can go outside with my mum in abaya, scarf round my head and she no longer walks ahead of me ashamed. She walks side by side, she sits next to me on the bus. They never expect me to eat non halal meat anymore...there is so much I could say about all the blessings Allah azza wa jal has showered upon me, but really, the best way is to show Him, azza wa jal, my gratitude.
I write this to inspire and in shaa Allah, benefit people. Many want to know the journey from jahiliyyah to Islam....and here you have mine.
All praises to Allah azza wa jal.
The dunya is a means to an end...and the end is where the party is at!
I could go on for hours...but I feel this is enough in shaa Allah; it would have been more impactive and I apologise for not being able to attend in person.
All praise is to Allah azza wa jal, all good is from Him, and any bad is from myself. Please forgive me for any shortcomings in my speech.
لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله