Converting to Islam is the hardest yet the best decision I ever made. Being born to a family of devout catholics, I knew it won’t be easy to convince the people closest to my heart that I have found my home in the beautiful religion of Islam. I even imagined them saying “it’s one of her rebellious stints again”.
I’ve always been a rebel, a non-conformist, a different person than what is usually expected of me. Without intending to be deviant, I always find myself in that unpopular position where I always have to explain myself to people that matters. But I never sold my conviction for want of being accepted. Whether I’ve been right or wrong, I hold my ground and learn from the experience. Living for what I believe is the soul of my existence.
It all began in Awir. Sister Wafa was trying to teach Islam to a group of Pinays who in turn debated with her and they picked me to defend our christian belief. I said my piece based on what I knew at that time, citing mostly the historical and political evolution of the Muslims, the war and hatred associated with their religion. I earned the cheers and admiration of the catholic pinays. And rebellious as I am, I formed my christian group in that Muslim-ruled establishment. My intentions were clear – to unite the believing Christians in prayer and continue their belief in salvation from sin through Jesus (pbuh). Crushing the Muslim’s faith in Islam was I thought the only way to liberate Arabs from their conservative way of life. When my time has come to go out of Awir, a Muslim policewoman who became a friend and has patiently listened to my rants handed me a Quran. She said she admired how I influenced people on my strong convictions and that she believes Allah has a special plan for me, and that I will be a Muslim one day. I laughed but courteously accepted The Book which from that moment on was kept inside my luggage bag until after 7 months.
Then on the night of 9th September 2009, I pulled out my hidden Quran and read it page by page. At some point, I cried while reading and I knew at that time a revelation has come to me. I fought this awakening, too proud to admit that what I’ve always believed for 35 years of my life is not the right path. At 2am, I remain wide awake. Hoping to let go of what I was feeling I opened the internet hoping to chat with my friends, then voila, the Athan (call to prayer) banner ad of my computer program popped out in my screen. My hand clicked on the link to another link to another link until I found myself in a live chat with an Imam from Saudi Arabia. I poured in to him all personal questions that I was too proud or too shy to ask. At 4:00 am that same day I recited my “Shahada” and I cried and cried afterwards for reasons I can’t explain. After awhile, I excused myself from the chat and took a shower longer than I usually do. Only later was I informed that taking shower after shahada is really recommended for new muslims as a symbol of washing away all past sins. It came so true in my case. I felt like a new person after the shower. My life has never been the same after that day. It turned completely upside down for the better. All aspects of my life just started falling into their right places.
I am not saying here that conversion to Islam is a dramatic phase that will make all your dreams come true. It is absolutely not. But I am proud to say that Islam will make you understand yourself better, see the world clearer, know your Creator deeper – and that is the secret to a wonderful and fulfilled life.
Two years past that momentous night, I still can feel Allah’s wonderful embrace when I recited my Shahada. It felt like home, like being back to my mother’s protective womb. Islam liberated me from all my pains and fears and questions. My friend is right, Allah has a special plan for me and that I am destined to be a Muslim. Because this is who and why I was made for.
Inshaallah I will live as a good Muslim for the rest of my life, and that my children will see the beautiful life I have seen in Islam.
La ilah illa Allah, Muhammad rasoolu Allah! Alahu Akbar!