Lately, I’ve been asked one common question: Why did you become a Muslim? Rather than answering everyone individually, I decided to dedicate a post about it. After all, this space is dedicated to sharing aspects of my life, from DIY to lifestyle. Islam is part of my everyday life, and in honor of my 7th year anniversary of embracing Islam, here’s my story.
From an early age I was always a thinker and an observer. I also felt an immense emptiness inside; I could not understand why such a young girl like me would feel this way. I was intrigued by life and a very common question: Is there anything worth living for? There was a part of me, on the other hand, that had an inclination for a way of life unknown to me, a religion I had never heard of nor seen, I would get scarves and put them on my head, I would pretend I was Muslim, when I had never seen nor met one. It wasn’t until 911 that I saw a Muslim for the first time. I could not believe what was being said, and instead I tried my best to befriend any Muslim girl in my classes (they were creeped, poor kids! haha). In middle school I became friends with a Muslim girl named Nadia; I was so curious about her faith, yet too shy to ask. We were indeed too young and she was not very open about it due to the atmosphere. By the time I entered high school, I started attending a Christian church with my mom and friends, although I didn’t agree with half the things they said, nor considered myself a Christian, going to that Church was also in one way or another a gateway to Islam. I was that girl who asked too many questions and wanted to know it all. I began to do research; reading a bit about different religions, although I started focusing on Judaism slightly more. I wanted to know more about my Jewish ancestors and my roots, how they lived and what their faith taught. Fortunately, growing up, I was given the liberty by my mother to choose what I wanted when it came to faith. Thus, I studied world religions; Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, etc. In the end, the only faith that I fell in love with and answered ALL my questions was Islam. In High school I met a few Muslim students, however, I was always afraid to ask them questions or tell them that I wanted to embrace Islam. By 11th grade, I came across a Muslim at school, although not a practicing one, I thought maybe I could learn some more from an actual person, unfortunately, instead of learning Islam, I was pushed away from it. After mentioning the fact I wanted to revert to Islam, and how much I agreed with Islam, I was told I’d be a shame to Islam, that through my veins ran the blood of a Jew and I wouldn’t be welcomed. This is something I never mentioned to anyone, thinking it was unnecessary, but now I know this tiny part is quite important. That students actions were not Islamic, they were beyond what this faith teaches, incited by cultural and nationalist hate. Yet, I felt discouraged, hurt and discriminated against; I was scared and decided not to revert right away. Moving forward, I always lived worried about what my family and friends would say. I was the weird kid, doesn’t like to go out, doesn’t eat animal products, reads too much, dresses like a nun, and now I was going to add Islam to the list. I thought, great, I’ll surely never fit in. So, I kept postponing it in fear I would disappoint or be hated by them. Until one night, I finally had reached my limit; I was exhausted of living without being my true self. I remember I went on an Islamic chat, where I met another Muslim, I told him my story and why I didn’t revert, with his words of guidance I realized something, I’m not a shame to Islam, I am a creation of Allah s.w.t, He has guided me, and what would really be a shame, would be if I did not accept His guidance. It was then I realized how wrong I had been, how miserable I made myself for the simple words of a mere human, a human that had no right to judge me or anyone. I remember after this, I had decided to revert, but I kept postponing it because I didn’t know how to have the conversation with my mom. Until one night after a very beautiful dream, I woke up so convinced, I googled a mosque and I emailed them, told them I wanted to revert and waited for their response. After a day, a woman called me, the mosque turned out to be in a city far from mine, so she forwarded me to a sister in my community who then called me to schedule a meeting. Finally, I embraced Islam officially on August 19th, 2010, at exactly 1:45 pm. I said my Shahada, La ilaha ilAllah Muhammadan rasulAllah and I was a Muslim.
Islam has taught me many things since I embraced it; among the many things it has taught me kindness, forgiveness, love, respect, and patience. From the importance of seeking knowledge to helping the needy, Islam is a beautiful guide to life. Islam has answered my questions regarding life and life after death. It has given me happiness and a purpose. Seek knowledge, learn from the true source and learn correctly, do not allow culture/traditions/politics to deviate and instill hate and intolerance in your heart. No matter what we believe in, we always crave purpose and meaning, I found that through Islam. I have made many choices (many mistakes) but one thing is certain, embracing Islam and serving Allah s.w.t, is the most beautiful and important choice I ever made. Today it’s 7 years since that choice. A lot has happened since then, a lot of trials and obstacles, where I was alone in my faith and was not welcomed by many. A lot of “friends” lost and a lot of people who only accepted me if I didn’t mention Islam or wore the Hijab. But through all this, I have kept my faith. It is important to remember that the only way to live peacefully is to be yourself. Be your true self, embrace your faith and your personality and don’t be afraid of who you might lose. Only those who are truly worth staying by your side will. This is who I am, who I have been since I can remember and who I always wanted to be. I am a Muslim.
& here are my favorites Islamic quotes from Prophet Muhammad sal allahu alayhi wasalam:
- “There is a polish for everything that takes away rust; and the polish for the heart is the remembrance of Allah.” (Bukhari)
- “What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured.” (Bukhari)
- “Say what is true, although it may be bitter and displeasing to people.” (Baihaqi)
- “Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever is not kind has no faith.” (Muslim)
- “Whoever is kind, Allah will be kind to him; therefore be kind to man on the earth. He who is in heaven will show mercy on you.” (Abu Dawud: Tirmidhi)
- “The best of you are those who are best to the women.” (Tirmidhi)
- “Allah has revealed to me, that you must be humble. No one should boast over one another, and no one should oppress another.” (Iyad b. Hinar al-Mujashi: Muslim)
- “The best richness is the richness of the soul.” (Bukhari)
- “The perfect Muslim is not a perfect Muslim, who eats till he is full and leaves his neighbors hungry.” (Ibn Abbas: Baihaqi)
- “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.” (Tirmidhi)
- Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. Quran (2:62)
- Indeed, Allah is with those who are righteous and those who do good. (Al Quran 16:129)
Thank you for reading, Claudia.