I am from Colombia and I was brought up as a Catholic, my family, as most of my country are not religious, being religious has a negative connotation as a matter of fact, people are supposed to have god in the heart, and I say ”god” not God because whoever knows a attribute of Allah Subhannahu Wa ta’la couldn’t say such a statement…) in my culture as most of the west, a person is supposed to be modern and religiousness is not an attribute that is praised.
How I Left The Hijab
Everybody tells the story of how they wore the hijab, let me tell you all how- I LEFT the hijab!
I had always been inclined towards Deen a bit but when it was coupled up with a Daura e Quran and the right sort of friends, I had the courage to take up the hijab.
I was the first one to ‘cover up’ in my family and that too, at the age of 18..!! Everyone thought I was going a bit over board, limited knowledge of Islam but such strictness on hijab!!!??
It was not making sense….!! I had some issues in life also to which the answer was a lot of sujood and covering up. Then came the whole ordeal of marriage proposals. I refused to take off my hijab for the people coming to see me, and during that time came a proposal !
14th July’2002 The last day of Reality Touch summer course, my diary preserves my statement.. “O, Allah I am expecting the best from You! What is coming my way seems to be the best, what is beneath expressions- I don’t know..!!”
What came my way was Alhamdulillah the best thing that happened to me which brought me to where I am today, but there was a whole pattern in it for me to realize the need for taufeeq in our life!
I got engaged, happy and giddy the feeling blew me away, left behind were all my friends and also– my deen!
My husband’s family believes in giving freedom of choice and that worked out fine for me, leaving or wearing the hijab was entirely my choice.
With the hijab now gone, came such deviation that praying became a rare event! Kids and family then took over my life and Deen was put in a velvet cover on a shelf with my Quran for the ‘moments of need’!
Now that I think back it scares me to death… If it could happen to me then it can happen to me now… I wonder how did I go wrong!! It came to dance parties and sleeveless clothes! Was I not thinking? I had the knowledge, if not of advance level but the basic one, I knew the right from wrong and there is no one to blame but my ownself…
How did I let myself be satisfied with one Daura-e- Quran?!! It was supposed to be a journey of life, how did this all happen… And now that I recollect it comes back to three things: being without Quran, being without a support group, and slow elimination of simple good deeds from my life!
Little things like azkaar before sleeping, eating, etc. Now that I think of it, they make so much of a difference. They work like our spiritual immune system, feeding to our strength!
And Quran… It is the only source that brings us back to track. There ‘IS’ no strength other than the divine one!
Alhamdulillah Allah gave me another chance but are we sure that we’ll be so lucky the next time?
There is no chances to take and no time to lose. The power is of here and now and Alhamdulillah for that!
The First Day of My Life…
Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Rahim
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
In order to understand why I embraced Islam, you need to know some details about my life background…
How was my life before Islam?
I was born in France in a Christian family in Toulouse, South West of France in 1985. At the age of five, I witnessed my parents’ divorce. It was decided that my mother would take care of me as I was a lonely child. However, I kept visiting my father, sometimes traveling for more than 600kms, almost on my own. Due to such experiences, I never learnt anything else than to be a courageous girl who could face the struggle of life on her own and make her parents proud. I grew up and eventually became what my parents wanted for me: I graduated from a Parisian Business School, studied Japanese language, acquired a position of marketing manager for a well-known company and travelled all over the world! Despite all that I was achieving, I remember never feeling satisfied… Something was clearly missing in my life.
All “my successes” were pushing me to go forward and I guess with each passing day I was trying to fulfill the need of self-recognition. But deep down in my heart, I remained extremely affected by my challenged childhood and I knew that I was not entirely myself. I was just trying to fit into the image my family and the people around me wanted me to have. I always have been a very shy person. I used to blush for no reason and be the quiet one but I changed myself, because in the world where I was living, this image was not popular enough.
How did I discover to Islam?
Even though I was a Christian, faith was not part of my life and I never looked at any religion with interest. I never realized that this was the reason of my unwell-being. In 2007, I accepted a two years mission in Dubai and this is when the interest for Islam grew in my heart. Initially, I had very little time to spare for research about Islam as my work required a lot of time and dedication. However, Islam did seem very attractive because I could now witness with my own eyes that all that I had been told in France about Muslims was wrong. The smile on the Muslim ladies’ faces and their peaceful walk towards the prayer room… I never thought that Muslims could pray and yet still have time to shop, socialize and have a life with all its normal routines. The reality was in front of my eyes now but my heart was still not affected…
But one day, the call of the Athan moved my heart so strongly that I felt like losing the armor that I always tried to tie around me. I could not lie to myself again… I decided to be “ME”.
I called the only Muslim friend I had and ask her about a place where I could learn about Islam. I was directed to join a class on Friday morning in Karama mosque. On entering the mosque, I found a group of Filipino girls sitting around an elderly sister. All of them welcomed me so warmly that I immediately felt at peace. I quickly realized that all of the sisters there had humble conditions, most of them working as maids. One of them gave me a two hour lecture that, to be honest, I did not understand at all. I remained patient, sitting in front of her and observing the movements of her lips trying to get the meaning of her words.
She finally asked me if I wanted to become Muslim, and my answer was straight forward: “YES!” Only Allah knows why I took this decision… I would be happy to say because the 5 pillars of Islam made sense to me but it wasn’t that… I guess my destiny was to become Muslim on that same day. Allahu Akbar!
After pronouncing my shahada, tears ran down my face and all the sisters came to hug me… I’ll never forget this day which remains embedded in my heart, as if it was the first day of my life.