My story is quite brief but my journey has been such an eye-opener, and I thank Allah for the mercy that he had on me, bringing me to this beautiful religion which is now my way of life.
I have always been interested in learning about different cultures and religions, especially, because of living in Australia. We have such a diverse society; I have always believed it to be important to understand all the different and beautiful cultures and religions. This way you can understand why people are the way they are.
I have always believed in God, coming from a Macedonian Orthodox family in which religion was more based on the cultural side of things. We went to church for Easter or Christmas as a family or for christening or wedding ceremonies, but we never regularly visited God's house for any other reason.
I come from a very good family with great values and morals, but when it came to religion it was just something that was from the old days and not really enforced or practiced. For me, though, I knew something was not right with Christianity. Things just did not make sense to me.
I was never very religious and, in my younger years, went through questioning my beliefs, even the existence of our Creator.
But deep down, I knew there was a stronger force in action thirsty for knowledge, I quickly learned with my love for reading that the Almighty was there; reinforcing what is truly the undeniable existence of Allah.
I learned about Islam from some of my Muslim friends, but it was from my own research that I found Islam and its true beauty. All the teachings from the Quran then made sense, since there was a guideline for everything in life.
I stopped reading for a while, since the Western lifestyle, then, was still very appealing to me at that age.
But one day, I came across a video called the miracles of the Quran...
What really grabbed my attention was how over 1400 years ago Quran revealed the 3 trimesters of a woman's pregnancy when scientists in the 21st century have just uncovered this fact!
This then made me say the two testimonies (Shahadatain) and I started going to private Islamic classes and lectures.
But still, I kept my conversion to Islam a secret from my non-Muslim friends and family. To my non-Muslim friends I said, I believed in Islam, but I did not say that I made the change.
It was only 3 years ago that I realized, I could not deny or hide my true beliefs anymore. I told my non-Muslim friends and family that I am a Muslim. Alhamdulillah, it was the best thing I have ever done.
Some of my old friends left me, but I am not sad. I realized that it was all part of Allah's plan. Allah made me acquainted with new amazing people who were striving just like me to please our Almighty. My family did not take it as bad as I thought they would. They had their moments and did not truly understand the reason for the change. But I did not have such a hard experience like others who have made this beautiful journey.
In December 2011, I did the most life-changing act, which was putting on Hijab. It was the best decision of my life. I have never been mentally happier in my life. Now I feel I am complete. In 2012, I was invited by Allah to do the holy pilgrimage (Hajj).
Every day, I ask Allah why he had chosen me?! I am not the best of His servants. I cannot thank Him sufficiently, for the mercy He had on me, for giving me the opportunity to open up my eyes and heart to Islam, worshiping and getting closer to my only Creator.
I feel honored to be a Muslim... And I feel that way for many reasons. There are many norms in the society I live that are opposite to what it is to be a Muslim. And when I first came to this way of life, I didn’t know how well I would fair with it. […]
Having spent a large portion of my short life not being a Muslim, I know the darkness that God speaks of in the Quran. I remember what it was like when Allah opened my eyes and shined a light where the darkness had once been. At the beginning of my life, I had no definite form of absolute guidance.
The simplest aspects of creation would boggle my mind. I was totally oblivious to the miracles God put in nature. One time, in particular, I recall learning about evaporation in science class. I was unable to comprehend it. Not the how, but the reason it happened.
I understood the idea of the water cycle and its importance for life, but what would make the water essentially disappear and float back up to the sky?
When viewing this question, without knowing God, my mind ran into a mental block at which point I could not come up with the answer. Boggled by the thought, I merely shrugged my shoulders and threw it to the back of my mind.
When looking at the human body, and how it’s made largely of water, or looking at the universe and trying to comprehend what was beyond it. I would be faced with the mental barricade of not being able to comprehend the reason for its creation.
Time and time again scientists could explain the how, but never the why. They could explain purpose within the mechanics of creation, but they could never explain the purpose of the mechanics itself. What caused the mechanics? What caused nature to have laws?
Having been brought up in a non-practicing Christian family, I had a general understanding of the principles of Christianity. […] My problem with Christianity was the dogma, and more specifically the beliefs about God. The issue of a “Triune” God that is essentially three different individuals that all unite to take on the role of the “One” God. I know that is not how the Doctrine of Trinity is officially promoted, and any Bible-thumping Christian would probably accuse me of not understanding the Doctrine, but that’s the reality that I saw in it
[…] Around that time, I unofficially rejected Christianity. I became a Christian / Atheist / Agnostic. I began to live life trying to come to terms with my surroundings and myself. Not knowing of a greater purpose, I saw no problem in taking part in destructive activities of any kind; on the condition, I would receive some sort of satisfaction from it.
[…] I began to turn to the common reality escape, namely drugs and alcohol. At first, using them as a social tool, and eventually using them habitually as a sedative. If people ever told me I should calm down, I would tell them I could stop if I had a reason, but I had no reason. […] But eventually, I started to feel a consciousness within me looking for some sort of console. Although I was lost and in the dark, since I never saw the light, I didn’t know the difference between the two. I began to think of “the bigger picture.”
I began to think about death. I tried to comprehend the concept of nothingness, and as many times before in my life, when trying to contemplate the purpose, my mind drew blanks. Until one night, while I lay on my bed, deep in thought, I turned my face to the sky, and I said: “God, if you’re real, and You exist, please help me!”
I went to sleep that night never really thinking twice about it. Then on 9/11, I watched the uncanny events unfold. I was confused about the whole situation, why it happened, what exactly happened, and how they knew who did it almost immediately. For the first time there was meaning being applied to foreign terms that I had heard, but never knew anything about, namely Islam.
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Last year my husband and I made our beautiful trip to Hajj. This was something I was looking forward to experiencing since I converted to Islam, and it finally came to me. In previous years, I saw the news coverage of the pilgrims and I got goosebumps hoping to go there one day. Allah invited me and my husband to His holy house and we accepted the invitation wholeheartedly. This was an overwhelming experience, the people, the holy atmosphere, stepping where the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and Imams (AS) have stepped, being able to see with my own eyes what the Holy Kaaba looked like. Previously, when I used to pray I wondered about the direction I was facing, what I was really praying towards. Now in my prayers, I often try to picture as though I am still standing in front of the Kaaba. Before I left for Hajj, I did some readings about why Muslims perform the pilgrimage and what the significance of some of the rituals was. To my surprise, I discovered that a lot of the rituals were about re-enacting the steps of Prophet Abraham. I mean, Allah has made this obligatory for every Muslim, as long as they could afford the trip. Why is this so important? This trip tried to make us united as Muslims, to make us realize that even though there are many sects today, we worship only one God. We prostrate to one God. That is the reason why we are living or even attending the trip, because of one God.
Another reason for this trip is that we try to leave this material world behind; we try to elevate our spirituality. We leave the comfort of our homes, our families and friends, our lovely dinners, our comfort zone. There are so many things we take for granted. I saw all types of people there, poor, old, young, disabled, different nationalities, etc. Some people couldn’t even afford accommodation so they stayed in the streets; eat on the streets, just to perform this wonderful pilgrimage. It makes you feel like you take nearly all things in life for granted.
There is a lot more to this trip and I pray that every Muslim be able to make it and make the most of it Inshallah. I pray that Allah gives us another invitation to His holy land again. We are created by Him, cared for by Him, and Inshallah we return to Him once we pass away. We are in this world to build our next life, the eternal one.