I had the pleasure of attending a gathering today with my fellow sisters; some of whom converted to Islam such as myself, and some of whom were born into an Islamic family. While discussing Islam, one sister who was born Muslim said, “I want to learn Islam. I want to learn the Islam that made you guys convert.“ Upon saying that another sister agreed with her and stated how amazing it was to see the conviction and practice of converts.
That statement hit me hard. I wasn’t thinking so much about the practice of converts vs. the practice of born Muslims – I thought about the conviction behind the practices. In a split second I was equally amazed, grateful, inspired and humbled. I shared in their appreciation and it made me reflect upon my own path to Islam. I learned about Islam for about year and a half before taking my shahadah, from converts, born Muslims, and through my own reading. I understood and loved everything I learned, but still did not want to take that plunge. The events of September 11th inclined me to view life with a purpose, a beginning and an end, and was a big turning point for me. I remember hearing a sister speak about the coming of Judgment Day and the need to correct our affairs. It wasn’t so much what she was saying that affected me, but it was more of how she was saying it – it was spoken with such conviction. Her certainty or ‘yaqeen’ showed me her Iman and although it was like water for her it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was taken back by witnessing her firm beliefs and faith, in something I also believed in, but did not have the same level of faith in. I had the belief, but the faith was not there. I heard a Sheikh once say that belief and faith are not always the same – they are two different things. At times they go hand in hand, and at times they do not, which is what Allah refers to in the Qur’an. Now I understand why.
At that time I had known this sister for about a year, and she was one of the people who made me really love Islam – through her behavior, her etiquette, and her actions. It was through her Islam that portrayed to me the true teachings of Islam and mannerisms of a Muslim. That is what appealed to me so much.
I always reflect upon the great blessing of hediya that Allah SWT willed for us, and also for putting good examples of Muslims in my path. Not everyone has this experience wa la quwatta illah billah. My friend and a few other sisters have made such a positive impact in my perception of Islam – before my shahadah and right after. All praise is due to Allah SWT first and foremost, and for using them to show me ‘their Islam’. It was through ‘their Islam that made me convert.’ Alhamdulillah.
May Allah SWT make all of our Islam the Islam that makes others want to convert. A reflection of the true teachings of Allah and His Messenger (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam). Allahumma Ameen.