Saturday, 30 August 2014

Canadian Sister Elizabeth's Journey to Islam



My name is Elizabeth, 25 years old from Ontario, Canada and this is my journey to Islam

Before my reversion, I was the talkative and "bubbly" girl. Always laughing and having fun, always the social butterfly. People liked to be around me and I too enjoyed the attention. In fact, I craved that attention. It was interesting to see that even the new me was getting attention too, but not in the same way. People were confused about me practising Islam and people were very curious too. Even today the staring does not seize. People can be so cruel. Even the people who know you, they too can be cruel. Sometimes they are the cruelest of people. Its was hard to see that some of those people who were once so close to me, now viewed me as an entirely different person. All simply because of the clothes I wear. 

 I first started looking into Islam when I was about 13 years old. Something about it just caught my eye and from that moment on, I was hooked. I couldn't stop researching Islam. My teachers would give us an assignment and tell us to pick a topic. You can guess what my topic always was. Islam. I started to realize that despite all the misconceptions I had, I was always convinced with a reasonable answer. No matter what it was, I was faced with surprisingly perfect explanations that I just couldn't ignore. I looked at my family and my childhood and I wondered how my life would be if we were Muslims. I started to compare myself to pious Muslims. "How could I ever be like them?" I told myself. It seemed like it was an unrealistic goal to approach. After years of Islamic studies, I decided that I was ready for the challenge. After all what did I have to lose? I just wanted some stability and happiness in my life.

 Let me tell you a little bit about my family and how I lacked the guidance there in. Maybe this will give you a better idea of me and why I chose Islam. I come from a broken home, no family dynamics, no rules and no love. My sisters and I could run wild and no one even seemed to care. I could be gone for weeks on end, missing school and never even coming home. When I'd return back home, no one would even care to ask where I was or what I was doing. I could do anything and everything I wanted to do and I have never been punished or grounded by my parents, not even once. It was Just complete confusion and pain for so many years. My father was an alcoholic and my mom was addicted to drugs. Astaghfirallah. My sisters and I were so use to our way of life, we didn't question it at first. The pain came as something almost normal. I thought to myself a lot, "life just sucks". I remember many nights of my dad yelling and being violent. Mom was always crying. I can remember all the holes in the walls and all of the bruises left on my mothers face. How could I ever forget that? Three little sisters, stuck right in the middle of an inevitable disaster. We were constantly crying out for him to stop hurting her. Such trauma we endured as children. I started to notice what my family was missing. Obedience to God. How much different could my life have been if I was brought up with religion? This was constantly on my mind. 

 One early morning as my father slept, my mother quickly packed a bag and she grabbed my sisters and I. We were out of the house in such a hurry that I can remember running through the streets in my bare feet. My hand tightly clutched my older sister. "Where are we going?" I asked. My sister replied to me "We are running away". I was sad and confused and I didn't want to leave my dad behind. I didn't know if I could ever see him again. We ended up in a battered woman's shelter and not too long after, I was talking to my dad behind a thick glass window within the prison walls. Life was so hard. My sisters and I moved with our mother from shelter to shelter, until we finally settled down in a little low income community. I started to realize that there were so many people who faced similar problems. So many children lost and confused because their parents were lost in the ways of society. Canada was no exception. People living in their sins with no shame at all. After all, it was completely legal to live in haram. Canada was somewhat condoning this way of life. I realized how life in Canada could be so much better, if we just implemented obedience to God in our everyday lives. During our adolescence, my sisters and I made many terrible mistakes. Searching for the attention of a father figure and looking for love in all the wrong places. The mistakes we made brought us so much guilt and pain. Id cry myself to sleep on numerous nights and in those tears also came some healing. How beautiful it is, the honest cries of breaking hearts. The Confusion and pain still lasted for many years to come. We were turning into our parents. Couldn't we just break the cycle and start our own lives differently? How would I ever begin living a life that I never knew nothing about? How hard could it REALLY be? After years of "living in Haram", I almost found it impossible to break out of the lifestyle I knew so well. I was broken but this brokenness was the feeling of a deep need, a deep desire to submit and surrender to Allah. I was beginning to realize that Only God can help me and without God, I am truly nothing. I had a really long way to go before I could truly know God. I didn't even know where to begin. How would I get started? One night I cried out to Allah. " Oh Allah the beneficent and the merciful, I have wronged myself and Surely only you can help me. Please help me Allah, please please please help me! Remove this pain from my life and show me what I need to do" From that moment on, I began by taking it one step at a time. Here is my beautiful journey into Islam. 

I reverted to Islam on Jan 28th 2012. Wallahi it was the best decision I have ever made! An easy decision to make, considering my circumstances. Being on "the other side" without Islam, I knew first hand the consequences of Living without obedience to Allah. Words cant even describe the overwhelming relief and comfort I felt on that day of my reversion to Islam. I spoke the words "La illaha il allah muhammed rasoul allah" and just then, My body was shaken by an intense spiritual awakening. I bursted out in tears of joy. Finally I found what I have been yearning for all these years. I felt new again and I felt hope. For the first time in my life I actually felt hopeful! I left my past behind me. "Things are looking up now" I thought to myself. I now had a decent a chance at a good life. I started making friends with Muslim woman in my community. I was starting to feel a sense of belonging. Just knowing that there are countless others out there who love me and respect me, and they barely even know me at all. I thought to myself again "wow I have a family now, a big family" and I was only beginning to feel the love that they had for me. I felt so happy to realize that these people care for me and they want the best for me. Anytime I ever needed help in understanding Islam or even if I just needed someone to talk to, there was always a nice Muslim there for me and willing to lift my spirits high. How blessed am I? I truly am so thankful to have had this opportunity. Indeed, Allah has found me lost and he guided me. Alhumdulillah. Alhumdulillah ALLAHU AKBAR! God is great, I have no doubts about that. Minutes after my reversion to Islam, I began to feel the spiritual high. I was so motivated, so enthusiastic and very excited about the new life ahead of me. I put the hijab on that same day, and it was liberating! I didn't have to worry about keeping up with all the latest styles and trends. I didn't have to fit into the expectations society had on woman. I was free. free at last. Hijab changed me. It made me shy and it reminded me everyday that I have great responsibilities.

 One day I was walking through a crowd of teenagers. I watched them all move aside creating a perfect path for me to walk through. Some of them stopped talking with each other, others rushed to hide their cigarettes behind their backs. I walked up to the bus terminals and an old man smiled as he held open the door for me. People were thinking good of me and I was shown such high respect. I now had a reputation to uphold. After lots of hard work and research I began to grow. A few months later I could say my prayers in Arabic and I was beginning to feel even more close to Allah. By then, all my pains and my worries from childhood faded. My heart was healing. I couldn't believe how I was able to almost forget about all my sadness and anger. Any resentment I once held in my heart, was completely erased by love and forgiveness. I began to feel sorry for my family. I wanted them to feel good too and I didn't want them to suffer any longer. "Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they first strive to change what is in themselves" I remember the Quran and what it told me. Then it hit me hard. Id have to share the beneficial knowledge of Islam... if I want the best for my family. They needed to know about the peace I felt in Islam. I had to share this beautiful religion with them and I knew that this would not be an easy task. I started out by giving away Islamic books to my mother and sisters. I offered kind words of advice and I showed them about Islam through my loving actions and deeds. My mother began to be more loving towards me and she was now coming to me for advice and comfort. One day my youngest sister asked me if I can put hijab on her and of course I didn't hesitate one bit. She looked at herself in the mirror with her hijab on and she smiled. " I wonder if I can be like you" she said. I cried with such happiness. I remembered having a similar feeling when I compared myself to the born Muslims. I thought that I could never be like them. I replied back to my little sister " With the help of Allah, You can be anything you want to be. You just put your heart and mind into it". She looked at me with surprise. I don't think that she ever heard such encouraging words before. I can see that My family is slowly getting better and I am still actively giving them dawah. Little by little, I feel like I am making a positive difference in their lives. I can still tell that my family is interested and curious about Islam, but they have yet to fully embrace it. Please pray for Allah to give my family guidance. I think that I have been growing steadily in the deen and each day my faith is increasing in sha allah. Sometimes I rise and sometimes I fall, but i am beginning to see that this is a part of faith. What matters most is that you never give up and you always get right back up and keep on trying. I hope that all the reverts out there who read this will find some comfort and hope. You are never alone, you are loved and Allah is always there for you. **Even in the darkest of places, out can emerge people of wisdom and faith** Sometimes even the best of people can come from the worst places. We all have an opportunity to achieve success. No matter who you are or where you come from, with the help of Allah you can succeed. It may be more difficult for a revert then those born Muslims who have certain advantages. The bigger the struggle the greater the reward. Remember that. It just depends on how much you want it and how far you are willing to go for it. Nothing is impossible with Allah. He can completely transform your life. My life has been transformed and I have Allah to thank for every single blessing he has bestowed on me. I am thankful for all my struggles and all my pains because with out them, I wouldn't be who I am today. Alhumdulillah.