Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu,
All praise be to Allah for making us interview so many amazing Muslimahs and I know I've said this before, but seriously, all the interviews we've had on the blog has taught us so much. I love listening to reverts describe how they found Islam and Wallahi, I admire their courage and strength so very much.
Here is an interview we had with a sister. Do make sure you read all the way to end, and particularly the answer she gave to the 7th question.
Jazakallah khair for the amazing interview sister!
1- Tell us your story of how you found Islam
Ever since I was a young teenager I was dissatisfied with the religion in which I was raised. I have been brought up as a Christian, but felt that it was not correct for a variety if reasons. When I was around 13, I began seeking out other religions. Of course my family didn't approve of that, so I stopped my search for several years. When I was about 16 I began researching religions again. After a year of researching Christian sects I started Researching Islam when I was 17. I think part of the reason for my interest in Islam was because of a vacation to Minneapolis, Minnesota. While I was there, I saw many Muslims, including a group of women who were dressed in such a way that you couldn't see even a centimeter of skin, even their eyes were covered. I think my curiosity of those women inspired me to begin studying Islam. I had only read 1 book about Islam when I knew that I wanted to be a Muslim Alhumdulilah.
2- You accepted Islam at a young age. How tough was it for you?
It was difficult because at the time I was not able to tell my family or friends. Alhumdulilah my family didn't eat pork very much, so it was easy to avoid that without any suspicion, and I was able to keep ramadan fasting a secret as well. One of the things that was hardest was dealing with my circle of friends after converting. Alhumdulillah Allah protected me from the party scene and I didn't drink or do drugs, but many of my friends did and I hated hearing them tell stories about things that happened at parties. I slowly stopped talking to them and by the end of high school I was left without any friends.
3- If there is one thing you could tell your 15 year old self, what would that be?
There are so many things I wish I could tell myself. First I would tell myself to study Islam sooner and to be brave and tell my family immediately so that I could practice openly. I would also tell myself to care more about my grades and going to college and to take care of my health. And to be patient regarding marriage.
4- With so much of anti- Islamic talk circulating around the media, how did you feel
about this when accepting Islam?
At the time there wasn't quite as much anti-Islamic rhetoric, but when I did hear it I thought it couldn't be true. There were so many Muslims in the world, not all of them could be bad. I always preferred to look for the best in people.
5- Women's rights in Islam is probably one of the most distorted misconceptions in Islam. What do you have to say about this?
The misconceptions drive me crazy! I wish that non-Muslims could see how Islam liberates and honors women. Alhumdulilah we are so blessed to be Muslim. We have so many rights that non-Muslim women don't have. For example our rights over our husbands. Non-Muslim women are expected to work and bring home an income as well as being the primary caregiver for her children and household but our husbands take care of us. We can work if we want to and if we do the money is ours to keep. Alhumdulilah I love the rights that Allah has given us.
6- What was your opinion about Muslims before you started researching about Islam?
Before I began researching Islam I really didn't know anything about Islam. I had heard some bad things from the media, but didn't believe those things were true because like I said before, I preferred to think the best of people.
7- How difficult was it right after accepting Islam and how would you advice new Muslims to face this challenge?
For me it was very difficult. I lived in a rural place where I was literally the only Muslim in town. The Muslims in the next town didn't want to associate with me because I was young. It was difficult for me to order Islamic books and materials online since I didn't have a lot of money, and I couldn't find any Islamic books in my library.
I would advice new Muslims to just be patient and ask Allah to help you. I also would like to advise Muslims to help people who have recently taken shahadah. The ansar opened their homes to the Meccans but today we can't even invite someone to have coffee with us. Some of us can't even make a simple phone call! May Allah forgive us and guide us.
8- You are a Niqabi so was there anything in particular that inspired you to wear it?
Before I became Muslim I had gone to visit relatives in Minneapolis and while I was there I saw a group of 3 women wearing niqab, gloves and even covering their eyes. I was always curious about why they did that, and after becoming Muslim and reading a little bit about hijab I began to admire those women. I decided that they must be so religious and so pious. Now I know that not every niqabi is religious, but back then I was still naive. Anyway, I wanted to be like them. So I studied hijab and niqab and as soon as I told my family that I was Muslim I began wearing the hijab (this was one year after becoming Muslim). A few months later I began wearing niqab part of the time.
9- How do people in your family react to the Niqab/Hijab?
My family thought the hijab was a bit strange at first but alhumdulilah that didn't last for long. They got used to it quickly. They still aren't used to the niqab though, and I'm not sure they ever will be. I have to admit I do sometimes take it off when I go to visit them.
10- Any Niqab or Hijab incident you would like to speak of?
Alhumdulilah I haven't had too many problems so far. There has only been one incident that really effected me and that was 2 years ago. I had been working in a department store at the time and on this day I was wearing a pink hijab with a white niqab. While I was putting away clothing a woman saw me and screamed because she was so scared of me. That upset me greatly, and I started wanting to remove my niqab. Sadly, shaytaan won and I did take it off for about 2 weeks.
11- A message you would like to tell any non Muslim reading this?
I would suggest that non-Muslims start by reading Ayat al Kursi
There is no god but He,The Living, the Everlasting,and Surah Ikhlas
Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep,To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth.
Who is there that can intercede with His, except by His leave?
He knows what lies before them and what is after them,
And they comprehend not anything of His Knowledge save as He wills.
His throne comprises the heavens and the earth,The preserving of them fatigues Him not,And He is the All-High, All-Glorious.
Say, "He is Allah , [who is] One, Allah , the Eternal Refuge.He neither begets nor is born,Nor is there to Him any equivalent."
12- The greatest lesson Islam has taught you?
I've learned patience and I've learned that I am not in control of everything, Allah is the one who is in control.
13- What do you feel is the most inspirational Quranic verse that truly touched your heart?
There are so many meaningful verses it's tough to choose.
14- Any special Duaa requests?
Please make dua that my family accepts Islam, and that they accept my niqab. Please make dua for my best friend whose family hates her because she became a Muslim, please make dua that her family becomes muslim. Please make dua for me to go to an alim program in Chicago. Please me dua that Allah blesses all the Muslims worldwide.
15- And lastly, how would you describe your life as a Muslim?
Alhumdulilah my life is pretty good. Allah has blessed me.
Note: If you would like to be interviewed for our blog, leave us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get back to you, In Sha Allah. Sisters only.