Friday, January 9, 2015


Interview with sister Ameena Nour. MashaAllah, this is a really entertaining and insightful interview we had with a Muslimah revert from US. Jazakallah khair for offering to be interviewed and may Allah make your words a means of inspiration for those reading.

How was your life before accepting Islam?

I was raised as an agnostic. We went to church about once a month but more for the free coffee and donuts and nice people not God. My mother (divorced family) always gave us a lecture about questioning all of religion because she didn't know if it was "true". But it was also taboo in American Christian culture to question the inner workings of Christianity. So I was stuck. I wanted to know WHY. I was living in sunny California (Hollywood culture in the extreme!), I graduated high school (2007) and didn't know what to do next. Of course being a "good girl" I started university. Before Islam, my life was ordinary but quickly deteriorating. In university, I found myself making more and more poor choices. Poor friendships, poor relationships, and poor social activities. I had guilt after doing these that I knew I was missing something big in my life, I thought perhaps maybe it was God, so I started looking into many different religions (Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, even Ba'hi)...

Why did you choose to become Muslim?

I didn't choose to become muslim. Let me explain. I wanted to be at peace in my heart. While I was looking into different religions, I would watch lectures on YouTube from the various "Leaders" of that faith. I spent maybe a week on Christianity, maybe a week on Judaism and so on, but one day I was watching an anti-Islam protest on the news (Oct 2008) and a thought came to me like "Islam is not like THAT, it's beautiful." This thought scared me because I hadn't been researching Islam, I really didn't know much more about Islam than any other American that watches the news. I immediately went to YouTube and googled I think "women in Islam"... I watched a 20min lecture from Ahmed Didat (spelling?)... At the end of the video he was saying if anyone thought they wanted to take Shahadah to come up to the stage, about 4 women came up. I swear my heart practically ran out of my chest and tripped over itself in desperation to be there. It wanted to take Shahadah so bad I literally cried out in shock from the physical pain. I was amazed by this reaction but completely trusted my body so I repeated Shahadah with the video, and just started reading and reading about Islam. I really recommend and the forums are great. I like to think I didn't have a choice, because it was already my destiny from Allah. SubhannahAllah. And I am so glad I trusted myself and my intuition.

Wearing the Hijab is a huge step. Was it a difficult change for you?

Honestly it was not hard for me, because I had read a great article about who deserves to see your beauty. BUT my mom went nuts, to put it nicely. She had a very difficult time accepting this change in me. Cause it was literally an overnight change. I admit looking back I was very hard on her because I was just as mad at her for NOT blindly accepting this change. It was a hard time for me and my family but I would wear the hijab at school, and out running errands, but would take it off around my mom or before I entered the house so she would not see me.

How did you feel the first time you wore the Hijab?

Of course the very first time I tried to put on "the scarf", I had no idea what I was doing. I had a little scarf about 6 inches wide, and a few feet long. And I have a rather large noggin'. Anyway, I just started wrapping it around and I used like five safety pins and at least twenty straight pins to secure it but like my neck was still showing and I couldn't breath easily I had wrapped it so tight.... Needless to say I went and bought a proper longer scarf and went about practicing putting it on while watching YouTube tutorials. If you really want to do it, you should learn from others on how to do it easier.

Wearing it felt natural but many people stared so I was nervous about all the attention because I thought I was doing something bad because I thought Hijab was about not seeking attention. I have since learned the beautiful difference between seeking attention yourself (as American culture teaches women) and others giving you attention without you asking (simply cause you're doing something different). I will admit I also wanted to wear hijab to be... Well arrogant honestly like "look at my scarf, yep I'm Muslim, yep you're not, aren't you jealous??"
I learned that because I was new to the Hijab, I was more aware of the scarf and people looking, but also people in my area never saw a Muslimah before so they stared out of curiosity AND lastly the people that saw me the day before stared because they didn't know WHY I had changed.

Why did you choose to wear the Niqab?

Saudi Arabia was different than the US, to say the least. My mom had been to Saudi in the early 80s and was full of the stories of the area and how horrible it was, especially for the women. (my mom's not Muslim and she had all the stereotypes).
I went as a Muslim but not a very good one. I was so happy to hear the Athan, and see the stores close for prayer, and see the women and men dressing so modestly. I was happy for this. Then I went to Mecca.....
MashaAllah. Let me tell you. There are tons of people from all over the world there at any given time. But some of these people did not get the memo on modest dress. Most I think it was a lack of education about it but the men and women that work in Al-Haram were more than able to explain it without offending. I asked about why all the Saudi's wear the niqab. The answer ended up making me think a lot about what I was doing in my life and what I could do better for Allah.
I have gone through much to much of an inner dialogue to type out. But I could never shake the feeling that I was supposed to wear the niqab. So I did. And I'm so peaceful and so happy.
It's still hard to wear it in the USA with my mom but I did wear it in France ( well the airport at least) (niqab ban my tushy).
After converting, marrying, and covering, I have been blessed with so much peace and happiness. I have even lost a lot of weight (50+kg/100+lbs).

What do you think about the Niqab and how was your experience wearing it?

I remember being with a Muslim sister maybe a year or so after taking Shahadah, shopping at a Muslim grocery/clothing store, they had a small scarf and accessories section. I remember pulling out a single layer NIQAB. I joking held it up and was like look at me! My friend started laughing. I said "oh women who wear THAT are crazy!"

Let's fast forward a little, after I married my husband, he was living/working in Saudi Arabia so I moved overseas to Saudi. This was the first time I'd seen the niqab, seen women using it. It took about three months before I got up the courage to ask my husband what he thought of me wearing it. Alhumdillah he said "I would like that, I didn't think you wanted to wear it so I never asked." I bought a Saudi version with two layers, I even got gloves too so I could really get the point. I wore the niqab for almost a year whilst living in Saudi, till we moved to Algeria (my husband's home country).

You wear the Niqab part-time. Any particular reason for that?

I had moved to Algeria and then moved to the US again shortly there after to give birth to my first baby. Since I was living with my mother again (husband working in Algeria) I couldn't bring myself to wear the niqab in front of her. Though she had by then at least stopped complaining about my Hijab, Mashallah. I moved back to Algeria (April 2014) and didn't put the niqab back on while learning about Algeria culture more. I actually started wearing it again just last week because I missed it and felt Allah would be happy with me to wear it again. I do really love the niqab, MashaAllah.

Any advice you would like to give any non-practicing muslims reading this?

If you mean not practicing the niqab, I would advise you too look at what you can do extra, because when our deeds are weighed on the Day, I would urge you to do every little good thing you can to make sure your good deeds will out weigh the bad. For me, it an extra cloth on my face, for you, it may be different. I'm pretty lazy though so one little cloth extra is much easier for me.

If you mean not practicing, in the whole, I would like to remind you that no one knows when they are going to die. We've seen to many people die unexpectedly, "in their prime". You have the choice now, right now, so why not choose to do something Allah would be pleased with.

3 things every non-Muslim should know about Islam

1) Women are so important and honored its pretty ridiculous. In a good way.
2) God is the one the only and the reason for the seasons!( given its Dec)
3) Islam encourages us to seek knowledge and answer our questions about our religion and life. Other religions want you to have blind faith, to not question why. So I encourage you to ask! You will realize Islam is the truth.

There are lots of people out there who want to accept Islam but something or the other stops them. What would you say to give them that extra push to take the Shahadah?

As the Nike commercial says "Just do it!" Also you may die, so do one thing Allah would be pleased with. And keep learning. Read Qur'an. Read the sunnah. You may realize that you are already Muslim in your heart that saying it in front of others wouldn't change you too much. Be honest with yourself.

What was the greatest challenge you had after accepting Islam?

I needed to be patient with my family, my mother particularly. And I had to learn how to make prayer a priority. I went from "praying" once a week, once a month at church to being commanded to pray 5 times in one day. I was/still have to remind myself to take the 5mins to please Allah.

Was there anything in particular that you were skeptical about before accepting Islam?

Jesus as God, as so many. But also the issues of women in Islam and violence towards others in Islam. Alhumdillah we have the internet these days and all the information and points of view are available from Sheikh Google. Lol.

Any advice for the youth of today?

Learn to seek knowledge from "credible" sources. Mtv and Vogue magazine are not that credible. READ. READ. Read. Learn to listen to the educated not the masses. Ask yourself "Am I doing this thing because the Prophets would do it or because my friends would do it?" And be good to Allah and the Prophets (pbut).

How different is your life after accepting Islam and what changes do you see in yourself?

I have peace in my heart. I know I am following the truth and by striving to live a sunnah life, I am living a life that has benefit to me, my family, and my society. I am not arrogant lazy or self centered now, mashaAllah. I am more productive and organized, MashaAllah. I know what my job is, what my benefit is and what I can do to be helpful. It's a peaceful life. ALHUMDILLAH.

If there is one Quranic verse/Hadith/advice you could give to any non-Muslim reading this, what would it be?

I would say Surah Fatiha is very important. I would encourage you to read it line by line and truly contemplate what it says. I would also say if the non Muslim comes from a Christian background, I would encourage him or her to read Surah Ikhas and Surah Mariam (the Quranic story of Jesus's birth).

Note: If you would like to be interviewed for our blog, leave us an email on and we'll get back to you, In Sha Allah. Sisters only.