My place has a big Muslim community. Many are not practicing Muslims, by this I mean that they smoke, drink alcohol, eat forbidden food, etc. In addition to that, they have a bad reputation, many call them terrorists. Despite their negative side, I had a couple of Muslim friends.
During my elementary years, it is still vivid in my mind… whenever the Adhan is announced, I used to accompany my friends to the mosque but I only stay outside, waiting for them to finish their worship. Once, I took a peek through the open door. I saw them in the position where they were prostrating (Sujud). I found that very strange. Young at age, I decided to tease them why they are kissing the ground. I asked them why was that and for what? They just replied that Sujud is part of their prayer (Salah). They said that maybe one day I would become a Muslim, which I answered immediately a definite big “NO.”
My life went on…studied…got married…blessed with children. I got married at a very young age, so at the age of 38, I already have 4 grandkids. Until one day I decided to try overseas and my cousin found an employer for me. I went to the capital to process everything before my departure. I stayed at my paternal aunt’s home. Within this period, I made new friends … enjoyed partying with them, drinking, smoking… Three months passed and it was time for me to go overseas. I had many doubts in my mind… “Will I be able to make it?”
I was fortunate to land with decent employers. Few months passed and the holy month of fasting (i.e. Ramadan) came, it was a completely new experience for me. I helped my Madam in preparing the Futur. While busy working in the kitchen, I managed listening to a TV program rendered in the English language. Something the speaker said drew my attention. His words keep lingering in my mind that I wanted to know more about this great religion. Even though I came from a place where majority are Muslims and grew up with Muslim friends, I knew very little about this religion. Eid came and went but I am still intrigued with Islam and was yearning to discover more.
So I asked my Sir to buy for me the English translation of the holy Quran. He was surprised with this unexpected request … from a Christian who is still feeling around a completely different surrounding. But without delay, he bought the Quran the soonest possible time; which I kissed upon receiving it.I read this holy book very slowly but surely in order to understand it properly. Sometimes, I watched Huda TV channel which I enjoyed it immensely. My search for the truth went on until it was time for me to go on vacation.
During my time in my hometown, I asked my husband to buy for me pork, which was then my favorite food. I missed the meat and was dying to eat it. After eating it, I felt extremely sick… continuous vomiting, too much headache and high fever. After this incident, I decided never to eat again. I returned overseas 2 months later and related to my Madam what happened to me about the pork incident. She commented that perhaps that was a sign that I will be entering the fold of Islam but I just ignored her statement.
Few months later, my cousin embraced Islam. I questioned her why she left her religion. She simply told that she was convinced. Both my Sir and Madam often talked about religion and they advised me to be a believer because I have many traits of a Muslim. Year 2009, I decided finally to be a Muslim and said the Shahadatin in front of my employers. They both assured me that I made the right decision of following the Right Path. My Madam taught me how to perform the Islamic prayer (Salah). September came, corresponding to Ramadan, it was time for obligatory fasting and I decided to fast. On my very first day of fasting, my Madam asked me how I felt. I said that I felt comfortable and easy.
My eldest sister, at that time, was employed by my employers’ parents, but we all live in the same house. She noticed that I was praying and asked me if I converted to Islam, to which I replied in the affirmative. She reacted negatively; she became angry and fought with me for consecutive days. I tried to explain to her my situation but she was not getting it. As the youngest in the brood of 3, I respected her as my eldest sister. I prayed to Allah to give her understanding that I did not do anything wrong. One morning, as we were doing our daily routine, she suddenly approached me softly and talked politely. That very same day, she even prepared the dates and water for me to break my fast … perhaps her way of saying sorry for her rudeness from the last few days. I was astonished and speechless. I pray to Allah to give her guidance, too.
A time has come again for another vacation; I stayed with my aunt in the capital as I usually did. My old friends invited me to party (drinking wine included) but I politely decline. At the back of my mind, I was wondering how many from my immediate family will accept me as Muslim. Alhamdulillah! They all accepted me and respected me in my faith. They even supported me by preparing the right atmosphere for establishing my prayer. My young daughter was always alert for the call to prayer (Adhan) and will remind me to go and pray. She asked me if she can pray like me and I replied (with a feeling of happiness inside): “God willing, you will.” Every prayer time was a moment of silence.
On Fridays, my husband would ask to join me in my prayers even though he has not accepted Islam yet. And I agreed… it is his first step to the truth. At that time I am newborn in Islam and did not know much about the rulings of marriage. I know now that I committed a great sin by living with him and keeping him still as my husband. Islam did not come into my life to destroy my family. In my heart, I have to choose between the lesser of the two, to be a Muslim and live with my Kafir husband or to ignore Islam and live with my family still intact. Of course, I chose the former, the fact that I am very new to Islam, I have to take small steps to fully grasp everything in Islam. I am trying very hard to convince my husband so that in my next vacation, we will not be committing a sin.
My ardent wish now is for all my family to become Muslims like me. My oldest son became Muslim (before I did) by way of marriage. My second one will become a Muslim also because of marriage. As a new Muslim myself, I know that all good deeds are but by intentions. I pray to Allah that they will be Muslims in the real sense. I am currently studying at an Islamic Center to have a deeper knowledge of Islam so I can relay my religion to my family in the right way.
My dear husband entered the fold of Islam after 2 years, the very same day he came to this material world. He declared his Shahadatin through me via long distance call. Alhamdulillah!