Throughout my entire life, I can remember the number of times I’ve been impressed by a conversation with a particular person, or group of people – and I can honestly say that it hasn’t been many. But, one of these instances happened just a few days ago when I was introduced to this lovely lady, whose real name I will not reveal, I’ll just refer to her as ‘Hawa’.
A few days back, I had the pleasure of sitting down with her, and what was supposed to be our first official introduction, turned into a heartfelt storytelling session between two women. Though covered from head to toe with the exception of her eyes and her hands, I was enraptured by her beauty, and there was something illuminating about her aura. I felt calm around this woman as she told me the story of her journey towards Islam. Hawa, is a Muslim who converted to Islam eight months ago.
The road towards Islam and getting closer to your Creator, especially for the converts, is not an easy one. Change is never easy, and converting to another religion is a life-changing choice; one that changes the course of one’s life forever.
One has to face a 360 degree transition in terms of lifestyle, clothing, social relationships and long-held beliefs. The hardest part would be gaining acceptance from one’s family or loved ones, because when you undergo such a life-changing transition, people might think that you’re not the same person anymore.
But you are. You are still you, and religion shouldn’t be something that segregates you from another person because the world is made up of people from various religions, skin colours, races. And we can all live in harmony with one another, right? Luckily for Hawa, her family accepted her and treated her the same way as they did before.
When I asked her when exactly did she start falling in love with Islam, she told me that even from an early age, she had always been seeking for some sort of truth to fill the spiritual void in her. Back then, she was never content going to church – something about it didn’t sit right with her. She went from one religion to another, looking for the truth.
The Who, What, Why, Where?
These questions remained unanswered until she finally learnt about Islam. To her, “Islam makes sense.” Finally, she had a real grasp on the answers she had been seeking for the longest time. She started learning more about Islam and filling herself with knowledge, and as that progressed, her love for Islam grew as well as her love for the Almighty. Imagine sitting there, in front of her, listening to all this. MashaAllah, I felt defeated and refreshed at the same time. I love how well-versed she was with Islamic quotes – it’s as if she were a magician who could pull out any hadith or Quran verse out of her sleeves! Aside from the obvious fascination and admiration, I realised something even more important: talking to her about Islam encouraged me to be a better Muslim.
There are countless things that she loves about Islam, but when I asked her to pick what she likes most, her answer caught me by surprise:
“The journey of getting closer to Allah. I love having the security of knowing that Allah is always there, that he is all-seeing, all-knowing, that wherever I am, he is always there to watch over me.”
She has only been a Muslim for about eight months, but her devotion and passion for Islam is unquestionable – it feels as if she has been a Muslim for her entire life. She has even committed herself to a niqab. Even though it has been only a few days since she has started donning the face veil, to me, as someone who has always wanted to wear one, this act shows how brave she is at being a Muslim. Myself, born a Muslim, have never had the courage to even go out with a niqab, even when I tried wearing it a couple of times in the secrecy of my own bedroom. This is what I find inspiring about Hawa. When I asked her what gave her that courage to go out with her niqab, she simply answered, “Fear of Allah.”
This is what I find inspiring about her; that Allah is always kept in her heart and mind, in whatever she does, in her life choices, and everything else.
I hope she will continue to inspire people, anyone that she meets, regardless of their religion. I hope that she will always be courageous in her pursuit of getting closer to Him. As Muslims, we need only to be courageous, and to think of Allah, and He will pave the way for us as He is always there, watching over us. So, have courage, fear not, for Allah has promised us in the Quran that, “Verily with every hardship comes ease.”