Where did it all begin? many times the first question people ask me after finding out im a revert to Islam is, ‘how did you become Muslim?’ followed by, ‘did you revert after or before marriage?’ then there is always an array of other questions that amazes me how people never seem to feel shy to ask so many personal questions and don’t find it intrusive when I’m just trying to buy a toaster!
My story of how I became a Muslim is fairly basic, I was born from a christian mother and a pretty out spoken atheist father who occasionally says that he prays to God, go figure!
We attended church as children and went to the best private schools money could buy but all through my childhood my Mother was consumed in her work that she never seemed to have much time to pay attention to me or my brother. I have written a little about my early childhood years on my other blog My Childood Abuse-Part 1
My cousin who I had become close to and confided in about my life at home was diagnosed with colon cancer and died 18 months later, followed by my great grandmother who was a huge emotional support to me and a mother figure. between these two deaths and immediately after I had some very close friends die through murder and drug overdoses my mother had kicked me out multiple times, told the police she didn’t want me returned and I had lived on the streets eating from the garbage and sleeping at the train station.
I had spoken to a friend of mine before my grandmother passed about the death of my cousin and what really happens to us, do maggots just eat our rotting flesh? she spoke with me about Jennah and Jahenem ( heaven and hell) and explained to me some verses of the Quran that Allah mentions the reward and punishment of both. I asked her how she knew all of these things and she handed me an English translation of the Quran.
I had taken the book home to my mothers house, she was not thrilled at my interest in Islam and that most of the people I had become close to was Muslim. My mother and brother would make rude remarks about my ‘Arab woman raping friends’ etc.
I read the Quran a few times but became busy with problems at home and depressed from the death of some of my friends. My mother had decided I was too difficult of a child and got a Dr to prescribe me anti depressants and an anti schizophrenic medicine that isn’t meant to be prescribed to children under 18… go figure that out!!!
I was labelled everything by my mother but medically cleared from every medical and pediatric professional, yet she tried to court order medication on me, oh yes, my mother is a barrister of the supreme court.
During this time I had felt abandoned from my mothers love and was crying on my bed looking out the window from the 11th floor watching the blue sky without a cloud. I cried so much and prayed, I prayed my heart out and said , ‘God, I don’t know what I’m meant to call you or how to say this to you but I believe you created me and you know what is in my heart, my mother hates me and it hurts me, please put love in her heart toward me and if she hates me and even if she continues to do so, even if the whole world will hate me at least make me be a person pleasing to You and who You LOVE. I cried until I fell asleep.
Days later I had a dream that woke me 2 hours before school time, I ran to my friends house and banged on the door until her disorientated mother opened it. Worry filled her face as she embraced me asking if I was ok, ‘yes, yes I shouted, where is Alista? My friend came running out and I sat down with them, ‘I have to tell you my dream that I had, I don’t know what it means but I have to tell you ‘
My friend and her mother sitting down, I grasp my dress and fiddle with the threads, ‘ I was in a place, a big place like a desert but there was a wall made from dirt so I walked towards it to see if anyone was there. As I got closer I could hear a man reciting something I saw he was wearing alot of white clothing wrapped around his head and body. I felt ashamed to disturb him, but I felt a deep need to go toward him.’ As I speak I see their faces are motionless and their eyes opened like saucepans, I continued… ‘ I got closer and closer not knowing what to say when suddenly the man got up from his place on the desert floor and turned the book he was reading from toward me slightly.
I walked toward the book, I sat down and started to recite from it just as he was. After some time of reading he walked away and left me there reciting.’
My friends mother asked me ,’ What did you recite?’ I told her it was another language like nothing I had seen or heard before. She hurried to her bookshelf to get the Arabic version of the Quran, opening she asks me,’ did it look like this?’
upon seeing the Arabic letters joy filled my body as I told her it looked the same. She asked me to try and write down what I had seen in my dream so we can try to find it in the book.
I couldn’t remember the letters clear enough to write but I scribbled down whatever I could remember as I hadn’t ever seen Arabic before but in that one dream.
( I wrote the first verse and parts of the second verse)
Is what i wrote, my friends mother turned to a surrah in the Quran and started to recite it to me, I told her, ‘ that is what I was reading’
She told me that this is a very important chapter in the Quran and explained some things to me that at the time I didn’t understand at all, after all I was only 12 years old.
I was still confused why I had seen this in my dream and asked about what the Quran was and if it was like the bible but just called a different name etc my curiosity had taken over. My friend and her mother started to read verses to me in English and Arabic. When they got to surrah Muhammed vs 2 ‘ But those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and believe in that which is sent down to Muhammad ( ), for it is the truth from their Lord, He will expiate from them their sins, and will make good their state.’ I started to cry and prostrated myself to the floor as muslims do when they pray.
I couldn’t move my body from that position I just felt overtaken and relaxed at the same time. My friends mother asked me when I finally got myself back up to sitting why I had done that, I told her that I just felt over taken and did it and felt submission to what I had heard. I told her this book I believe in what it says.
This was when my friend and her mother asked me if I accept Allah as my lord and Muhammed peace be upon Him as a prophet. I accepted, and that Jesus, peace be upon him is a prophet of Allah like all other prophets.
I made my testimony of faith لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا ٱلله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ ٱلله and embraced Islam at that moment. My mother did not accept my conversion which just made issues between us worse until she ultimately got rid of me for good months later.
I never regret the day I became Muslim even though it was followed by some of the hardest days of my life, I felt complete contentment with it and that I was doing the right thing.