Dec 20 2021
I believe I was always a Muslim Written by Sister Janaan Da’wah (part 3)
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful
I met a Shi’a Muslim Sister, a friend
After several months I realized I needed to begin to speak with other Muslims I wanted to reach out to the community to the ummah but I felt shy. Din was full of advice on these matters and he mentioned a forum on the Internet called shiachat. For the first few weeks I stayed silent but I finally had the courage to post and once I started, I kept on posting. It was a great way to talk about Islam and life with other Muslims and for me mainly the sisters. I then posted my conversion story and to my delight I received so many replies and welcomes to Islam. I felt so thrilled to be accepted it was a great comfort. A big warm hug.
This one shi’a sister lived only an hour from me and she wanted to meet me and take me to Friday Jumah prayer. We sent several long emails before we got together. I met not only her (who I will refer to as Q) but I also met her Mum and her sister. Q was very welcoming and caring she hugged me and handed me a gift, a hijab. We then went to an Islamic shop where I purchased some clothes that I then wore to Friday Jumah prayer at the Masjid she attends. The day was momentous for me and I felt welcomed into the Masjid by all the sisters. I prayed for the first time with others and I felt so good inside.
Q adjusted my hijab and assured me I looked fine. We agreed that we would become great friends that we can foresee a good connection. We further agreed that Allah (swt) had chosen for us to meet and that together we will learn more about Islam and we will support each other Maa shaa Allah. Allah (swt) knows best. Q expresses her feelings in an email to me after we first meet she writes “Janaan the second I saw you smile I knew you were one of those people who have big hearts and the ability to change someones day with a simple smile. I’m sure many people have told you this, but youre beautiful and you have a radiant personality that shines through.”? This was the nicest compliment I had ever received as I knew her words were sincere and that she could see who I was inside. I cried upon reading this. I feel blessed to know her, she is my sister, she is my friend.
The conflicts of being a female converted Muslim in a very western culture. It became clear very soon into my study of Islam that most around me were not comfortable with it. Some even accusing me of loosing my mind?? There was a lot going on in my life with the separation to my husband and my interest in Islam and my family was confused by my actions. The fact that I was embracing Islam with my heart and soul was a shock for everyone around me. A religion they knew very little about and were partly influenced by what they hear in the media as I was before taking the steps to learn the truth. It’s very trying to be experiencing such an altering of oneself a reawakening of your soul and a focus on your spirituality and not be able to have your close friends and family to share it with.
They were listening but not really understanding so it was frustrating for me and still is at times. I know that my family will always love me no matter what and I know they will never abandon me. So many in my circle of friends and family thought they knew me well but didn’t as they said things like “Well you were an €˜atheist’ now you love God?”? … “Atheist??”? I replied. “When have I ever stated that??”? I’m a fairly private person when it comes to my spiritual side, I do not divulge a lot of my intimates to others. They assumed because I did not practice a religion that I did not believe in God. I also never really told any of them (nor had they ever asked) whether I believed in God so I can see why they assumed but they assumed wrong.
I’m sure if any of my family/friend’s circle read this memoir of conversion they will be surprised but I hope it gives them some idea of where I’m coming from and where I want to go. I am Muslim for me not for anyone else.
People are confused to see that I want to wear hijab. Why would I cover my long hair and cover my body that was normally showing to the world? They don’t understand and most see it as oppression rather then how I see it as liberation. The changes to my wardrobe were dramatically different but I did not have to think long and hard about it. I understood it when I read the virtues of modesty practiced within Islam and so to dress modest was a must for me and it was part of my submission to the will of Allah (swt). Modest dress is a great virtue to help establish the proper workings of a society under Islam. To those non-Muslims that say but why would you hide your body like that you have no reason to hide it. I tell them my body will be for the Muslim man that I choose to marry if I choose to re-marry again and for only him. Does this not make it more special? It does, in my opinion. I have nothing to prove I struggle to be seen for who I really am.
As a convert I have taken it upon myself to study Islam as many hours as I can. I know that as a convert I will be asked (and have been) many questions from non-Muslims and Muslims as to my intentions and my understandings of Islam. The more knowledge I build the more power I will have for friendly debate. I want to make for a good representative of Islam and of Shi’a Muslims as I am obligated.
It’s a comfort that I have a handful of very understanding friends. I have a few friends that live near by I have one in the US and a very close friend who lives in England. They have all shown me respect in my choice to become Muslim and they have done their best to try to understand what I’m going through. My US friend is Catholic and we have had some great conversations comparing our religions and our love for God. My British friend and I connect on a spiritual level, she is very understanding and compassionate.
I think my family is afraid that I will change, that I will not be the same person. They are wrong however as I am the person I was meant to be since I was a child. I had temporarily stepped off my path but I am now back on it and I will continue along this path to the end. My parents will eventually understand my quest and they will respect it. I know this because of their understanding nature and love for me. I respect my parents and I am grateful for all they have ever given me and that they continue to give me.
I now find patience with those that do not understand my choices as Allah (swt) has given me the strength to do so.
All my life I felt a €˜building towards something’ feeling inside me. This feeling was there from a very early age. Maybe it’s the same feeling that one has when you question at some point why you’re here? Is there more to life? I have always felt that I was building towards something important. Every momentous event that would come up in my life I would wonder if it was the event that would help clarify this feeling of building towards something big. It was always there in the back of my mind and it always had me wondering. I would often have this strange day-ja-vous effect when something significant happened in my life. For only a few seconds I felt I was in a dream like state then in my minds eye I see a path in front
of me, and it forks off into different directions, I choose one. This strange day-ja-vous or this visual in my mind of pathways happened to me several times in my life and it would always signify my life would be taking a different direction. It happened at momentous events such as my first job, boyfriend, my artwork, the birth of my sons, my marriage. Just before the separation to my husband and the discovery of Islam I had another ˜pathway visual’ so I prepared myself. It was yet another sign.
One more sign. I prayed to Allah (swt) to show me another sign to please show me that I am meant not only to be true to Islam to be a Muslim but also to spread my story of conversion to tell others about Islam and its truths. Is this something I am meant to do? The next day I was asked if I would be interested in submitting this memoir to AIM. Question answered.
To convert, to be a Muslim and to try to enlighten others with my conversion to Islam, is my path.
I wake up automatically in the morning around 3:30, 4:00 a.m and do you know what I hear in my head? I hear call to prayer and it’s beautiful.
I am a Shi’a Muslim and I am so proud to tell you this fact. Allah (swt) most Beneficent, the most Merciful, has led me to him and I surrendered.