Converted to Shia Islam – Sister Um Ali


Written by Sister Um Ali

When I was 7 my cousin married a man from Saudi Arabia. He was muslim. My Christian family was not very practicing so I became very interested in the things he did and he answered many questions that i had. He went back to Saudi Arabia when I was 9. At age 10 my parents divorced and i went to live with my grandparents and started attending church regularly.

I had lots of questions because the things he said had stuck with me and i wanted to know why the Baptist church I now was attending believed and did things differently from him. But when I asked questions, I was labeled a bad seed and trouble maker. I was told I did not have faith and I needed to pray more. When I was 16, I went to work at a fast food place and met a guy who was from Iraq. He was a refugee. He had been here in the USA for less than a year. We would discuss many things, especially religion. We married 4 months later. And he was adamant that I study and if I wanted to become Muslim it would be for the right reasons and not because of him. While he was a good Muslim, he was not close to all of the things that make you a true Shia. So, I was kind of a Muslim in name only. A year after our marriage I had my son and a year later my daughter. I almost died giving birth to my daughter and when we returned home from the hospital, I decided to wear hijab. I was 19 years old then. I lived in a small southern town and at the time was the only hijabi. Now, 7 years later, there are 4 sisters who wear hijab. I wanted to raise my daughter the right way and I never wanted her to question hijab. I often wonder if I had had two sons would I have worn hijab back then or not… but alhamdulillah I am glad I was given the strength to wear it back then. I feel like I took shahada twice, once at age 17 and once at age 25. At 25, I was divorced and I took it very hard so i dived head first into studying my Islam more and to find out the things I did not know… My ex-husband never commemorated Moharram. He is deeply opposed to it. So, this year was the first time my kids and I could openly and freely practice our Islam. Sometimes I feel very ashamed at all the years I wasted as a Muslim. But inshallah I am learning now and teaching my kids and inshallah I will make up for lost time inshallah.