Sep 4 2021
Christian woman converts to Islam at Imam Reza (AS) Holy Shrine
Imam Reza’s holy shrine located in the Iranian city of Mashhad has always been a venue for newly converted Muslims to express their faith in Islam. Astan News has taken a look at the life of a Christian lady from Peru who has recently converted to the religion of Islam.
To Sheila Margass from Peru, conversion to Islam has not been an accident, but a choice. Now, a new experience has made her even more resolute in her quest for Islam.
After her conversion to Islam, Sheila has paid a visit to Iran’s city of Mashhad, which is home to the shrine of one of the most revered figures in Islam, especially among Iranians, Imam Reza, who is the eighth Imam in Shia Islam.
The newly converted Muslim says her journey to Mashhad has increased her faith in her new religion.
“At this sacred place, wishes are closer to fulfilment, and I can feel the presence of God here,” said Sheila, while addressing a meeting themed with challenges facing Muslim converts in the West.
Attended by students from Australia, the meeting was hosted by Astan Quds Razavi’s Department of Non-Iranian Pilgrims located at Imam Reza’s holy shrine.
“I prayed for all my family members, relatives and friends during my visit to the holy Shrine of Imam Reza. I felt a deep and unexplainable sense of spirituality,” stated Sheila.
She said people in Mashhad are so welcoming toward Muslim converts. “When the staff of Imam Reza’s Shrine found out that I had converted to Islam, they welcomed me with open arms,” she said. “It is very interesting for me to see waves of pilgrims flock to Imam Reza’s shrine and whisper their wishes to the eighth Shia Imam.”
Sheila also highlighted the sufferings she and her fellow Muslim converts in the West go through. “Islam has changed my lifestyle. After I became Muslim, I showed up in public places wearing hijab based on Islamic dress code. Since hijab clearly defines my religion, I receive mixed reactions from people around me, and sometimes, people’s comments put me under pressure. But thank God, I managed to overcome the problems,” said the Peruvian Muslim.
Sheila said that halal meat is hardly available in the West, and that has led her to resort to a vegetarian diet. “Shops sell meats that are not allowed in Islam such as pork meat,” she remarked.
However, there was even a bigger challenge Sheila had to face. “It was my family’s opposition to my conversion to Islam, especially my mother who is a radical Catholic,” explained Sheila.
“My mom refused to come with me when I asked her to see inside a mosque,” Sheila recalled. Sheila’s mother has got along with her daughter’s case, but still, she hopes that Sheila will once return to Christianity. “This will never happen,” asserted Sheila.