Dec 5 2022
When I became a Muslim, even though I had Islam, I heard bad things about the Shiites, which made me curious about the Shiites, who are a group of Muslims, and read more to understand this issue, so I first started reading about the Imams (a.s).
Once I had a strange dream, I felt that God wanted to guide me to the right path through this dream, that’s why I sought to learn more, and because I saw Shiism as a complete religion, I decided to become a Shiite.
Masoumeh Taheri-“Nicky Harman” is a woman from the Netherlands who was born in a rural family when she was no more than seven years old when her parents separated and she lived with her mother. According to her, her family was not inclined towards any religion or ritual when she got a little older because Curiosity about Islam and especially Shiism made her decide to study and research about the religion, which made her choose a different path for his life, and God helped her to learn about Islam through her friends. After converting to Islam, she changed her name to Fatima to seek help from Hazrat Fatima (s.a) in her life. She is now married to an Iranian man and has a son.
- You were not inclined to any religion, how did you become a Muslim?
I had a tendency towards Islam from a young age. I always sought to understand the truth. It is true that I grew up in a non-religious family, but I went to a Christian school and studied; Something that didn’t seem logical, but this caused a lot of questions to arise in my mind, so I was looking for the truth. They said very bad things about Islam, and this increased my curiosity about Islam and Muslims, why this religion is scary and dangerous. At that time, I was nine years old. In the Netherlands, most of the Muslims are Sunnis, that’s why I first got to know them through reading the Quran.
- How did you become interested in Shiism?
When I became a Muslim, even though I had Islam, I heard bad things about the Shiites, which made me curious about the Shiites, who are a group of Muslims, and read more to understand this issue, so I first started reading about the Imams. Once I had a strange dream, I felt that God wanted to guide me to the right path through this dream, that’s why I sought to learn more, and because I saw Shiism as a complete religion, I decided to become a Shiite. After that dream, which was about Imam Zaman (a.t.f.s), I didn’t know anything about him except his name, so a space was created for me to study and research about him. (a.t.f.s) was not enough and because I wanted to know more, I came to Iran to increase my knowledge and information about God and the religion of Islam. God also helped me to get information about Islam.
- How is your current relationship with your parents and family?
My family has accepted my conversion to Islam very easily and well, but due to the great distance with them, I can hardly see them or talk to them.
- What is the situation of Shiism in the Netherlands?
In the last few years, Shiites have held good programs and meetings in Holland, especially about Imam Hussain (peace be upon him), there is good knowledge and awareness, but still, large and active Salafi groups prevent the presence and development of Shiites and constantly threaten them.
- Are the Wahhabi actives in the Netherlands?
Very much. Unfortunately, there are many restrictions for Shiites in the West, but the Wahhabi sect, which is a misguided and wrong group, operates freely and without restrictions. The Salafis are working very hard in the Netherlands and Belgium. They have built many mosques and hold numerous meetings to attract the people of Belgium and the Netherlands to Wahhabism. While these conditions and freedom of work are very little for Shiites.
- As a young woman who was without hijab for many years and now you are covered, aren’t you sad that you are veiled and restrict yourself?
It was a bit difficult for me to wear hijab for the first time. People in the street told me that the hijab is bad and they forbade me, but thank God, when I became a Muslim, I convinced them by speaking that the hijab does not restrict me, but it makes me safe from harm and harassment in the street. Of course, many people in the Netherlands are afraid of the hijab and do not accept it.
- Have they ever treated you badly?
Yes, some people behaved rudely a few times, but after talking to them, they have completely changed their behavior towards me.
- What do you say to young girls who do not wearing hijab?
People like to see themselves in the mirror before they leave the house. But when we come out wearing hijab, we feel that God is pleased with our appearance. The pride of Shiites is that they are freed from the shackles of this world and are under God’s protection and security, that’s why God forgives our sins. God has placed Ahl al-Bayt and Imams (a.s) along with Hazrat Fatima Al-Zahra (s.a) to guide us and make us proud.
- What was the most beautiful thing you saw in Islam?
Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) are a perfect example of people from whom we can learn many things.
- Has anyone been introduced to Islam through you?
Alhamdulillah, my best friend, who was a Sunni for a long time, became a Shia.
- As a young Muslim woman, what is your advice to people who want to know Islam?
Ask God for help to guide them and show them the truth
- What is the best memory you have of being a Muslim?
When I started to learn and study about Shia, I felt uncomfortable and hesitant about what I believed. I asked God to guide me and show me the truth himself, until one night I had a dream about the Imam Zaman (a.s), which changed me a lot, although I couldn’t understand anything except his name, but I was very confused. With God’s help that night, I understood where and how to start and the way was clear for me.
- Do you have a memory that has remained in your mind since visiting Islam?
It was a dream that I had about Imam Zaman (a.s) in a dream that God gave me this chance and success to see and understand the truth with my own eyes.
- How do you communicate with your Iranian husband?
We speak English because I don’t know Farsi, but my husband explained to me about the culture and that in this way we can understand each other better and communicate much better, we are like other families.
- How do you describe Iran?
Iran is a country with a long history and beautiful arts, where different ethnic groups live a good life together.
- You went from a European and Christian lifestyle to an Iranian Islamic lifestyle; how did you see the differences and similarities between these two cultures?
Yes, there are many differences, but what impressed me the most and made me fall in love with living here is the kindness and warmth of the Iranian people. They are always ready to help others and do not neglect the situation. They respect the elders in the family and have good relations with each other, which is not seen in the European culture and lifestyle, and everyone is looking for their own interests.