I was a woman on a mission: ready to do anything to stop my fiancé from making the biggest mistake of his life. The nice secular Jewish boy my father always dreamt I would marry told me that he wanted to become Muslim. After my shock had somewhat subsided, I set out on a quest to prove to him that he had lost his mind; how could any normal, civilized person, raised in a good family, want to give up everything and convert to a religion most associated with terrorism and oppression of women?
Despite my countless hours of research, arguing, and crying to my fiancé and his Muslim friend who introduced the religion to him, my fiancé told me that his mind was made up. One Friday afternoon he looked at me and said, “I can’t deny this anymore, I have to become Muslim today.” Shortly after that, his friend came to our house and walked him through saying the shahada. I doubt there was ever a time in my life where I felt sicker to my stomach. I couldn’t look at him at all, and cried that night like never before.
About a month and half later I found myself in my kitchen – with the man who had now become my husband after the nikkah (Islamic wedding ceremony) that we had done only days after his conversion, and three of his friends, bearing witness that “There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” That is what happens when Allah wills, simply “Be, and it is.” I cannot explain what happened to me over that month except to say that Allah by his mercy answered my husband’s sincere prayers for me to be guided to Islam. Over the period of that month, after I stopped struggling and began to accept that I had no power to change my husband’s choice, I began to open my mind up to things that I had never even noticed. I would watch my husband pray every day and began to see the beauty of prostrating to your Lord with humility and complete conviction. I was almost becoming jealous; it was like he had this peace and certainty about him that I just could not find for myself.
Slowly I began to ask questions and actually listening to the answers. I looked to the Qur’an for its words of guidance and no longer to argue with it. One of the of the biggest factors that finally led for me to accept that the Islamic way of life is actually the truth from God was my own personal analysis of Islam’s view of the way society is meant to function. I began to understand that Islam is not only for the spiritual benefit of the individual, but it is for the overall benefit of society. All of life’s important questions about the purpose of life, the reason for human suffering, and the happenings after death all began to be answered in a way that just made perfect sense no matter how much I resisted. My mind became completely preoccupied with the analysis of life, religion, and Islam’s role. I analyzed and analyzed until I came to a point where I realized that why whole understanding of life had changed and there was no way I could force my mind to go back to the darkness in which it once was. Although terrified, I knew that I had also come to this point of no return. If I chose to deny it I would be committing one of the greatest sins of all. I called my husband and told him that I would do it, I too would become Muslim.
I sat in my kitchen with my husband and three of his friends. My body was shaking because I knew that the next few words I would speak would change everything in my life and would create a whole array of obstacles that I would have to overcome. I can honestly say that the “inner peace” that many converts describe did not come for me right away. As a matter of fact, the first few weeks were absolutely terrifying as I somehow had to adjust to fit in prayer five times a day and figuring out how to make wudu in public restrooms into my schedule of a full day of work and school. I didn’t have a single female Muslim friend at this point. Alhamdulillah, through my hours of research trying to disprove Islam, I had come across the website for M.E.C.C.A. It became for me as well as for so many other converts, a place of safety, where I could learn about my deen while getting the open arm support that a new Muslim needs.
Slowly, especially through prayer, I began to understand what they had meant when they spoke about a feeling of inner peace. This did not mean that I no longer faced any problems, but I noticed that I began to approach life’s challenges with an understanding of how the world actually worked and with greater amount of patience. I now had a source of guidance and knew that I would never go through life alone. I had gained knowledge of my creator, His expectations of me, and a place where I can always look for guidance if I ever get lost. This can only come from Allah’s infinite mercy, since; I don’t think of us are truly deserving of this beautiful gift of guidance.
The day I am writing this is actually only one year after that day in my kitchen where shaking and scared I said the shahadah. The tests do come, especially from family’s lack of acceptance, but I pray every day that it will get easier. Despite the difficulties, I know that I made the right decision that day. The problems will pass through time, as all things do, and even if they don’t the reward will be worth it in this life and insha’Allah in the hereafter.