My name is Jameela, I’m Nigerian but was raised in the UK and I’m thirty I was raised a Christian and I was looking for direction. Religion to me are just for like someone is telling you what to do. And for me as long as I pray to God that all what matters.
And then I did get into a stage where I just felt like I wanted more; it felt like I wasn’t connected as much as I should have been connected and to me Christianity was not giving me that anymore and the only thing I can think about was what else can I turn to and also my sister gave me books to read. So I found Islam at age of 19.
The Turning Point
What attracted me to Islam is the discipline. The five times a day of prayer are an opportunity to turn to your Lord. After that, I tried to read more about the religion and I need that discipline… I just need discipline and I think that was the way forward for me.
There are certain things in Christianity that I would not believe anymore like Jesus is son of God…
When I first became a Muslim I didn’t know anything about Islam, fortunately, some sisters helped me and embraced me.
I wasn’t ready to cover up because I was hesitating and saying “maybe not now” “maybe it’s not the time” “let me first perfect this..”. People think that we’re oppressed but hijab gives you respect for you as a woman from the people who deal with you. And even the way I try to do things, I remind myself… “remember Jameela, you can’t go to this place” for example.
People who know me would say: “Oh, I guess you’ve changed a lot” in terms how I deal with things, in terms of how I deal with people.
The more I pray the more I turn to the Lord, the more I just try to understand how beneficial the religion is.
In the Quran, for example, for every struggle you’re going through, there is something in there that relates to it, if you open your heart to relate to it.
I’ve read the Quran so many times and in time I’ve been reading I just skip it because I didn’t want it to reply to me; but you find that the more you come to the religion, the more you go back and realize the reply to my life.
What’s the benefits for me is that whenever something happens now, I’m able to turn to Allah, I pray and I feel better. And I have been in situations where it seems like there is no way to turn, I didn’t know what I’m going to do… but instead of mourning as I’d do usually, I’ll go and pray and Subhan Allah, the way things turn around, even I’m short… and even my friends ask how did that happened? But I’m doing something right here…
Don’t block yourself. Just take one step… because we’re all in this journey. it’s just one step you have to take.