I’m half Brazilian, half American, my mom is Brazilian my father is American. Then I grew up mostly in Brazil near San Pablo City, but when I was young, I spent a little bit of time living in the US.
My parents are not very religious, my father is actually not at all religious, but my mom’s family is Catholic. We would go sometimes to Catholic Church, sometimes to KU Medical Christian Churches.
It was one point in my life when I told myself that I actually would never follow any specific religion because I felt that sometimes it seemed like religions divide people more than bring them together.
Thinking about Religion
So it was when I went to Morocco that I became really interested in Islam. After that, it was this teacher actually that invited me to a program in Spain, that was happening that year, and it was there that I met sheikhs like Sheikh Yahya Rhodus and Sheikh Hamza Yusuf… It was really fun hearing their lessons that I was just like: “This is the truth. This is what I really haven’t ever heard.”
Fears of Conversion
And that’s when, in those three days, I really began thinking seriously about converting to Islam.
There was a huge conflict within me, because in my heart I knew this is the truth, I fully believe in this, but in my mind I had so many barriers to accepting Islam.
I was really afraid about the reaction of my family and friends, I was afraid that they would not understand, that, you know, they would question me all the stupid stereotypes about Islam in the media… people really don’t know, they have no idea.
But I was also afraid that Muslims would say that I’m not doing things right, because I really didn’t think I could do it! This is so beautiful, but I don’t think I can pray five times a day, I don’t think I could fast…
Family Respecting My Choice
Then I told my parents over the phone because I was in Morocco and I think they only really realized it when I went back to Brazil. Because I think that they might have felt like: “Oh, this is just a phase she’s going through.”
But actually my mom said something really beautiful. When I was talking to her, she said: “Well if Islam makes you feel closer to God, then I’m happy for you.”
Of course there are some things that are a little bit difficult for them to understand and that’s normal. I can’t expect them to relate and understand everything that I’m going through, because some things can be strange and really new for them.
But I feel like I’m the one that has to, kind of, relate to them because I understand a lot of their concerns, a lot of their fears, because I was in the same situation before.
Islam Made Me Better Person
One of the things that I was afraid of was that I would change completely, but I think that I’m still the same person as I always was.
I think that Islam has helped me undo the negative thought process, and unlearn some of the things that were just unnecessary or unimportant.
And I definitely think that Islam helped improve my relationship with my family.
I feel like my purpose in life is much clearer right now. Before I didn’t really have, I guess, the purpose in life.
It’s during moments of difficulty or trial that I would catch myself like running to God, and then in those moments, I would really realize I need this.
If you try to be the best person, you can be with everyone around you, because really Islam should make the relationships with other people improve.
Of course there are some hardships, there might be some tensions with people understanding, but ultimately your relationships with them should become better when you’re Muslim, because that’s what we’re asked for: to be the best we can be, especially to our families and talk to everyone around us.
My fears were much greater than they had to be, everything that I was really afraid about was really not such a huge concern afterwards.
You will still be yourself. The change will be natural, it should be a natural change that comes from within you, from your heart. And it’s a change that will bring you closer to God. Everything that you let go of are things that were just barriers between you and God before.