My name is Naseem Abdur Rahman. I was born in Australia.
I have an Australian origin with European parents.
I got married about one month after becoming a Muslim, Alhamdulellah. I got married to a very good practicing Lebanese girl.
Basically it’s a long beginning. I had a Christian upbringing basically but I was not a practicing Christian. My parents used to consider themselves Christians but we used to go to church once a year for Christmas for about half an hour! And by the time I was 10 years old, I felt odd to consider myself to be Christian.
But from a young age, probably from 14 or 15 years old, I started to seek answers for things. I was very, what I consider, a spiritual person, always realizing from that time 15 or 16 years old that there is something more in this life, there is a point in this life. And subhanallah I read books on everything. On seeking knowledge when it comes to religion and spirituality, I read books on Hinduism, Buddhism, and many other books. And all that time I never came across Islam. I never met a Muslim.
First Muslim Contacts
The first time I had any contact with Islam was through a brother who is a friend of mine. He was a Muslim but wasn’t a practicing Muslim at that time. He was a Muslim by name as He was born Muslim. But he didn’t fast, or pray. He didn’t do anything like that. But he talked to people about Islam. So that was the first time I had any contact with Islam. And from his talk about a few basic things of Islam, I started to want to look into it. I started to want to learn about Islam.
So it was basically a long period, about a year, that I started to look into Islam and read about Islam. And from the early access as soon as I started reading about it, my heart was attracted to Islam and I was very eager to become a Muslim and learning more about Islam. But there were so many misconceptions in my head about the religion that I had which hadn’t been clarified because again I didn’t know any practicing Muslims.
And then one time I went into a shop and there was an Australian brother whom I didn’t know he was a Muslim. These other brothers came in and he said Assalamu`alaikum to them and I said Assalamu`alaikum back to him. He asked me if I was a Muslim. I said “No.” and he said “You have to come to the Islamic center in Melbourne”. I’m from Perth originally but I have been in Melbourne for the last two years now. He invited me to come to this centre and listen to a lecture and I was afraid. I didn’t want to go. It was like Satan is holding me back!
But he didn’t give me a chance. He said “Brother, I’m going to come and pick you up at 8:00 O’clock and you are going with me. I’m going to pick you up and I’m not going to give you a chance. I’ll see you 8:00 O’clock.” And he came at 8:00 O’clock and knocked on my door, and so I couldn’t really say no then and so I went to this center. And for the first time in my life I met some practicing Muslims. I felt the brotherhood that Muslims have and basically prayed my first Salah at al-Maghrib (sunset) time, and I didn’t hesitate at all. I said my shahadah and I became a Muslim.
I was never a bad person to anybody else before I became a Muslim but I was a bad person to myself because I left school and started going out and started taking drugs and most of other bad things. So I never harmed anyone else, but I was rather harming myself.
So my parents once they saw me become a Muslim they were happy and impressed because my life completely changed since I became a Muslim. They saw how much of a better person I have become. They were happy on that respect, but they were still worried about the misconceptions they had about Islam as they were severely brainwashed about what they saw on television.
So anytime I start talking about Islam they say something to me like “You see how Muslims do this here and that there.” And actually I then was clarifying such things to them and show them that this was not the case with Islam. I was slightly giving them Dawah without pushing them, but by just talking about Islam. As soon as I talk about Islam, they feel uncomfortable and say “It’s good you are a Muslim but don’t try to convert us! We don’t want to know about it. It’s for you and it’s your path. That’s it. You don’t need to talk to people about it” So alhamdulellah they are still accepting me. I respected them before, but even more now. The next thing to worshipping Allah Almighty is being good to your parents. So alhamdulellah our relationship has improved.
I have two brothers. One of my brothers is more accepting of my conversion than the other one. One of them likes it when I talk about Islam, but he still got his opinions, but he is a lot more open-minded. My other brother however is very close-minded! He still got troubles dealing with the fact that I as an Australian have become a Muslim. He is locked and says “I can’t believe you have become a Muslim.” He still feels bitter about it because of what he was conditioned to see on television.
He also had the chance to travel to Egypt and some other countries and as far as he was concerned he said “I saw things there. People do this and that”. He really has got bad opinion of Muslims in general from those things that he saw there. I tried to explain to him that they call themselves Muslims but you get to distinguish Islam from the actions of those people.
But unfortunately he is still very close-minded. He is not very accepting. For example, he works in building concrete slabs for houses and I worked with him before I became a Muslim. And when I came back to Perth, he said “Come and work with me” I said “OK, but at lunch time I have to pray my Salat.”
He was OK with that but when I said “And on Fridays I have to leave for an hour or an hour and half to pray Jumuaa.” He said “No”. He despisedly said “You can’t go.” I was very disappointed and told him “I’d like to work with you but unless I go to Jumuaa I can’t work with you.”
And he said to me “I don’t understand why you have to go to Jumuaa. This is an Australian country. It’s not a Muslim country. You have to have a balance. If you are living here it’s not like some countries else.” And I replied “Yes, I may be living in Australia but it’s compulsory to me to go to Jumuaa”.