When I was thirteen years old, my mom embraced Islam. It was strange.
You know, being thirteen, everything was new. My body changed, my moods changed, my outlook on life. When we enter puberty, we become a different person. And it was during that time of change, my mother decided to change her life as well.
It was not easy for me to accept her decision. Our diet changed. We ate less meat because halal meat was difficult to buy in the small town we lived in.
I did not like how people in the streets looked at my mom covering her head. And it was strange to eat alone when she fasted during Ramadan. She would listen to Quranic recitation while I listened to my music in my room.
However, as difficult as it was for me to accept her new way of life, she never forced Islam on me. My mom started praying but she never told me that I also have to pray.
My mom started wearing the headscarf but she never told me to wear it. It was much later that I understood that she followed the Islamic teaching that there is no compulsion in Islam.
Although I am her daughter and I was still quite young at that time, she respected the special circumstances of puberty I was in and did not push me. She just incorporated Islam in her life.
My Own Way
Her not pushing me had a positive effect on me. I became interested and curious about my mom’s new religion. I wanted to know about Islam. But I wanted to go my own way.
And I guess my mom knew me very well. She knew that I had to find Islam on my own. She knew how this stubborn young woman I was.
Later, after I joined her in accepting Islam, she told me how much she had made dua for me. How much she had begged Allah to turn my heart to Him. She told me that she had gotten up almost every night before the morning prayer and made special dua for me.
Wanting to Know More About Islam
After I finished high school, I started to study Arabic Language and Islamic Studies at the University. I wanted to know more about Islam and I figured that it was good to know Arabic. However, concerning the Islamic Studies I soon realized that it did not help me to understand Islam more. It was taught by non-Muslim academics.
I wanted to know about Allah. They could not tell me what I wanted to know about Him. Actually, I wanted to know what it would mean to accept Allah in my life.
So, I started reading books by Muslim authors and Islamic scholars from the past. Especially the writings by Imam Al-Ghazali struck me and eventually led me to embrace Islam.
Finally I Embraced Islam
More than ten years after my mom embraced Islam, I followed her. I did not tell her at first because I did not want her to think that I did it for her. So, I checked my heart again and again whether I converted to Islam to please my mom or whether I did it solely and purely for the sake of Allah.
I knew that I did not embrace Islam to please any human being. And I knew that I wanted to be part of that community that Allah calls the best in Quran. I wanted to change my life. And I wanted to have Allah in my life. I wanted to have the light of faith in my heart.
Sisters in Islam
When I finally told my mom that I had accepted Islam, she was extremely happy. She hugged me. She did not let me go for like ten minutes. I felt my tears running down my cheeks. And I felt a connection to my mom that I had never felt before.
We are now not only mom and daughter but we are connected as sisters in Islam. We are not only connected in this world but we will also be connected in the Hereafter, inshaAllah.
When my mom slowly loosened her hug, I saw that her cheeks were also wet with tears. We stood for a long moment. Holding our hands. Quiet. Then my mom said: “Assalamu Alaikum” and I answered her greeting and dua for eternal peace with:
“Wa Alaikum Salam”.
Eva is German convert who lives in Germany. She is now 35 years old. The author narrates her story.