I Followed the Call of My Heart

Each human being also is born as a Muslim and his parents choose for him religion and teach him their own tradition and customs.

I came from strong polish Catholic family. We were going to the church every Sunday and celebrating holidays together. Since I remember, I joined the prayers mostly as an obligation than a call of my heart. Even though I didn’t ask any questions or search for something deeper. It was enough, I believed, I had some basic knowledge, I had good relation with my family and I enjoyed the life. I was a happy 25 years old girl.

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Then I left my home country and moved to Connecticut, USA. Here, for the first time I heard about Islam. It was year 2001 and I was working between Muslim people. We started talking about our religious backgrounds and I was surprised that in Islam I could find things which I already knew—about creation, prophets or even Mary and the birth of Jesus.

I really enjoyed all those conversations. At the beginning I tried to convince them that my religion is better, but soon I realized that I cannot find any more arguments. I needed knowledge so as to find the truth, so I read a lot about comparing both religions.

At the beginning I was really scared and confused. I didn’t know where I belonged: I gave up my old practices/prayers including attending church and I couldn’t find myself in Islam yet. I was stuck. I would like to pray and I didn’t know how. My friend told me: clear your heart and ask God in your own words for directions and to show you the truth.

And Allah gave me the answer. I had a dream in which I heard the most important words in Islam—la ilaha illa Allah (there’s no God but one) At this time I didn’t know the exact meaning of those words and when I found out that there is no god but Allah I knew that I was going in good direction.

It took me one year to say shahadah (Testimony of Faith) because it was hard to accept or understand some of the Islamic rules, especially hijab. I was looking forward to changing my life, but I was afraid of my parents and other peoples’ reactions.

Besides I felt like I didn’t have enough knowledge and I would like to prepare myself to be a Muslim. So, I learnt how to pray and say the most important words in Arabic, I was fasting and I kept reading to know as much as possible.

Practically I was already Muslim, I just needed to say: “Ashhadu anna la ilaha illa Allah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan Rasu-lul Allah”. And I did alhamdulillah. I chose 25th of Ramadan—December 2002—to clear my past in front of Allah and pray as a Muslim in the holy night Laylat Al-Qadr (The Night of Power). From this time I was born again and Ramadan became the month of changes. One year later I started wearing hijab, alhamdulillah.

Being in a different country, far away from my family I was able to be responsible for my own future and to search for the meaning of life in my own way. For my parents it was kind of a shock, as their only little, loving daughter was looking for something strange, difficult to understand.

When I started reading about Islam I was so excited that I would like to share with my parents everything I experienced. Unfortunately it was a big mistake. For them Islam was something wrong, dangerous and disrespectful for human beings.

Even I tried to show them positive aspects about Islam, they didn’t listen. They just paid attention to the media. They thought I was in a sect and somebody was washing my brain. The more I was talking the more trouble I was getting into. I don’t remember how many phone calls I made to convince them that I was right, that I could be able to choose my own way no matter what other people think. It was so painful. We were arguing, crying, saying sorry and arguing again.

It was hard especially for my Mom. She told me that I’m hurting her so much, that I’m putting a knife to her heart and I’m turning my back to all what she taught me and what I sucked from her milk. Then, two weeks after my conversion, my father came to the USA because he wanted to change me but he didn’t know that I’m Muslim already. After so many arguments I decided to keep quiet and when I gain some knowledge and experience I shall show them the truth.

It was really a difficult time for me. I wasn’t able to pray without hiding, my father took me to the church to talk with a priest. Subhan Allah, they couldn’t answer any of my questions, they said that even you don’t need to understand anything, you just need to believe. He even moved me to a different state so I would be far away from my Muslim friends.

A couple times I was thinking to give up and stop hurting my parents and do what they expect me to do, but then I remembered the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions after all the pain and insults they had to go through to survive and bring Islam to us, my problems became not important.

Marriage and Son

Alhamdulillah, I survived also. I came back to Connecticut and in March 2003 I married one of my Muslim friends from Morocco. My husband gave me guidance and knowledge about Islam. He showed me different ways of worshiping Allah.

We prayed together, made dhikr (remembrance of Allah), read different hadiths and Quran. Day by day my faith grew as a beautiful flower and fulfilled all my heart. I realized how much I lost in my life before when I didn’t know this feeling. I became calm, more patient, every single minute I keep watching and wondering about Allah’s creation. Although the situation with my parents got worse, I could find peace and support in Islam. I was asking Allah that maybe one day they will understand and accept my decision.

Time goes by and I enjoyed being a Muslim. I started to taste life; my face was always lit up with a smile. Everything around seemed to be beautiful and easy. I felt like somebody added wings for me so I could fly and I had so much energy. At this time I met a lot of Muslims who gave me pieces of advice and showed what Islam is really about in every aspect of life—especially sisters who widely opened their door and hearts for me. I was touched so deeply by their discipline, respect, warm and open heart. Even when you meet them for the first time you feel like you know them for ages, you belong to them and you are important. This is a beauty of Islam and I’m asking Allah that everybody could taste it.

In October 2004 Allah gave me a wonderful gift—a child; boy named Muhammad Karim. This miracle of life opened the door to a better relationship with my parents. Alhamdulillah, they realized that I’m happy, I have a good husband and I really enjoy life in my way—nobody is pushing me to the decision I made.

We broke the ice and started talking honestly about feelings and changes in our life. I found out how hard it was for my parents to accept the new me. They thought they lost me and they needed to discover me again. For them everything was Arabic or Islamic—their daughter’s dress, their grandson’s name, so where is the space for their traditions and religious celebrations?

I try my best to show them that I’m still their little girl, I love them so much and if I change, I change to be a better person. I talk to them very often and send pictures—even those which they didn’t like so much—with a scarf, so they will be part of our life and feel informed about everything. Alhamdulillah they accepted all my family and me as Muslims, although, in their heart, they are still praying for me to come back to my old path.

Alhamdulillah, Allah chose for me to be a Muslim. I’m so happy with all my decisions that I will never go back. May Allah protect me from going astray and stay strong on His path.

Everyday I try my best to be a good slave of Allah and build up my faith. I keep worshiping Him, following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and educating myself about Islam.

Recently I started learning reading Quran in Arabic, alhamdulillah. Like every human being I have ups and downs, I struggle with the whispering of Satan and the weakness of my soul.

This is my jihad which helps me to improve myself and remind me where I came from and where I’m going to.