I have always been a fearful person, even when I was young. Maybe because instilling fear was the way my parents tried to educate me and tried to make me obey the rules.
I was afraid of the dark, of ghosts, of the corner behind the cupboard that was not in my sight. And I was afraid of strangers because my mom always told me that they might take me away or give me poisonous candy. I was afraid of my teachers and later of my boss.
My initial childhood fear developed into a fear that restricted my life and my quality of life. I was afraid to lose my job. I always worried that I will not have enough to eat. And I worried about being poor during old age when I was 25.
I was afraid to go jogging by myself because somebody might rob or rape me or I might fall and nobody is there to help me.
Fear controlled me. When my fear became extremely bad, I did not even want to leave my home. But even inside I was afraid. I knew I had a problem but I did not know what to do. The problem culminated when my grandmother died. After her death, I started to have panic attacks and was afraid of dying myself.
Traveling in Search of Healing
I went to see a psychologist but that did not help. She just wanted to put me on medication to calm me down and reduce my fear. It was my best friend who was there for me and she came up with a crazy suggestion, at least that is what I thought at that time.
So she invited me to go on a vacation with her. She has always liked traveling and was always in search for something. She invited me to come with her to Morocco.
I was afraid to go but she assured me that she would never leave me alone. After long discussions and in the hope of changing my miserable situation, I agreed to join her.
The Call for Prayer
Morocco is really a special country and I felt the colors, smells and sounds slowly washing away the upper layer of my deep reaching fear. We walked through the streets and through the markets. We sat in little café drinking tea and just observing life.
However, the call for prayer was the most beautiful part of this journey. Every time I would hear it, I would feel a lot of peace in my heart. I did not understand the words but the sound went straight into my heart and for these few moments, I forgot my fears.
One day, we were very near to an entrance to a mosque when the call for prayer was sung. I stood still and closed my eyes. When it was over and I opened my eyes, a lady with a headscarf stood before me and tried to take my hand.
I became afraid and all my fears were there again. She just smiled at me and in broken English, she invited me to come with her inside the mosque. I looked at my friend. We did not know how to react but the lady insisted. So, we followed her.
I Wanted to Catch the Peace
Inside the mosque, the lady offered us to sit and observe the prayer. We listened to the imam reciting the holy verses and waves and waves of peace just washed over my fearful heart.
Tears flowed from my eyes. I wanted to catch the peace, to keep it. I was afraid the peace will leave me and I will be there again with all my fears.
After the prayer was over, the lady invited us to her house for dinner. Again, I was afraid. What if she offered us poisonous food and wanted to take all of our money?
The fear was so ingrained in me. But my friend pushed me. She was excited to get to know the real local culture. She tried to assure me that everything will be fine.
Learning About Allah
The Moroccan lady prepared food for us. She noticed my hesitation to eat and asked me what was wrong. I did not want to be rude and replied that everything was ok.
However, she did not seem to believe me and looked at my friend. My friend tried to explain to her the problem and told her that I have a bit of an issue with fear.
The lady smiled and started talking about God. She said that God can take away all fear. She said we do not need to be afraid because God is in control, just leave our affairs to Him. So she went on to talk about our Creator and her words changed something in my heart.
I Did Not Want This Fear Anymore
It was during my holiday in Morocco that I decided in my heart that I wanted God in my life. I started learning about Islam. Especially the comprehensive understanding of monotheism became my main focus. The more I learned about Allah, the less fear I felt.
One day I felt that I needed to express my gratitude to God. I wanted to submit to Him entirely. Alhamdulillah, I said the shahadah.
Since then my anxieties and fears are decreasing with every day. I know that nothing bad will happen to me if God does not want it to happen. And every good thing that happens to me is because of Him. This realization removed a heavy burden from me.
I understood that we are in this world for a reason. I learned that He is taking care of me. He provides for me because Allah is Ar-Razzaq. Having Allah in my life changed my life completely.
This is Suzanna’s story. She converted to Islam in the UK three years ago.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive)