I Accepted Islam and Islam Accepted Me

When you belong to the online world of Muslim converts, very often you will be exposed to “revert stories.” Muslims love a good revert story of how someone saw the light against all odds and accepted Islam. But if I’m honest, they all start to look a tad samey after a while, very seldom does a revert story make me sit up and really pay attention.

Yet this account from Sister Anna[1] is the first of its kind that I have heard in my years as a Muslim. This story shows that Islam is for everyone and everyone is loved by Allah. She has kindly allowed me to share it with you here.

Anna’s Story

I was convinced I was meant to be male, I had visions and fantasies about it. As a result, I started to feel more and more insecure about my body; the more the thoughts came the more I yearned for it. It was so intense that I was disgusted, even ashamed, of my body.

Being desperate to acknowledge my gender identity I changed my name legally to make it appear more gender neutral.

At the same time, I was experiencing growing doubts about the faith I had been raised in and started to research other religions in earnest, trying to find something that would ignite my weary soul.

I’m hoping to use my understanding of sexuality and gender identity issues to reach out to others and reassure them that they are loved and understood. And I’m eager to use my experience of looking into different faiths to help those who are confused.

I believe I’ve gone through almost every type of mindset a non-Muslim could have. Because of that, Allah has given me great insight and understanding.

A Brief Background

I left Catholicism at the age of 13 when I realized that I was attracted by other girls. I then got involved in the occult before gravitating towards Paganism, which I followed for about 6 years.

Yet, once again, I started to question what I believed in and was left feeling quite confused. I felt very lost, frustrated even, that after all the years of studying and searching, nothing really stuck or made sense. Nothing was clicking in my head or sticking to my soul.

It was during a time when I wasn’t following any religion in particular that I heard a discussion between my father and grandfather. An ignorant topic came up about Muslims and I began to defend Islam; I knew it was wrong to generalize people regardless of their religion, which is why I spoke up. They began to get mad so I played devil’s advocate just to spite them.

Later that night, after things settled down, I sat in my room and started to ponder upon what I had said. It was then that I realized: “I really don’t know anything about Islam…”

Thirst For Knowledge

Many days after that incident I was using Pinterest, idly scrolling through images, not really paying much attention. It happened that I came across a quote from the Quran. I don’t remember the details, only the emotion I felt. I clicked to read more and suddenly burst into tears. The best way of describing this feeling is that I felt ‘found’. I felt like I was never as abandoned as I thought I had been.

Hurt and Ashamed

When I began reading and collecting quotes from the Quran, I felt hurt and ashamed of myself. I had struggled with so many body, identity and sexuality issues when Allah had made me exactly how I was meant to be.

I started researching Islam and joining online groups for Islamic reverts to learn more. And I began to get a little obsessed with reading Islamic related topics. It was like food for my starving soul!

I couldn’t stop or contain myself with the love, desire and the devotion to be closer to my Lord. And I started to realize that everything in my life happened for a reason. What I went through and all the signs I saw were not mere coincidence. They were real and they were from Allah.

Read Also: I Found in Islam the Truth I Was Searching For

Could I Be a Muslim?

But there was a problem: I was trans and bisexual.

In my heart, I knew Allah could help me. In a prayer, I shyly asked Him to bring light to this matter. The next day my prayer was answered.

I came across a Muslim brother who helped me perform my Shahadah. It was such a beautiful day.

Afterwards he asked me if I had any questions. I said yes, I’m struggling with my gender identity, are there any answers to this? I got really nervous, I wasn’t sure how Muslims reacted to such a topic.

He then said, “I used to struggle too, but in another sense. I had feelings for men at one point. But I abstained from it and it got better. In life you go through tests and trials, at age 20, you may struggle with being gay but at age 45, you might struggle with something else. Know that life is a test from Allah.”

Inner Battle

I understood this and from that moment I decided to battle the desires I used to yearn for. I would hear whispers and provocative thoughts that I would be better as a male than as a female. But I decided that this wasn’t true.

Even though, deep down, I still really wished to be male I had to accept the reality of what Allah had offered me. Allah knows what’s best and what’s fitting for me. He wouldn’t make me female only for me to modify or change my gender.

Allah makes no mistakes. This was how I was.

Moving Forward

Through abstaining from sin, things are better. Sometimes I struggle but Allah rewards us for striving for His sake.

Satan tempts us to give in to our desires but Allah knows we are stronger. He knows we can change and adapt, we just need to trust Him first. My trust in Him has freed me from so much.

I never thought I’d ever get married but I am engaged to a very patient and kind man. He knows my background story and helped me through it.

I can’t ask for anything more, except to have children one day, inshaAllah.

I’m sure Allah made this story of hardship as a gift and as a mercy to those who need it.

If You Have the Same Struggle…

I asked Anna what advice she had for anyone struggling with similar issues.

“Don’t ever think that Allah would abandon you for one or two sins, or a thousand sins. He is always near and He knows your struggles. He knows you’re trying.

Just don’t give up hope.

Don’t give up on His All Encompassing Love and Mercy. He will help you as long as you put your trust in Him. And in all this, be patient. Allah is with those who are patient.”

________

[1] Not her real name

About Trudi Best
I'm a wife and mother living and working in Northern Ireland. I have a BA (Hons) in French Studies, my dissertation was on the banning of the hijab in France.

I converted to Islam in 2007 at the Islamic Society in Newcastle Upon Tyne while I was undertaking a post grad course in Education.