I was born and raised in Malta as a Catholic. My parents, especially my mother, are devout believers. So I was baptized and I did my Holy Communion and Confirmation.
By then, I was very fond of Catholicism, there were no questions asked- I just took on whatever was fed to me. At the start of secondary school, nothing had changed. I went along believing what I was taught. But by the age of 13, I began to question things thinking:
“Is this it? Is Catholicism for me? Or is there something bigger and better?”
By the age of 16 I had stopped going to church. When we would have religion lessons at school, I became the girl full of questions and always got the same answers.
Why are there three Gods not one? And why can’t we read the Bible? Why do we acknowledge only Jesus but not the other prophets? And why did Jesus have to die for Humanity when Humanity commits worse sins?
And pretty much always, the answer was the same: “The answer is a mystery!”
Apart from the Bible question, then I was told that by reading the Bible it would confuse me even more. After some time, I realized why this would be the case. The Bible contradicts itself. It’s written by humans and their own feelings after having been through certain experiences, and it’s not God’s words.
There is a God
By the age of 16, I had stopped going to church and just believed that there is a God. At 18, my faith took a big blow- I found out that the priest we had at secondary school was accused of pedophilia.
The worst part of it all was that he was caught in the 80s, and instead of bringing him to justice the Maltese Bishop had sent him to Canada.
After he was caught once again for pedophilia in Canada, he escaped. And when he returned back, the bishop in Malta put him in a boy’s institution. That was the last straw for me.
I didn’t want to believe in a religion that didn’t condemn these things.
It was around that time my great-grandma passed away and I was angry. I unfortunately took it against God. I stopped believing in anything. Back then, my friends didn’t believe in anything either, so it was an easy thing to do.
Meeting a Muslim
When I was 19, I met my current husband. He was a Muslim but was not following his religion. We met at Havana. When we first started going out, we never broached the topic of religion. He knew I wasn’t a believer and I knew he wasn’t practicing his religion, so we just left it at that.
The only thing that we did agree on and talked about was that if we ever had children one day they would be brought up Muslim. We discussed that after just a week of dating! I was fine with it because it didn’t make any difference to me back then.
I had started to research other religions like Buddhism, which didn’t make sense as a religion to me. Buddha was a prince who gave all his money to the poor and was made a ‘god’ for that.
I also looked at Hinduism, a religion with over 200 gods. It was too confusing!
Then I looked into different forms of Christianity, but it was all pretty much covering the same ground I had learned about as a child.
Curious about Islam
Back then, I used to work for a confectionery chain, and I would often come across a Maltese lady, a regular who happened to be a Muslim.
One day, I plucked up the courage to speak to her. As soon as she left the shop, I stopped her and asked if she could help shed some light on this religion. I told her I just wanted to find out a bit more, the basics and what it consists of, and that I had no intention of becoming Muslim myself.
She smiled and gave me her mobile number and told me to come to the mosque in Paola that Thursday as there was women’s meeting. And that’s when my journey to Islam had begun. I attended the meeting and met a group of lovely ladies- all Maltese and all reverts.
I spent almost a year questioning everything. “Why do women have to wear the veil? Why are men allowed to have four wives? And why are we not allowed to eat pork? Who’s Muhammad? Why are Muslims so strict? What do Muslims believe in, Allah or Muhammad?”
And sure enough, I had all my answers, not from 73 books but from one book- the Quran. Everything I needed to know I could find in this one book.
They follow the life of Prophet Muhammad, it’s easy, there’s no mystery, no complications.
You do as God tells you and you will be rewarded, if not you will be punished. No matter if you’re rich, poor, an imam or anything else, in Islam everyone is equal.
I fell in love with Islam and I decided to become a Muslim.