It was during my last two years of High School when I made friends with one of my classmates.
He usually sat by himself and did not talk much. I was similar. So, one day we started talking during lunch break. From that day, we usually spend our lunch break together.
One day in early fall, he would not join me eating but just sat down with me and watched me eating. It was kind of strange to me but I did not ask him at first. It continued like that for the next week. Then one day I finally asked him why he did not have lunch anymore.
Actually, I thought he did not have the money and wanted to help him out. But he declined my money and told me that he fasted. The same day he invited me home to have dinner together with his family.
Being a Guest
I remember that day until today. It was a beautiful time. His mother greeted me like I was her own son. I felt a bit awkward at first but then I just enjoyed the whole atmosphere.
Hasan’s grandmother and grandfather were also there. I remember me asking whether they often come to visit. Hasan’s mother just laughed and said that they all lived together. I could not believe it at first. I rarely used to see my grandparents although they lived only a two hour ride away from us.
Then Hasan’s mother called everybody to the dinner table. The table was full with delicious sweets and different dishes. I was given food first and Hasan’s father filled my cup with tea every time I finished it. That was so new to me. I felt really comfortable at my friend’s home.
Honestly, I did not want to go back to my home. At home, we never had dinner together. Everybody just grabbed something from the fridge whenever he felt hungry. We almost never had guests. And if I brought a friend home, my mother made sure that he left before dinner time.
Like a King
Hasan’s invitation to his home was not the last one. It became a beautiful ritual that once a week he would invite me over to have dinner with them. It was always the best day of my week.
And every time I visited them, they treated me like a king. And I started to question why there was such a huge difference between my family and Hasan’s.
At this time, Islam was not an issue in the news. So, I did not know that Hasan was Muslim. I always wondered why his mom would wear a colorful scarf on her head. But I only asked about this when I wanted to know why Hasan’s family was so kind and welcoming to me.
I Wanted Islam in My Life
So, one day I asked Hasan why his mom always covers her head. He explained it to me in a very calm and patient way. The next time I visited Hasan, I stayed a bit longer than usual. It was then that I saw the whole family praying together. That made me really think.
They did not only have dinner together but they also faced God together. And they treated me, their guest, in such a beautiful way. They made me feel like they truly cared about me. I wanted more of that in my life. I wanted to be like them.
I Became Muslim
The next day I met Hasan during lunch break. I asked him about the prayer and what I have to do to be like them. He was a little bit surprised about my questions but very happy.
After school we went to his home and waited until his dad came back home from work. Hasan told his dad that I wanted to become Muslim. His dad looked at me with surprise and happiness and then gave me a big hug. We sat down on a prayer mat and he instructed me to read the shahadah.
It is now more than twenty years that I have embraced Islam. I have moved away from my home town and have a family of my own.
Hasan’s family is still very dear to me. They showed me the beauty of Islam. They showed me the beautiful way of our Prophet Muhammad (may Allah shower peace on him) how to treat our guests. It was through their beautiful behavior towards me that I became interested in Islam.
The author told the story of Martin Ahmad. He embraced Islam over twenty years ago in Germany.
(From Discovering Islam archive)