There was a day when the recitation of the Quran from the mosque was not that usual background noise anymore.
All of a sudden I felt an inclination towards the recitation. So, I wanted to hear more of it. I bought a CD to be able to listen to it whenever I wanted to.
At this time I have not yet embraced Islam.
Listening to Quran
It was the month of Ramadan and I could hear the recitation during the nightly Taraweeh prayer every night. I had lived close to a mosque for the last ten years. But the sounds coming from the mosque never affected me in any way. Although I had lived in a Muslim majority country, my husband was not a Muslim. And I worked in a Catholic-Christian university.
I continued listening to the recitation of Quran even after Ramadan was over. The Quran gave so much peace and contentment to my soul. Whenever I was free, I turned to listen to it. I did not understand a word but the words calmed down my mind. And I felt at peace. It was exactly what I needed to sooth my restless heart.
Alone with Allah
One quiet night, the urge to connect to this beautiful recitation of Quran became unbearably strong. I wanted to be part of the people who recite and listen to Quran. And I wanted to connect to the Being Whose words I had listened to over and over again. I wanted to feel that peace and contentment in every moment of my life. And I wanted the Quran to fill my life.
In the quietness of the night, Allah opened my heart to Him. I sat down on the floor. Alone. Alone with Allah. One on one with Allah. And recited my shahadah.
I did not tell anybody about my secret engagement, my secret relationship with Allah for two years. So, I kept it hidden from everybody. I was afraid that my new relationship with Allah would be spoiled and stained by other people’s words and judgements.
I wanted my relationship with Allah to grow, to become strong, to become so intense, so that no word, no ugly comment, no hurtful gesture could come between me and my Lord. So, I prayed secretly. I studied Quran secretly on the Internet. I learned about my new religion and my Lord through reading.
Strong Connection with Allah
After two years I felt that my connection to Allah was unshakeable. I felt extremely strong and full with His light. I decided to start learning about Islam with a religious teacher in an Islamic boarding school.
Every Saturday and Sunday I went to meet her and studied traditional religious books with her. I became a primary school student in Islam. I learned the very basics. How to obtain purity for prayer, how to face my Lord, the beautiful behavior towards my teacher and towards people in general.
Learning About Allah and Islam
I moved into the Islamic boarding school after my husband made a clear statement that he did not want to embrace Islam. I still tried to convince him and we even had counseling sessions but eventually I asked for a divorce because he did not want to accept Islam.
Living and learning in the Islamic school connected me with many other students of Islam. Many were much younger than me but what connected us all was our love and passion for Allah’s religion. All of us wanted to know more about Him and how to become more pleasing to Him. I learned to read Quran. I memorized parts of Quran. And every new word, every new knowledge brought me closer to my Lord.
Starting to Cover
It was also during my time in the Islamic boarding school when I started covering my head on a daily basis. Praise be to my Most Merciful Creator!
Even at my workplace, people accepted my decision, my new life and my new look. Allah opened their hearts and made them accept me just the way I am. Many people are interested in my story of how I came to Islam. It motivates them and makes them feel grateful to Allah, they tell me.
One of the most beautiful things in my life now is being able to attend congregational prayer and listen to the recitation of Quran while standing in prayer. It is during these moments that I feel the tremendous gift Allah has bestowed upon me and upon humanity in general. The Quran, I feel, is one of His greatest gifts to us.
(This article tells the story of Sara. She is originally from England. The author met Sara and talked with her about her conversion)