How did I become a Muslim?
I was born and grew up in a country with Roman Catholic as the dominant religion. Muslims are minority around 10% of the total population and most of them are living in the southern part of the country. I was raised in the North.
I remember when I was in the primary school, I only encountered the word Islam and Muslim in my History subject, and to be honest, I haven’t heard positive things. Muslims like to fight, they are bad, men have four wives, bla bla bla. I was ignorant.
I finished my studies in the University still uneducated of Islam until I went to work abroad.
I ventured Saudi Arabia with bad impression about Muslims. I packed my things together with my fear and anxiety.
I experienced culture shock. I saw black and white (traditional clothes for men and women). I was obliged to wear abaya in spite of the scorching heat during summer. I was obliged to wear head cover to avoid being lectured by the religious police. I felt strangulated. I felt I cannot breathe. Shops closes during prayer times, which annoyed me a lot because we have to wait for the shops to open again until prayer finishes. I had to use extra sign language to communicate with people who doesn’t know English. I felt irritated hearing the Adhan during Fajr because it’s waking me up too early. At work, I was losing my patience when I have to wait for my patient’s mother to cover themselves, wear abaya, put on face cover and sometimes gloves before I can let the doctor come to check on their child. I thought I will not be able to stay for more than three months.
As time passed by, I was slowly appreciating the changes in my environment. I was in awe seeing my colleagues pray in the middle of our work. I admired their determination to complete their fast especially during Ramadan even at work. I was loving the Adhan because I feel like it’s calling me also to remind of my God who created me. I saw how men always give way to the women in the cashiers and when crossing the street. They don’t dare to look at them in the eye nor touch them. I was loving my new world.
There were times some of patient’s family will discuss to me about Islam. Everything they said to me will go out to my other ear. Unfortunately, I didn’t care.
Narrated Mu’awiya رضى الله عنه in a Khutba (religious talk): I heard Allah’s Messenger ﷺ saying, “If Allah عز و جل wants to do good to a person, He makes him comprehend the religion. [The understanding of the Qur’an and the Sunnah (legal ways) of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم]. I am just a distributor, but the grant is from Allah عز و جل. ) (And remember) that this nation (true Muslims, real followers of Islamic Monotheism) will remain obedient to Allah’s orders [i.e. following strictly Allah’s book (the Qur’an) and the Prophet’s Sunnah (legal ways)] and they will not be harmed by anyone who will oppose them (going on a different path) till Allah’s Order (Day of Judgement) is established.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
Three moths before I finished my contract, a new staff came. He was known to everybody as a religious and strict man. He talked to us only regarding work when needed. He will not talk to the women for the sake of making friends and chit chatting about personal lives.
He talked to me.
He told me about Islam.
He opened my mind.
He helped me when I had doubts.
I was amazed with everything I learned from him. I decided to go to the nearest Islamic Center. I didn’t tell to anybody at first except for him and one of my friend.
The friend that I talked to was already going to the same Islamic Center. I was more eager to learn new things. I requested my Manager to give me specific day of the week so I can attend the class. Without hesitation, she approved and she was happy for me.
Alhamdulillah! Allah was facilitating everything for me.
The first time I came to the Center, I was a little bit nervous and excited as well. I chose Safiyah as my Islamic name, from one of the wives of the Prophet Muhammadﷺ.
I took my Shahada.
لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله
lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh
There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
Everybody shouted Allahu Akbar! Some were crying. Everybody was hugging and kissing me and welcoming me. I was astounded. I was trying to grasp what happened. I was so happy and speechless. I cried.
I told him, the new staff what happened. He was happy for me. After a couple of days, I got a gift from him. I received a lot of books about Islam to start up. Indeed, I am so grateful that Allah invited me to His religion.I am grateful that He sent people to help me.
Just before I left Saudi Arabia, Allah bestowed me the greatest blessing, the religion of Islam. Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alamin!
I am a Muslim. I love my abaya and modest dressing. I love my hijab and I feel I cannot breathe when I don’t have it. I am so happy whenever I hear the Adhan. I appreciate it a lot when shops closes for prayer time because it gives me time to worship Allah. I am thankful I took the decision to pack my things and venture Saudi Arabia. I was changed, for the better and In shaa Allah for the best.
- Although everything was facilitated smoothy, there were struggles as well. I will write next time In Shaa Allah.
- After a year, I got married to the man who helped me. (I left SA in 2014, I got married on 2015, Allah brought us back together, Alhamdulillah)