Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Journey to Islam

I embraced Islam at the age of 12. Like many 12 year olds I too was finding my way in life. I faced many challenges and had many questions that were left unanswered. I remember hearing the adhaan one evening and it made me feet at ease. It brought immense joy to my heart and gave me a spiritual relief. I knew there was something behind that call to prayer and I made it my duty to find out what it was.

I grew up in a Hindu family; my family were very spiritual people who always instilled in me morals and values. However their practices made no sense to me. There were no books and guidelines on how to live your life religiously. My journey to Islam began when my grandmother introduced me to her Muslim friends. I explained to them my feelings towards the adhaan and they immediately helped me embark on this journey. I was given many Islamic books to read and the more I read these books everything started making sense to me. After a few weeks I began reading the Quran. Instantneoisluy I knew this was the path I wanted to take in life.

I compare my conversion to Islam to love, it’s the strongest emotion a person feels but yet no one can explain it. That is how I felt and still feel about Islam. I brings me so much of happiness and so much of joy and yet I can’t explain it. In Hinduism there are no books to guide you along your everyday life. Whereas in Islam the Quran has answers for all of life’s problems including contemporary ones. Although my conversion to Islam was a spiritual one, it was also a practical one. Islam instils ethics and morals. Islam liberates women and has shown me the most important thing; that men and women and spiritually equal in the eyes of God. And after all that is the most important thing, ones dedication to God. Not only did Islam prove to be a practical way of life, the sciences of the Quran proved to be miraculous. It bothered me how so many people still failed to see the light.

It was not an easy journey, I was a 12 year old Muslim convert living in a Hindu home, the challenges I faced were immense. But luckily I had an amazing and understanding family, and despite not being Muslim, they helped me every step of the way. I remember my first Ramadan. My grandmother woke me up for Sehri and prepared all my meals for me. She also made sure I knew the correct times of prayer. She made sure all the food was halaal as well. I couldn’t have made this transition without her help.

Those were not the only problems I faced as a revert, not all Muslims were accepting of converts. There was always a stigma attached to you, you were always known as the Hindu revert and never a Muslim. But the majority of people were understanding and were always there to lend a helping hand. Within the Muslim community the support system is incredible. There is always someone who will go the extra mile to help you.

As the years passed by my love for my religion turned into something more serious and academic. I started studying Islam. I’ve recently completed my postgraduate studies in Islam. I have definitely learnt so much more and it has definitely reaffirmed my faith. My studies focus on gender equality. It is sad, but the Muslim community does not always display in their actions the meaning of the Quranic text. The Islam you see in the Quran is not always how it is within the community, especially within the cases of gender and equality. Although the word of God strictly states that men and women are equal, over the years this has been distorted. This is a gap that I want to bridge.

It’s been nine years and despite the societal hiccups along the way I still find myself feeling emotional every time the call to prayer is sounded and recitals of the Quran still bring tears to my eyes. My journey to Islam is definitely one of peace and love. The past nine years has been an immense spiritual upliftment and I look forward to the rest of my life as a Muslim.

1 comment:

  1. What courage! 12 years old :)

    I know what you mean about Love. I felt that love the first time I sat in mosque.

    We are so blessed to have found our way... Divinely guided.