Friday, 8 June 2012
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
I have known Rachel for a few years, from the first time she came to learn about Islam. Like any convert, she had her challenges. Unlike quite a few, she came out stronger. She was an evangelical Christian who had spent a lot of time spreading the Good Word. Coming to Islam is not the repudiation of what she learned as a Christian. It is a refinement of understanding. In the end, however, who spiritual journey took her way from Islam and we respect that.
Rachel wrote, Thursday, 7th June 2012: “After much deliberation, and slightly more than 1 and a half years of reading and practicing Islam, I decided to take the official conversion at Darul Arqam on the 3rd June 2012. Praises be to Allah (s.w.t.).
Looking back at my journey venturing into Islam, it was filled with much highs and lows, tears of joy and sorrow, frustration, worry, loneliness, enlightenment, awe, wonder… (I feel as if I am just throwing out adjectives, but honestly, those are the feelings that I had felt). I am pretty sure there was much more to it, but words fail to describe the myriad of emotions I experience during this period.
I had someone to thank for making me take that final step of doing the official conversion. Although deep down in my heart, I believe Allah (s.w.t.) does not need us to do the official shahadah at Darul Arqam before acknowledging that we are Muslims, I did it for formalities sake. Surely Him Being All-Knowing would Know the hearts of man and who are the ones who sincerely believe in Him. I remembered, I asked about the right time for conversion of Godpa Amin and he replied with a question. I wanted to do the official conversion as soon as possible, yet I delayed it because a part of me was hoping and wishing that my parents would accept that I wanted to be a Muslim. The months that went by, proved otherwise. My dad made his stand really clear - that he would not accept a Muslim into his family even until the day he dies. And even before conversion, there were already so many problems. Hence, when I asked about the right time of conversion, Godpa Amin told me that I will just know when the time is right. Again, I told him about my fears that if anything were to happen to me, my parents would definitely arrange the Chinese burial for me which includes burning the body to ashes. I was told that even when we are dead, our soul lives on and hence we can feel every pain that the body is experiencing. Burning seems to me like a whole lot of pain, and thus I was afraid I would get cremated in the Chinese tradition. However, Godpa Amin said something that rings really true. Who after all is the Giver of pain? Allah (s.w.t.). Who then is the One Who Takes Away pain? Allah (s.w.t.). And hence, if our heart is pure, our intention is pure and our actions are right, surely, He Being All-Mighty and All-Powerful can Protect me when that happens.
I decided to go ahead with it after seeing my friend go ahead with her conversion as well. .Since there was no point waiting as I believe my parents will take a long time to have a change of heart, I decided to do the official conversion. Truth be told, I did not want to invite many people initially, and thus I only invited those who had told me in the past that they wanted to witness my conversion.
That day, I felt so blessed and at peace. Words cannot describe what I was feeling. I had come a long way in search of the Truth. From worshipping in temples and putting joss sticks to worship many different gods, to serving and worshipping in church, to a state of suspension and uncertainty and finally to here, on the path of Islam. I quote the same phrase that I used when I realized that Islam has always been the True and Straight Path - “deep in my heart, resonates this peace”. It reminded me of the verse in the Bible where Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”
27 Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled: nor let it be afraid.
So many people have helped me to where I am today, and I believe it is Allah (s.w.t.) that has Placed them in my life for a reason. When I made the decision to leave Christianity and embrace Islam, I was so scared. I remember sleepless nights, when I woke up in the middle of the night crying, not knowing what the future holds. My support in life, were my Christian friends, and when I left the religion, I knew that the support would also slowly disintegrate. There I was, making the decision to embrace Islam and knowing only a handful of Muslims. That very night, I remembered making a simple prayer to Allah (s.w.t.). I asked for Him to Send me people to support me, guide me and love me in this journey. I told Him that even though I knew I had Him and He is Sufficient for me, I still wanted tangible support. Of course, the prayer was not Answered immediately, but looking back, I saw that it was.
al-Hamdulillah for everything. Indeed, I am blessed beyond blessed.
I am thankful to all those who came down to witness my conversion. Insha'Allah, you have been Blessed by the event. I am thankful to those who did not manage to witness the conversion, but have been essential in my journey as a Muslim, by giving me encouraging words, checking on me, listening to me, praying for me, giving me gifts. May Allah (s.w.t.) Reward all of you now and in the Hereafter for your deeds.
I am thankful to a special sister who gathered the courage to do the conversion and in so doing, reminded and inspired me to do it as well.
Most importantly, I am thankful to Allah (s.w.t.).
And to end off, I shall just quote this Christian song that I first listened to. When I heard it, I was not a Christian yet, but I felt as if it was God, the Creator of Heaven and the Universe, the Creator of me, Speaking to me.”
“You are forever in my life,
You See me through the seasons.
Cover me with Your hand,
And Lead me in Your righteousness.
And I look to You,
And I wait on You,
I’ll sing to You, Lord,
A hymn of Love.
For Your Faithfulness to me.
I’m Carried in Everlasting Arms.
You’ll never let me go.
Through it all.”