OnIslam.net

I Found Islam Through Trials

By Karen Bujairami
Freelance writer
dawn
Throughout the years even though I was a Christian, I was interested in learning about Fatima’s religion
Dawn

Many people have asked me how I came to Islam, and I often share the short version of my story, but now I think it’s time that I share the full story of my journey to embracing this beautiful religion. 

It began about eight years ago with a dream that I had that I will never forget as it was the most unusual dream and totally out of the ordinary in the terms of people in my dream, this will make more sense as I go on…

It was the beginning of the year in 2002; I was preparing to get ready to start my studies in accounting. I had recently moved to another suburb from where I grew up, and it felt like it was going to be my first day at school, meaning new surroundings, people I don’t know and of course study. 

It was my first day at college and I was in my first class. It had been around 15 minutes into the class when I saw this girl walking in late. I usually wouldn’t really pay that much attention but from where I originally came from these types of “looking” people were never seen and there was a lot of hatred towards them. Her name was Fatima; she was a Lebanese Muslim girl wearing hijab (head scarf). 

We were now about to begin our second class for the day and when I walked into the room, I saw Fatima and, for some reason, I felt a bond already to her and asked if I could sit next to her….This was the beginning of our friendship which Alhumdilillah has lasted all these years.  Through college we were inseparable even teachers used to comment on us and asked if we were sisters…

Throughout the years even though I was a Christian, I was interested in learning about Fatima’s religion. She, of course, shared what she knew and I always saw the passion in her eyes when she spoke about Islam, and this was surprising me as I didn’t really have that passion inside about my religion. We even had our religious debates which would usually end up in me being angry sometimes as I was unable to answer or fight back about some topics as there was no right answer I could give when it came to Christianity. I had so much respect for Fatima. I remember thinking about how she has to wash and pray 5 times a day, cover herself in the middle of summer and not to mention fast all day when Ramadan came around. At that time, I struggled to make it to church on Sundays even though I considered myself a devout Christian. 

Even though I was Christian and Fatima was Muslim, we were very similar in other ways. I was never one to flirt with men, I was actually shy towards this kind of thing, I also never liked to wear revealing clothes and this made Fatima comfortable with me as she was similar in this regard. One day Fatima and I were walking through the college going to our usual spot to sit for lunch. It was our normal thing to do but this day really caught my attention. As we were walking past this certain spot, something triggered this dream that I remembered having at the start of the year before I started at college.

I remembered having a dream of me walking with a girl who was on my right side who had a hijab on; we were walking in the exact location in my dream and towards the same area. Usually people wouldn’t take much notice of dreams like this but for me it shocked me, I actually stopped and froze and said to Fatima "oh my God, oh my God. I have dreamt about this before". I never had Muslim friends, never associated with Muslims and especially didn’t dream of them, to make it even more strange I had never gone to that college or been inside the college but my dream was exactly the same as when I was walking with Fatima that day. People may think this is just a dream, who cares, but I believe it was pure guidance from God and by His will our friendship was my introduction to Islam.

From that day on for some unknown reason I became more and more interested in Islam and began asking more and more questions and at the same time, losing more and more of my own faith. This has always been my principle that if you doubt your own faith and you are unable to find answers to those doubts then there is obviously something wrong.

it is my duty to pass on the message of Islam, if you don’t accept it then that’s your choice

To top it off, Fatima decided to one day provide me with DVD’s of Sheikh Ahmed Deedat’s debates with Christian scholars. This was my turning point, as from this day on I realized that my religion was not the right one, I mean they were Christian scholars that could not answer questions about my so called religion, so how was I to answer or understand it? I freaked out!! I am not over-exaggerating, I actually went home crying after discussing it with her thinking “Oh my God, what am I going to do?”

At that time I was living with my former partner who also was a devout Christian. He tried to calm me down and was thinking Fatima was brain washing me about Islam and convinced me likewise (well to some extent). I went to her the next day and said I don’t want to talk about religion anymore, her response to this was so simple “it is my duty to pass on the message of Islam, if you don’t accept it then that’s your choice, but I have done my duty, so on the day of judgment you cannot accuse me of not passing on this message”.

Years passed by and of course we remained best friends. I started spending more time with her family and through their actions I started learning and appreciating Islam so much more. I loved spending time with them; there was no drinking of alcohol, no haram (unlawful) things. I felt like it was some of the best times of my life. Throughout the eight years I went through stages and I believe by the will of God it was His tests on me to show me and lead me to the right path of Islam.

My first stage was complete ignorance, I blocked out all religions, I wanted nothing to do with Christianity or Islam; I just didn’t want to accept anything from both.

The second stage was my rebellion, I started rebelling against my loved ones and giving in to Satan’s whispers.

The year 2008 was one of my worst years, I really struggled and I suffered a lot throughout the year with various problems, and that was at the lowest point in my life. I had left my former partner of 7 years, my work was suffering, I was losing dear friends and gaining bad ones, and not to mention treating my family badly. At that time I was hiding from Fatima as I felt this overwhelming guilt from my actions and didn’t want her to be disappointed.

The last stage was my wakeup call; I had met another Muslim whom I believe was the final turning point

This got me to ask “Why should I even care?” “Why do I have this guilt?” I mean she was my closest friend and knew everything about me. I felt guilty because I knew what I was doing was wrong, I knew that God would not like what I was doing, I knew that I was heading towards the hell fire if I didn’t stop and for that I was deeply ashamed. Fatima was my first connection to Islam and through her I found Islam as the truth, the right religion. So for me, hiding the bad behaviors from her I felt like I was hiding from God even though you can never hide anything from God. (I am not saying I thought Fatima was any type of god, but I felt her as my only connection to the true religion, I had no other Muslim friends therefore if I did haram (unlawful) things with my non Muslim friends they did not care) 

The last stage was my wakeup call; I had met another Muslim whom I believe was the final turning point. They stopped my haram (unlawful) actions in its tracks and quite bluntly took control of how I was acting. This may seem fairly harsh but at the time I would not have listened to anyone else, and I thank God so much for that. I don’t think that anyone at that time, a Christian, Jew or even an atheist, could have brought me out of the mess I was in.

I had known from the day I watched the DVD’s that I was going to be Muslim, I just needed a final push in the right direction. God works in only the best of ways. He showed me Islam 8 years ago in my very first dream of a hijabi girl who became my best friend, He showed me what it is like not to believe in anything, He showed me what it is like to live a haram (unlawful) lifestyle, and now He has shown me what it is like to live a halal (lawful) life and the true happiness from inside for living this life. 

I finally took my Shahada (testimony of faith) on the 1st of January 2009, with Fatima by my side and also her father.

Alhumdililah, I am so proud to be a Muslim.

Related Links:
My Love for Arabic Led me to Islam
Marc's Journey to Islam (Part 2)
From Atheism, to Christianity to Islam
O Allah, Protect Us from Ourselves
Bracing that Perfect Storm – with an Air of Calm

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