I was just 14 years old when I was first introduced to Islam. Back in 7th grade social studies class we had to memorize the name and symbol of Islam, the Five Pillars of Islam, and the name of Islam’s holy book. Fast forward to my freshman year of high-school, where Islam was formally introduced and discussed. We talked about women in hijab (my teacher, let’s call him Mr. C, made it clear they did not feel oppressed in it) and how it would be wrong to take their right away to wear what they wanted… That class saved my humanity. All my ignorant assumptions were eliminated, which made it easier to follow the path of truth.
My family is very Christian, but my immediate family has fallen away from practice. When I was 6 or so we would always go to church. I would remember my grandma drinking coffee offered before the service with her hat on (She would always make sure her hair was covered by something before entering the church, as she thought it was disrespectful to have hair uncovered) and I would cry for some coffee too. I would eventually be given some, decaf of course, but it was enough to silence me. I never understood what was taught to me in church, all I remember was I got snacks, got to paint, sing, dance, run around, etc. Soon my family stopped attending, and my faith ceased with it. My faith was revived when I found Islam…
Oh Allah, I wish I could describe the warmth You give me, to make them understand why I have turned towards you. But, Your magnificence is one that is transcends words. Nothing will ever be sufficient enough to explain. I had doubt in my mind when I thought of the existence of You. I’m still unsure to this day what compelled me to do so. Maybe I knew I was in error to deny Your magnificence, or maybe it was my hope that I was correct in my ways.
I remember when it first happened, my eyes were tired and my heart cold. I typed my address into a website for free reading material. It was late, I did it quickly to ensure the least amount of regret for doing so. After verifying my address, I also requested to be called about a free mentoring program that would help me learn about Islam.
A few days later, I was sitting in my school cafeteria a received a call. I didn’t notice that I had missed it until a few minutes later. A voicemail was left, an older man asking me to call back when I had time to discuss the mentoring program. I never called back, and I deleted the message. I pray to Allah I had not caused him harm waiting for a call he had never received.
A few months passed, and I forgot all about the reading material and the voicemail. Life went back to normal for me, back to having my head in classic books and studying for arduous exams. I got home one day and my name was printed on a semi-crushed orange envelope stuffed into my mailbox. I was confused as to what it could be. I opened the top, and suddenly a soft aroma much like the fragrance flowers drifted into my nose. It was a smell that I would never be able to forget. A smell I often find floating in my room and into my mind. I never knew someone’s heart could be so attached to a smell, it’s a smell my heart will desire for eternity.
When I held Your words in my hand for the first time, I was fighting off tears. I thumbed through the pages, over and over again. With each turn there was the aroma I admired so much. I was scared to read. I was scared I might be wrong about You. I finally decided to open it.
I couldn’t hold them back anymore. The tears streamed from my eyes onto my Quran and the pages gratefully soaked every one of them up. It’s not just tears that are embedded into the pages of that Quran forever, but also my heart. Oh Al-Rahman, only You can turn the hearts.
After that I had accepted Islam whole-heartedly. I accepted Your Light into the empty spaces of my being. Spaces caused by anger, guilt, denial, sadness were no longer causing me anguish. Instead they now reflect your Light, in shaa Allah, to the highest degree. The reflection set a fixed light upon my heart and the warmth melted every drop of ice I was harbouring in my soul.
Your essence has captured my mind and my love. To this day I find it hard to hold back tears when the thought of you, Oh Al-Wadud, floats into my mind. How arrogant was I to deny your existence, when there is proof of it everywhere? Everything around me submits to You, from the atoms to the mountains, to the celestial bodies in space. Everything acknowledges You.