Written by Nailah Edwards
I was a 21 year old atheist without a care in the world, when Allah first made me aware of his existence. I lived each day as if there was nothing after this life, chasing momentary happiness in cheap shallow thrills of the Dunia.
Another night, another party done and once again, I was alone at home. I was getting ready for bed like any other night when I noticed the light was on outside of my room. I went out to turn it off when I felt a feeling that I had experienced once before. It was the same gripping feeling in my chest I felt when a person I knew in my youth who dabbled in spirits and black magic told me a “spirit” didn’t like my presence. The hallway was empty but I felt I wasn’t alone, I quickly shut my bedroom door and locked it. As I turned to go towards my bed something hit my door so hard the whole door shook behind me.
I was terrified, confused and completely alone, except for the one word that was in my head, a word that made me feel like I wasn’t so alone, Allah. Why Allah? I was into Buddhism, I grew up in a Christian country in an Atheist family. For the first time, and completely out of character for me I asked Allah to help me, if he even existed that was. I went to my bed a put a show on my laptop in an attempt to distract my fear enough to sleep, which I didn’t think I would! Within minutes I was fast asleep as the rain fell outside, cleansing the earth around me.
I awoke in the morning and sat on the side of my bed, what happened last night? I couldn’t explain any of it logically. As I sat there quietly I opened a conversation with God, for the first time since I was 13. “I don’t know what happened last night, but if you are there Allah, thanks. If You want me to be Muslim, You have to guide me, I won’t find my way on my own.”
“I don’t know what happened last night, but if you are there Allah, thanks. If You want me to be Muslim, You have to guide me, I won’t find my way on my own.”
As I beta tested Islam in my life over the next 7 months, and as Allah subtly prepared me for my transition into the Halal life the perfect time to see if I really had what it takes to be Muslim was approaching. Ramadan, the time of year even my most non-practicing friends were faithful Muslims.
Google was my guide at this point, I printed off a “How to pray” guide, got a couple of Hijabs and an English copy of the Quran. From day 1, Ramadan I fasted, prayed, read a Juz of Quran every day and wore hijab. I was like a lost lamb entering the prayer room for the first time at work, I had no idea what it was like inside, would there be somewhere I could do wudu? It was about half way through Ramadan and half way through the Quran after Ishaa prayer when I thought to myself “I don’t want to be these people Allah talks about in the Quran, they are blind although they can see” “What if I die tonight? If I’m not Muslim I’m going to hell!” I quickly got back on sheikh google and searched how do you do your shahada, in English. I sat quietly on my prayer mat and said to myself with Allah as my witness, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is his messenger”.
I sat quietly on my prayer mat and said to myself with Allah as my witness, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is his messenger”.
A wave of relief and security swept over me, I was safe, safe from the only punishment that would ever matter to me again.
Everything was steps, progress, a learning curve. I prayed in English for the first year I really wanted to learn and know what I was saying in my prayers, also I am completely terrible at learning languages! But I wanted to make sure I was doing it perfectly so I read every single Hadith on prayer in Sahih Muslim and Bukhari. I had such amazing support and love from the Muslims around me, and their families! I received so many different useful items, prayer mats, prayer clothes, Qurans and Hijabs.
Anyone else embarking on this journey I would tell them to do what I did, take it all step by step! Don’t take on too much at once, start with prayer, understand why we do what we do in Islam so that your foundation for doing it is built on purpose and conviction and not just, “do what you're told”. And find a revert group or support network, there will be challenges for any revert and it helps to have people behind you who have your best interests at heart.