The Truth about Islam
The four words that changed my life forever.
It was 2013, I was 22 and fresh out of university; I thought I knew everything. Growing up, I had an amazing childhood and will be forever grateful to my parents for bringing me up the way they did. I’m mixed race and was raised to appreciate and embrace all cultures and creeds. We were a Christian family with Christian values, but ‘we didn’t go to Church or anything’.
My late teens and early 20s had been challenging, and in 2013 I was in need of a friend more than ever. I started working full-time after graduating with a psychology degree, and the friend I so desperately needed happened to already be working there. She was amazing and we just clicked. It was like looking in the mirror. This person’s soul had met my soul before, I was sure of it. How can your entire being have missed someone that has just come into your life!? It was beyond me and I knew she’d been placed in my life for a reason.
We grew so close, we were inseparable. She was so kind and beautiful-natured. She was so at peace despite struggles she’d been through herself. Although I considered myself a pretty good person, there was just something about her that outshone me. She inspired me to be better and again, I just couldn’t understand how she was so happy and contented and grateful to be alive. I was in awe of her and wanted to be just like her. She beamed with genuine joy, whereas no matter how hard I tried to mask it, I carried a deep sadness around with me. I just wanted to be as happy as she was and so I asked her about it. She told me the reason she was so at peace with this world was her religion; Islam. I shook my head. “Tell me the real reason!” I asked. She looked confused and said again, “Islam is the reason I am so at peace”. Now, to me, Islam and peace were two words that certainly did not belong together in the same sentence. I mean, I’d always known she was Muslim, but as she was from a Pakistani background, I just assumed she had no choice but to be Muslim. From what I’d heard, Islam was like a collection of evil teachings. I made the mistake of saying this out loud to her. She responded by telling me how wrong I was about Islam, and said I’d never find peace with that attitude. It hadn’t even crossed my mind before, but when she pinned her happiness to Islam, for some reason, it made me worry. Her naivety scared me. I cared about her and it saddened me to think she’d been so brainwashed. It wasn’t her fault, I thought, she hasn’t known anything other than Islam. Our conversation about religion continued and it resulted in a fight. She told me “I knew nothing” and we didn’t speak about religion again. I just want to emphasise here, that in no way was I raised other than to treat everyone equally. My parents certainly did not instil in me anything against Islam, or any other religion for that matter. I wasn’t small-minded, I was actually far from it. I was challenging her religion because I wanted her to think for herself. Thinking back, I honestly can’t tell you where this dislike to Islam came from. I guess I’d just heard a lot of negative things about the religion and was certain it was predominantly bad.
I had felt bad for upsetting her, but I wanted to reiterate my point. The last thing she’d said to me during that conversation was ‘you know nothing!’ so I thought, right, let me show you with hard facts and evidence, why I’m right to be extremely concerned about your beliefs.
The Truth about Islam
That was the title of the book I started writing. The book that was going to help me enlighten my best friend. I didn’t tell her what I was doing. I wanted to collect all the evidence and present it to her properly. I Googled those words, ‘The Truth about Islam’ and unsurprisingly, websites came up with articles explaining why Islam is a religion that should not be followed. I did feel pathetic and slightly embarrassed at what I was doing, but nonetheless I continued my secret search for the ugly truth. I filled one page with negativity. But then the bad stuff ran out. I read and I read and I read. The more I searched for evil, the more I was greeted with beauty.
That’s when it started.
I have goosebumps even writing this, because I can remember what happened to me over the following few weeks. Islam and its completeness, completed me. I had read hundreds of verses from the Quran and even found myself getting to know Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him). I filled the book with interesting facts and stories of other Prophets. It dawned on me that Allah was the God I had always needed and the world finally began to make sense to me. The sadness I’d been carrying around with me was being explained to me by Islam. That feeling I’d always had, the feeling that I didn’t belong here and that this life was just temporary, was explained. The ups and the downs of my life were explained. Nothing has ever made me feel the way I felt when reading about Islam for the first time. Imagine having everything you’ve ever questioned or wondered about explained to you. It was like talking to the person who created humans. The Quran WAS a conversation with the creator of humans! And wow did I fall in love with the Quran. I was surprised by how much Christianity was in Islam too.
I’m an artist, and I remember the exact pieces of Arabic calligraphy that made my heart ache with the need to find out what the Arabic translated to. The whole reason I studied Psychology at university was to work myself out, but even graduating in the science of the human mind hadn’t helped me solve my problems. The Quran, however, did this within a few verses.One night, I fell asleep reading the English translation of the Quran. When I woke up, my thumb was pressed over verse 93:7 “And He found you lost and guided you”. I cannot tell you how I cried.
I remember when I told my mum about wanting to embrace Islam. She was obviously concerned at first as it seemed to be so random. Then I showed her the book I had compiled and she just knew I was doing the right thing for me. I’ll always love her for that. She challenged me with one question only - “What if, when you die, you realise Islam never existed?” I responded to her with the Ahmed Deedat quote that had almost broken my heart when I'd read it for the first time. “I would feel much worse, if I died realising Islam had indeed been the only truth”.
Though completely confident in her faith, even my best friend was in awe of how Islam found me. I know Allah (swt) placed her in my life for this sole reason and I count my blessings every single day. Looking back, I get terrified at how ridiculous my preconceived ideas about Islam were. It shocks me, due to how open-minded I am about everything usually. What scares me is not knowing whether my random, all-of-a-sudden anger towards Islam came from Allah or the Shaitan (devil). Was it Allah, as He knew my anger would drive me to study, or was it simply the Shaitan trying to keep me from Islam? I may never know but I am so very thankful regardless.
Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), I read my Shahada (declaration of faith) in April 2015, in the mosque, surrounded by my family. I was sat next to my best friend when I recited the words after the Imam. When the Imam told me I was Muslim, I cried. Reading about Islam was beautiful, but it wasn’t until I had finally read my declaration and been accepted by Allah that I could rest. All of my troubles had been bagged up mentally and thrown off a bridge into a fast-flowing stream that carried them far, far away from me. That’s how it felt when I read my Shahada – when I placed all of my trust in Allah.
So there you have it, the beginning of my journey into Islam. I have read so many other wonderful revert stories and I find it wonderful how unique they are. Everyone has a different journey and I love that.
One last thing…
I couldn’t let you go without telling you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. My best friend, mentioned in my story, was actually not a ‘she’ but in fact a ‘he’. I went on to marry this person and Masha’Allah (God has willed it) Allah swt has blessed us with a beautiful daughter. I used a female in my story because I wanted you to read it fully appreciating the genuine friendship we shared before we got married. Alhamdulillah (with thanks to Allah) for everything!
OK one last, last thing!
My journey into Islam has taught me that our ACTIONS as Muslims are the most important thing - not how we look or what we preach. It’s our manners, our kindness and our genuine LOVE for Islam that communicates the beauty of our religion to those who know nothing about it.
To celebrate the sharing of this story, I designed an art print that represents my path into Islam. Everyone who knows me will tell you that the verse of the Quran that resonates with me deeper than any is 93:7 "And He found you lost and guided you". Here it is featured over a watercolour painting.
Have a blessed day as always!
Kelly Aurora x
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