When my Muslim boyfriend left me,
I felt at peace with Islam. I had never felt like this with my previous religion. I was born and raised as a Buddhist, like the rest of my family members. But it was merely doing what my parents wanted me to do. Upon acknowledging the Truth, I felt the urge to revert and learn more about this beautiful religion.
The first time that I set foot into a masjid was 3 months before I converted. It was a visit to the masjid at the last lesson of my class. I was super nervous at the thought of visiting the masjid. I made a trip down to Arab street to get myself my first ever headscarf, and the lady was friendly and kind and taught me how to put it on. The day came and we all went in to join the Isha prayer. The masjid was very peaceful. Everyone stood in prayer and it was a beautiful sight.
After 5 months of classes, I finally reverted on 28 May 2015. Alhamdulilah!
My heart is at peace knowing what is meant for me will never miss me, and what missed me is not meant for me.
Certainly there were changes I had to adapt to.
From tshirt and shorts to long sleeve shirts and long pants with hijab was a change I made at the beginning.
I would not say it was easy for me as I am not able to wear it at home, nor do I have the courage to walk into the house with my hijab on. To put on my hijab, I would go to the nearest train station’s toilet from my house and then proceed to my destination. Likewise, I removed it at the same toilet before heading home. There were certain times where I did not feel like wearing it because I was running late for work (My work does not allow hijab to be worn). But I asked myself, would I rather spend a few more minutes to wear my hijab, or feel guilty for the whole day?
Now, I’m slowly getting rid of the clothing that are slightly fitting, and getting clothes that are of larger size.
As most parents would have the same reaction towards their children converting to Islam, my parents were no exception. So did my siblings. My siblings had a stronger object as compared to my parents and refused to talk to me for a period of time. They were angry, upset, disappointed, you name it. But Alhamdulilah, we managed to talk like we used to now and my parents accepted it. Although I still have no courage to wear hijab into the house, I believe that slowly and eventually I will be able to, In Sha Allah. My parents knew about me wearing hijab outside, and my mum even volunteered to help me wash them!
Food was not much of a problem because now that my siblings and I are working adults, my mum seldom cooks for us. Whenever I’m at home, my parents will head to the supermarket to get halal meat and cook for us.
The only problem would be during Chinese New Year. My relatives from my dad’s side will always cook and it includes pork and wine dishes and soup. This year, I got away with it by saying I could not take any solid food (thanks to braces). I do not know how I am going to avoid it next year though. Not sure if it’s a Chinese family thing or my family, it will be rude to not consume anything that are being placed on the table. And not sure if it’s also a Chinese family thing, whenever we have a special occasions, like Chinese New Year, birthdays, some special days for Buddhists, and weddings, there will always be roasted whole pig.
I changed my perspectives.
I had never really bothered about religions until one of my Muslim friends had asked me to follow her to go pray in school after lessons. It kind of spark my interest a little but I brushed it aside.
I used to not know why Muslims did what they did. Like the prayers, and the fasting during Ramadan, and why do the females wear headscarves.
After learning more about Islam, I finally understood why. And the reasons behind it is really beautiful.
The challenges I am facing…
As my family members are Buddhists, my parents would still want me to offer joss sticks to the idols. I would try to avoid as much as possible, however they will get very upset and this is the last thing I would want to see. I feel frustrated whenever they would ask me to do so. But I felt that they had already gave in a lot, so I would just do it to please them for the time being, while asking for His forgiveness.
While my family members eventually accepted the fact that I had converted, there is also a problem as none of my relatives know that I am already a Muslim. I was afraid that once they got to know, they will blame it on my parents for not ‘disciplining’ me enough and letting me fall into what they think is a ‘bad religion’. I had not seen my mum cried for at least 10 years, but ever since she knew that I had decided to convert, she had been crying almost every day until she eventually accepted the fact that her daughter became a Muslim.
My family members sometimes still make sarcastic remarks about my religion, but I just put that aside.
What I love most about Islam…
“An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action”
Every Muslim is equal, and it does not matter whether you are rich or poor. That is one of the beauties in Islam.
Adding on, I love the brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam. I remembered my first Ramadan in 2015, I spent most of my time working. As most of my colleagues are Muslim, and we often work shift work, we will have Suhoor and Iftar together. They were so happy that a new member had joined the big family. I was even happier to have such a big family. I had a lot of advices and sharing of experiences and knowledge by them, and they always made sure that I was well taken care of during the fasting period. I was also invited to Eid gathering at their homes. Alhamdulilah, I could not have been more thankful and glad to have this bunch of colleagues to help me through the tough period after my conversion.