I reverted to Islam in August of 1999. My first year as a muslim has been quite interesting. When a person first “reverts” to Islam, you are on this emotional roller-coaster ride, where you have your days when you are so happy to be a muslim, and your days where you think that life was so much easier as a non-muslim, especially when you don’t have a strong community backing you up. Alhumdulilla, my up days have been more than my down days, and I am happy to report that I no longer have regrets, just memories, and the future is definitely looking brighter than the past. With this said, here is my reversion story. Enjoy!!!!
In January of 1999, I can honestly say that my life was falling apart piece by piece. I was 23 years old, married, with a new daughter that was born in September, working a full time job in a mexican restaurant while my husband basically lived in Virginia while he attended college and worked. My husband at the time was from India, and he had received his greencard in January of 1999 and he had all of a sudden developed his own plans, none of which included me or the kids. (I also have a six year old daughter, who at the time was five) He was a hindu, who originally came from New Delhi India. He decided to go there and visit right away, and of course his family had their own plans for him. I never really got the truth from his side, nor will I ever, but most people tell me that his parents knew that he was married in the States, and they didn’t know about the kids or else they didn’t care. They wanted their son married to a traditional Indian woman, and that is what was important. My friends where I worked knew of my situation, and had tried to warn me about him in their own ways, but I refused to believe what was happening to me could be true. That was until my life started falling apart.
The people that I worked with were mostly Indian and Pakistani, with an American or a Mexican thrown in here and there for a nice ethnic mix. Most of the people were Muslim, but not very religious in the sense that they had become Americanized. But not all of them. There was a Pakistani guy that worked in the kitchen. His name was Usman, and he was always very quiet. I had worked with his cousin, Asjid, for years and we had always gotten along. Usman was new to Casa Rico, and little was known about him except he was Asjid’s cousin, and that he was muslim. One day after my husband had gone to India, I basically had a breakdown mentally at my job. I knew I was surrounded by people that knew about my situation, but were bound by “custom” not to say anything to me. Usman had started talking to me about it little by little, asking me about things since we often had break around the same time. He promised that he would always be there to listen, and he promised not to judge me.
One day I poured my heart out to him and I think it was a week later that I had a mental breakdown at work. That day my thoughts were just pounding in my head. I felt like such a failure, and i wanted to die. That night I went home and i held some pills in my hand and decided that I wanted to end it all. I had nothing to live for. I had been betrayed by my husband and his family, the same people that I gave freedom to, I had two daughters that I could not provide for and whose father didn’t care about, I hated my job, I couldn’t go back to college because I couldn’t afford it, the list just went on and on. Most of all, I felt God didn’t care about me. I used to pray and pray that my situation would get better, but it only seemed to get worse. I used to open that bible almost every night and search for the answers to all my problems. Nothing related to my situation, my life did not relate to God’ word or God’s plan. Then I thought about my kids, left all alone with no one. How could I do it. I swallowed my pride, threw the pills, and called my mom to take me to the hospital. I was broken and I needed help.
That night I was admitted to the psychiatric ward for severe emotional stress. For two days I did nothing but cry and cry and cry. I did not sleep, I did not want to eat, I just wanted to die. By the second day the hospital staff got involved and they gave me medicine to sleep. I woke up 12 hours later with swollen eyes and a broken heart, but I did feel somewhat better. I was ready to listen. I opened the door and asked to speak to a counselor. Me and the counselor talked for three hours. I told her my whole story. She told me that peace starts in the heart, and that struggle is a natural process. After she left I wrote down all the things in my life that I wanted to change. I laid all goals and choose to be a survivor, for my kids sake. Visitor time came, and the nurse came to me and said that I had a visitor. I asked who it was and she said, Usman. Man I was so embarrassed. But I let him in. He walked in and I just started crying. He told me to be brave and talk if I wanted, but he had a few things to tell me. I was ready to listen. He said one statement that I will never forget.
“My country is filled with poverty and problems, but no one ever gets depressed and tries to kill themself; do you know why?”
“No.” I said. “Why?”
“Because the people in my country have Islam. They have the Quran, the final word from God. This Quran answers all of your questions and more. It will give you peace, if only you believe.”
This was Usman’s reply. I vowed to investigate Islam as soon as I could get out of the hospital.That night I laid in bed and I thought about how my life was destined to change, if only I could make it happen. If I only I knew where to look and find the answers. I thought about the Quran and how little I knew of Islam. I wondered about this mysterious book and why hadn’t more people heard of this “miracle?” I fell asleep with a ton of questions swirling around my mind.
The next morning I met with my doctor. I couldn’t believe it when I walked into her office and stared right into the face of a Pakistani Muslim doctor. I couldn’t believe it. She talked to me about my depression and I answered her questions as best as I could without crying. I told her that my situation was just so embarrassing and unbearable. She recommended that I seek regular counseling and prescribed an anti-depressant.
A moment of silence followed as she wrote out my release form. I took that opportunity to ask her about Islam.
She took a moment, breathed in, and closed her book. She asked how I knew of Islam and I told her I had friends. She smiled and said she would be happy to give me any information that I would need to investigate this further. We sat in her office for an additional hour talking about how Islam was a way of life. She told me about Mohammed (peace be upon him) and how he is the final messenger of God. She told me about how Islam was very similar to Christianity and Judaism, except Muslims believe that your relationship is directly with God, and that no one should need to intercept this relationship. She told me how we are all accountable for our own sins and that the people that do bad in this world and do not believe in God will be punished by the creator of all things. And she told me that Allah is the answer to all my problems, and that the Quran is the best prescription for happiness. She told me to fill the prescription for the anti-depressant, to investigate Islam, and to come and see her or her staff if I had any other problems. She told me I would be all right, and to keep in touch. She told me that with Islam, I probably wouldn’t need the medicine.
I left the hospital that day. I filed for divorce the next day. Most importantly, I started my investigation of Islam wholeheartedly. I enrolled Usman and my other muslim friends in this quest for knowledge. Usman bought me a ton of books to read, and I scourged through them like nobody’s business!!! One day, Usman took me and my children to a Pakistani store to buy Islamic books. The storeowner was so excited to find that I was interested in Islam. He gifted me my first Quran That night when I got home I was so happy. I opened the Quran and started reading. I read until four am. I just couldn’t put it down. Surah-al Bukhara was intense. The Quran made me feel like ….It was like God was talking to me!!! This indeed was the answer. The Quran spoke of things that I had wondered all my life. What happens when you die? Was Jesus God? Why did Jesus have to die for all of our sins, when it was God who created us? Why would God die for us? The Quran spoke of proofs…it talked of the rivers and oceans.. how they connect and how they remain salt water and not salt water in certain areas. It talked about the cycle of life inside the womb of the woman. How was Mohammed (peace be upon him, to know of this? A unscholared man, a man that could not read or write? How could he know things that were not known to man until recent centuries? The Quran spoke of ships floating in the water, ships made of steel… Mohammed lived in a desert. The Quran spoke of mountains being like pegs, deeper on the bottom than it was high. These are proofs from God. And we should believe.
I wanted to be muslim. This was what my life was for. To be muslim. To be God’s slave. This is the truth.
I took my shahada in August of 1999.
This was the happiest day of my life.
My divorce from my husband became final in March of 2000. I had not seen him for more than one year. I broke off all communication from him and have not seen or heard from him since I became Muslim. He doesn’t want anything to do with the kids. I don’t care. My kids have Allah, and they have me.
In April of 2000, Usman asked if I wanted to get married again. I told him yes. We got married April 13, 2000. Things have been wonderful, Alhumdulilla. My kids are doing great. I am in college full time. I will graduate this May with my nursing degree. My husband is the one who helped me convert to Islam. Allah is the best of planners. I guess I was in God’s plan after all.