A conversion from the bottom of my heart
It started with a simple prayer, “I hope to find the original religion and meet a simple and humble man in my life. I least expected to meet a stranger at the bus stop, who turned out to be my soulmate and lifetime partner. That was the beginning of my journey to becoming a Muslim. I not only found the man in my life, but I also found the most merciful Creator, Allah. I have always wanted to pen down the beautiful relationship that I have with God. The searching journey is unforgettable. I started searching when I was a little girl. I remembered that I wanted to enroll myself in a Buddhist School. When I saw the giant statue in the school hall, I knew it was not what I was searching for. Only until I reached my mid 20’s, one day, I say a prayer “I don’t know you, but I know you have been watching me since I was a little girl. Please let me know you and guide me to the original religion. Please find me a humble man in my life. On 3 July 2004, I said my wedding vow. My tears could not help falling when the Ustaz (Religion teacher) mentioned the name of God several times. I was touched as I have never experienced so many beautiful things in my life. I was blessed with a down-to-earth man; a humble house and the presence of our families and friends warmed my heart.
1. How did your friends and family take to your conversion? What were some of the things you had to do as part of your conversion? What were some of your biggest challenges in converting and how did you overcome them?
The conversion doesn’t happen overnight. Firstly, we are encouraged to attend religious classes. I took my classes at an Islamic school name Darul Arqam @darularqamsg. It is a place that welcomes all brothers and sisters from different parts of the world, regardless of race and/or religion. There are weekly classes that you can choose to attend in English or Chinese. I came from a very small family. My dad passed away when I was 14. The only person I have to convince is my mum. I am considered lucky when compared to other sisters that I met at Darul Arqam who faced tougher challenges convincing their families when they were converting to Islam. My mum saw the change in me during my journey in converting to Islam. I learned to show more respect to her after attending the classes. I became more patient. I believe she saw a good change in me. And she got to know Mohamed, the man that I wanted to marry. She grew to like him because she knew that her daughter had become a better person every day. The next biggest challenge is myself, how am I going to adapt to eating halal food and wearing modestly. I think this is part of the challenges most converts are facing. When I was in the midst of converting to Islam, I wasn’t expecting my family to stop eating pork. The fact that they made the effort to cook and eat halal food when I was around made me touched. When I was attending one of my religion classes, a student brought up a question. She asked if it is alright to eat the food served by her mother which is not cooked in a halal kitchen. The Ustaz mentioned that the important concept in Islam is upholding family ties. The Quran and Sunnah contain many instructions for us to behave well with our family members even if they are non-believers. We are told to hold, honour and respect our parents. I have to be honest; it took me many years to change my eating habit. Again, I am considered lucky as we can easily find delicious halal Chinese food nowadays. I even have friends and colleagues who are thoughtful enough to offer to eat with me at halal places. Back then, after I converted, I didn’t immediately wear the hijab. I only started wearing the hijab 2 years ago. This is another challenge that I overcame. A lot of times, many people mistake me for a Malay lady after I started wearing my hijab. Islam doesn’t solely belong to the Malay race. We have Chinese Muslims, French Muslims, Indian Muslims, Korean Muslims, etc. around the world. Islam is a religion easily misunderstood by many non-Muslims. The fact that I chose to become a Muslim is not because of my husband, but because of my faith in Allah. The conversion comes from the bottom of my heart for the sake of Allah. That is why it is so important to seek Islamic knowledge before the conversion takes place. Muslim women are told to wear the hijab to retain their modesty. We are not forced to convert or wear the hijab. These decisions have to come from the bottom of our hearts. To be honest, wearing the hijab was one of the challenges I faced in the past. I think I wasn’t ready back then. I was worried I would be judged by the non-Muslims for wearing the hijab. On the other hand, ironically, I was also afraid to be judged by the Muslims at the same time. I overcame this after I stopped judging myself and by doing things that only please the almighty creator. Interestingly, after I found Loveaisyah, I started to write and share more about myself, Islam, and being a Muslim on my personal Facebook. What surprised me was the supportive and positive responses I received from my friends as well as the Muslim sisters which really warmed my heart. Loveaisyah, on the other hand, encouraged and opened my heart to share more about my story with all my friends and families who started to have a better understanding of my religion and accepting me as a Muslim convert. At the same time, recognize me as a Chinese Muslim who sells Modern Baju Kurung.