Found Islam Online

Maryam Taiba
My Story First, A little about me…I am an only child..my parents divorced when I was very young, so it was just my mother and I, as I had no brothers or sisters. I have 2 children, son, 27 and daughter, 29 . They both have homes and jobs of their own. Also I am divorced.. I was raised as christian, and naturally, I raised my kids as christian.
When my kids grew up and moved out on their own,… (Unfortunatily, in the Western culture, the families do not have the bond as other cultures have. When the kids turn 18, they are ready to leave home and live on their own, or even the parents want them out of the home.)
I started driving a truck. I drove all over the different states. I was able to come home on the weekends generaly for about a day and a half. Since the kids were gone from home, and I was not home much, I stayed with some friends. I helped out with rent for my room and board during the weekends.
It was around September of 2010 that I was able to have the money to buy a laptop. I had always wanted one for a long time. I had it set up to where I could connect it to my mobile phone and get on the internet no matter where I was – at home, or in the truck. In driving, you could only drive so many hours and then you had to park it and could not drive untill 10 hours later. So, I spent some of the time on the internet.
I set up a Facebook account with the help of a friend when I was at home as I had no ideal how to set it up, and not too much knowledge even of computers. I had about 10 friends that I had as friends on Facebook. One of my friends had a friend from India. I requested friendship with him. (I had stayed with a family from India for several months when I was in my early 20`s, and really like the Indian people, culture, and of course, the food!)
He acepted my friend request. He was Hindu, but was really nice to me. We became good friends and chatted on facebook everyday. We talked about India, culture, politics…just a little of everything. After a while, some of his facebook friends also wanted to be friends with me, so, I acepted them as friends….then, on down the line, some of their friends also wanted to be friends.
One day, I accepted friends with a man from Bangladash, and when he chatted with me, there was something differant about him. The way he spoke, or I should say texted me…..was different. He was very polite, respectful, and just had a differant manner. So, I looked at his profile, and I saw that he was Muslim. Now, I had never heard of Islam, or muslims before.
All I ever knew was that I had heard there was a group of people in some foreign country that prayed so many times a day and they would stop anywhere to pray. I didnt know that this person was “one of these people”. When I had seen “Islam” and “Muslim” I actually thought that “Islam” was a country, and that “Muslim” was a nationality of people.
I was really courious, so, just to learn something new, I asked him if I could ask questions about his religion, and that all my other friends were Hindu, and this was different. He said, “Sure, feel free to ask anything you want and I will answer to the best of my ability.”
So, my very first question was, “How many gods do you worship”? Then he explained a little to me, and I thought…this is interesting. I told him that I just wanted to learn something new, and that I only have a limited time each day to chat so would ask more the next day. He said he would send me some links that would explain things to me. So I read the links he sent.
Now, as I read these and asked more questions….I started feeling something I hadn`t ever felt before. It was like something was gently pulling me to learn more, to ask more questions, I was beginning to feel that Islam was what I had been missing all my life. The best way that I can describe it is when you put a puzzle together and there is one piece that is missing to complete the puzzle. This was the way I was feeling about Islam. Islam was the piece that I was missing…the piece that completed my life.
I had gone to church all my life, but there was just too many unanswered questions that did not make sense to me. Things like, why would a god have to die? Why would a god, get hungry and need to eat, why would he be thirsty? Why would a god pray to another god and say “If it be your will, let this cup pass from me?”
This is showing that he was scared, and didnt want to die…so, why would a god be scared? How can a god die anyhow? Why would a god, hanging on a cross call out to anthor god, saying My god, my god, why hast thou forsaken me?
After this, and other questions were all explained, so many things made sense then. My “just being courious” was totally gone, I was definitely doing soul-searching and taking inventory of my life…to see were I had been heading, and to were I wanted to head. I couldnt sleep at night for thinking, and just feeling the gentle pull and tug on my heart for Islam. Shaytain was hard at work also…trying most of all to tell me that Jesus PBUH was god, and that if I would reject Christianity, that I would be rejecting Jesus PBUH and would to to hell for that.
After I had really come to gripwith the fact that this was the right move, I finally told my friend that I wanted to accept Islam, and what did I need to do. He told me I should find a masjid close to my home and go talk to them, because it would be hard to help me at this point over internet and half a globe away from me. (Fortunatily, there was a masjid about an hour away from where I lived) I looked up the phone number and I sat there for 15 or 20 minuites before I got the courage to call. This would be the first time that I ever spoke to a Mslim before other than just texting.
Finally, I dailed the number, and immediatily a girl answered the phone. She said that she would be happy to meet me at the masjid and answer any questions and help me any way she could. I told her a Saturday would be good because I would be home then. Saturday came, I didn`t tell my roomates where I was going…just that I would be gone a while.
I found the masjid….walked up to the door. I was soo scared and nervous having no idea what to expect. (My friend told me to wear modest clothes, and wear a scarf, so I did.) I got to the door and reached to open it…almost, I didnt have the nerve to go in, but, I did.
As soon as I walked inside…this overwhelming peace seemed to surround me and I felt relaxed, and safe. I soon found the sister that I had talked to on the phone. She was such a pleasant and kind person. Soon about 6 more lasies came in. We sit in the floor and they asked if I had questions.
We sat and talked for maybe 2 hours, I asked questions and they answered them. Then, they taught me how to preform wudu. More ladies came and we talked again for several hours. After the Asr, Magrib and Eisha prayers, which they had me just to watch them pray, the Imam came by the door that separated the men and woman`s prayer room and we sat down. He asked me the questions of “Was anyone forcing me to acecpt Islam?” “Was I being paid, or threatened in any way?” I said no, I want to accept Islam on my own free will.
So then, with his help, I recited the shahada. When I finished reciting it, the best way I can describe the feeling I had was, it was like I had a backpack that was full of bricks that I had been carrying on my back all my life, and as soon as I said the shahada…the straps of the backpack broke, and the bricks, all fell to the floor. I immediatly felt like I was floating on air. I felt peace like I had never felt before.
We talked some more and then it was 11pm before I knew it. It was time for the hour drive home. It was 12 December…middle of winter, and as I went to my car, it was very cold outside, and was snowing, and roads were ice covered. It took an extra long time to get home, roads were covered in snow and ice, but I felt safe and not scared, and as I drove home, I breathed my first prayer to Allah thanking Him for having mercy on me, and also for His protection going home.
I got home safe and my roomates were still up. They asked, “Did you have a good time today?” I smiled and said, “Oh yes, I had best time of my life!” I knew that my roomates, friends, and my kids would not understand, so I decided to just not say anything for a while.
The next day I was reading Quran and trying little by little to understand it…with the help of my friend in India who was extremely happy. I sat in my room, thinking about the night before, and thinking of what changes I needed to make in my life. The first thing that came to me was I needed to change my dress style.
Living in the west, and trying to hold a job, I decided at least I needed to wear loose-fitting clothes and long sleeves. So, I cleaned out the closet that I had my cloths in and took all clothes that were tight or short sleeves, and threw them in the dustbin. After I did that, I felt good and that I had done right thing.
My roommates weren`t sure what was going on, but they didnt say anything. I had to go to work the next day on the truck. I took what few clothes that were decent to wear with me. A coupe days later, as I was driving down the road in the truck I was listening to music. I loved music…I had to have music going, whether at home, in truck, or my car. I reached over and put another cd in and started listening to it.
Then, it was almost like Allah had spoke to me…How can I glorify Allah by listening to this music, and the beat of it, the lyrics. I pulled the cd back out…looked at it for a second, then I threw it out the window. I reached over and got all my cds…maybe 40 of them or more, and started throwing them out the window. I decided right then, no more music. I never knew at the time music was haraam in Islam, but Allah showed me in His way.
The next week, back home, my roomates had figured out, thanks to facebook and new Islamic friends posting on my wall, that I had accepted Islam. My the notes I had written down that were Islamic they would hide or throw away. They told my friends, and soon my friends in around town either unfriended me, or when they came over to visit my roomates they would laugh and make fun of me.
I was not wearing hijab at the time, I knew I should be, but with driving the truck all over the country, some places would not be safe to, Muslim truck drivers have been shot just because they were Muslim, or from the Middle East. I told Allah that if I could get a different job, and move closer to the masjid, that I would wear hijab.
Shortly afterwards, I ended up losing my job driving the truck, and I was without a job. Roomates gave me so much trouble that I just packed things up and went that night to the city close to the masjid and spent the night in the car. I went to Friday prayer at the masjid next day. I was not going to tell anyone of my problem., but Allah had other plans. I went in and they asked how I was, I said good, but one lady looked at me and said, No, something is wrong…..I said well, my roomates giving me problems so I shifted out of the the house.
Long story short, they pinned me down and found out I was staying in the car. They put me up in a hotel for a week and during that time, I found a place to stay and a job in that town. Allah had given me a different job, and a place close to the masjid.. So, I kept my promise to Him and started wearing hijab.
The job I had working at an old age home lasted about 4 months. Too many people didnt like me, or refused to work with me. It went on like this for a year. I had about 5 different jobs and they would find a reason to get rid of me. One lady in particular didnt like me. She said, she was in the US military and fought terrorists like what you are.
My kids also found out I had reverted to Islam. My son just thought I was crazy and I tried to explain to him, he just said, “Whatever, its your life.” My daughter was more upset. She said it was the Muslim group that you are in that bombed the World Trade Center. They are all terrorists. Your are not my mother any more, I dont even know you.”
It got to where I was really discouraged, but, not about to give up. By now, I had make many muslims friends in India. They gave me a lot of support and encouragement. The local masjid was good, but later as I learned more of Islam, I realized that there was a lot of things that I didn`t agree with that I had read in the Quaran, like I was told, “This is the west, its ok to eat meat that is not halaal because it can`t hardly be found around here”, or, “Dont wear hijab to job interviews or you wont get hired.”
I soon relied more and more on my brothers and sisters in India for help. I finally was really getting discouraged, but still determinded on not giving up. One night, I prayed to Allah to help me, I didn`t know how, but I needed His help. I would even shift to another country, preferably India.
The next day, Allah answered my cry for help. A brother from India texted me, and said, “Sis,Why don`t you come to India and learn more of Islam. You are my sister and are family, come and stay with my family”. I said that I would pray about it, and that also, it would take several months because it would be expensive to get there with having to get passport, visa, round trip ticket, and enough money to live on for 6 months. So I saved and worked a lot of extra hours.
I made plans to leave 1st of March. Still, I prayed all the while for His will. I sent off for my passport first, they said it would take about 6 to 8 weeks to get it. I prayed that if it was not His will for me to go, to not let passport go thru. The passport came in 3 weeks. closer to the time to leave, I sent off for the Indian visa. I was told it would take approximately 2 weeks to get it back in the mail…again praying, if it was not His will I go, to block the visa from being granted.
I mailed my passport to the Embassy on a Monday…..passport came back to me 5 days later on Friday with my visa pasted to the passport! During those 5 days, I had got online and was checking different online travel agencies for best rate to air fare. The prices kept going up a little each day. Then, when the visa came, I had to go to work, but as soon as I got home, I got online to book my ticket…hoping that the fares had not gone up more. I got online to find that they had made a big drop in the prices. I booked my ticket then immediatly. Just being curious, a few days later I got back online to check the prices, and they had gone back up again.
So, with getting passport and visa in record breaking time, and the drop in airfares just at the time I needed, was Allah`s Hand in assuring me this was right thing to do. My trip was very smooth without problems. I arrived in Delhi and was met by friends at the airport.
I spent the first day at a hotel and then at family`s home. I got in my hotel room, and then for the first time ever…I heard it…..the call of the Azan. I went to the window and listened. I cried like a baby because it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, as there is no azan in US.
I spent a week in Delhi, and then visited around different families in India for the following 6 months. I had to go back to the US because of my visa, but..I only stayed 2 months and came back “home” to India.
Allah has been good to me, I have learned a lot about Islam, and I still have so much more that I want to learn. The last 2 1/2…almost 3 years that I have reverted…a lot of times wasn`t easy, but…thru it all, Allah was there.
When I first reverted, I think the hardest thing for me was to accept and realize that Jesus PBUH was not a god, as I had been taught all my life… but he was a prophet. A born Muslim doesn`t even think about that, or can even imagine it. Shaytain put a lot of thoughts and doubts in my mind many times. Then, of course I had no ideal who Muhammad PBUH was…so it took a while to read about his life and come to know, love and respect such a great man as he was.
Now, I am learning new things, and In sha Allah, will continue to grow and be the best I can, not for me, or the world, but for Allah….
(Credit Muslims of Calgary)

 

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