I didn't know anything about any other religions at all, especially not Islam. The one I probably knew the least as I didn't grow up with any Muslims around me and I sort of thought they were all a little crazy. I had no interest in changing my religion either. I would never have thought I'd be strong enough to go on a journey to find the truth or even contemplate becoming a Muslim.
I would like to take you on my journey of how I found the truth and all the questions in life and death answered in one book, the reasons why we are here and the true path to follow. And show you the freedom of Islam.
My parents are Italian, father from Sicily and mother from the North. I was born and raised in the UK.
I was a good girl at school up until a certain point, when I hit my teenage years. I pretty much became a young girl on the path of destruction, enjoying the superficial things in life, happy so long as things were going well and then devastated as soon as things went wrong in my life. As I got older I became worse, at 17/18 years old I'd plan my weeks filled with alcohol fuelled clubbing nights out. My life would revolve around bad friends and boyfriends. I moved out of my parents house when I was 19 because my relationship with them had deteriorated. I had become out of control and they didn't know how to handle me.
I always believed in God even as a young child, even though my parents were not religious at all and never took me to church. There was however a point in my life as a teenager when I began to go to church with a friend who had introduced me to a particular one she attended. I so longed to get into Christianity, to emotionally feel connected to it, but the problem was I'd go to church on a Sunday, watch people pray, fall down to God, speak in tongues. Then everyone would come up to me and ask me if I was saved. I had no idea if I was saved or not. All I knew was that the church wasn't powerful enough to make me change my ways. When coming out of church, the next day I'd go out drinking and committing sins. I felt bad inside sometimes, but I didn't care enough about what Christianity said to change! The main thing I could never get to grips with was the Trinity, how is God three? Why do I have to pray to Jesus to reach God? It didn't make sense to me. There were many contradictions in the Bible also, the fact that there are so many different churches all preaching different things with different versions of the Bible. Which one should I follow? I kept asking myself. Which one is correct? How could I know? These were just a few questions that no one in the church could answer and I couldn't find the answers myself.
In spite of my battle with Christianity and my parents never teaching me anything about it, it was still all I had any knowledge of. I didn't know anything about any other religions at all, especially not Islam. The one I probably knew the least as I didn't grow up with any Muslims around me and I sort of thought they were all a little crazy. I had no interest in changing my religion either. I would never have thought I'd be strong enough to go on a journey to find the truth or even contemplate becoming a Muslim. Not in a million years, that just wasn't me, it wasn't the kind of person I was. But the power of Allah SWT is Mighty beyond belief.
In my troubled days I met a man, he was a Muslim but on the same destructive path as me, in the same crowd. We knew each other on and off and used to meet among friends in the clubbing scene. At one point in his life he decided to move away from his bad friends, and tried to get away from his bad life to study and get his life back on track. During that time I used to visit him, I saw him praying and I thought it was all a little strange. Then one day we got into a conversation about religion, I told him about the things I couldn't understand about Christianity and the contradictions, but I thought they were in all religions. He said: "Not Islam, Islam is simple, we believe in one God only that we pray to, and that all the prophets were messengers of the one true God..." It got me thinking. Well, that's what I've always sort of believed in anyway. At the same time of being a little intrigued at first, I was defensive and I thought it was still alien to me.
After some time, and after reading a couple of little leaflets, I became very curious and thought, what else does Islam say? After plucking up the courage I felt ready for it so I asked him to get me an English translation of the Qur'an. My intention was to just read a few pages to just satisfy my curiosity. I didn't put much pressure on myself at all. But, SubhanAllah, Glory be to the most High, I was shocked beyond belief at what I read. It made me cry, break down, it stunned me. Words can't describe how every single question I ever had in this life was answered in a single book, it talked to me about women, family, everything about life and death, a life guide that I couldn't question absolutely made sense, and not a single contradiction.
It was so powerful that I started to look at life in a different way. I realised this life is so short, all the things I worry about don't matter at all, they are so superficial. I realised that this book liberates women. I used to think that I was free but really I was trapped into the worldly things of this life, how I used to carry myself and dress. I used to think I was liberated, that no one could tell me what to do, I was my own woman, but then I realised how OPPRESSED I was by being that way and dressing in the short skirts and provocative clothing. I realised that Islam is the true freedom and that God telling me to cover myself is how he has chosen to honour a woman by saying not to be a slave to society, be modest and carry yourself in a respectful way so people see who you really are inside and so that you get the respect you deserve from people. Ultimately, we should "Do" for the Creator and not for the people who will not last in our life.
I found out what true liberation was and I felt it. Amongst so many other things that I read, I knew this could only be the true word of God. The fact also that the Qur'an hasn't been tampered with, changed or altered for thousands of years; that there's only one version of it, this made the power of its words even stronger. So now, I absolutely know this was the truth. I found it, I went on my journey during which I even spoke to priests. I wanted to be so sure and have complete conviction in Islam before I embraced it as I knew I'd get criticism along the way. The priests couldn't give me the answers, they would say "it's a mystery" when I posed questions that they couldn't answer, neither the church nor the bible could. So I was convinced, and then Alhamdulillah in December 2006 I did it, I took the step and I accepted Islam. I took the Shahadah. I didn't want to be lost in life for a second longer, I stood in my room and I said it on my own and I felt the freedom. Then a week later I took it in the mosque with witnesses.
That was when my true life really began, I feel like I was chosen, blessed by the Almighty and to say I'm forever grateful just doesn't justify it. Any calamity that has befallen me since, I know I have Allah SWT to help me through it and to seek help from. Any problems that I have been faced with from my family, society and life, I can get through it because I am strong now and I have got my faith inside me. I have been blessed and InshaAllah I will always be immensely grateful that I found the truth, Islam.