Katie is Nurse and Muslim Convert. She spent 2 years (2014-2015) working in a hospital in Saudi Arabia. There she met people who encouraged her to become a Muslim. However, she did not convert immediately.
1. When Did You Convert To Islam?
I became a Muslim in 2016 after working for two years in Saudi Arabia as a Nurse.
2. What Was Your Religion Before You Became Muslim?
At home, we did not have are religion. You could say we were agnostic. Our family believe that religion is the cause of many of the world’s problems.
As a kid, I used to go to church from time to time, but it never really interested me.
3. Why Did You Convert To Islam?
During my stay in Saudi Arabia, I spoke regularly to Muslims about Islam, and they always encouraged me to learn more.
People there thought I was already a good Muslim in my behavior, but that I only needed to believe in Allah and to pray every day.
In conversation, I often rejected their suggestions. I felt defensive and tried to ignore them.
Even in spite of my coldness, people continued to encourage me to read more about Islam and to decide for myself one way or the other.
So based on their suggestions, I started watching YouTube videos about Islam. As I watched them, I got more and more interested.
Then I bought a Holy Quran and began to read it to myself. I knew straightaway that it was the truth. However, I was not yet ready to convert to Islam.
Actually, it took me one year.
During my time in Saudi Arabia, I met other Muslim converts and enjoyed their company. I even met a Sheikh but was still not ready then to become a Muslim.
At the end of the year, I finished my work contract and moved back to New Zealand. It was at this point that I converted to Islam. Alhamdulillah!
4. Why Did You Choose Islam?
I was hunting for a purpose to my life. Thankfully, Islam provided answers to all my questions.
I wanted to know why we are born, the purpose of our lives and what happens after death. I also needed to understand why human beings suffer.
Islam answered all those questions.
They gave me purpose and direction. That is what really attracted me.
Also, the religion creates a sense of unity and community and the feeling that we are all striving toward something together.
5. What Did You Discover About Islam?
I think Islam is the most beautiful religion in the work. It is a religion of peace. It teaches forgiveness, charity, patience and gratitude to others.
Learning about and understanding Islam took me a long time. I need to be knowledgeable about aspects of the religion especially when I meet others who criticize Islam.
Now, I know exactly how to respond to them.
I am eternally grateful that Allah (SWT) guided me to becoming a Muslim. (Alhumdulileh)
6. How Did Your Family React When You Became A Muslim?
After I converted to Islam, my family was very upset with me, especially my mother.
When I told her the news, she cried. She felt disappointed. My mother had known that I was considering becoming Muslim and did everything she could to convince me not to.
My conversion caused many argument and conflicts. She was so upset that on one occasion she threatened to throw me out of the house.
She also forbade me to put on the headscarf (Hijab) when we were at home and especially if other family members or friends were present with us.
Furthermore, she hated that I told other people that I had converted to Islam. Even until today, my other is not happy with my decision, but is slowly getting used to it.
7. Was It Easy For You To Begin Wearing The Islamic Headscarf?
My wearing of the Islamic headscarf, (Hijab) has caused a lot of problems for my family. They objected to it strongly, and it results in a lot of stress and tension in my personal relations.
I think it is better to keep the peace at home and Allah (SWT) has commanded us to honor our parents and not to break family ties.
If I insisted on wearing the Hijab, my parents would kick me out of their home. So, I do not.
However, when I travel abroad or when I am with other Muslims I put it on. Sadly, I am still unable to wear it on a full time basis.
I believe the headscarf (Hijab) is about being modest. But, you should express modesty not only through your dress but through your actions too.
I cherish the idea of dressing modesty and long for the day when I am able to do it full time.
I feel a sense of peace and contentment by the fact that I no longer need to be sexualized by others and judged by others solely based on the way I dress or look.
To me, that is real freedom.
8. Was It Difficult To Change Your Life After You Became A Muslim?
It was a big learning curve. For example, after I converted I did not know how to pray correctly. To help me, the mosque gave me a prayer mat with pictures and words to say at each stage of the prayer.
I also found it difficult to keep to the 5 daily prayers. I had to learn to organize my daily schedule to include them.
Also, life at home changed. My family opposed and challenged me all the time when it came to my practice of religion.
Because of their opposition, I have to conduct my prayers in private and out of sight of my family. I feel scared that someone will walk into my room and discover me when I am prostrating.
9. How Does It Feel To be A Muslim, Today?
Being a Muslim makes me feel wonderful, especially in prayer. Alhamdulillah! It is a feeling of complete peace and tranquility like nothing I have experienced in my life before.
I love being with other Muslims. Watching them practicing Islam is uplifting. Their actions and words encourage me to read the Holy Quran and to learn more.
Seeing YouTube videos of other people converting to Islam is also very inspiring, and it teaches me that my decision to become a Muslim was always the right one.
10. Do You Talk To Non-Muslims About Your New Faith?
Yes! Today, I speak to many non Muslims about Islam. I do not try to control or push them in any way. If they have questions, I try to answer them as well as I can and from my personal point of view.
I believe that just being a good Muslim, practicing sincerely, and showing a good example is enough to get people to become interested in the religion.
An Exclusive Interview With A New Zealand Convert To Islam-rayahaftaha.ir