I was born and reared in a small town in the Philippines. I grew up there as a Christian, where the conversion to Islam is difficult and my family and I lived a simple life until I was in High School. We were religious people, I was surrounded by good people—relatives, friends, neighbors, and even classmates. In my town, I didn’t even see any Muslim man or woman there…so, I completely had no idea about Islam. But in school, in religion subject, I remembered my teacher said something about Islam and other religions too.
But to make the story short…I left my hometown for college. There I went to an exclusive Christian School. But, there I started to question some confusions in my previous faith. There were answered and unanswered questions as well. Maybe this was the first un-noticed step of my conversion to Islam!
Effect of 9/11 attack:
Until such time when the 9/11 Twin Tower attack happened. It was news all over the country. News here and there, talking about Muslims… so, from there I was curious about Muslims, I sat and held the mouse off the computer and searched about Muslims. I was confused, until one day, I met a Muslim man and asked about Islam. He told me the basics of Islam and its way and I also asked his belief about Jesus and Mary, the angels, and the end of the world. I was really amazed at how he explained it in a logical way. I was interested and in my free time, I tried to research and read more about Islam, but I had no intention of converting.
Days passed, and it was hard for me because I felt like I was betraying my faith and my God, by reading Islam as well as other religions. I stopped. I read the Bible and it so happened I read again the law about the lawful and unlawful food. A few months later, I contacted that Muslim man and told him I wanna be Muslim and he helped me with my Shahada. It was the happiest moment when I took my Shahada and my conversion to Islam was warmly greeted by so many fellow muslims.
Family Acceptance After Conversion to Islam!:
But, it was also hard for me because I was thinking of my family, their thoughts, and reactions to my conversion. It was half a year until I had the courage to tell them about my new faith. They were disappointed in me, but they also accepted and listened to me. So, it was the best thing that I ever thanked ALLAH, that they didn’t oppose at all.
Outside the home, I mean in school, I told my classmates that I am a Muslim (at that time, I was not wearing a hijab yet), and they did not believe me. Some friends accepted and remained my friends, some got scared and kept their distance from me, and some totally rejected me. So, I was like, “Who cares if you don’t like me being Muslim!”. So, I had to ignore them. It was also the first time, I was discriminated against for being a Muslim, I was even bullied.
Hard Time of Life:
Even one of my professors, marked me absent one time for not attending their mass even if I had permission to not attend. I accepted it all. I had a hard time, really hard time adjusting. Sometimes, I cry myself to sleep, asking what’s wrong with being a Muslim. But thanks to the Almighty Allah swt! I didn’t give up. No matter how hard, I still want to try because I know I have Islam. I am lucky!
I decided to wear my hijab for the first time in my first year of being a Muslim. And worst discrimination was tested. Some classmates insulted me for covering my hair, and that minute they treated me the way they did, made me feel I am an outcast, I felt I am different, I felt like I had a disease that can infect them. I was so hurt, not because I was insulted, but it was because they laughed at me and insulted the way we Muslims pray. Right there—that very moment, I was enraged by anger, but I was never violent…I left them, went home and I cried till I fell asleep. The next morning, I had to be optimistic and ready for another day of bullying.
Change the School With Conversion to Islam!:
I decided to transfer to another school. And Alhamdulillah!, my classmates and friends were so kind to me. I am so thankful.
Until now, I never stopped learning and never stopped reading books about Islam. Islam is the best! I am so happy and satisfied to be a Muslim.
Now, I am proud to say that, I feel comfortable with what I am, my hijab, my faith, and my Islam are the greatest asset I have.
I realized, after all, I knew the truth, my family accepted me and I know my real friends. That’s the most important part and I should be happy about it. I have God, and I know He won’t ever leave me.
I am a Muslim and I will die to be a Muslim.